Summer is finally here, and with summer often comes seasonal allergies, high pollen counts, and a variety of other air quality issues. In fact, even if you live in a crowded, smoggy city like Los Angeles or Denver, your home’s indoor air quality is often worse than the outdoor air quality. Even if you don’t necessarily notice poor air quality right away, your kids or your guests with asthma or allergies might.
Fortunately, you don’t need to be an HVAC professional to breathe easy. We’ve got easy ways to improve your home’s air quality before your guests have an asthma attack. Take these steps to keep allergens out of your home this summer.
Update Your A/C
If it’s been a while since you last cleaned or replaced your home’s A/C unit, it could be harming the air quality in your home. Clean out your filter every few months to avoid dust and allergen build up, and if your unit is older, consider a replacement. Air conditioners today use about 50% less energy than they did in 1990, so you’ll be saving energy too.
Check On Insulation
Not all insulation materials are created equal, and some may be more prone to contaminating your home’s air than others. If you discover asbestos in your insulation, you need to take action right away. It could lead to all kinds of health and breathing issues — not to mention respiratory illnesses like mesothelioma. Check what materials you’re currently using, and consider alternatives that also could improve your home’s insulation. Poor insulation in crawlspaces and attics can compromise the ventilation and airflow.
Call In Pest Control
Unwanted pests — think termites, ants, cockroaches, bedbugs, and any creature with more than four legs — don’t just make your skin crawl. Certain pests also contribute to air quality issues, particularly if you or a family member is allergic. Up to 60% of asthmatic people who live in cities are allergic to cockroaches, so if you notice signs of unwanted insects, you’ll want to give pest control a call ASAP.
Bringing plants into your home isn’t just great for decoration; they can actively help improve the air quality in your home as well. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, helping to keep the air in your home fresh. Besides, these small additions can add a bit of life into your home’s decor and brighten up just about any room. And if you’re interested in indoor gardening, check out this list of laptop apps for hydroponic gardening.
Clean Out Chemicals
While you might expect cleaning solutions to be allergen-free, not all of them necessarily are. Many common household cleaners contain chemicals that can irritate lungs and aggravate allergies, particularly if you’re using them in a space that isn’t well ventilated. Check the ingredients lists and labels on your household cleaners, and whenever possible, opt for natural ingredients and fragrance-free solutions.
Don’t Forget Fabrics
Heavy curtains and ornate rugs might look nice in your room, but these can secretly be allergen traps that are worsening the air quality in your home. Dust, dirt, and other particles can more easily cling to fabric, so be sure to shake out or wash your fabric items frequently. It’s also worth investing in a good hand vacuum to help you get rid of dust in places your normal vacuum can’t reach.
Remember: Air quality problems will get worse over time without intervention. HVAC experts report that 20% of homes built during the 1980s have air conditioning equipment that’s at least 20 years old. If your home’s air conditioner, filters, and air ducts are old enough to have a college degree, then they probably need some TLC. Professionals can clean out your vents and HVAC appliances, improving your home’s air quality in the process.
With how much time you and your family will be spending outside this season, you’re likely to be letting a variety of allergens into your home on a regular basis. More than 50 million Americans experience various types of allergies each year. If you’re looking for ways to improve your home’s air quality, then use these tips to make sure you’re keeping your home’s air healthy and safe.