Category: Air Quality
Say the word pollen in a room full of people and anyone that has problems with allergies or asthma is immediately going to start to cringe and maybe even instinctively reach for a tissue. While there are a lot of great products on the market to relieve or suppress problems with allergies, they do not get to the root of the issue or prevent them. The simple truth is if the allergen isn’t there, it can’t affect you. This goes for people with Asthma also. If what triggers the Asthma isn’t there, an attack probably won’t happen. Let’s get something out of the way before the questions start. NO, you cannot eliminate all allergens from your environment unless you want to live in a hermetically sealed chamber for the rest of your life. But what you can do is greatly reduce the number of allergens in your living environment. In previous posts, we have talked a great deal about outdoor air and ventilating your home. On the surface, this might seem counter-intuitive. The outdoor air is where all the allergens are – why would I want to bring that into the home? You would be right in the sense of opening all of the windows and letting the air come into the home when you live next to a field full of ragweed is probably not going to help your cause.
What you do want to do is control the air coming into your home and filter it the best you can. Here is where the HVAC system along with your ventilation and air intake systems come into play. Let’s start with the HVAC system. If you have central air, use it, but make sure the air filter is changed regularly and is filtering out the contaminates you need to. Check the type of filter you have. Most air filters will have some type of information on the packaging of what they filter out. Make sure it is removing things like pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and any other allergens or Asthma triggers you might have.
The next item to address is the ventilation of the home. Properly ventilating your bathrooms especially will reduce the growth of mold and mildew. Both of which can trigger allergy or Asthma attacks. Make sure the exhaust fans are being used properly.
Another big area of the home that often gets overlooked is the kitchen. Make sure to use a range hood that is venting to the outdoors. As we have detailed in previous post, the kitchen is one if not the top source of indoor contaminates. Venting these out of the home is the best way to ensure the quality of air inside the home. Smoke is typically a top trigger for people with Asthma. Exhausting it at the source prevents it from entering the living environment. Studies have shown that just using a properly vented range hood when cooking can reduce particulate matter by more than 80% (dangerous particles so small they can’t be seen).
Finally let’s talk a little about the fresh air coming into the home (also called make-up air). When you vent air outside, you need to bring air into the home. The best way to do this without negatively impacting your air quality is to control it and filter it. As we talked about earlier, opening a door or window definitely brings fresh air in, but it also brings all of the contaminants in the air with it. Utilizing a product like the Air King QFAM or FAS controls the air coming into the home by filtering the air before it reaches the living area. The air passes through an up to MERV16 air filter, which takes out even microscopic allergens. It is the basic principle of keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. As we said before, this is not a 100% guarantee that you will never have another allergy or Asthma attack, but if it can increase your comfort level and prevent even some of them – isn’t it worth it?
If you have problems with allergies or Asthma, a good place to check is your indoor air quality and make the necessary adjustments for better living.