The spring is often the worst season for sufferers of seasonal allergies. As the trees turn green, the farmers get into the fields, and the flowers bloom, so too does hay fever, sending many peoples’ immune systems into miserable overdrive. Tiny particles from grasses, trees, flowers, and weeds become airborne, finding their way into the bodies of seasonal allergy sufferers.
Fortunately, there are many things that can be done to improve the indoor air quality of homes during the springtime months, allowing allergy sufferers a bit of reprieve from the sneezing, the itchy and watery eyes, the difficult breathing, and more. Although it’s almost impossible to completely alleviate symptoms that plague sufferers during the spring with air quality control alone, taking heed to implement the solutions below will ensure that everyone in the home is able to breathe cleaner indoor air and find some relief:
- Dust and vacuum more often – and do it properly. Whether you have pets in the home or not, the amount of dust, allergens, and other airborne offenders can increase substantially during these months. While many people attribute poor indoor air quality to pet hair and dander, during the spring it’s the pollen, ragweed, cottonwood, and other allergens that will affect hay fever sufferers most. Be sure to dust – but not with the old feather dusters, which only move dust around, sending it back into the air. Use a dusting cloth and spray designed to trap dust to remove as much of it from the home as possible. On vacuums, ensure that HEPA filters are used to again prevent dust from being scattered back into the air.
- The EPA lists 3 strategies to improve indoor air quality – implement them. Source control, improved ventilation, and air cleaners can all improve the quality of the air in your home. With source control, you might seal, adjust, or remove sources of pollutants like items containing asbestos or gas stoves that have emissions that are too high. Ventilation includes using forced air systems (heating and cooling in Ames, IA) and even bathroom or kitchen fans to exhaust contaminants to the outside to improve air quality. Air cleaners, as suggested by the EPA, are most effective when they are not table-top models. For an air cleaner to be efficient, it must have a high air circulation rate and must be maintained according to manufacturer instructions. Call Neighbors or ask your technician during your spring A/C check-up for the many different options we can offer to improve indoor air quality. A great way to naturally include more “air cleaners” is to introduce several varieties of houseplants into the home. A list of plants and the indoor pollutants each can help remove can be found here.
- Filters, filters, filters – change them without fail. It may not regularly be on your chore list, but changing the filter on the schedule recommended by the manufacturer (ask your Ames air conditioning and furnace system professionals for details) is one of the most significant ways to improve the air quality in your home. Following manufacturer instructions, you should use a filter that is the correct shape and size for your HVAC system. Beware – if you use the wrong filter size or type, or you use one that is so thick and padded that it blocks air flow, you may end up causing significant damage to your furnace or air conditioner.
When allergies can be so severe that they interrupt daily tasks and the health of your family, you owe it to them and to yourself to ensure your home is as healthy as possible; especially if there are elderly, asthmatic people, or young children in the home. If you need help determining the best air filter for your system, or you would like personalized recommendations on how best to improve your indoor air quality, contact Neighbors Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, Geothermal & Radon, the Ames heating and coolingexperts.