Considering the fact that most people spend at least half their day confined inside their homes, it is very important to have an allergen-free environment. Allergens are unhealthy for everyone and can be particularly harsh on those suffering from respiratory ailments like asthma or emphysema. Microscopic airborne contaminants not only make it harder to breathe, they also can cause coughs, sore throats, nasal problems and watery eyes. Chances are very good that if you always feel weak and tired, allergens in your home are at least partly responsible.
Homeowners can employ a number of different allergen control strategies that can help keep the air that you breathe as clean as possible. There is no such thing as 100% pure air in any house, but the following steps can certainly make a big improvement in the overall quality of the air you breathe every day.
The use of quality filters to remove airborne allergens has been proven to be one of the most effective allergen control strategies. Invest in the best filter you can afford. Generally speaking the more expensive, the better, but for most folks with Allergies or Asthma, pay close attention to validated claims on the packaging. Higher rated filters catch more of the smaller particles.
For those wanting cleaner air, consider setting your HVAC system fan to "ON" instead of "Auto". Continuous fan operation will keep the smaller particles airborne and circulating that will then be captured by your good air filter. Changing your filter more often than recommended will keep the air moving freely through your system and will ensure maximum efficiency.
Your mattress, sheets and pillows are a major source of dust mites and other contaminants. We have all heard the recent horror stories about bed bug infestations and everyone wants to make sure they do not become victim to the little creatures. The best way to prevent such problems is to buy a hypo-allergenic mattress cover and to wash your sheets and pillow cases at least once per week in hot water.
Another cause of allergens may be your beloved cat or dog. Animal dander can become quite a problem over time. To combat the problem, bath your pets on a regular basis and keep their hair trimmed and well groomed.
This is a major breeding ground for allergens as the soft fibers of your carpet make a perfect environment for the pesky critters that are constantly trying to take over your home. If possible, replace your carpet with tile or wood flooring. If not possible, vacuum regularly and buy or rent a machine to shampoo and thoroughly clean your carpet at least once per month.
Drapes and Furniture
This is another place that breeds dust mites and contains unwanted contaminants. Regularly steaming your upholstered furniture, drapes and curtains will help alleviate the problem.
General Household Cleaning
Get out the Lysol and bleach and make sure to clean all hard surfaces. Pay particular attention to areas that tend to have high humidity and moisture such as the bathroom. Mold can be a very serious allergen and it is best to prevent it by keeping all areas clean.
About the Author
Jim Gates, CAFS, is the brand manager for Quality Filters, Inc., a leading manufacturer and distributor of high quality home and commercial air filters.