Tens of millions of Americans suffer from allergies every year. While many put the blame squarely on pollen and the time they spend outdoors, the reality is that indoor air is often just as much a source of allergens — sometimes, it can even be much worse than the outdoor air. That could send you scrambling for the antihistamine pills and the tissues. No one wants to sniffle and suffer from reactions at home, especially not when they’re trying to relax or sleep. So how can you reduce airborne allergens? Try the following tips to breathe easier around the clock.
Tear Up Those Old Carpets If You Can
Carpets are a major source of indoor allergens because of their very nature. Not only do carpet fibers themselves contribute to releasing dust into the air, but they provide the perfect home for dust mites. Carpets also trap pet dander, pollen from outdoors, and a wide range of other allergens. Vacuuming carpets with certain types of vacuum cleaners can actually spew more allergens into the air.
Therefore, replacing carpets with hardwoods or other, lower-piled carpeting is one of the best things you can do for air quality in your home. Although not an option for everyone, it is something worth considering.
Reduce the Number of Places Dust Mites Can Live
Dust mites can contribute dramatically to allergic reactions, and they’re often found in homes that already have issues with indoor air quality. They live in many places, especially where dust, human hair, and dead skin cells can collect. That doesn’t just mean carpeting, but bedding, blankets, and rugs too. Laundering your bedding regularly can help reduce dust mites, but frequently using wet dusting techniques to clean the house will do the most to control their population. Fighting back against mites can ultimately have a positive effect on your IAQ.
Reduce Airborne Allergens by Keeping Your Doors and Windows Closed as Often As Possible
Although good ventilation is important in the home, that’s what your air conditioning system accomplishes in modern building design. Even when the weather outside is nice, it’s a good idea to keep your doors and windows closed during the height of allergy season. Otherwise, you’ll find that pollen can drift in easily, causing those itchy eyes and runny noses that your family dislikes so much. Even excellent filters and room-based air purifiers can struggle if you’re constantly allowing a stream of new allergens into the home.
Use Your Air Conditioner to Reduce Humidity in Summer
If the humidity in your home is high all the time, it’s creating the perfect environment for dust mites, mildew, and mold spores. Left unchecked, you could have mold growing in places such as your vents, which will naturally have a significant effect on the quality of the air in the home. To reduce airborne allergens, try running your air conditioner periodically throughout the summer will ensure that your humidity remains at a lower level. ACs do this because the physical process of cooling the air also causes it to dry. Not only will this make it more comfortable inside your home, but it will also make it harder for molds and mites to survive.
Change Your AC Filter Regularly
While running your AC for comfort and humidity control, the filter in the unit will be hard at work trapping dust and other allergens. By purchasing a high MERV rating filter, you can capture more allergens and ensure they don’t recirculate through your home. All filters are only effective for so long, however. During periods of heavy use, you may need to change your filter as often as every month — but no more infrequently than every two months. A clean filter protects you and your air conditioning equipment.
Vacuum Periodically with a High-Quality Vacuum
Cleaning with a vacuum can aid in reducing the presence of allergens, but beware. Vacuums without HEPA filtration can release tons of dust through their exhaust at high speed, sending it swirling into the air. As we mentioned earlier, that could mean actually degrading the air quality rather than improving it. Check your vacuum’s filtration options and consider wearing a dust mask while vacuuming so that the simple act of cleaning doesn’t trigger a frustrating allergic reaction.
Living a More Allergy-Free Lifestyle
By taking these steps and staying on top of things such as air conditioner maintenance and filter changes, you can give yourself a better chance of experiencing fewer allergy symptoms at home by reducing airborne allergens. Still not sure what to do? An HVAC team could help you with suggestions tailored to your home. Find help today, especially when your system needs a tune-up, or you think your problem may stem from dirty ducts. A qualified professional can open the door to a cleaner, more comfortable home.