Preparing Your Home For Spring Allergens
Spring is often seen as a time of renewal, as the icy chill of winter gives way to warmer weather and the beautiful blooms of trees and other plants. Unfortunately, those blooms also signal a new beginning of nasal congestion, sneezing, watery eyes and other symptoms for the tens of millions of Americans who are afflicted with seasonal allergies.
Outdoor activities can become a struggle if you’re among the affected, but your Overland Park home should be a safe and allergy-free space. Here are a few tips to make sure you and your Overland Park home are prepared when allergy season rolls around.
Keep Your Windows Closed
After a long and dreary winter, it’s awfully tempting to throw open every window in the house once the temperature starts to rise. There’s nothing better than a fresh, warm breeze flowing through open windows, but that breeze can also carry in a tremendous amount of allergy-inducing pollen and dust.
The pollens that are most likely to trigger allergies tend to be very small, light and dry, making them ideally suited for riding on the wind and blowing in through every available opening.
This is especially important during the early morning hours when pollen is often at its peak. If the weather gets too warm and stuffy, turn on the air conditioning instead of opening windows. As long as your air conditioner has the proper filters, it’ll help to scrub out most of the free-floating particles that trigger allergies.
Draft-Proof Your Home
Because pollen is so small and light, even keeping your windows closed isn’t always enough. Even small cracks, seams and other sources of air leaks may allow enough pollen and dust inside your Overland Park home to trigger an allergic reaction. It’s important to spend time tracking down potential source areas where pollen can infiltrate, such as around plumbing and wiring fixtures, at the seams of walls and ceilings and around door and window frames.
Most of these leaks can be fixed with weather stripping or caulk, though it’s best to call a professional if you have a particularly leaky home. Taking these steps can also benefit you in another way by making your home more efficient, potentially cutting down on heating and cooling costs.
Keep up With Spring Cleaning
If you or someone in your family suffers from allergies, maintaining a clean and dust-free home is imperative to keeping the allergies at bay. Pollen and dust are insidious once they enter your home, settling on every available surface and lingering there until they’re disturbed. It doesn’t take long for these particles to build up, so it’s important to clean regularly, paying particular attention to light fixtures, bookcases and other areas where dust tends to accumulate.
In lieu of a traditional feather or cloth duster, which simply disturbs dust and sends it floating freely through the air, consider using a damp microfiber cloth to trap the dust instead.
Don’t Sleep on Allergens
You may not realize it, but one of the biggest sources of allergens in your home is likely to be your bedding. Duvets, comforters, blankets and sheets can all trap and gather allergens if they aren’t cleaned regularly, but it’s your mattress and your pillows that are the real culprits. Studies have shown that a typical mattress can have up to 10 million dust mites inside it, providing the single biggest source of allergens in a typical home.
Pillows also make a fertile breeding ground for dust mites. In fact, the average pillow increases in weight by up to 25 percent over two years due to the accumulation of dust mites, dead skin cells and other particles! In addition to washing these items frequently, it’s also worth considering bedding or bed covers that are specially designed to reduce the buildup of allergens.
HEPA Filters Help
It’s impossible to keep your home completely dust- and pollen-free, but HEPA filters can make a big difference in cutting down on allergens in the air. HEPA, which stands for high-efficiency particulate air, is a type of mechanical filter which works by forcing air through a very fine mesh.
This mesh is effective at trapping most harmful particulates such as pollen, dust, smoke and mold spores, filtering them out of the air and improving the air quality in your home.
If you use HEPA filters, it’s important to be aware that the filters do become clogged eventually. It’s generally recommended that you check your filters at least once a month, replacing them as necessary to keep them operating at peak efficiency.
Keep Your HVAC Systems Maintained
You may not realize it, but your HVAC system could be making you sick if it hasn’t been properly maintained. HVAC systems play an essential role in maintaining the air quality of your home, but they can also cause big problems if left unattended. In addition to dirty or ineffective filters, one of the most common problems is the accumulation of dust and pollen in your HVAC ducts and vents.
These particulates often settle inside ducting and build up around vents that haven’t been cleaned properly, lingering there until they are eventually disturbed and recirculated throughout your Overland Park home.
An even bigger problem is mold, which can thrive inside ducting and drip pans, around evaporator coils and anywhere else moisture may be present. While a small amount of mold can be removed with bleach, larger areas of mold growth may indicate more serious problems requiring professional assistance.
If you’re in need of professional HVAC services in the Overland Park, KS this allergy season, simply pick up the phone and call Priced Right Heating and Cooling at (913) 713-5911 today!