For most of us, spring is a wonderful time of year. For those of us with allergies, it can be a nightmare. As trees and flowers release their pollen, going outside means dealing with watery eyes, a running nose, and other allergy symptoms. However, it gets worse: your allergies can follow you inside. With poor indoor air quality (IAQ) in your home, allergens like pollen, dust, pet dander, and more get trapped inside your home’s air, endlessly recirculating and extending your misery.
In this article, we’re going to review the best ways you can end this cycle of indoor allergies using ventilation and air purification. Here’s what you need to know:
If you’re ready to get serious about your home’s indoor air quality, you need to start with a professional IAQ test. After all, you can’t fight what you don’t know exists. Many homeowners go into their IAQ test with some educated guesses and assumptions, but the test itself provides hard facts about what’s in your home’s air and what steps you should take next to make improvements. For example, if your IAQ test reveals that there are mold and mildew particles in your home’s air, you’ll need to make finding and cleaning the origin point of the mold your top priority.
When booking your IAQ test, be sure to look for local companies with certified air quality experts on staff. Not only will they be the best people to conduct the test, but they’ll also be up to the challenge of answering any of the questions you might have during the appointment.
With your IAQ test completed, you now have a checklist of things to address. In all likelihood, one of the top items on that list will be ventilation. Indoor ventilation is a major issue for American homes—in the U.S., many homeowners enter their home through the garage, meaning windows and front doors can go months without being opened. The result is stale, stuffy air that never gets circulated out. Unless you live under a freeway or next to a construction site, the odds are that the outside air is actually much purer than your inside air.
If your windows are old and refuse to budge open, it might be a good idea to have them professionally repaired or replaced. Our team specializes in windows for homes and sunrooms—both of which benefit from better ventilation. Our PGT windows do more than just beautify your home. They provide hurricane & storm protection from high winds and airborne debris as well as providing energy efficiency, energy saving and low power bills.
In addition to new windows, you can also add critical ventilation by way of fans and vents. Typically, the bathrooms and kitchens of your home will already have some kind of ventilation, but it’s not a bad idea to get a professional consultation about making it more robust. For example, many U.S. homes lack sufficient kitchen ventilation to remove smoke and food odors, leading to a home that perpetually smells like yesterday’s cooking. By bringing in fresh air from the outside, this kind of ventilation will push out allergens trapped in your indoor air.
Upgrading your home’s ventilation is only half the battle. The other half is filtration. At the end of the day, some allergens—pollen, pet dander, mold particles, and others—are going to find their way into your home’s air. The first line of defense is your HVAC air filter. Be sure to replace this critical filter every few months; you may need to do so more often if you have pets or children. A dirty HVAC air filter is trouble for your home: not only will it lead to dirty air being blown into your living room every time you turn the AC on, but it will also block sufficient air intake to the air conditioner or heat pump.
You can’t do much about your allergies outdoors, but you shouldn’t have to deal with them in your own home. By taking steps to improve your ventilation and air purification, you’ll experience fewer indoor symptoms during the height of allergy season. For even more ideas for making your home allergy-free, check out this infographic from the team at Southern Air Heating, Cooling & Plumbing: