Indoor allergens affect millions of people in the U.S. each year. It’s common for many to look outside the home for potential allergens triggering sniffles, watery eyes, respiratory problems and even asthma flare-ups. But many are surprised to learn that indoor dust mites, molds, animal dander and pest droppings stir up these problems, as well. In fact, one EPA report found indoor air pollutants to frequently be two to five times more concentrated than outdoor ones.
Along with healthy sanitation routines, your HVAC system can help you combat indoor allergens. Here, Church Services shares how to combine a few practical tips with some HVAC solutions so you can control your indoor allergens for good.
Tackling dust mites
Dust mites are one of the most common indoor allergens. They love warm, humid environments. Bedding, carpet and upholstered furniture are primary hideouts for them.
You can prevent them by washing bedding weekly in hot water, drying it on a hot setting and using allergen-resistant mattress and pillow covers. If it’s in your budget, wood or tile floors are better than carpets. You also want to avoid heavy drapes, another haven dust mites enjoy.
For a helping hand from your HVAC system, you can use a dehumidifier or even a whole-home dehumidifier system to help minimize dust mites on carpets and upholstered furniture as well as in bedding – it’s a powerful tool to fight the most common allergen in your home.
Dander is created from the dead skin flakes on a furry pet. Along with dust mites, it is an extremely common indoor allergen. Minimizing carpet and contact with the animal will help anyone in your home with pet dander-related allergy symptoms.
Your HVAC system can help you most when filters are changed regularly. Check your filter’s MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating, too. You can opt for a media air cleaner filter, which has up to 40 times more filtering power than a regular filter. There are also electronically charged washable filters, or a HEPA filter, which is used in hospitals and removes 99.7% of pollutants.
For a larger investment, there are even whole-home air filtration systems that capture harmful particles inside your duct system. If you have your ducts cleaned first and install a filtration system or even an upgraded filter, you can take a powerful step towards minimizing the effects of pet dander in your home on allergy sufferers.
“Learning about MERV ratings alone can teach a homeowner a lot,” said ???, a Church Services HVAC expert. “There are many filter options available to you and understanding a little about how a specific type of filter can help your situation can go a long way to reducing allergens in your home.”
Molds thrive on moisture, so a dehumidifier system can be a great option for those sensitive to them. You also want to assess where water or damp air may be penetrating the home. Make sure roof penetrations and other areas like windows and door frames are properly sealed.
If you’re having trouble eradicating mold, a UV Germicidal Light system uses UV lamps inside your ductwork to eliminate bacteria, viruses and mold within 10 seconds of contact. While it’s not a substitute for good practices and sealing up the home from moisture intrusion, it’s a tool homeowners can turn to if they are very sensitive to mold. With today’s airtight homes, some homeowners will even opt for a whole-home ventilation system, which filters out musty or contaminated indoor air and trades it for fresh, crisp outdoor air.
“These technologies have made a world of difference to our customers with mold allergies,” ??? added. “It’s also important to remember that when a technician installs a system, you want to have questions prepared. The more you understand about the system you choose, the greater the likelihood of you maximizing its benefits.”
If you live in a densely populated area, household pests are common. Like humans, they need food and water in order to survive, so it’s important to keep food items sealed in containers and to not leave standing water on counters and in sinks. A good practice of regularly wiping down wet and cooking areas and immediately sweeping up food spills will go a long way.
Making sure your home is airtight can also help. If you have your HVAC system checked yearly, the technician servicing your system can offer insights as to areas where air may intrude and where pests may be a problem as well.
Of course, if you want your HVAC system to support an allergen-free home, maintaining your heating and cooling systems is critical. Having a licensed professional inspect all components before the winter heating and the summer cooling seasons will assure that it’s running properly. And keep in mind that these maintenance conversations are a great opportunity to tap the technician’s expertise about indoor allergens.
“Indoor allergens can frustrate a homeowner. It doesn’t have to be that way,” ??? emphasized. “You can schedule an HVAC maintenance appointment today and that can be your first step towards changing your situation for the better.”
Learn more by visiting the Church Services website.
Source: GET Creative, a division of USA TODAY