As temperatures continue to warm up here in the St. Louis area, the plants and trees outside will begin to come back to life. For many people, this means allergy season is about to kick into full gear. Although you might not know it, your air conditioning system can either help improve allergy symptoms or make those symptoms worse, depending on a few different factors. Today we’re going to talk about how your air conditioner affects allergies and what you can do to make this year’s allergy season more manageable!

How allergens get into your home’s airflow

Most springtime allergens such as ragweed pollen come from plants and trees outdoors. Any time you open a window or door, those allergens can make their way into your home. In addition, if your home has air leaks, allergens can seep into your home all day long.

Although allergens will inevitably get into your home, your air conditioner plays a big role in how much those allergens will affect you and your family. That’s because your air conditioner is responsible for cycling air throughout your home. If your cooling system is capable of filtering out allergens from your home’s air, then running your air conditioner will reduce your exposure to allergens. If, on the other hand, your cooling system is not effective at filtering out allergens, your air conditioner can make allergy symptoms worse because it will distribute allergens throughout your home.

A dirty air conditioner filter can worsen allergy symptoms

As we mentioned above, your home’s filtration system will make or break your air conditioner’s ability to improve allergy symptoms. One of the primary factors is whether or not your air filter is dirty.
If you’re running your air conditioner with a dirty filter, the return air that your air conditioner pulls in from your home will bypass the filter because the air has no room to flow through the filter’s material. This means that allergens will get past your air filter without the opportunity for your filter to trap them, and those allergens will be distributed to every room in your home and worsen your family’s allergy symptoms.
By checking and/or changing your air filter every month this spring, you can maximize your filter’s ability to remove allergens from your home’s air and help improve your family’s allergies.

Improve your air conditioner’s filtration system to relive your allergy symptoms

Another huge factor that influences your air conditioner’s ability to remove allergens is the type of filtration system that you have installed. A standard one-inch air filter is only designed to protect your heating and cooling system from dirt buildup; it is not very effective at removing allergens that affect our health. A pleated filter can trap smaller particles, including allergens, from your home’s air, but it might do so at the cost of slowing down your system’s airflow and increasing its energy consumption.
The best option for relieving allergy symptoms at home is to install a whole-house air cleaner. An air cleaner can remove up to 99 percent of the particles (including allergens of all sizes) from your home’s air, and it can do so without interrupting your air conditioner’s airflow. Improving allergy symptoms is one of the top reasons why people install air cleaners in their homes.
If you have any questions about how your air conditioner affects allergies, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Jerry Kelly Heating & Air Conditioning, your St. Charles, MO, air conditioning contractor. We provide service all over the St. Louis area, including towns like Ballwin, Chesterfield, and Clarkson Valley, MO.

photo credit: OH FFS via photopin (license)

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