With spring here, the temperatures are beginning to rise as well as the number of allergens in the air. More than 20 percent of Americans are affected by allergies causing sneezing, itching, coughing and other irritating symptoms. The Oklahoma Institute of Allergy and Asthma states that children as young as 1 year old can develop allergies to perennial allergens such as molds, pet dander and dust mites. Allergies not only take effect when we are outdoors, but are just as prevalent inside our homes.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air indoors, where we spend as much as 90 percent of our time, can be even more polluted than city smog. The sources of indoor pollution are largely attributed to a mixture of microscopic allergens, such as: dust mites, dander, pollen, mold, cockroach droppings and smoke. When these allergens become airborne we are exposed to breathing them in and generating an allergic reaction. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in your home harbor and spread allergens throughout your home if not properly tended to.
These suggestions provided by Hill and Company can work to improve the environment of your house. A few minor adjustments in your home could make a big difference on the health and happiness of your family this spring. After all, home is where the heart is, not the allergens.
Air filters – Air filters work not only to protect your HVAC equipment, but also minimize allergens in your home. Premium disposal filters do a good job of removing smaller particles but need to be changed more often as they can restrict air flow through your system. Restricted airflow can make the HVAC system inefficient, causing less air to be filtered and can cause unfiltered air to be pulled into the duct system. Cheaper disposable filters allow better airflow for a longer period but allow more allergens to pass through. Trane Clean Effects is a filtration option that offers minimal air restriction but still removes up to 99.98 percent of allergens from filtered air, including particles as small as 0.1 microns.
Air ducts and ventilation – Making sure your ducts are properly sealed will keep dirty attic air from being pulled into your duct system and into your house. It is important to periodically spot check your ductwork for damage. This is included through a service like Hill & Company’s Smart Service maintenance plan. Newer houses that are tight in construction can benefit from the addition of outdoor air. Systems are available to bring this outdoor air into your house while filtering it and conditioning it efficiently.
Air conditioner – Similar to your car, if the windows have ever fogged up, the best way to remove the moisture is by turning on the air conditioner. This method also applies to your home. Air conditioning dehumidifies the air, but it also filters out pollen and works to discourage cockroaches, which like dust mites and mold, hate cold air. Available variable speed technology allows your HVAC system to run longer at a lower speed. This longer run time is more efficient, just like highway driving is more efficient than city driving. Longer run times remove more humidity and allow more air to be filtered. Variable speed motors can also be set to run constantly at low speed with very low cost. This allows constant circulation and filtration of the air in your house.
Check humidity – High humidity levels create excess moisture in the air and spread mold growth, increasing the rate of dust mites and cockroach survival. Household humidity levels should be around 40 percent. If humidity levels in your home reach above 60 percent, consider purchasing a dehumidifier or contacting an HVAC professional like Hill and Company to inspect your system. Keep humidity down in your home by closing bathroom doors when showering, running the exhaust fan or open windows for moisture to escape easily.
Avoid tracking – Walking across carpet releases irritants like pet dander and dust mites into the air. Convert your carpeted floors to hard wood or tile flooring. If this is not an option, make a rule for family members and guests to remove shoes while indoors. Try laying down doormats inside and outside of each entryway to keep outdoor irritants from making their way inside.
Vacuum – Regular cleaning is necessary to eliminate dust mites and mold from growing inside. Make sure your vacuum is eliminating irritants rather than shuffling them around. If your household vacuum does not have a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter, upgrade to one that does. HEPA filters are designed to capture tiny allergen particles.
About Hill & Company
Established in 1967, Hill & Company is Oklahoma’s premier heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) company. Located in Oklahoma City and Edmond, they are a family owned and operated company dedicated to customer service and the highest standards. Hill & Company services all brands of plumbing, heating and air conditioning equipment and proudly stand behind Trane equipment, a world leader in air conditioning systems. Hill & Company has earned the designation of Trane Comfort Specialist.