How Your HVAC System Can Help Reduce Allergens

indoor allergensWhile the relatively dry Los Angeles area isn’t the worst place for people with seasonal allergies, pollen and mold spores still make things uncomfortable come spring and fall. If you’re working to allergy-proof your home against these contaminants, your HVAC system is one of your most valuable assets.

Efficient Filtration

Because all the air in your home cycles through your heating and cooling system, equipping your system with a higher-efficiency air filter is one of the most effective ways to reduce the amount of airborne allergens in your home. Not all air filters can trap the tiny particles of pollen, mold spores, pet dander, and other irritants that trigger allergies, though. If your goal is to allergy-proof your home, look for an air filter with a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) of 10 to 12.

To prevent dirty filters from re-contaminating your air, change your filter on schedule. Most higher-efficiency filters last several months depending on the filter type and your indoor air quality. Check the product packaging for the recommended replacement schedule.

Easy Humidity Control

Even in the dry LA summers, the humidity level in your home can easily rise above 50 percent. Mold and dust mites thrive in humid homes. To monitor your indoor humidity levels, hang a hygrometer on your wall. When your humidity is a little higher than 50 percent, running your air conditioner on “cool” or “fan only,” depending on the weather, can help bring it down again.

If your indoor humidity level is frequently high, though, a dehumidifier will manage it more effectively. Air conditioners reduce humidity to a certain extent, but they’re not designed to deal with persistently high moisture levels.

To maintain healthy humidity levels throughout your home, consider having a whole-house dehumidifier installed in your HVAC system. Unlike small room dehumidifiers, this type of system supplies dehumidified air to every room and needs less maintenance, too.