HVAC System Upgrades That Help Fight Allergies and Improve Air Quality

Katie Smith
Written by Katie Smith
Updated January 21, 2022
Woman sitting by window vent pillows
Photo: Trinette Reed /Stocksy / Adobe Stock


  • Upgrading your HVAC system can actually help fight allergies.

  • Consider adding a HEPA filter or HVAC UV light for better air quality.

  • Dehumidifiers and air purifiers help ensure the air you breathe is clean and dust-free.

  • Regular cleaning and maintenance can go a long way in fighting allergies.

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Those who suffer from allergies or asthma know a deep cleaning can only do so much. Luckily, there are more solutions to allergy-proof your home—starting with your tried-and-true HVAC system. Your heating and cooling unit is actually primed to work with other systems and devices known to help fight allergies. Consider adding a few to your home to better combat dirty air. Here are seven solutions for alleviating allergies through your HVAC.

Install a HEPA Filter

Air vent filter hands install
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Regular filters filter dust; however, they only capture the largest particles. The best HVAC filter for allergies is a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter that is ultra-efficient and can improve the air quality of your home. These filters work with your HVAC system to catch smaller particles, treat some of the air moving through your HVAC system, and trap more pollutants floating through the air. Choose a HEPA filter with a MERV rating of at least 13 that’ll clean air to a level ideal for those with severe allergies and respiratory concerns.

Add an HVAC UV Light

One of the best devices for blocking allergens is air-purifying UV light. An HVAC UV light can reduce the dirt, mold, and mildew that could potentially travel inside your home. The light emitted through the UV bulb is proven to eliminate about 99% of microorganisms living in your system. You can’t argue with those results. Another plus? HVAC UV lights can also save you money by lowering energy costs. 


The recommended humidity level for your home is around 40%. If yours is over that, your HVAC system may be keeping nasty mold and mildew and blowing it around your house. Installing a dehumidifier can help keep mold and mildew under control—two things that don’t do those with allergies any favors.

Air Purifiers

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An air purifying system can work with your existing HVAC to reduce allergies by adding extra filtration. Some even have a UV light that kills germs and gives your home cleaner air. If you can’t hook one up to your HVAC, you can buy portable air purifiers as well.

More Ways to Use Your HVAC to Alleviate Allergies

Have Your HVAC Serviced Regularly

A good rule of thumb is to have your HVAC serviced twice a year: Once before winter weather sets in and again before the summer months. Much of the recommended HVAC maintenance is DIYable, but you may consider hiring a local HVAC technician to inspect your system more closely. They’ll highlight areas susceptible to mold, debris, and mildew, as well as ways to remedy the problem.

Change Your Air Filters Monthly

Clean or change your HVAC filters about every 60 days if you have allergies. Again, breathing in dirt, dust, and mold can worsen allergies. HEPA filter or not, experts recommend changing these filters monthly when running your HVAC system a lot. This small change can make a huge difference in relieving allergy symptoms. 

Inspect Your Ductwork

If your home is ten years old or older, some of your ductwork may have leaks or have come unsealed. These gaps make way for allergy-inducing dust and debris. Pests that hunker down in your ducts leave behind hair, droppings, and other waste that can wreak havoc on your allergies or asthma as they blow back into your home.

Run Your AC and Furnace

Running your HVAC system regularly for just 20 minutes will circulate air. Your AC unit will pump in fresh air and pump out stagnant air filled with contaminants and pollutants. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can schedule your system to run as you choose, so you don’t have to remember to turn on your system every day.

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