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Is your HVAC to blame for your sniffles?

If you’re prone to allergies, you might have mixed reactions about the coming of spring. The warm weather and pretty flowers are nice, but if you’re sneezing, coughing, and feeling ill because of your allergies, they’re hard to enjoy. Going inside your home should be an escape from outside air contaminants – a haven of relief, right? 

Unless it isn’t.

If your allergies seem just as bad or worse when you’re inside than when you’re outside during the spring (or anytime, for that matter), your HVAC system isn’t working properly. That’s because a properly working HVAC system can help eliminate allergens, providing the escape allergy sufferers seek. By filtering and circulating the air, a high-performing HVAC system rids dust from the home by catching it and keeps it from piling up by moving the air around.

So when you just can’t seem to get relief from your allergies at home, it’s time to consider what kind of allergens are gathering in your house and how you can help your HVAC system do its job. 

Types of Indoor Air Contaminants 

The most common indoor contaminants are dust mites, pet dander, smoke from cooking, and mold. Most, if not all, of these contaminants are found in small amounts everywhere. The problem comes when you or a loved one is particularly sensitive to one or more of these allergens, or when the concentration exceeds what a normal human body can tolerate.

Dust Mites

Dust mites are distant relatives of ticks and spiders– tiny bugs whose waste and carcasses are found in every American home. That’s right– they don’t bite and generally leave us alone. However, for the unlucky few affected by dust, it’s the dead dust mites and their waste that cause the trouble.

Pet Dander

Pet dander is another allergen that is pretty disgusting to think about. Those who are bothered by allergies including pet dander are not typically allergic to their actual pet, but rather dried saliva, urine, and skin flakes that their pets spread about the house with scratching and shaking.


Combustion of any kind leads to emissions into the air. This includes cigarette smoke and wood-burning fireplaces, but most commonly comes from cooking with oil or using gas stoves. Smoke sticks to everything in your home, causes irritation to the eyes and lungs, and over time can harm the lungs and cause cancer. Proper ventilation is essential to remove smoke of any kind before it builds up and causes problems.


Another common allergen or pollutant in the house is mold, which grows in humid or damp areas or where water collects. Mold releases spores into the air, spreading the problem and causing allergy symptoms. Mold can have devastating effects on everything from your lungs to your brain and digestive system. So, if you suspect your home has excess mold, it’s critical to get the mold under control and have your air tested by a professional.


Pollen can also find its way indoors, collecting in dust piles and circulating in the indoor air. Without a quality HVAC system or one that filters the air, the typical symptoms from pollen-induced allergies can result.

Less Common Household Air Pollutants 

Although less common, carbon monoxide, radon, toxic household chemicals, disease-carrying animals (like mice) and their waste, and bacterial infections and viruses can result in airborne contaminants with serious side effects. Normally you would identify the presence of one of these pollutants quite quickly. Still, low levels of contaminants like these can contribute to allergy-like symptoms and other more serious issues over time.

Are You Sick or is it Allergies?

It can be difficult to tell what’s going on when you have allergy symptoms, because of the multiple symptoms you may experience. Suppose you’re experiencing an allergic reaction to allergens in the air inside your home. In that case, you’ll typically have cold symptoms like a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, itchy or watery eyes, or an itchy throat. But it’s also possible to have headaches, a low-grade fever, or skin reactions like eczema. 

While you shouldn’t take our word for it— we’re HVAC doctors, not people doctors— it’s worth getting help from a quality HVAC company if you have any of these persisting symptoms. If it is a reaction to some indoor air contaminant, your symptoms could result in trouble breathing or worse. 

How to combat indoor air contamination 

Cleaning your HVAC system 

Inspecting and cleaning your HVAC system is a good first step to ensure it’s not part of the problem. 

Cleaning or replacing your air filters and cleaning the vents are the primary steps to making sure your HVAC system can do its job. Clogged air filters will strain the overall system. Dust in and around the vents only creates more clogging and blows around dusty air. 

You also might consider having your HVAC system professionally cleaned or at the very least inspected during a tune-up. During a springtime maintenance appointment, an HVAC professional can check the parts you might not be able to access, cleaning inside the unit itself or the ductwork. 

Cleaning Carpets and other Fabrics

Vacuuming carpets and even couches and mattresses, washing any washable fabrics like stuffed animals and blankets, and keeping the home as dust-free as possible are the best ways to reduce dust and allergens while helping your HVAC system do its job.

Ventilation & Air Purifiers

The EPA recommends regular “natural ventilation” through open doors and windows. While you might think that keeping the pollen and other outdoor air pollutants out is the best option, fresh air helps flush out any pollutants that might have gathered indoors. 

Another great option for especially sensitive or allergy-prone people is an air purifier with a good filter. Air purifiers help HVAC systems do their job by removing allergens. The resulting circulated air is likely to be free of allergy-causing contaminants. A good HVAC company can help you determine the best indoor air quality solution for the type of allergy you’re facing.

Repairing or Replacing your HVAC System 

If your HVAC system is old and not effectively circulating or filtering the air in your home, if the ductwork is leaky or poorly constructed, or if an old thermostat is hindering your HVAC’s performance, it may be time to consider repairing or replacing your HVAC or affected units. Without good humidity control and air flow, allergens listed in this article can collect and air quality can suffer. 

In Conclusion

A quality HVAC system working at peak capacity is one of the best means to improve indoor air quality. So, if you’re not finding relief from your spring sniffles in the comfort of your home, it’s time to call in the professionals. A combination of allergy testing by your doctor, home air testing, and comprehensive HVAC and air filtration improvements should be just the ticket to restoring your well-being. With a little effort and pro advice, you CAN enjoy the spring season instead of dreading it!

Call Exxel For Advanced Air Quality Solutions

At Exxel Mechanical Services, we believe every person deserves to breathe well and feel great in their own home. Our priority is safety and comfort for you and your family, delivered through our expertise and attention to detail.

Call us today at (443) 821-1040 or shoot an email to It would be our pleasure to see how we can help you.