With spring right around the bend, Durham homeowners across the country are happily gearing up for the welcome change in weather. What they’re not looking forward to, however, is the flood of allergy symptoms that seem to accompany the spring season.
If you happen to be one of these people and seem to always succumb to springtime allergies, it’s time to put an end to your suffering and do something about it. You may not be able to completely eliminate allergens from your home, but you can take some steps to minimize them and enjoy wonderful indoor air quality each and every spring.
Start with the Exterior
The outside of your home provides the first line of defense against harsh winter elements, so it’s a great place to begin allergy-proofing your home. Take a walk around your home, examining the weather stripping and caulking around your home’s windows and doors. Old or cracking weather stripping and caulk should be replaced, either by yourself or a professional. The latter of which is always recommended.
Your roof should be examined as well. You can inspect it for missing tiles and clean out the gutters at the same time. Giving the outside of your home a good once over and performing these simple chores will go a long way in reducing the amount of pollen and other allergens that enter your home.
Schedule an HVAC Checkup and Cleaning
On the topic of cleaning and checking, it would also be a wise idea to schedule a checkup and cleaning of your HVAC system. Doing so will greatly reduce the amount of dust and growth in your HVAC system and ensure nothing but crisp clean air circulates through your Durham home.
Purify the Air
Airborne pollutants can be quite problematic for homeowners with allergies. To make matters worse, dander from pets and pollutants from your home’s surrounding environment can exacerbate the issue. Fortunately, an electronic air cleaner or modern air filtration system can greatly reduce the number of airborne pollutants in your home and alleviate your allergy symptoms.
Seal Up the Ductwork
If the ductwork used to distribute cool or warm air throughout your Durham home isn’t sealed properly, energy efficiency likely isn’t your only concern. Aside from wasting energy, leaky seals and cracks in your home’s ductwork can also suck in outside pollutants and distribute them in every room in your home. This can seriously hamper the indoor air quality of your home and the health of your respiratory system, so it’s a good idea to have your ductwork inspected and sealed by an HVAC professional.
Eliminate Humidity and Mold
Spring is often one of the wettest times of the year. Thanks to warming temperatures and afternoon showers, humidity can get out of hand in a hurry. In addition to making you sweaty, humidity can also promote the growth and spread of biological pollutants, like mold.
When most people hear the “allergies” they generally envision flowering plants and pollen-filled air, but mold can also be a serious culprit and spur on allergy symptoms. Humidity and mold are most common in kitchens, basements, and bathrooms, so here are a few tips to keep these allergy antagonists out of these areas:
- Use a dehumidifier, empty it often, and keep it clean to remove moisture from the air and prevent mildew.
- Use hot water and detergent to remove mold from tiles, countertops, and other hard surfaces.
- Wash fabric materials with soap and hot water. If mold or mildew still exists after cleaning, discard to item.
- Seal any leaks in pipes and ductwork or around your home’s windows and doors.
Clutter not only makes it difficult to find things, but it also provides allergens with more surfaces to cling to and hang out. So, make it a habit to regularly go through your home and get rid of any old newspapers, rags, clothes, and other items that may be lying around.
If you’re an allergy sufferer, it’s also important to get rid of as many knickknacks, collectibles, and other duct collectors as possible. While you’re at it, pay special attention to the bedrooms, because both you and allergens probably spend more time in there than any other area of your home.
Reduce Dust Generators
Carpet and other fabrics trap existing dust and create even more dust through the breakdown of their fibers. Therefore, if you’re planning on preparing your home for spring allergens, it’s a wise idea to consider ditching any high-pile carpets, curtains, and upholstered furniture in your home.
Although these are comfy and cozy for us, they’re also cozy spots for allergens as well. If you absolutely must have carpet in your home, tight, short-pile carpet is best.
In terms of cleaning, vacuuming weekly is ideal, and vacuums with HEPA or small-particle filters are recommended. If you really want to reduce allergens in your home, you should put serious consideration into replacing your home’s carpeting with tile, wood, or vinyl floors.
Give the Bathroom a Deep Cleaning
Your bathroom is heaven on earth for mold, so you should follow the tips above and inspect the plumbing pipes in your bathroom for leaks, regularly mop, clean the walls, and scrub off any signs of mold with a non-toxic cleaner. Many homeowners fail to do this, but it’s also a good idea to run the ventilation fan for half an hour or longer after taking a shower or bath.
Smart landscaping can also play a significant role in reducing springtime allergens around your home. Contrary to popular belief, the yellow sticky pollen carried by bees will rarely trigger an allergic reaction. Rather, it’s the fine particles carried about by wind that usually causes itching, sneezing, and discomfort. Thus, the more trees, leaves, and plant matter found in your yard, the greater the likelihood of an allergic reaction.
Certain trees, such as ash, birch, and maple, are also allergenic. As a smart alternative to these common trees, opt for dogwoods, magnolias, and other low-allergy trees. As far as flowers are concerned, viola, astilbe, hosta, and columbine are all good low-allergy options.
For expert help in preparing your Durham, NC home for spring allergens, call Green Horizon One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® at (919) 646-3639 today!