How Your Home Could Be Causing Your AllergiesAs spring blooms in the Grand Traverse County area, pollen allergies begin to flare. Hiding inside won’t always keep you safe, though. Your own home can also aggravate your allergies to pollen, mold, dust mites, and pet dander.

Poor Filtration and Ventilation

Reliance on a low-efficiency HVAC air filter and poor ventilation are two of the most common reasons allergens build up in a home.

Your air filter is one of your strongest defenses against the allergens that enter your home, but the standard 1-inch fiberglass filter isn’t going to cut it. These protect your HVAC system, but they don’t clean your air. For that, you need a filter with a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) of at least 5. If you have allergies, though, MERV 11 or 12 filter is your best option. Then remember to change the filter on schedule.

Because opening windows lets in pollen and humidity, it’s not the best way to freshen your air. Running your air conditioner on the “fan only” setting will help clean your air without bringing in outside contaminants. If this isn’t enough for you, consider having a whole-house ventilation system, such as a heat recovery ventilator (HRV), installed.

High Humidity

Dust mites and mold spores can both trigger allergy symptoms, and these organisms thrive in high humidity conditions. In a humid house, you’ll notice problems such as window condensation, mold on the ceiling, and a sticky feeling during hot weather. Hanging a hygrometer on the wall will give you a more accurate reading of your indoor humidity.

To keep your allergy symptoms at bay, aim for an indoor humidity level of no higher than 50 percent, which is too dry for dust mites and mold. If you need to lower your indoor humidity, start with simple changes such as taking shorter, cooler showers or remembering to use your kitchen and bathroom vent fans. If this doesn’t help, your home most likely needs better ventilation.

If your allergies flare at home, talk with a heating and cooling technician about improving your indoor air quality and humidity levels.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about allergies and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 231-714-6196.