How To Keep The Air In Your Home Allergen-Free
Many people in Kansas City, MO, suffer from allergies. Pollen and other seasonal allergens are some of the most common causes of allergy symptoms. If you’ve noticed an increase in sniffling, sneezing, stuffy nose, itchy or watery eyes, or an itchy dry throat, you’re not alone. Chances are good that your symptoms are related to increased allergen exposure. Your home’s heating and cooling system play a big role in capturing allergens from your home’s air, and you can also use these 10 tips in order to keep the air in your home allergen-free.
1. Keep Windows Closed
It might be tempting to open the windows on a dry day. The passive ventilation offered by windows helps circulate air in your home. However, opening the windows allows allergens to flow inside, too. If you’re allergic to pollen, it’s not a good idea to open your windows any time between spring and autumn. Opening the windows also allows the cooled air from your air conditioning system to leak outside. Keep the windows shut and use fans and your air conditioning system for ventilation.
2. Use an Air Cleaner
Air cleaners use a combination of electrostatic filters and UV lights to sanitize your home’s air. They capture particles, including dust, pollen and pet dander. They inactivate bacteria and viruses. There are portable air cleaners that cleanse the air in one room at a time. You could also have a whole-home air purifier installed. These work with your heating and cooling system. The UV lamps are installed in the air handler and air ducts. A whole-home air purifier cleans all the air in your home every 30 to 90 minutes.
3. Control Humidity
Mold spores and dust mites thrive in humid environments. Controlling the humidity in your home eliminates the conditions they need for growth and reproduction. The ideal indoor humidity for people is 30% to 50%. When showering or cooking, use exhaust fans. Your air conditioning system does a great job of removing moisture from your home’s air. Be sure to schedule an annual tune-up for it. Once a month, clean the air conditioner’s condensate line. This is where the moisture from your home’s air condenses into water and drains away.
4. Prevent Pet Dander
Pet dander is another common allergen. If you have a cat, dog, rabbit, or other furry pet, your home is likely filled with dander. Regular grooming is a good way to reduce dander. Feed your pet a nutritious diet that will keep their coat healthy. Brush your pet daily. If possible, do this outside. Bathing your pet also helps keep dander to a minimum. If your pets go outside, regular shampooing gets rid of the pollen that collects in their fur. Keep pets out of your bedroom. Use cheesecloth to cover your home’s air vents. The cloth captures some of the pet dander. Wash your pet’s bed and soft toys regularly.
5. Remove Carpeting
Avoid wearing shoes in your home. Your shoes track in a lot of allergens. Those allergens get stuck in the fibers of your carpet. Better yet, remove the carpeting from your home. Carpeting traps allergens. When dust, pollen and pet dander get stuck in the carpet fibers, they’re difficult to remove. A hard surface, such as vinyl planks, laminate, tiles or linoleum is a better choice for allergy and asthma sufferers. If you do need to have carpeting, choose a low-pile carpet.
6. Vacuum Daily
If you do have carpet, vacuuming it daily is a good way to remove pollen, mold spores, pet dander, dust and dirt that have settled onto it. Not all vacuums do a good job of removing allergens from carpet and upholstery. Choose a vacuum with a certification for allergy- and asthma-friendly homes. This certification is for vacuums that prevent allergens from returning to your home’s air. Consider a vacuum that’s bagless. The canister-style allows you to dump the contents into a garbage can without having to touch what’s inside the canister. Consider wearing a face mask and taking an antihistamine when vacuuming.
7. Use a High MERV-Rated Air Filter
Allergens are tiny particles. Your heating and air conditioning system’s air filter can capture them. Choose an air filter with a high minimum efficiency reported value (MERV) rating. The rating ranges from 1 to 20. The higher the rating, the more tiny particles the filter captures. Aim for a MERV rating of at least 14. If you have severe allergies, look for a MERV rating of 16 or more. Be sure to check the filter monthly and replace it at least every three months or as soon as it’s visibly grimy.
8. Encase Mattresses and Pillows
You spend up to one-third of your life asleep. Your mattress and pillows could be harboring dust mites. If you’re allergic to these microscopic parasites, you’ll be exposed to them all night long. Choose hypoallergenic mattresses and pillows. Purchase an encasement for them. The encasement is like a special pillowcase or mattress covering. It zips shut and prevents your skin cells from settling between the fibers. The weave of the encasement is too tight for a dust mite to penetrate. Encasing your mattress and pillows and regularly laundering your linens will considerably reduce the population of dust mites in your home.
9. Wash and Dry Linens on High Heat
Dust mites eat shed skin cells. They’re a common problem in bedrooms, especially bedrooms with wall-to-wall carpeting, many layers of blankets and other plush surfaces. Dust mite allergies are some of the most common allergies people have, and you can suffer from the symptoms year-round. When washing linens, do so on the hottest water setting. Dry them on the hottest dryer setting. If you have stuffed animals, keep these toys to a minimum. If you can’t eliminate them, choose stuffed animals that can be washed and dried. Wash and dry the toys every week.
10. Reduce Clutter
Clutter provides a good hiding spot for dust mites, cockroaches and other allergens. Clutter also collects layers of dust. When you move an item from the top of a pile, the dust moves and floats through the air. This irritates your nose and can trigger an allergy attack. Avoid piling items on surfaces. Keep knickknacks to a minimum. Wipe down shelves, frames and other surfaces with a damp cloth every day. Consider getting rid of drapes and upholstery and replacing them with shades or blinds and items with surfaces that you can wipe off to remove dust.
At Summit Heating & Cooling, our air purifiers and filters help keep allergens out of your Kansas City area home’s air. Our NATE-certified technicians are also prepared to provide you with affordable heating and air conditioning maintenance, repair, replacement and installation services. Homeowners throughout the area turn to us for indoor air quality solutions, duct cleaning, water heaters and modular home service. You can also count on us for commercial HVAC services for your business. To learn more or schedule an appointment for any of our services in Kansas City and the surrounding communities, call us at Summit Heating & Cooling today.