Allergy sufferers can avoid many outdoor sources of allergies but home air pollution is a different matter. Sooner or later, you have to come home and, when you do, you may be breathing air more contaminated with allergens than the great outdoors.
At the same time that we’ve benefited from savings made possible by airtight, energy-efficient homes, we’ve also created the perfect closed environment for the accumulation of airborne particulates that trigger allergies. These substances range from common inorganic house dust to pollen to mold spores and other living microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. Here are three tips to reduce home air pollution and improve your indoor environment:
Seal the leaks
It is very common for most homes that have not been retrofitted to have significant bypasses from the house to the attic. Air leakage that admits moisture to attics creates a perfect breeding ground for mold just the other side of your ceiling. Water vapor finds its way into the attic through gaps where plumbing vent pipes and ventilation fan exhaust ducts pass through the ceiling. These can be filled with caulking as can visible cracks in the joint between the ceiling and walls. Weatherstrip the frame around the pull-down attic access stairs, as well. The best way to identify these problems is to have a Home Performance Assessment conducted in your home.
Change the bedding
Microscopic dust mites are a major component of household dust. They breed in bedding and, after they die, become airborne particulates that trigger allergies. Sheets, blankets and other bedding should be washed in water heated to at least 130 degrees to kill the dust mites. Because they require humidity to survive, keeping your home below 50 percent relative humidity will also help to control dust mites. Achieving this goal usually requires a combination of proper maintenance on your existing HVAC system, a tight house and often accessory dehumidification equipment.
Clear the air
Your heating and cooling system can promote indoor air pollution because it continuously circulates airborne particulates throughout your living spaces. However, it can also be utilized to help clean the air. Make sure your system air filter is changed monthly (or per the manufacturer's recommendation) during the peak heating and cooling seasons. Replace it with a filter with at least a MERV 13 rating -this level of filtration will also help to improve system efficiency by protecting the important portions of your HVAC system in addition to contributing to cleaner air in your home. Households with sensitive individuals can benefit from a filter with even greater capabilities without system modifications.
P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling is Greater Cleveland’s source for healthy indoor air quality since 1936. Ask us about more effective techniques to eliminate home air pollution.
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.