The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 35 million Americans react to airborne allergens. The moment an irritant lands in your nose, a chain reaction is activated that causes your body to go into defense mode. Symptoms range from headaches and fatigue to stuffy noses and itchy skin. Whether you suffer from asthma, chemical sensitivities or seasonal allergies, these five strategies can alleviate aggravations from airborne allergens.
1. Maintain Good Indoor Air Quality
It is common sense to limit your exposure to the outdoors when pollen counts rise in Springfield. However, barricading yourself in a tightly sealed home is not only unrealistic but also unhealthy since there are many other allergens trapped inside the house with you. Opt for washable rugs instead of carpeting when possible, and use a HEPA filter vacuum to suck up dust mite particles billowing around floors and lounging on furniture. These microscopic organisms feed on the dust, pet dander and food particles that make up our everyday lives and thrive in our humid Missouri weather. Air cleaning devices, whether installed on a central air conditioning system or standing in a corner, capture these pollutants, preventing particles from irritating your nasal passages.
2. Attack Mold-Prone Areas
Mold is another substance that can aggravate allergy symptoms. Fungi molds bloom in high humidity areas, including damp bathrooms, basements, houseplants and yards. Allergenic molds release spores in drier areas, such as closets, mattresses and furniture. It is important that your home has adequate air movement to reduce the risk of excess moisture. Our humid Missouri summers actually make our homes an ideal environment for mold growth, so it is important that the thermostat is set at the right temperature. When it is too high, an air conditioner is less effective at dehumidifying the air. A whole-house air dehumidifier, which attaches to a furnace, prevents the growth of mold and soothes irritated airways when the house is too dry. You should also regularly attack mold-prone areas with bleach, check your home and yard for standing water and have the evaporator coils on your air conditioning unit cleaned by a professional.
3. Keep Air Filters Clean
Air filters on your heating and air conditioning system are designed to trap dust, dirt and pollen. When these filters get clogged, pollutants are pushed into your home. To ensure that you are breathing fresh, healthy air, you should clean air filters at least every three months during mild temperatures and monthly during the height of the cooling and heating seasons. The type of air filter that you use is also important. Opt for a filter that has a MERV rating above 5 to capture the maximum amount of particles.
4. Get a Professional Indoor Air Assessment
Determining exactly how harmful pollutants are entering your home can be a complex process of elimination. Goff Heating and Air Conditioning technicians are trained to perform complete indoor air quality assessments. We measure carbon dioxide emissions, audit humidity levels, inspect ducts for damage, seal leaks and check for proper ventilation since these are the most common ways unsafe allergens sneak into your home. Based on your particular needs, we can recommend specialized products that are designed to improve air quality, such as germicidal UV lamp sanitizers and energy recovery ventilators.
5. Maintain Your HVAC System
Scheduling regular maintenance on your HVAC system is good for your health. Think of it as preventative care for your heating and cooling units. Just as the weather starts warming up or getting chilly, our technicians will stop by to clean dirty coil ducts, flush out condensate lines and clear out air handlers that often house allergy-triggering mold and rodent droppings. As an added bonus, Goff’s comprehensive inspection helps you keep energy costs low and head off potential problems before they become major issues.
To protect yourself from airborne allergies, contact Goff Heating and Air Conditioning at our Springfield, Missouri, office at 417-869-5203. Our NATE-certified experts can help you set an appointment for seasonal HVAC maintenance or an indoor air quality assessment.