When fall weather arrives, it's lovely to turn off the air conditioning, open the windows and enjoy the cool breezes. Unfortunately for some, the presence of pollen from ragweed and other plants makes this challenging.
The solution for most allergy sufferers is to stay indoors with the windows closed, waiting for whatever allergen that has triggered their reaction to go away. Unfortunately, the indoor air quality of most American homes isn't so great. In fact, the air in our homes is generally up to 10 times more polluted than the outdoor air, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Among the pollutants are mold, dust mite particles, pollen, pet dander, dust and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Often, people develop allergies to some of these airborne pollutants. So what should allergy sufferers do?
Cleaning Your Indoor Air
You can't do much about the pollen that's drifting around outdoors, but you can clean up your home's air considerably.
- Enlist your HVAC system. Installing a better quality air filter in your HVAC system will help clean your air. Replace that flimsy fiberglass filter, which does nothing to improve air quality, with a pleated filter rated MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) 8-12. Change it as often as recommended for best results.
- Keep pollutants out of the home. Adopt practices such as these to limit pollen at the source: 1) Fix plumbing leaks that might encourage mold. 2) Vacuum frequently with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate) air filter to contain pollen, pet dander, dust mites and dust. 3) Wash linens in hot water to kills dust mites. 4) Brush pets outdoors. 5) Brush off pets and your clothes to remove pollen before entering the home. 6) Air out VOC-laden products before bringing them indoors; avoid buying VOC-laden products; cap VOC-laden chemicals tightly or move containers to the garage. 7) Remove shoes at the door to keep dust out of the home.
- Install a whole-house air purifier. Portable models will help, but won't be nearly as effective as whole-house models.
For more on improving indoor air quality, contact Sherlock Heating and Air Conditioning of San Diego.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).