Indoor allergies are a pain. The constant sneezing and the itchy, watery eyes; it’s all a nightmare. What makes it even worse, is the fact that you probably spend the majority of your time in your home, and can’t even be comfortable in it because of how you’re feeling. However, there are ways to provide optimal allergy relief within your home .
What You Should Know About Indoor Allergies
Firstly, you should know that indoor allergens are actually much more abundant than outdoor allergens. In fact, allergen levels indoors are usually two-to-five times higher than they are outdoors. Aside from dust mites, other indoor allergies many people have include mold, cockroach droppings, pet dander, and pollen. When they’re airborne, you may breathe them in, which triggers an allergic reaction, and in people who have asthma, it can contribute to difficulty breathing or even a full-blown asthma attack.
Carpet and Upholstery
You want as little carpet and plush surfaces as possible. The more carpeting and upholstery you have, the more areas there are for allergens to hide. Make sure if you do have carpeting, you purchase a vacuum with a HEPA filter. HEPA stands for ‘High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance,’ which means it’s a filter that has minuscule areas for particles to pass through, capturing a great deal of the particles that are causing your sinuses discomfort. Choose ultra suede, vinyl, or leather furniture to minimize this issue.
Inside Your Home
Moisture is a cause of mold, so you should always use vent fans after you shower or cook. Wash all solid surfaces in your bathroom and kitchen with a cleaning solution consisting of five percent bleach. To reduce mold and mildew, clean your bathtub at least one time per week. Use a dehumidifier to suck up moisture in your basement.
Optimizing Your HVAC System
Your filter in your HVAC unit has the ability to minimize the amount of allergy-causing molecules in your home. Although your actual unit will have a filter, you can also have them installed inside your air ducts. Not every filter is designed the same, so not every filter traps debris the same way. How effective the filter is depends on its MERVs. MERVs is its Minimum Efficiency Recording Value, which is measured on a scale of 1 to 20 (20 being the highest level of allergen filtration). HEPA filters have the highest MERVs. Theirs tend to range between 17 and 20. Flat panel filters are usually installed by the furnace manufacturers and only are rated between 1 to 4 MERVs. They’re meant to protect the furnace, not you. High efficiency filters work well, also. They have a rating between 14 and 16.
In addition to selecting the best filter for your unit, you must do routine maintenance. You should change the filter once every two months. Follow any of the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance as well. You may want to consider replacing your old furnace with a new one that filters outdoor air instead of indoor air.
To learn more about reducing your indoor allergens, contact Buckeye Heating & Cooling today at (614) 888-4328.