Breathe easy when spring allergies keep you inside
Not everyone flings open their windows to welcome the new spring season. Nearly one in five people in the U.S. have allergy or asthma symptoms, which makes spring an extremely difficult season and indoor air quality more important than ever. The Environmental Protection Agency says that indoor air levels of many pollutants can be 2-4 times higher than outdoor levels.
Here are some techniques that can help you take control of your indoor air quality and start enjoying a cleaner, fresher environment.
Purify the air
Your first line of defense is a clean, quality air filter for your HVAC equipment. Air filters are designed to trap dirt, pet dander, dust mites, pollen, and other contaminants. (Click here for more information on why you need to change the air filter.)
While many standard 1-inch filters will catch large airborne particles, they are not designed to remove smaller ones. Eliminating these micro particles often requires special types of filters or more elaborate air purification systems. Another step to combat these asthma and allergy triggers with ultraviolet lamps. UV germicidal lights are an easy way to improve indoor air quality and destroy these irritants without using harsh chemicals.
Your local HVAC company can help determine which product or system is best for your household.
Seal up your ductwork
Leaky ducts can not only lower your energy efficiency, but can also let dirt and debris loose into your home. Cleaning your forced air system components can keep these contaminants from circulating into your indoor air.
Buy indoor plants to freshen the air
Certain plants can actually filter out common volatile organic compounds that can cause adverse health effects. In the late 1980s, NASA conducted a study with the Associated Contractors of America to determine which indoor plants were the most effective at improving indoor air quality.
Some of these air-cleaning plants include:
- Aloe plants (aloe vera)
- Spider plants (chlorophytum comosum)
- Gerber daisies (gerbera jamesonii)
- Chrysanthemums (chrysantheium morifolium)
- Ficus, weeping fig (ficus benjamina)
- Azaleas (rhododendron simsii)
- English ivy (hedera helix)
Some plants might be dangerous to house pets, so be sure to check the toxicity before adding them to your home.
While you can’t control the outdoor air quality, these simple steps can help to improve your indoor air quality and keep you breathing easy this spring season.