Indoor allergies can make even day-to-day tasks feel more burdensome. Americans spend roughly 90% of their time inside, and to find indoor allergy relief, it’s important to identify the allergens in your home and improve indoor air quality (IAQ) through cleaning, ventilation, and filtration.
Common Indoor Allergens
Allergy sufferers may get worse as levels of allergens increase in the home.
The most common indoor allergens that cause sneezing, nasal congestion, and itchy eyes and nose are:
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
You might think of pollen as an outdoor allergen—and it is—but pollen can enter your home through open windows, your clothes, and even your hair. Even if pollen levels are relatively low outside, inefficient cleaning, ventilation, and filtration can cause pollen levels in your home to rise over time slowly but steadily.
Outdoor pollen is usually at its highest in spring and summer, and it may require extra care to reduce its impact in your home.
How to Reduce Indoor Allergens
Reducing dust, dander, and other airborne particles at home is possible.
Here are the three most efficient ways to lower levels of common indoor allergens:
1. Regularly replace your air filters (and make sure they’re the best for allergies). Your home’s HVAC filter should be replaced at least every three months, but during allergy season, replace your furnace or other forced-air HVAC filter every 30 - 90 days and opt for a high-efficiency filter with a MERV rating of 6 or more. This will better trap dust, dander, pollen, and other irritants, reducing their intensity in your living space.
2. Clean your home more often. Dust, sweep, and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter at least once a week to keep allergen levels under control. The more often you clean, the less dust and pollen will be stirred up in the process, so try to stick with it. If cleaning triggers symptoms, wear an N-95 mask.
3. Limit pet dander. Dogs and cats are our fluffy best friends, but they can also produce a lot of triggering dander. In the US, roughly 3 in 10 people are allergic to cats or dogs, with cat allergies twice as common as dog allergies. Pet hair itself is not an allergen, but the dander that typically covers it certainly is. To help, bathe your pet once a week and keep him or her off fabrics like your couch, bedding, and furniture as much as possible.
Are Indoor Allergies Worse in Winter?
For most indoor allergy sufferers, symptoms tend to be worse during the winter months in northern states when we spend more time inside to escape the cold weather. This can be reversed in the south, where high summer temperatures keep families indoors more often.
The frequent use of your heating system can also lower your home’s humidity, causing your nose and eyes to feel drier and more susceptible to irritation. Use humidifiers (or install a whole-home humidifier) to maintain healthy humidity levels around 30-40% during the winter months.
Breathe Easier with Help from One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning
The most effective indoor allergy solutions focus on reducing allergens inside your home. At One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, we help homeowners identify efficient ways to improve indoor air quality with the latest technology and good old-fashioned know-how. Call (800) 893-3523 or request an appointment today!