For many residents of the Philadelphia area, seasonal allergies are a significant concern, especially during the high pollen seasons of spring and fall. Fortunately, your home’s central air system can be a powerful ally in managing these allergens. Here’s how to optimize your HVAC system to reduce allergens and keep your indoor air quality high.

1. Upgrade to HEPA Filters

High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are one of the most effective means of trapping airborne particles, including pollen, pet dander, and dust mites. Consider upgrading your system's filter to a HEPA filter, or at least one with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating of 13 or higher, which can capture smaller particles more efficiently.

2. Regular Filter Changes

During peak allergy seasons, increase the frequency of your air filter changes. Normally, filters should be changed every 90 days, but during high pollen times, consider changing them monthly.

3. Maintain Clean Ducts

Over time, ducts can accumulate dust and allergens, which get recirculated through your home. Having your ducts professionally cleaned can significantly reduce the amount of indoor allergens.

4. Use an Air Purifier

Adding an air purifier with a HEPA filter to rooms where you spend most of your time can further reduce allergen levels in your home. Portable air purifiers are effective in bedrooms and living areas.

5. Keep Windows Closed

Keep windows closed during high pollen days to prevent allergens from entering your home. Rely on your central air system to circulate and filter the indoor air.

6. Regular HVAC Maintenance

Have your HVAC system inspected and serviced by professionals at least once a year. A well-maintained system operates more efficiently and provides better air filtration and circulation.

7. Humidity Control

Maintain indoor humidity levels between 30-50%. Too much humidity can promote mold growth and increase dust mite populations, while too little can exacerbate respiratory symptoms. Consider integrating a dehumidifier with your HVAC system if needed.

8. Seal Leaks in Ductwork

Ensure that your home’s ductwork is properly sealed and insulated. Leaks can lead to unfiltered air being drawn into your home, undermining your efforts to keep allergens out.

9. Clean Indoor Coils and Drain Pans

Ensure the coils and drain pans of your HVAC system are clean. Mold and bacteria can grow on these components and affect your air quality.

By taking these steps, you can transform your central air system into a powerful tool against seasonal allergens. Not only will this make your home more comfortable during allergy season, but it will also improve the overall air quality year-round. If you're unsure about the condition of your system or need professional maintenance, services like McCorry Comfort are available to help Philadelphia area residents breathe easier at home.