May 4, 2017
Because temperatures vary across the country, allergy season in Canada starts at different times depending on the province. While Edmonton is still transitioning from winter weather, that doesn’t mean the populace isn’t suffering from allergies. But pollen isn’t the only cause of allergies – a home can also be the trigger for many severe allergy symptoms. A residence that has been locked up tight for the winter can lead to a buildup of allergens and pollutants.
When this happens it can wreak havoc on certain allergy sufferers – and those who have asthma and other breathing issues. Is your household dealing with allergy symptoms inside the home? We’ve gathered some useful information to help deal with those allergens that are compromising your indoor air quality (IAQ). With a few key changes, you can remove those allergens and contaminants that have been building up over the winter.
Allergy Triggers in the Home
Dirty HVAC Filter: During the peak months of HVAC usage, a filter should be changed out every month. But most homeowners do not follow this rule. A dirty filter caked with dust and debris is no longer effective. If it is unable to filter the contaminants in the air, your HVAC is going to recycle all of it back into the air.
Dirty Ductwork: There are several reasons why ducts build up debris, but most are unrelated to the HVAC filter. Holes and leaks in your ductwork invite dust and mold into the system. Rodent and cockroach infestations can also contribute to contaminants that will trigger allergic reactions.
Pets: An Edmonton winter is not kind to our pets – especially dogs or other house pets that require daily visits outside. Snow and freezing temperatures ensure that those visits are shorter, which can exacerbate issues with dander and saliva.
Dust Mites: The most allergen-prone room in the house is the bedroom because it invites the most common indoor allergen: dust mites. Dust mites are the number one cause of year-round allergies and asthma in a home.
Cockroaches: These unpopular pests can produce allergy triggers that are just as severe as dust mites. Roach saliva, feces and body parts can aggravate symptoms when swept up into the air. 63 percent of homes in the U.S. contain cockroach allergens.
Poor Ventilation: Does your home contain exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen? Exhaust fans ensure that the humidity prevalent in both rooms dries out before it has a change to produce mold or mildew. Airborne mold spores are severe allergy triggers and can also be very toxic – even to people without allergies.
Eradicating Allergy Triggers
Clean the HVAC/Duct System: In addition to making sure that you clean or change your HVAC filter, consider having your ductwork professionally cleaned. If your HVAC filter was not working properly because of dust/dirt buildup, much of the debris that the system pushed back through inevitably contaminated the ducts. Have the ducts assessed by a professional HVAC technician and get them cleaned if they show signs of contaminant buildup.
Ventilation: Moving fresh air through your home is key in fighting indoor allergens. As soon as the weather allows, open windows in the morning and late evening for some fresh air. If your bathroom and kitchen don’t already have exhaust fans, consider having some installed. While a kitchen exhaust is helpful for removing odors in addition to curbing humidity, a bathroom exhaust is an essential tool in keeping mold and mildew from growing in your home. Ceiling fans and portable fans are also good for promoting healthy ventilation in a home.
Vacuum with a HEPA Filter: A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is designed to trap harmful particles including pollen, pet dander and dust mites. Several modern vacuum models are designed with HEPA filters, the strongest filter on the market. If you suffer from indoor allergies, it is strongly advised to invest in a vacuum with a HEPA filter – and to vacuum your home weekly.
Hypoallergenic Casings: If you suffer from allergies due to dust mites, the best defense is to cover your bed in hypoallergenic casings. Cover the bedding, mattress, box springs and especially the pillows with them. You can also simply get rid of ornamental bedding that is never washed. Washing ALL bedding on a regular basis (and vacuuming the floors) will keep the dust mite problem at bay.
Pest Control: If your home has cockroaches and your household suffers from indoor allergies, call the pest control. No one wants roaches in their home anyway, but if they are making your family sick – they should be eradicated immediately. Find an exterminator who uses non-toxic chemicals to rid your home of those allergen-causing pests.
At Always Plumbing & Heating, we feel strongly about fostering a healthy IAQ in the homes of our Edmonton neighbors. We know firsthand the debilitating effects of allergens and contaminants in a household. IAQ solutions have been a part of our professional services for many years. If you and your household are suffering from indoor allergens – and have tried to eradicate the triggers unsuccessfully on your own, contact us today. Our IAQ specialists can assess your home and offer an array of solutions to free your indoor air of those debilitating allergy triggers. Call us today at 780-489-8118 to schedule an assessment today!
Call Always Plumbing & Heating at 780-489-8118 or contact us online today to discuss your construction options in Edmonton.