If you have asthma, then you know the signs that an attack is about to take place.  Taking in air becomes difficult, owing to the swelling of the bronchial tissue and the production of mucus, which blocks the airways.  All sorts of airborne contaminants can bring on an attack, including common things like pet dander.  In order to make sure your home is a haven from attacks, it pays to spend some time on the maintenance and upkeep of your home heating and cooling system.  Here are some points to keep in mind as you do just that.

System Filters

Many people find they can manage with the use of a basic flat filter.  For those who do not suffer from allergies or asthma, these are typically fine for filtering out basic contaminants.  You, however, need something that will capture more in the way of dust mites, pet dander, and other things that could trigger an attack.  

Your best bet is to focus on filters that are considered medium to high efficiency filtration devices.  The Air Resources Board of the California Environmental Protection Agency identifies a range of filter types that have a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value which is better for people who live with all kinds of bronchial conditions.  Typically, you would want to focus on filters with a MERV rating of somewhere between 5 and 12 in order to enjoy the most benefits in a residential setting.  

While there are more powerful filters, they are designed more for use with commercial and industrial systems.  Attempting to use one of those filters at home would place significant strain on the residential system and shorten the life of the unit significantly.

The Duct System

You may be surprised at what can end up lurking in the duct system that delivers forced air to each room of the home.  Those ducts can be the place that roaches, mice, and other types of pests go to die.  When the weather is particularly humid outside, the odds for mold to develop due to the higher moisture content are high.  It will not take long for the environment within those ducts to become toxic for anyone with asthma.

Remember that as the system forces air through the ducts, tiny particles will break off all those contaminants.  Along with the air, they are forced into each room where you and anyone else living in the home can inhale them.  While people without asthma will notice little to no difference, those contaminants can mean a great deal of distress for you.

Your best bet is to arrange for an HVAC professional to flush and clean those ducts at least annually.  Along with getting rid of any contaminants in the ducts, the team will also be on the lookout for any contributing factors, such as a faulty air return.  If necessary, some type of heating and air conditioning repair can accompany the cleaning.  When the job is done, you will find that it is easier to breathe comfortably no matter which room you happen to be occupying at the moment.

Remember You Are Not Alone

According to a 2013 release from the American Lung Association, there are nearly 26 million Americans who suffer with asthma.  Of that number, 7 million are children.  With numbers that high, you can rest assured that local heating and cooling service providers understand what must be done in order to make a home system safe for people with any kind of respiratory ailments.  They also understand the urgency of managing heating and air conditioning repairs and general maintenance in a timely manner.

Remember that the work of protecting the air quality in your home begins with you.  Establish a service agreement with a local provider and have the system checked frequently.  Have the filters changed at least once a month.  Doing so will help you breathe easier and also help prolong the life of your home heating and cooling system.