Spring has arrived! The snow is slowly starting to melt and the days are getting longer. While we look forward to the coming thaw, many of us are worried about the seasonal allergies that come up this time of year. So, now is the time to make the necessary preparations to limit your struggles with allergy season.
You can’t control the air outside; however, you do have some command over the air that is inside of your home. Here are tips for creating an allergy-free indoor environment, so you have a symptom-free space to recover.
Indoor Air Quality
There are three main aspects of indoor air quality—temperature, humidity, and pollutants. We notice temperature right away, but the other two are often neglected. Unfortunately, humidity and pollutants are the two major players that impact respiratory health.
Establishing proper humidity is vital. If your humidity levels are too low, you can hurt your immune system’s ability to fight off pathogens in the air. Your sinuses and lungs rely on defense mechanisms, such as mucus, to fight off allergens. If you’re breathing constantly dry air, your mucus membranes won’t be fluid, and your immune system will not be able to function as well as it should, leaving you vulnerable to the dreaded spring allergy symptoms.
Ideally, your home’s humidity should be between 30% and 40%. Here in Saskatoon, it’s extremely common to have indoor levels below 20%. The main cause of these low humidity levels is your heater. With your furnace getting heavy use throughout the year, the air in your home is constantly being dried out.
Luckily, changing your humidity levels at home is almost as easy as turning up your thermostat. A few simple ways to increase your indoor humidity levels include: cooking more often, adding a humidifier to your home, or purchasing a houseplant. For more specific control, we recommend installing a humidifier. The health benefits will be notable and you will additionally increase the overall comfort of your home.
Buy as many fancy air filters as you want, but you won’t be able to truly limit the dust and pollen in your air if your flooring and furniture are dirty. Every time you sit on your couch or walk on your rug, you are inadvertently kicking-up the dust and particles that have settled on them. This is why it’s essential to have a regular cleaning routine, especially during the spring allergy season.
Take the time to vacuum your furniture and clean your carpeting. Implement a checklist for these, often forgotten, home tasks to stay on track.
Moderation is key when it comes to increasing your home’s humidity. Maintaining humidity levels higher than 50% can be problematic for your health and can damage your indoor air quality by allowing mold growth. It only takes 24 hours for mold to foster and spread in extremely humid environments.
Remember that not all breathing issues you experience during the springtime are tied to seasonal changes. Airborne mold spores can cause similar symptoms to that of allergies, if not worse than allergies. So, if allergy symptoms manifest out of nowhere—you may have mold.
The best way to prevent mold from growing in your home is to ventilate and monitor your space. Moisture can build up if you do not have adequate ventilation, especially in water-based appliances like your dishwasher and water heater. If these are not installed correctly, you can see moisture accumulate as condensation. Make sure you regularly check on your attic and basement as well, as these spaces are typically more humid than the rest of your home.
Centennial Plumbing, Heating & Electrical would love to help improve the air quality in your home. Feel free to give us a call at (306) 222-8466 or fill out an online contact form to set up an appointment.