Have you made the annual trip to Costco for cases of tissue and buckets of antihistamines yet? If so, you are one of more than 50 million people in the U.S., according to the Collage of Allergies, Asthma and Immunology, who suffer from seasonal allergies. There may not be much you can do about the conditions outside, but the irritants inside like pollen from outside, pet dander, and dust mites, you can.

Change Out Air Filters

Filters are a good place to start. However, the standard 1” paper filter is designed to protect the system, not you so much. Installing a 1” MERV 8 fiber filter in its place will help, but use caution, a higher MERV rating, in this case, can restrict airflow causing poor operation and additional stress on the system.

For severe allergy sufferers, that may not be enough. There are great options from non-restrictive 5” MERV 16 filters to purifiers that remove ozone, a known irritant, particulates such as dust mites, pet dander and that nasty pollen down to 0.5 microns (a human hair is about 90 microns) and then purify it with ultraviolet light to kill living organisms like mold and viruses.

Maintenance is Important, Too

Most people don’t think about or don’t understand the value in proper maintenance on indoor air quality. Yes, it does keep you more comfortable at a lower cost throughout the year and helps insure that your a/c doesn’t decide to take vacation in the middle of that 4th of July party. But when done correctly, the technician will, not only install a proper filter, but also look for improper refrigerant charge, dirty evaporator fans or coils and good condensate removal. All of which can cause moisture to build up inside your HVAC system. A damp, cool, dark space is perfect for mold to grow.

During your Spring tune-up, ask what can be done to improve the quality of air you breathe. The advice should be free, and many electric companies offer rebates for the inspection.

This article was originally featured in the May 2018 issue of Woodstock Family Life Magazine. To view a version online, please click here