Air Ducts and Allergies

Air Ducts and Allergies

It’s pollen season.

With the spring comes beautiful buds, blooms, vibrant colors and … allergies. If you are like most people who live in Hampton Roads / Coastal Virginia, you have likely suffered symptoms of exposure to pollen, including runny noses, watery eyes, itchy or sore throat, hoarseness, and a whole lot of coughing and sneezing.

What’s worse: because of El Niño and the warmer winter we just had, areas in the South (like Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Norfolk) are expected to be hit harder by pollen in 2016.

While properly maintained ductwork is not a cure for allergies, leaking and/or dirty ducts have been shown to worsen or even cause allergic reactions. In fact, for nearly 20 years, the EPA has advocated thorough, proper maintenance of home air ducts to reduce allergic reactions to people exposed to pollen contaminated heating and air conditioning systems.

“If not properly installed, maintained and operated, these (HVAC air duct) components may become contaminated with particles of dust, pollen or other debris. If moisture is present, the potential for microbiological growth (e.g., mold) is increased and spores from such growth may be released into the home’s living space. Some of these contaminants may cause allergic reactions or other symptoms in people if they are exposed to them.”

Source: EPA publication 402-K-97-002, October, 1997

Many folks believe that staying indoors is the key to preventing hay fever or spring allergies. But that only works if you have a clean house, including leak-free, properly maintained ducts. Your air ducts are like the lungs of your house. If they are maintained and working properly, you will have clean air to breathe. If they aren’t, you will be breathing in contaminated air.

From Web MD: “Spotting Hidden Allergy Triggers”

Indoor pollution. Every ragweed pollen season, you might dutifully shut the windows and barricade yourself in your home. But while you’re focused on the allergens outdoors, you could be missing the equally troublesome irritants inside. Studies have shown that indoor air pollution is often at least twice as high as what you get outdoors — and often much higher.

“While there might be pollution outside, at least you have infinite ventilation,” says Jay M. Portnoy, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI.) “But inside, irritants can become very concentrated.” So when you’re looking for hidden allergy triggers, start inside. After all, that’s where we spend 90% of our lives.

Are your ducts clean and leak-free?

circle_slash_duct_tape, do not use duct tape on ducts

Department of Energy tests on several duct sealants concluded, “Of all the things we tested, only duct tape failed. It failed reliably and often quite catastrophically.”

Pallett Heating and Cooling recommends that you first change your filters regularly, as they will catch most of the contaminants that would enter your house as well as keep your heating and air conditioning system running more efficiently.

We will do an inspection of your duct system to determine if any servicing is needed, including sealing any leaks or replacing parts. Many times, no service is needed. However, if your technician finds that your system does need maintenance, he will share his findings with you so you can make the best decision on how to move forward. If you select us to do the work, you can apply the cost of our inspection to your air duct service.

As an added bonus, most homeowners save money after getting their ducts inspected and serviced. Why? Leaks in air ducts cause your home’s HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system to work harder which shortens its life. A well-maintained system means energy savings and more cost-effective heating and cooling.

For an added level of protection in ensuring the air inside your home is clean and contaminate-free, consider adding:

  • Whole-House Air Cleaner or Filtration System–An Air Cleaner works with your home’s HVAC system and ductwork to capture up to 99% of air contaminants and prevent them from entering your home.
  • UV Light (Germicidal Ultraviolet Light System)—UV Lights are used to sterilize mold, bacteria, viruses, and allergens from the air as it cycles through your HVAC system.

Air Cleaners and UV Lights are easily installed and are more affordable than you may think.


Call us today to learn more about our HVAC inspections and maintenance programs.