Spring in Arizona offers a wide array of pleasures. Unfortunately, spring can also be a challenging time for allergy sufferers, so we need to do everything possible to curb the indoor allergens in our homes.
Allergens are substances that trigger allergic reactions in some people, spreading through the air and settling on surfaces in our homes.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), some of the primary sources of indoor allergens are pets, wall-to-wall carpeting, soft furniture, mattresses, and damp areas in your home.
Here are seven ways to curb indoor allergens in your home:
Our air conditioners run continuously for months in Arizona, so we need to ensure we change the air filters monthly in the summer and keep our A/C systems well-maintained.
Warm, humid spaces provide a favorable environment for dust mites, mold, and other allergens, so you need to keep your air conditioner running smoothly to help reduce humidity. The humidity in your home should never be higher than 50%.
Pollen, pet dander, and dust can circulate throughout your home through dirty air filters.
Air filters have what’s known as a MERV rating based on their ability to trap specific types of particles in the air. The higher the MERV rating, the broader the range of particles the filter will capture.
A MERV rating of 7-12 is typical for residential HVAC systems, although filters with a MERV rating of 13-16 are also used and provide a higher degree of filtration.
Your A/C system also needs annual professional maintenance to keep it at peak efficiency. A poorly maintained system can compromise your indoor air quality, as there may be more condensation or even leaks that promote mold and mildew growth.
Chas Roberts has a 26-point maintenance plan for your air conditioner to keep it running in peak condition.
Damp areas promote mold and mildew growth, so check under sinks and in the laundry area for leaks. Any dampness under the sink means you may have a slow leak that needs to be repaired.
Water stains on walls or ceilings may indicate a leak, and you should have it inspected by a plumbing pro.
Water leaks will only worsen over time, so it’s wise to get them repaired promptly.
It’s easy to forget about the ductwork in our homes because it’s hidden, but it’s an essential part of our HVAC systems and should be checked for cracks and leaks.
Since ducts distribute the air throughout your home, they play a significant role in your indoor air quality and should be kept in top shape.
Damaged or dirty ductwork may have dust and dirt buildup that can blow allergens into your home, and poorly sealed ducts can allow vermin to enter, producing waste and allergens.
Anything more than minor ductwork repairs should be done by a professional.
The air vents in your home should be cleaned regularly, too, to prevent dust from blowing into the air.
We spend about eight hours a night in our bedrooms, so controlling allergens where we sleep is crucial. Here are a few ways to curb allergens in your bedroom:
If you have a ceiling fan in the bedroom, be sure to dust it regularly, too, so it’s not spreading dust and allergens.
Use damp microfiber cloths for cleaning, as they trap dust better than plain cloths or feather dusters, which often only move dust around rather than remove it.
Check around your refrigerator for moisture and wipe up any moist areas to prevent mold growth. Clean up any moldy areas around the rubber seals on refrigerator doors.
Clean your sink and faucets regularly and empty the trash daily. Trash should be kept in a bin with a lid to avoid attracting insects.
Use pest traps to control insects, as their residue can trigger allergies.
Regularly clean countertops, cabinets, appliances, and items on the counters, all of which can collect dust full of allergens.
Bathrooms are a prime area for mold because of all the moisture, so be vigilant about scrubbing any moldy areas in showers and tubs. Shower curtains are also prone to mold buildup, so clean or replace them if you see signs of mold.
Clean bathroom fixtures and sinks regularly and check for leaks around toilets.
Wipe down the bathroom walls regularly, too.
The shoes we wear outside accumulate all kinds of dirt and allergens, which we can then track inside, so remove your shoes before entering your home.
Pollen and mold spores can cling to clothing, so remove the outer garments you’ve worn outside.
Shampoo carpets regularly, as simply walking across a rug releases allergens into the air. Use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter for more thorough cleaning.
If you have pets, wash their bedding and change out their toys regularly.
The Mayo Clinic website suggests spreading aquarium gravel over the potting soil around houseplants to contain mold spores in the soil.
Enforce a no smoking policy inside your home, as the allergens from smoke can penetrate furniture, draperies, and other soft furnishings.
We can take many steps to curb indoor allergens in our homes. Some, such as changing our A/C filters, we can do ourselves, and others, like maintaining our air conditioners and fixing plumbing leaks, are best left to the pros.
Chas Roberts is the largest HVAC and plumbing provider in Arizona and has been family-owned and operated for over 75 years. Contact us for affordable, reliable service.