Given the prevalence of seasonal allergy triggers in the great outdoors, it’s important you take steps to allergy-proof your home. According to a published study, Ohio ranked among the top ten worst states for seasonal allergies in the U.S. in the period from May 2014 to May 2015. Your home should be a haven for relief from these airborne irritants and pollutants. However, the opposite is often the case: Tightly-sealed, energy-efficient homes may create an enclosed environment that allows allergens to concentrate to levels even higher than outdoors.

As another summer allergy season arrives, here are three things you can do to allergy-proof your home:

Keep the House Cool and Dry

Mold spores and dust mites — both major allergy triggers — thrive in warm, humid environments. Keeping the temperature below 80 degrees and indoor humidity below 50 percent suppresses mold and dust mites. Schedule annual preventive maintenance to make sure your air conditioner is operating at optimal specs. Also consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier to keep indoor levels in the healthy, allergy-free range, even during our humid summers.

Change the Filter

The entire air volume inside your home is filtered by the HVAC air filter multiple times daily. A filter that’s not rated to remove microscopic particulates like mold spores and pollen will not protect against airborne allergens. In addition, a dirty, neglected filter may actually serve as a breeding ground to spread these contaminants throughout your living spaces. Buy quality, pleated air filters with a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating of at least 8 to capture microorganisms that trigger allergies. All summer long, change the filter every month.

Exhaust Kitchen and Bathrooms

Cooking with natural gas produces fumes that can exacerbate allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. Meanwhile, water vapor produced by bathing fosters mold and mildew growth. Install exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms to reduce the allergen potential. Make sure fans vent all the way to the exterior of the house—not simply into the attic.

For more about ways to allergy-proof your home and improve indoor air quality, contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling, Electric and Plumbing.