Does Mechanical Ventilation Prevent Allergies?

Almost one in three people in the UK suffer from some kind of allergy. While Hay fever is one of the most common complaints, affecting 20% of the population.

Other types of allergic rhinitis, where the cause might be cigarette smoke, dust particles, or other household chemicals affect almost the same number of people, and can cause misery throughout the year, rather than just during the summer months.

Airborne allergens such as pollen, dust mite waste, mould spores, and volatile organic chemicals from cleaning products and household fragrances can irritate the airways of a sufferer, and cause streaming eyes, runny noses, and difficulty breathing.

Depending on the severity of the allergies, quite small quantities of the allergen in the air can be sufficient to cause an attack. The question is, does mechanical ventilation prevent allergies? Let’s find out!

How ventilation can help with allergies.

Air ventilation systems provide and circulate fresh air within our homes. This can take many forms, from simply opening a window to the more intricate mechanical ventilation systems that provide airflow through air conditioning and heating.

In most cases, the concentration of the allergens in the air corresponds with the severity of the allergic response. Pollen can be found in the air throughout the year, but it is only during the summer when the highest levels of pollen are present that most people suffer.

How do ventilation systems work?

Every ventilation system relies on the same basic principle, regardless of if the air is traveling through an open window or an air conditioner: air will always flow from areas with high pressure to areas with low pressure.

When the air pressure inside your house is higher than the outdoor pressure, air will find a way out. A lower air pressure inside your home does the opposite – fresh air from outside will flow in until the building and outdoors reach a pressure equilibrium.

Make sure you discover more of our handy ventilation blogs, if you’re keen to learn more about these wonderful systems!


Why is it important to have adequate ventilation?

Quality air ventilation is good for our health, lets us live comfortably within a building, and improves the structural integrity of our homes.

For example, enabling air to exit our kitchens as we cook allows us to live free from fears of carbon monoxide poisoning. Ventilation also ensures that our bathrooms don’t become too stuffy during a hot shower, and that doors open and close easily when entering or leaving the house.

So, not only does ventilation provide a building with fresh air but it also circulates that fresh air throughout your home or workspace while getting rid of the indoor pollution. This dirty air can contain something as harmless as a bad smell, or a substance as dangerous as toxic chemicals released by microorganisms.

Buildings maximise their fresh air when the ventilation system is working properly. With many properties becoming increasingly airtight, knowledge of how ventilation can affect our day-to-day lives is as important as ever.

What causes allergies?

Allergies are a negative immune system response to an otherwise ‘good’ object. We’ve all felt these allergy symptoms, whether it’s sneezing caused by seasonal allergies, an itchy throat after visiting a friend with dogs, or a skin rash due to eating seafood.

There are many reasons that our bodies negatively react to otherwise ‘good’ things. Your allergies may be genetically inherited from one or both of your parents, or they may be due to the environment that you were raised in (it’s often a combination of both).

For example, if you’ve ever moved to a different part of the country, you may have noticed that you felt free from allergies. Only to realize, months or years later, that the new location’s oak pollen suddenly bothers you.

This is because your body had to ‘learn’ the allergens that the new area offered. When your immune system senses that something is invading, it produces antibodies to fight the invader off, even if the intruder is not actually dangerous. Over time, your body will respond more quickly to subsequent exposures to this new location’s oak pollen.

Producing antibodies to fight off invaders is normally a good thing, like in the case of viruses. But with allergens (those things that are not really attacking your body), this just leaves you feeling uncomfortable throughout a certain season.

The risks of allergens can be much more severe for certain people. Allergies can induce asthma attacks or even cause something as life-threatening as anaphylaxis.

Fortunately, certain treatments help reduce your allergic reactions, no matter how serious they might be. Today, we will focus on how home ventilation can reduce three common allergens: mold, dust mites, and pollen.

Ventilation can help reduce allergens in a number of different ways.

Preventing Mould:

Not only does mechanical ventilation prevent allergies but it also prevents mould. Domestic moulds thrive in damp areas around a building when there is poor airflow that allows the mould spores to grow. As the mould matures and sheds more spores into the air, they can be inhaled and cause irritation in the airways.

Good ventilation helps to keep humidity levels below the point where condensation can form, and in turn this prevents damp patches from forming where mould will grow. By removing mould friendly environments, ventilation reduces the concentration of mould spores in the air and reduces exposure.


Filtering Incoming Air:

With a mechanical ventilation system, filtered air is drawn into a building which then displaces the air already inside. The air filters on a ventilation system are fine enough to catch the pollen grains that cause hay fever and other allergies such as asthma.

Another advantage of a ventilation system is that it creates a positive air pressure in the building. This means that the flow of air is outwards, which means that if windows are opened, pollen and other particulate matter from outdoors is not drawn into the building.


Refreshing the Air:

A build-up of allergens such as volatile organic compounds or cigarette smoke in the building can make allergies worse. Good airflow from ventilation systems help to circulate air within a building, which means that concentrations of these allergens are much lower than they might otherwise be. The “dirty” air is replaced by fresh and clean air from outside the building and carries the allergens outside which means that the air in the property will be easier to breathe.

Our final thoughts.

So does mechanical ventilation prevent allergies? the short answer is yes. We know that suffering from allergies can make life miserable, especially during the summer months when the pollen count is at its highest. Improving the airflow in your property with better ventilation will reduce the presence of many allergens in the air, and also help to prevent condensation and damp that could damage your property.

We hope this has given you a better understanding of the power of ventilation systems and reducing allergies.

If you’re looking for a company that offers ventilation maintenance, design and installation services across the West Midlands, London, and surrounding areas, contact Mid-Tech Services today. In the meantime, follow our journey on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram for more handy HVAC insights and news.