Air Conditioners And Allergies: Is AC Helpful Or Harmful?

If you or someone in your household suffers from allergies, it can be difficult to find a way to eliminate potential allergy triggers from your home and reduce the incidence of allergy attacks. Your air conditioner, one of your home's biggest appliances, can be your best friend or your worst enemy in the fight against allergic reactions, depending on how you use and maintain your central air conditioning system. Learn how your central air conditioning system can help you control your allergies, and how to keep it from turning against you when you need it most.

How Air Conditioning Can Help

Keeping your windows open is one of the worst things that you can do during allergy season, when the pollen counts are at their highest. Your air conditioner allows you to shut the allergens that permeate the outdoors out of your house.

Choose the recirculated air mode in order to keep air from the outside from getting into your house. You don't have to keep the house cold to filter out unwanted allergens – you can run the AC in filter only mode. Your air conditioner effectively allows you to create your own personal allergen-free island, which can be a big relief at the end of the day, after having to navigate through places that contain allergens that make you sniffle, sneeze, and cough.

When Air Conditioning Doesn't Help

The problem with air conditioning is that if there are already allergens in your home, a closed air conditioning system allows those allergens to circulate throughout the air in the home indefinitely, which can cause even more allergy attacks and discomfort. Some allergens found in the air inside of an air conditioned home include dust mites and pet dander, gasses, fumes, and chemicals, and synthetic fibers.

You may also track outdoor allergens like pollen into your home from the outside, where they can get caught up in the air conditioner's filter and recirculated throughout your home. When this happens, the inside of your home can become just as much of an allergy trigger as walking through a pollen-heavy field outdoors.

How to Help Your Air Conditioner Help You

The good news is that your air conditioner doesn't have to contribute to the problem, and it's not that hard to ensure that your AC continues to help you control your allergies, instead of exacerbating them. The first and most important thing that you can do is change your air filters regularly. Choose high quality air filters that will trap the allergenic particles that you're trying to avoid.

High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are most often recommended for allergy sufferers, as they're the most efficient at filtering out allergens. By changing those filters as often as recommended, you'll be removing the trapped particles from the air conditioning system. Leave the old filters in place for too long, and you run the risk of those particles working their way back into the central air conditioning system and into your air.

If your home is already full of allergens, changing the filters may not be a big enough step. You can remove a lot of the contaminants and particulates that may be infiltrating the air inside of your home by contacting your preferred air conditioning service company to have your home's ducts professionally cleaned. This will remove most of the allergens that are trapped in your home's air circulation system, giving you the opportunity to start fresh with clean indoor air. Proper filtration can help you maintain the ducts once they're cleaned. Keep in mind that the person with allergies should probably stay out of the house while the ducts are being cleaned. The cleaning process may stir up the particulates and make it hard to breathe for a little while.

Your home should be a safe place where you can breathe easily, and that means that it should be allergen-free. If you're having problems with your indoor air quality, your preferred air conditioning professionals can help. Contact a company like Redlands Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning for more information.