How to Allergen-Proof Your Home
The spring and summer introduce new allergens every year. It’s just a fact of life that you’ll sneeze and cough your way through most of the pretty months, especially in certain areas of the country. Here in Tennessee, allergies are just a way of life. You don’t have to be miserable, though. With a little bit of work and ingenuity, it’s possible to eliminate a lot of the allergens from your home.
Now, unless you want to live in a plastic bubble for the rest of your life, eliminating all of the problems is impossible. By following these suggestions, you can make life more comfortable.
Discover Your Allergies
You can either avoid everything all the time, or you can determine your specific allergies and take extra precautions against those irritants. What if you’re simply allergic to your cat? You could spend all your time and money air sealing your home, changing filters, and washing bed linens, and all the while, the culprit is sitting on your lap.
Your doctor can perform the allergy test to help you narrow down the allergens you’ll need to avoid. If you discover that most are environmental, then you’ll need to move on to the next step in the process.
Pay Attention to Your Duct System
Your HVAC system can help you manage the allergens in your home, but only if you use it correctly. The condition of the ductwork connected to your HVAC system can have a significant impact on the air quality inside your home. Duct leakage can lead to pressure imbalances inside your home, which can actually drive allergens and contaminants inside your home through cracks and gaps in your building enclosure. Ductwork can also get dirty over the years, collecting dust, grime, and pet dander. Sealing leaks in your duct system and having it cleaned every few years will greatly improve the air quality inside your home.
What about that dusty and dirty air filter you walk past every day? The air filter is there to stop icky pollen and other particles from circulating through your home, but if you don’t change or clean it often enough, you’re inviting all the things that make you sneeze right into your living room.
Mold and mildew can cause a wide range of illnesses, with many of them mimicking allergies. You may not even know your home has a mold problem until it’s too late. Start now by controlling the moisture in your home with a ventilating dehumidifier or a whole-house dehumidifier system. Both can be equipped with filters to help ensure that you’re breathing clean, fresh air.
Seal Crawl Spaces
You may not realize that outside air can get in through the crawl spaces under your house. Not only can the plant-based allergens get in, such as pollen, but the animal-type allergens can also make an appearance. When your crawl spaces aren’t sealed, you open up those spaces in your home to wildlife that might just prompt an allergy attack.
Air Seal Your Home
Anywhere that outside allergens can get inside your home should be examined and repaired. Windows and doors, especially in older homes, may have gaps around the framing or seals that have long since broken. Outside air will always enter your home if given the opportunity to do so. It is also important to air seal all penetrations between the attic and your conditioned space. Leakage into the attic will promote leakage elsewhere in the home, starting a cycle of air leakage into and out of your home. Sure, with an air filter and ventilation system in your home, you’re ready to fight the good fight. Why make it harder on yourself by inviting the things you’re allergic to into your home 24 hours a day?
Maintain Your Stance
You can do all of these things this weekend and still sneeze next week if you’re not diligent and vigilant. You’ll need to constantly check for mold, change filters, and wash bedding and curtains. Vacuum often or eliminate carpeting and rugs all together. Sweep and mop on a regular basis. If you don’t maintain your head start against the allergens in your home, they will quickly overtake you again.
We’re always here to help you determine the best upgrades and updates to keep your home comfortable and free of the little things that make you and your family sick. Invite us out one afternoon so that we can evaluate your situation and make customized recommendations for your home.