Allergies? An Air Conditioner Tune-up Can Help.
More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies, which can affect respiratory function and cause rashes, hives, or excessively dry and itchy eyes or skin. In some instances allergy outbreaks may require medical attention, and even in the best of situations they can cause a great deal of discomfort.
Indoor air pollution is a common trigger of allergy symptoms, which is not surprising since most homes contains a higher density of airborne pollutants than the average city street.
If you or your family suffer from allergies, something as simple as an annual air conditioner tune-up can dramatically reduce your susceptibility to outbreaks. And you can help reduce the risk even further by practicing a little preventive maintenance yourself.
The Shocking Truth about Airborne Allergens in Your Home
Inside the walls of your home, a veritable stew of nasty airborne pollutants may be circulating from one living area to the next at this very moment, wrecking their invisible vengeance on your beleaguered immune system.
Some common indoor pollutants include:
- Mold and mold spores
- Pet dander
- Synthetic carpet fibers
- Insect droppings
- Dust mites
- Chemical traces from building materials
- Volatile organic compounds from cleaning and personal care products
These allergens can accumulate inside ductwork, and when furnaces and air conditioners are turned on they can be distributed far and wide to all the rooms you inhabit.
If furnaces and air conditioners get dirty and wet they may contribute directly to this mixture of toxic contaminants, and that is one good reason why air conditioners must be tuned-up and maintained on a regular basis.
The A-B-Cs of Air Conditioner Maintenance
Before the cooling season arrives, the following steps should be taken to ensure your air conditioner is clean and in good working order and will not make your allergy problems worse:
Change your air filter.
HVAC air filters should always be changed before you use your air conditioner for the first time. For maximum allergy protection and filtering effectiveness, choose a good-quality filter with a MERV rating of between 11 and 17 (anything higher will put too much strain on your AC and cause your utility bills to rise).
Clean the vents.
Dust, dirt, and grime collect in abundance on the outside and inside of intake and outflow vents, and they should be thoroughly cleaned every two weeks to prevent these contaminants from recirculating when your AC is switched on.
Clean the areas of the air conditioner you can access.
Each spring, you should clean your air conditioner’s condenser unit (the part of the AC that sits outside) as thoroughly as you can, to prevent the dust and dirt from getting sucked into the system when the air conditioner is turned on. You should also wipe away moisture anywhere you can find it, since moisture anywhere in the system can promote mold growth.
Schedule a maintenance visit and inspection.
This is the most important step in your AC maintenance plan. One of our trained HVAC technicians will examine your entire HVAC system, including the inside and outside of the condenser, to check for dirt and moisture accumulation and any signs of damage. The technician will also inspect your ductwork from one end to the other, and then let you know if it needs to be cleaned or repaired.