Reducing allergies in your home needs to be a priority. Indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than the air outside. In fact, the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) explains this data is true whether a home is located in a rural or highly industrial area. The air inside homes and businesses often has nowhere to go, whereas, the air outside naturally circulates. This is an extremely important topic because most people spend the majority of their time indoors, whether that be at home, work, school or shopping. Poor indoor air quality has been linked to medical conditions such as, lung cancer, COPD, asthma, allergies, heart disease and stroke. 
If you want to learn how to improve the indoor air quality in your home or business, and more specifically read about ways to reduce allergies in your home, you’ve come to the right place. Continue reading to learn more.
Keeping a clean home is important when it comes to improving indoor air quality. An easy first step to clean air is ensuring that the air filters in your HVAC system are replaced regularly. The air filters within HVAC systems play the important role of keeping dust, debris, and other particulates from collecting inside the HVAC system and duct system – ultimately promoting healthy air.
Beyond replacing dirty HVAC filters, you can combat allergens in your home or business by routine cleaning. Reduce allergies in your home with routine damp dusting. Dust is a trigger for allergies and quickly accumulates indoors. Dusting indoors with a damp cloth will draw the dust particles in and lift the dust, instead of simply moving the dust around. Spend time vacuuming on a regular basis, cleaning bathrooms, and washing bedding in hot water on a weekly basis to rid your home of allergens, pollens, pet dander and dust.
Be careful in selecting cleaning products that won’t contribute to poor air quality in your home. The EPA clearly states that household cleaning products are a common source of indoor air pollutants. There are many cleaning products on the market that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), bleach and ammonia. These products are not good for people who have allergies or asthma, and can increase an individual’s risk of developing allergies.  In fact, some of the harmful ingredients in household cleaners can cause immediate symptoms, such as, eye irritation, skin irritation, and asthma. When purchasing household cleaners, avoid products that contain fragrance because synthetic fragrance contains endocrine disrupters like phthalates. Other ingredients to watch out for are: chlorine, sodium laureth sulfate, PEG, ethanolamines, ammonium chloride, SLS, methylisothiazolinone, benzisothiazolinone, nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), sodium hypochlorite, and formaldehyde. Look for warning labels on the back of cleaning product labels that tell you there are chemicals used in the product that carry health hazards.
If you have pets, you should know that experts recommend keeping pets out of the bedrooms, removing or replacing carpets, having an air cleaner with a HEPA filter, and keeping pets off furniture. An NIEHS study explains that pet allergens with endotoxins in a home could make asthma and wheezing worse!
Below we’ve summarized a simple cleaning checklist to reduce allergies. This checklist is based off of the University of California Berkeley Health Services’ “Room-by-Room Checklist for Allergy Cleanup.” Reduce allergies in your home by cleaning up:
- Bedrooms. Frequent damp dusting, weekly dusting, regular laundry cleaning, toss dust collectors (knickknacks, magazines, etc.), keep pets out of the bedroom.
- Kitchen. Keep cabinets and countertops clean, and use disinfectant to get rid of mildew.
- Bathrooms. Keep shower curtains clean, and wash shower walls and base.
- Living Room. Vacuum weekly, place area rugs at all entryways to trap and hold dust, damp dusting regularly, launder curtains, and clean windows frames and sills.
- Attic and Basement. Store items in closed boxes or bags, and if mildew or mold is problematic then consider a dehumidifier.
Adjust Humidity Levels
When it comes to indoor air quality, another factor to consider is indoor humidity levels. High humidity levels often worsen indoor air pollutants. For instance, dust mites thrive in a humid environment and building materials are more likely to off-gas chemicals in these environments. It’s easy to regulate humidity with a smart thermostat that contains a built-in humidity monitoring device. To find out the best humidifier settings for Kansas weather, tailored to your specific home or business, it’s best to have an experienced HVAC technician inspect your system and provide their expert advice.
Suggested Humidity Levels in Kansas
Humidity levels are important when it comes to indoor air quality and comfort. Air conditioners are designed to regulate humidity. An inefficient air conditioner may not be able to properly regulate the humidity, which often leads to an air conditioner working harder than it should. When an HVAC system is working harder than it should be, increased wear and tear on the system occurs, and often translates into higher utility bills. An HVAC system that cannot regulate high humidity levels means the indoor air is moist and increases the likelihood of mold. The EPA recommends indoor humidity levels be kept between 30 and 50 percent.
The following are few warning signs that your HVAC system isn’t properly regulating indoor humidity levels:
- The air throughout your home feels moist;
- Mold is growing within your home;
- Your home smells musty or damp;
- Foggy windows throughout your home.
Install Air Purification System
Curious how to reduce allergies in your home or business? When it comes to indoor air quality, one of the best ways that you can improve the air quality of your home or business is by investing in an air purification system. An effective air purifier will force air through a filter that catches particles such as, but not limited to, dust mites, pollen, smoke, mold, bacteria, and pet dander. Removing these harmful particles from the air can significantly help with allergy symptoms and overall health. When investing in an air purification system, be sure that it contains a HEPA certified filter, which means that the filter will remove 99.97% of particulates measuring 0.3 microns in diameter in a lab setting. We also recommend checking the clean speed of the air purifier to ensure it has a high performance rate.
At Larry Cook Heating and Cooling, we are fans of the Reme Halo (“Halo”) and the Air Scrubber by Aerus (“Air Scrubber”). Kansas State University conducted a study with the Halo that showed the Halo kills 99% of the germs from a sneeze within three feet, as well as 99% of viruses found on hard surfaces. The Air Scrubber and Halo are the caliber of air purifiers that hospitals and schools using. You’d likely be surprised to know just how affordable air purification systems are for the average homeowner and business owner. Air purification installation costs are quite reasonable, as well!
Whether you are looking to improve indoor air quality with an air purifier or a new HVAC system, Larry Cook Heating and Cooling is your local HVAC expert that is here to help with every step of the process. Contact us today by calling 316-322-5668 to schedule your free estimate!
 Plateful Health, How to Reduce Toxins Beginner Guide, https://s3.amazonaws.com/kajabi-storefronts-production/sites/106957/themes/2335812/downloads/LOtNNCXKSHaX1lm57j3X_How_to_Reduce_Toxins_-updated.pdf .
 Mendy A, Wilkerson J, Salo PM, Cohn RD, Zeldin DC, Thorne PS, 2018. Exposure and sensitization to pets modify endotoxin association with asthma and wheeze. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract S2213-2198(18):30280-0.