Controlling Contaminants in Your House
by Marshall Hand 04/04/2019
As seasons change, the air inside your home changes. Some seasons bring more pollen and dust, while others introduce wood smoke, and still others mold spores, mildew, and fungi. While you can’t keep them all out, here are some ideas for making your indoor as healthful as possible through every season.
- Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter. These High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters collect the tiny particles that other vacuums return into the air. Look for one with a washable filter since these will be less expensive overall compared to that that require regular replacing. Machines that use a HEPA bag work well, but you’ll need to toss the bag and replace it frequently.
- Cover up your mattresses and pillows. Your mattress collects dead skin cells, dust mites, and other allergens. Use a dust-proof casing on your mattresses and pillows. Made from vinyl and different fabrics with very dense weaves that have pores too small for dust mites to get through, these zippered cases keep the allergens from invading your sleep space. Frequent washings help these barriers stay fresh and allergen free.
- Along the same lines, avoid excessive pillows, drapes, throws, and the like in rooms of family members with allergies. A great home improvement project to reduce allergens is to replace windows and blinds with between-the-glass blinds. That way, you don’t need to have window coverings to collect dust and allergens at all.
- The same holds for family areas. Too many thick textiles gather dust mites, mold spores, and pollen. Try to have a minimum of dust-catching decorative items as well. Look for bookshelves and electronics cabinets with glass doors to keep dust out.
- Exhaust your bathroom. Make sure you run the exhaust fan during and after showers to remove the moisture from your home. Excessive moisture creates the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow. If something smells musty to you, there’s probably a culprit somewhere in the house. Pay attention to the smells under you sink in the bathroom and kitchen, and sniff behind the washer and dryer every once in a while.
- Make changing your heat or air conditioning system filters 90-day scheduled maintenance. Do not run your HVAC system without filters since the air intake will draw dust and pollen particles into the system.
- If you’ve moved to a new home, don’t just rely on the HVAC filters. Your vents and ducts can fill up with years of dust, pet hair and dander, and pollen. Hire an air duct professional to clean them for you so that you start fresh.
- On a similar note, keep your dryer vents clean and free of lint. Clear the lint trap with every load and discard it in an enclosed waste can.• Keep your gutters clear of debris since a stopped-up gutter can cause a moisture buildup in your attic, basement, or crawlspace. All of these areas gather dust mites, mold spores, and pollen.
- Beware of your garden. You can’t do anything about what your neighbors choose to plant, but you can pay attention to your own. Avoid high-pollen grasses and trees.
If you’re looking for a home that is friendly to allergy-prone family members, talk to your real estate agent about newer homes in your area with built-in filtration systems and modern HEPA filtered HVAC systems.