Ways to Reduce Allergens in Your Home
In a perfect world, nothing would bother you in the sanctity of your own home. Unfortunately, this is far from a perfect world, and some nuisances are inescapable. At any moment a telemarketer might interrupt whatever you were doing to inform you that you were just selected to pay for an overpriced cruise, and you can never be certain that the neighbor kid isn’t going to start learning how to play drums.
But many things are very much under your control. The number of allergens in your home is one of them. We’re talking about dust, mold, pollen, pet dander, and all the other little airborne particles that may cause hay fever, conjunctivitis, and coughing. Here are several ways you can quickly and affordably reduce home allergens!
It should come as little surprise that dusting is an effective way of removing dust. It is recommended that you dust your home monthly, though you can save hard-to-reach areas for every three to six months. When dusting, always begin with the highest surfaces in the room and work your way downward – this will trap the most particles. Finally, use the right dusting tools! Ostrich down is the only type of feather that actually attracts dust. If you haven’t got an ostrich feather dusty handy, a damp microfiber cloth will effectively trap dust instead of just pushing it around.
Keep Bedding Clean
Have you ever heard the rumor that dust mites make your mattress double in weight every ten years? Rest easy – it’s simply not true. But the truth is still unsettling. According to a study by Ohio State University, an old mattress may have up to 10 million dust mites living inside of it. Furthermore, as much as 10% of the weight of a two-year-old pillow is comprised of dead dust mites and their … “leavings.”
This information may make you want to drag your bed outside and burn it, but less rash measures are available. The Mayo Clinic advises wrapping your mattress and box spring in dust-mite-proof covers, as well as washing all sheets, blankets, and pillowcases weekly in water heated to at least 130 °F. They also advise replacing wool or feather bedding with synthetic materials.
Avoid Tracking Pollen Inside
Do you know how people in Japan take their shoes off before going inside? This isn’t just for the sake of courtesy. The little island is home to 60 different plants that produce allergenic pollen, which is easily tracked indoors. Adopt this Japanese life trick – or, barring that, purchase a simple mat where you can wipe your feet. That alone will help you avoid tracking allergens into your home.
Maintain Proper Humidity Levels
Mold and dust mites both thrive in high levels of humidity. The EPA recommends keeping indoor relative humidity levels between 30 and 50% to prevent the growth of mold. At levels beneath 40%, it becomes very difficult for dust mites to breed.
Fortunately, controlling your indoor humidity is easy. First, get a hygrometer so you can accurately measure the humidity level. If it is too high, then you can take any of the following measures to decrease it:
Cover pots and use your oven’s exhaust fan while cooking
Make sure your clothes dryer is properly ventilated
Remove potted plants from your home
Take shorter or colder showers
Purchase a dehumidifier
Keep Air Filters Clean
How often should you replace your air filters? That depends on what type of filter you are using: fiberglass filters should be replaced monthly, while higher quality pleated filters should be replaced every three months.
There are certain exceptions to this rule. If you own a dog or cat, then it is recommended that you replace your pleated air filter every two months during the spring and fall when furry pets shed more heavily. And if you are one of the 50 million Americans who suffer from allergies, you would ideally change your pleated filter every six weeks.
Keep Air Ducts Clean
Even if you diligently replace filters, your HVAC system’s air ducts and vents require regular cleaning. As a rule of thumb, you want to have your ducts cleaned every three to five years. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association advises cleaning your air ducts more frequently if your household has pets, smokers, or people who suffer from asthma or allergies.
Regularly replacing your HVAC system’s filters and cleaning its ducts will do more than just reduce allergens in your home. It will also appreciably increase the lifespan of your furnace and air conditioning unit! Preventing debris from reaching these machines will preserve their functionality, and promoting smoother airflow will prevent them from working harder than they have to.
Do you need help keeping your ducts clean in the greater Sioux Falls, South Dakota area? Then contact PrairieSons today! Our team is standing by to provide any HVAC service you might need so you can keep your home free of allergens, as well as make sure your home stays at a comfortable temperature all year long.