Over 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from allergies. If you’re not one of them, count your lucky stars. If you do suffer from allergies, you know spring is one of the hardest times of year. The team at Getzschman Heating and Air Conditioning wants to help. While we are a heating and cooling company, we want you to know that we can help with allergies, too.
Keep Getting Sick?
Improve your home’s air quality. If you suspect that the air in your home is making you sick, you might be right. If you have health problems that improve when you leave your house and worsen when you return, this is a big clue. You spend at least one third of your life in your home (when you are sleeping) so maybe it’s time to take steps to better your indoor air quality.
Everyday Irritants in Your Home’s Air
You have probably heard about air quality problems like asbestos, second-hand smoke, and radon. These issues are all dangerous, but they are not the only or the most common air pollutants. If you’re looking for everyday air quality issues, look for the following.
1. Bacteria and Viruses
Most types of germs don’t make you sick. However, other kinds of bacteria and viruses can give you the flu or a cold, or they can worsen problems like asthma. If you keep getting sick, you may have an issue with too many germs in your air.
Additionally, many germs thrive in warm humidity, make sure your home is well ventilated and the humidity is not over 50 percent. Buy a dehumidifier if you do have high humidity levels
2. Dust Mites
Dust mites are microscopic bugs that feed on dead human skin cells found in dust. They are not dangerous. Most homes have at least some dust mites. However, if you or another person in your family has asthma or allergies, dust mites can trigger a reaction. They can get a cough, sneeze constantly, become congested, or have a severe asthma attack.
Reducing your home’s humidity level to below 50 percent can help get rid of dust mites. The most effective treatment is to get rid of places they can live, like upholstered furniture, curtains, and carpets. Additionally, wash your bedding once each week with hot water and use a damp cloth or rag for cleaning instead of a dry one.
As previously mentioned, extra humidity contributes to dust mites and germs spreading, but its most common effect is mold growth. Mold spores in your home’s air can cause nasal congestion, wheezing, coughing, sneezing, and sore throats. Additionally, like with dust mites, those with asthma or allergies may have particularly nasty reactions to mold.
You may see mold growing in places with extra water, like your bathroom. You might also smell a musty odor. To eliminate mold, you need to eliminate excess water, which can be caused by leaky pipes and windows and poorly ventilated bathrooms. Again, keep the humidity level in your home below 50 percent.
Fix any leaks in your home or in your plumbing, run an exhaust fan in your bathroom, and increase airflow and ventilation. Clean the places where you see mold growing often.
4. Building Materials
If your home is new, or if you have recently remodeled, your home may have materials that emit fumes. For example, building materials made of pressed wood, like plywood, can emit volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. If VOCs are in your home’s air, your eyes, nose, and throat can get irritated. You can even feel nauseous and have trouble breathing. Some VOCs, such as formaldehyde, can cause cancer.
You can also find VOCs in products like paint, paint remover, cleaning chemicals, glue, and air freshener. Try to purchase products that have low VOC levels. After your project, get rid of unused materials so they don’t stay in your home.
Ventilation can help your indoor air quality here, too. Let building materials like plywood air out before using them to get rid of most of the VOCs. After bringing these materials into your home or using paint, let your home air out by opening windows and turning on a fan.
3 Solutions for Ridding Your Home of Allergens
At Getzschman Heating and Air Conditioning, we offer several ways to help rid your home of allergens:
1. Duct Cleaning
One ounce of dust contains nearly 42,000 living dust mites. Consider that up to 40 pounds of dust gets into your home every year, and up to 15 pounds of that can get trapped in your duct system. Get rid of that dust as well as pollen, fungi, and bacteria with our duct cleaning service.
Related Read: 7 Houseplants That Can Help You Breathe Easier
2. Air Scrubbers Remove Particles from the Air in Your Home
Once the dust and allergens are out of your home, you’ll want a way to keep them out. We recommend the Air Scrubber Plus air cleaner. There are three classes of indoor air pollutants: particles, mold-mildew-bacteria, and odors/chemical vapors.
Our Air Scrubber Plus system uses positive and negative charges (ions) to make the particles attracted to each other. This attraction makes the particles clump together so they can be trapped by your air filter.
Related Read: 3 Reasons to Install an Air Cleaner in Your Home
3. UV Germicidal Lamps
Biological contaminants like mold, mildew, bacteria, and viruses can settle on surfaces inside your HVAC system and circulate through your home’s air. UV germicidal lamps emit rays of ultraviolet light that penetrate the cell walls of these contaminants and kill them. They work continuously even when your heating or cooling system isn’t on. Just one less thing to bother your allergies.
Timely Tips for Allergy Sufferers
Keep the House Closed Up Tight – You may be tempted to open the windows on a nice day to let the fresh air in, but don’t, if you have any allergy sufferers in your home.
Shower at Night – Your hair harbors all kinds of allergens. Don’t transfer this to your pillow to breathe all night long. Go to bed with clean hair to ensure you don’t exacerbate your allergy symptoms.
Change Your Filter on Your AC Often – Keep the air as clean as possible by replacing your air filter at least once a month.
Go Barefoot at Home – Don’t drag in all of the allergens on your shoes. They will embed themselves into rugs and carpeting. Remove your shoes when you get home.
Use the Re-Circulate on Your Vehicle’s AC – By recirculating the air in your vehicle instead of letting new air in, you will decrease the amount of allergens you are exposed to. And definitely keep the windows rolled up and the air conditioner on.
Lower the Humidity in Your House – Mold loves humidity. If you lower the humidity level to less than 60%, it will discourage mold growth.
Pay Attention to the Allergy Reports – If the pollen, ragweed, mold, etc. count is high, it’s best to limit your outdoor activities that day if possible.
If you suspect the air in your home is causing problems, give the indoor air quality team at Getzschman call and we can let you know all of your options for cleaner air. Call us at (402) 554-1110 or contact us online.