Allergy Tips For AC Season

Allergies and sinus problems often get worse during the spring and summer months -- which also coincides with the air conditioning season. Fortunately, the AC can be a helpful weapon when it comes to battling these problems if it is properly cared for and used correctly. Try the following tips to get through allergy and sinus season comfortably.

Tip #1: Use the right filter

Not all filters are created equally. If allergies are an issue, make sure you choose either a micron or HEPA filter. These have extra fine filters to catch more dust. They are also electro-statically charged so even fewer allergens can make their way into the house. It's also a good idea to change the filter more often, perhaps once a month during the height of allergy season. If you purchase reusable filters, get an extra one. That way you can rinse and dry one while using the other as a replacement. Otherwise, you have to wait for the filter to dry before you can run the AC.

Tip #2: Avoid sinus shock

Coming into a home that is blowing cold air can irritate the mucus membranes in your nose and sinuses, which can make allergy-induced sinus problems feel worse. Try turning the thermostat up to the maximum temperature that you feel comfortable at. Another option is to invest in a programmable thermostat. You can set it to become gradually cooler over a several hour period, such as from right when you get home from work, which will allow your sinuses to adjust to the cooler air.

 Tip #3: Add a humidifier

Air conditioned air is dry air. Running a humidifier puts important moisture back into the air. Just be aware that a humidifier can be a good environment for mold and mildew growth, which can irritate your allergies. Clean it out regularly with a diluted bleach mixture. Refer to the owner's manual for the correct way to wash out your specific humidifier model.

Tip #4: Get professional tune-ups

Bring in an HVAC professional, like one from Elite Heating, Cooling and Plumbing, for annual maintenance each spring before the summer cooling season. Not only will they make sure everything is running correctly, they will also clean any dust from the fan blades. You may also want to ask for a duct inspection so you can be sure there is no dust, pollen, or mold deep inside your duct work. This will further ensure you are breathing easily and that your AC is working at an optimum level.