While spending more time inside during the cool winter months, it is important to look at common allergens in the house and how to alleviate them.
It’s not a secret that dust can build up in the home and cause allergies. However, did you know dust mites are tiny insects that live in carpets, bedding, and window coverings? Their feces contaminate the areas they live, and these microscopic creatures are responsible for allergies, upper respiratory infections and asthma.
To alleviate dust and dust mites, it is important to vacuum carpets and rugs regularly. Bedding, including sheets and blankets should be washed once a week according to doctors interviewed about this topic in The Huffington Post. If someone in your household suffers from asthma or allergies, replacing older carpet and rugs can cut back on the allergens remaining in the fibers after vacuuming. If your home has linoleum, tile, wood or another smooth surface, sweeping and mopping regularly also combats these allergens in the home.
Washing curtains and wiping down blinds reduces the accumulation of dust on household fabrics and window coverings.
While pollen counts are higher in the spring and summer months, this is another common household allergen. Here are some ways to alleviate pollen. In addition to the cleaning methods listed above, pollen often comes into the home on clothes and shoes. Shoes should be removed at the door to keep from spreading pollen throughout the house.
Windows and doors tend to be left open more frequently as the temperatures increase, but for pollen sufferers this is a big concern. It negates the benefits of the home’s HVAC air filter, which works to remove dust and pollen particles from the air. If your air filter hasn’t been changed lately, put this on your “to do” list. Replacing the HVAC air filter per the manufacturer’s instructions can remove up to 98% of the allergens in the air.
If you have a pet that goes outside, it is important to bathe it regularly to remove the pollen that comes in on its fur. This is also helpful to remove pet dander, another known household allergen.
Mold and mildew
Humidity in the home should be kept no higher than 50% throughout the year to avoid mold and mildew growth, according to the Mayo Clinic. Common areas to find mold and mildew are in the bathrooms, around showers and bathtubs, windowsills and in kitchen spaces. To alleviate mold and mildew growth, use bathroom fans during showers and baths. Leave the doors open after use, to allow the humid air to dissipate throughout the home and dry the space quicker.
Since mold and mildew like moist, dark environments, opening curtains and blinds to allow the sunlight to brighten the room will help. Fixing leaks promptly and drying a wet area with a high-powered fan is the best way to stop mold and mildew growth before it begins. When cooking, use stovetop and oven fans. Not only does this remove the food smells but it removes the moisture from the area, too.
If your home seems to be prone to humidity, purchasing a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air can also improve the air quality. The size of the dehumidifier should be selected based on the square footage of the home. Signs that you need a dehumidifier include wet stains on walls or ceilings, a stuffy feeling when you enter a room, condensation on windows and musty smells in the home.
For more information about HVAC air filters, improving air quality in your home or other heating and cooling needs, contact us at Pilchuck Heating.
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