Spring blooms mean pollen is in the air. Pollen from trees, grass, and flowers stays suspended until it settles or you breathe it in. The tiny grains can trigger allergy symptoms and asthma attacks. Pollen also settles on surfaces, so it can mix with dust and build up in your HVAC system. Therefore, numerous issues can occur when the pollen count is high.
Pollen can affect your AC when it builds up on the evaporator coil. This makes it harder for the unit to absorb heat and transfer it out of your home. If pollen settles on the condenser coil, the system will struggle to release heat, causing your air conditioner to overheat, shut down, or be seriously damaged. But here are ways to protect your AC from pollen:
One of the best defenses against pollen is a physical barrier. While it may be tempting to open windows in mild weather, closing them can keep pollen and other particulates out. Therefore, you can improve indoor air quality and get relief from allergies. The same pollen that triggers your symptoms also won’t reach your air conditioning system.
Debris, including plants, branches, and leaves, can cause pollen to blow into the outdoor condenser unit. To protect it, trim vegetation a few feet away on each side. You can also prevent plants from growing nearby by installing paver bricks or gravel around the unit.
Rinsing off the outdoor unit with a garden hose can wash away pollen and particles. If pollen settles on the unit, it can drift or blow inside. Washing the unit at medium pressure can eliminate grains, powder, and residue so they don’t cause problems.
Indoor air circulates up to six times per hour. This gives pollen plenty of opportunities to blow into your home and clog up your AC filter. Check the filter every week when the pollen count is high. Clean or replace it when the filter has a lot of buildup. The longer you wait, the more pollen, dust, and debris will collect inside.
If the filter clogs quickly, or you have allergies and indoor air quality issues, upgrade your HVAC filter. Some filters use an electric charge to attract particles. But a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter will remove very fine particles, including pollen grains.
The air filter should trap most pollen in the air. However, pollen grains can still circulate and eventually settle in your ductwork. They can reenter the air supply when the AC turns on. In addition, pollen and other debris can form a coating that increases air friction, forcing your AC to work harder. Just a thin layer can interfere with airflow and prevent the unit from cooling your home efficiently.
Dry air makes it easier for pollen to remain suspended and circulate. A humidifier can increase the moisture content, which helps because moisture weighs pollen down. It also helps relieve dryness in your nose and throat which can exacerbate allergy symptoms when the pollen count is high. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, optimal indoor humidity levels range from 25% to 40%.
If your allergy symptoms are due to contamination in your AC, you may experience sneezing, wheezing, and congestion; dry, itchy skin; and possibly nosebleeds. You may feel irritation and congestion while at home that goes away when you leave. If there’s a mold or mildew smell, or dust or pollen is visibly floating in the air when windows are closed, your AC is almost certainly affected.
NexGen provides high-quality HVAC and indoor air quality services, including air duct cleaning, to protect your AC and home regardless of the pollen count. Pollen can contribute to ductwork contamination and blockages. Excessive amounts of particulates in your home can be due to poor sealing. At NexGen, we can help with all these issues and protect your air conditioning system. Call (833) 729-9735 to request service.