3 Tips for Preventing Air Conditioner-Related Allergies

The only thing worse than allergy season is suffering allergies even when you are sealed up inside your home. The culprit of indoor seasonal allergies might be your air conditioner. Fortunately, with proper maintenance and upkeep, your AC unit can actually help keep you more comfortable during allergy season by turning your home into a dust- and pollen-free oasis.

1. Utilize MERV Rating Guidelines

Every AC unit has an air filter, and most allergy sufferers are very good at replacing the filter often to help minimize airborne dust and pollen. Unfortunately, that may not be enough depending on the filters that you use. A MERV rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) is available on every AC filter that you purchase. Generally, the higher the MERV rating, the more particles (and potential allergens) that are filtered out of the air. HEPA filters, which are the type most often recommended to allergy sufferers, generally have some of the highest ratings. You do need to check your AC system's owner's manual to determine the maximum rating that the unit can handle, though, since not all units can pull in sufficient air through some of the higher-rated filters due to the small pore size in the filter.

2. Schedule an Annual Cleaning

Your outdoor unit is exposed to all the dust, pollen, mold, and dirt one would expect to find outside. Further, there is naturally some condensation inside AC units, which can further lead to mold growth. Schedule an annual cleaning and maintenance visit each spring so that the technician can remove all the debris, dust, and pollen that has collected in the exterior unit over the last year. Not only will this help reduce the amount of allergens being blown inside through the AC unit, but it will also help your unit operate more efficiently—which means better cooling and lower bills.

3. Inspect for Mold Growth

Mold can grow anywhere there is moisture, such as in AC ducts and vents. Mold is also a major cause of indoor allergies, so having the spores blown through the house due to growth in the ducts can be a major irritant. If you pick up on musty odors or seem to be having allergy issues with no known cause, schedule a duct inspection as part of your routine AC maintenance visit. If the technician finds mold, they can clean the ducts so you can find allergy relief. You can also make a point to vacuum inside the vents periodically so dust doesn't collect inside since dust can also lead to allergies.

Contact an AC maintenance service such as Mauzy Heating, Air & Solar for more help.