It's spring time, and that means beautiful budding and blooming plants everywhere! While all the greenery is a refreshing change from the dullness of winter, all the budding plant life can wreak havoc on those with allergies and asthma issues. With all the pollen, dust and mold spores drifting around this time of year, your home's indoor air quality - or IAQ - is more important than ever. And it's not just allergens that can be lurking in your home's air.
Common Indoor Air Quality Issues
As mentioned above, some of the most common indoor air quality offenders are pollen and dust. While it's impossible to completely alleviate ALL of the dust and pollen particles in your home's air, reducing them to as low of a level as possible is a must for family members with asthma and other allergy issues.
Mold spores are also common offenders when it comes to poor indoor air quality - especially in homes with moisture issues. Mold is especially hearty and can grow quickly on any organic surface in the proper conditions. As outdoor and indoor temperatures begin to rise, even slightly moist areas can easily foster mold growth on surfaces like drywall papering, insulation, carpeting and non-treated wood.
According to the Center for Disease Control, common symptoms of indoor air that contains higher than normal amounts of pollen, dust and/or mold include nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation. People with mold or pollen allergies may have more severe reactions.
Common Sources of Indoor Air Allergens
There are always small amounts of allergens floating around in your home's air. During the winter months, the risk of pollen and mold are greatly reduced due to colder weather and drier air. But during the warmer months of the year, pollen levels spike and mold growth conditions peak as warmer, moist air accompanies the arrival of spring. Dust levels also increase significantly as we all begin our regular lawn care routines that kick up dirt and debris that normally sits packed under snow and ice.
Not only is nature churning up allergens at a record pace, but opening patio doors and windows pulls in significantly more outdoor air than during the colder months. Essentially, it's a perfect storm of warmer air, and open screen doors and windows that leads to greater than normal opportunity for allergens to be introduced to your home and family on a regular basis.
Other, tertiary sources of poor indoor air quality can include dust and debris stirred up during construction around and outside your home, or remodeling projects. While temporary, these sources can generate a significant amount of particulate in a very short period of time.
Correcting Indoor Air Quality Issues
So, with all of the potential sources of allergens in your home's air, how can you bring levels of particulates back down into the safe zone?
Limiting Dust and Allergens:
- Change your HVAC air filters as often as recommended by the manufacturer. This helps make sure that the filter isn't clogged with debris that has already be filtered, and also ensures that your HVAC system's blower motor isn't overworked by trying to push air through a blocked filter pad.
- Consider an electric air filter like our Breathe EZ air filter. This electrically powered filter gives dust and debris a slight charge that causes them to stick more easily to the filter itself. The filter also contains carbon strips that traps odors and common household chemical smells.
- Upgrade your air filter. Cheaper isn't always better when it comes to air filters. A pleated or HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter offers significantly better air filtration than cheaper single sheet or washable/reusable air filters.
- Keep things tidy. Regular dusting and vacuuming in addition to placing welcome mats by each entrance to your home helps limit the amount of dirt and particulate that collects on your home's surfaces. Regularly washing your bedding and other large, cloth surfaces like blankets can also help limit particulates.
- Stop moisture at its source with a sump pump and home waterproofing system. This ensures that water never collects or stagnates in your basement or on other surfaces, which means mold never has the moisture it needs to grow and spread.
- Dehumidify your air. A whole home dehumidifier ensures that any remaining moisture in your home's air is kept below the level at which mold can prosper. Many of these types of systems also contain a self-draining feature that saves you from having to check on and empty the water reservoir throughout the day.
- Ensure damp areas contain no organic material. Mold needs natural surfaces - like paper, wood, or fabric - to grow. By using inorganic materials in places that sometimes see excess moisture you can ensure that mold spores never have a surface on which to grow.
Call Thrasher today to schedule a FREE estimate to improve your home's air quality.