Coughing, sniffling, sneezing, and wheezing is not a fun way to spend your time. For many people with allergies, inside the home is where they find a respite from the allergy triggers that cause their symptoms. However, some people find that their allergies bother them just as much – or even more – inside their own home. If you fall into this second group, the solution to your allergy symptoms may just lie in an unexpected place: your heating system. Find out how changing to a radiant heating system may help eliminate your indoor allergy symptoms.
Radiant Heating Reduces Airborne Allergens
Most home heaters rely on a forced air system to spread the hot air from the heater to the other areas of the house that need to be warmed up. For example, if you have a central heating and air conditioning unit, the unit's fan pushes air through a duct system and out of vents into the different rooms of your house. The problem for allergy sufferers is that the duct system and the vents tend to collect dust, pollen tracked in from the outdoors, and other things that set off allergy symptoms. Then, the forced-air system scatters these allergens into the air, where you have to breathe them in.
Sure, there are ways to keep your forced-air heating system and combat the problem of airborne allergens. Using high-quality HEPA air filters can help filter allergens like dust or pet dander out of your air. And you can also have your ducts cleaned out if they are full of dust. But the problem is that you have to keep doing these things over and over. The HEPA filter needs to be changed regularly, and it will be at its most effective when you first install a new one, and less effective once it starts collecting dust. The same goes for your ductwork – you can clean it out, but it will eventually collect new allergens.
Installing a radiant heat system eliminates the forced-air system entirely. Radiant heat mats under your flooring or radiant panels on your walls heat the surfaces where they're located, and those surfaces warm the air. No air blowing is required, which means no dust or pollen blowing around your house for you to inhale.
Radiant Heating Doesn't Dry the Air
Another aspect of forced air systems is that all of that hot air tends to dry out the house. Dry air reduces the humidity levels in the house. While you don't want a house that is too humid, you also don't want a house with air that's too dry. If the relative humidity in the home falls below 30%, allergens like mold spores, bacteria, and dust mites can dry out, which makes them lighter and more easily airborne – so they're even more likely to end up in the air that you're breathing. Plus, the dry air itself can dry out your nasal passages and mucus membranes, which will also aggravate your allergy symptoms.
Opting for radiant heat is a simple way to eliminate the dry air problem. With no forced air being blown around, radiant heating helps you maintain the humidity at a level that doesn't aggravate your allergies. This is especially helpful if you live in a region where the winters are very dry.
Radiant Heating Lets You Cut Out the Carpeting
Your ductwork isn't the only thing in your home that collects allergens. Carpet is notorious as a trap for allergens – in fact, it can contain as much as 100 times the amount of allergens found on hard flooring surfaces. Any small movement can release the carpet-bound allergens into the air. The problem is bad enough that removing wall-to-wall carpeting is advice that medical professionals commonly give to allergy sufferers. But in many homes, carpeting is a matter of comfort. Heat tends to rise, and forced air heating systems usually blow hot air out far above foot level. The result is cold floors, especially in the winter time. That may not be too big a problem if you live in Florida, but if you live in an area of the country that has very long, cold winters, you may not want to put up with months of freezing cold floors, or to be forced to wear shoes and socks indoors to keep your feet warm.
Radiant heat flooring is the perfect solution for this problem. You can easily install radiant flooring mats under tile or another hard flooring surface and ditch the carpet completely. Your feet will be warm all winter, and because the heat will rise, the rest of your body will stay warm too. Simply sweeping and mopping on a regular basis will keep your hard floor free of most allergens.
Your home should be a place where you feel comfortable and where you're safe from the allergens that bother you outdoors. A radiant heating system can help you transform your home into a safe, comfortable, allergen-free zone.