Experts are saying that the spring of 2012 could be the worst season we’ve ever seen for allergies. "The seasons are getting longer—they're starting earlier and pollens are getting released earlier," says Dr. Stanley Fineman, president-elect of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and an allergist at the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic. 1
Aaron Marshbanks, a board member of National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NDCA) states, “When the house is closed up for the winter, pollutants in the air have nowhere to go. Then spring rolls around, and the natural thing to do is open up your windows and bring new air into your home. However, this is when allergy season is at its highest, and you’re welcoming new pollutants into your home and contaminating your air with pollens.” 2
Your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system is a vehicle through which pollutants are blown throughout your home many times each day. Even if you’re spring cleaning, dust will continue to re-circulate throughout your home and accumulate on your furniture.
Here are some tips to help you breathe easier and provide cleaner air to your home:
- Have your heating and cooling system thoroughly cleaned seasonally. Dust and air pollutants collect in the vents and then are picked up by the air stream and blown back into your home. A system cleaning helps reduce the amount of particles and contamination that circulate through your home.
- Have your air ducts cleaned. Dust and dirt accumulates in your vent system and will continually re-circulate throughout your home. A cleaning of your duct system will help your HVAC system work more efficiently and save you money in utilities. Even a newer home can have more construction debris and dust internally than a home older than 10-15 years. Also if you’ve moved into a home (new to you), you have no idea how the previous owners lived or even if they ever had their air ducts cleaned. There could be years of dust and dirt build-up in the duct system!
- Regularly change your furnace filter. This helps remove particles circulating through the air. When a filter becomes dirty they can restrict the airflow through your heating and cooling system. A dirty filter greatly reduces the efficiency of your HVAC system.
- Improve the air filters on your furnace. Many of us use the spun glass filter that costs less than a dollar that we get at the local do-it-yourself store. While this filter protects the blower motor it will do next to nothing when it comes to improving your indoor air. Upgrade to a pleated filter that captures smaller particles, some so small the naked eye cannot see. And don’t forget to change the filter as needed - oftentimes this means monthly.
- Consider installing a whole-house air purifier. This system removes up to 99.98% of allergens from filtered air, traps particles down to .3 microns in size and is up to 100 times more effective than a standard 1” filter. Thornton & Grooms also offers air purifiers, which have the proactive ability to kill germs and reduce odors in a conditioned space. Every time your fan blows air it carries the purifying power of natures “Friendly Oxidizers” out into the conditioned space where the “Friendly Oxidizers” begin to attack the Bacteria, Virus, Mold Spores at the source and reduce odors in your home.
Enjoy spring without suffering with indoor air quality issues. There are many ways to ensure the quality of your indoor air. By following some of the above tips you can increase the air quality in your home as well as improve the health of your family.
1EMILY MAIN, ABC News, Rodale.com, March 17, 2012. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/AllergiesSeasonal/spring-2012-worst-allergies/story?id=15930328#.T4wds9Xt2Vo
2 Akron.com(“Make sure your indoor air is healthy this spring”, 3/11/2010)