More people live with seasonal allergies than ever before. What can you do when the Cottonwood trees in Cincinnati and N. Kentucky send seeds out like an open-air snowglobe? How about the mold from last year’s decaying leaves?
Well, the pharmacy helps for those pesky outdoor exposures, but what about indoor? Did you know Americans spend about 90 percent of their time indoors? It’s true! Inside sleeping is around a third of your time. Work and school take up another big portion.
What can you do about indoor pollution at home? Plenty. Is your air conditioner to blame? Maybe. Let’s review the common types of indoor pollutants and how your HVAC system can reduce allergens. Your home should be a reprieve, after all. Don’t let your heating and air system make your seasonal allergies worse!
When Seasonal Allergies Come Indoors
At certain times of the year, plant pollen floats in the outdoor air and moves inside a home through open windows. Pollen also enters on clothing, footwear and pets. Run the AC instead of opening windows and reduce this allergy trigger.
After being outdoors, change your shoes and clothing, and wipe down or bathe family pets. Shower before sleeping so particulates caught in your hair stay off your pillow.
Mold and Mildew Spores
It’s not possible to rid a home of mold spores because they’re in the air and on most surfaces. However, because they need a warm, moist environment to flourish, prevent mold growth by controlling indoor humidity levels.
Use vented exhaust fans and run a dehumidifier to keep humidity in check in moisture-prone areas, such as the basement and bathrooms. If you discover minor mold growth, use a solution of five-percent bleach to kill it.
Allergens Already in Your Cincinnati Home
Your home should be a comfortable haven, but if anyone in your family suffers from ongoing or seasonal allergies, exposure to everyday household substances can make life miserable.
Learning what triggers allergies, asthma and other conditions inside your home and steps to remedy the problem helps:
These eight-legged insects aren’t visible to the human eye, but they thrive in soft surfaces such as bedding, carpets and on upholstered furniture. Because they need moist air to survive, maintaining an indoor humidity level below 60 percent is key.
You should also switch to allergy-proof pillow and mattress covers, and wash bedding and blankets once a week in hot water. Regular vacuuming or getting rid of carpet in the bedrooms helps too.
A protein in pet urine, saliva and dander causes allergic reactions for people. Reduce exposure to this common allergy trigger by bathing pets often and dusting and vacuuming the living areas regularly. Don’t allow pets into the home’s bedrooms, and keep them off upholstered furniture.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Compounds which become vapors and gases are called Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs. They result from burning fuels, like gasoline, coal, natural gas or wood.
Indoors they manifest in the off-gassing of chemicals found in adhesives, mattresses, upholstered foam furniture, carpeting glues, paints, cleansers, nail polish, air fresheners and more.
People with allergies, asthma and other respiratory conditions find these and other smells often trigger breathing problems. One way to reduce them is to use non-toxic and fragrance-free products.
How to Reduce Triggers for Seasonal Allergies at Home
Routine air filter changes are important for your home’s air quality and the maintenance of the HVAC system, so check your filter monthly and replace with an effective HEPA filter every three months.
Dirty filters can’t collect all of the pollutants in your system. As a result, particulates continue to circulate in your home’s air. In addition to poor air quality, this debris forces your air conditioner to work harder. Clogged filters increase your electric bills and age your HVAC system.
Choosing the Right Houseplants
Many common houseplants are highly effective at filtering air and reducing toxins. Decorating with air-purifying houseplants like pothos and ivy help brighten up your home and minimize indoor air pollution at the same time.
Just keep an eye on them. Remove dead leaves quickly and watch for signs of mold growth.
Air Purification Systems
For homeowners with special air quality concerns, a whole-house air purifier is the most effective way to minimize indoor air pollution. Though these systems are an investment, they pay off in efficiency and reliability in the long run.
Ultraviolet light neutralizes airborne virus, bacteria and other nasty particulates. Ever wonder how the family continues to pass around the same sickness?
If the spores continue to circulate through your home it’s easy to become reinfected. Stop the spores as they pass through your air conditioning system.
A whole house dehumidifier is a great addition to your home’s heating and air system. When you control the humidity in your home, you’re more comfortable, plus your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard.
This saves you in AC energy costs plus wear and tear on your air conditioner or heat pump. Humidity is often a trigger for respiratory and cardiac conditions, so it helps family members with these issues.
If you’ve neglected your air conditioner – no judgment – it’s collected a lot of dust and debris on the components. Book a tune up today. Your NATE-certified Apollo Home technician thoroughly inspects your HVAC system, cleans components, lubricates, tests belts, switches and controls and more.
He or she helps your air conditioner or heat pump run as efficiently and as cleanly as possible. Air conditioners should have a tune up once a year, ideally in the spring.
Tune up furnaces in the fall, before the coldest temperatures arrive. Heat pumps, because they both heat and cool, should have a tune up twice a year.
The Apollo Care Plan is Your Home’s Annual Check Up
For homeowners in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, the Apollo Care Plan is a great investment. It covers seasonal tune ups of your heating and cooling equipment as well as annual evaluations of your electrical and plumbing systems.
This annual evaluation is a great opportunity to ask questions and to check your home mechanicals and systems to ensure they are in good shape. Prevention, after all, is the best cure. Care Plan members also receive perks like priority scheduling, discounts and a VIP phone number.
In Conclusion: Stop Seasonal Allergies with Better Indoor Air Quality
According to the most recent “State of the Air” report from the American Lung Association, Hamilton County scored an “F” for high ozone days. While you can’t control the outdoors, you can impact your air quality indoors with preventive maintenance, household habits and installation of air quality products.
Whether it’s heating, air conditioning, electrical or plumbing services, Apollo Home cares for the health of your whole home. If you have seasonal allergies or other respiratory concerns, we’ll assist with your air quality so you can literally breathe easier!
While serving the Queen City, Apollo Home has received awards such as “Best in Cincinnati” for Home Services, Angie’s List Super Service Award, Contractors of the Year from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and an A+ Accredited Business rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Contact us today for help with reducing triggers for your seasonal allergies. We’re happy to provide free estimates, second opinions and more. You’ll find us serving communities throughout N. Kentucky and Cincinnati.