As the weather warms up, many residents of Lorton, VA, start worrying about the impending allergy season. While the outdoor allergens are pretty obvious, identifying indoor allergens is a little more difficult. Here are five of the top allergy-inducing things you will find in your home.
1. Airborne Particulates
Airborne particulates are what most people think of when it comes to allergies. This is the dirt, dust, pollen, and other particles floating around in the air. These inevitably trigger allergic responses for many people.
One of the best ways to cut down on the airborne allergens is to keep your HVAC filters clean. Be sure to check them at least every 30 days, possibly more often during high pollen or dust seasons.
HVAC maintenance is also important for reducing these airborne particulates. They settle into parts of your heating and cooling system, only to be picked back up by the circulating air. Regular maintenance will include cleaning the areas they most commonly collect.
People do not think of humidity as a primary cause of allergies. Very few people are actually allergic to water in the air. However, humidity plays a large role in controlling indoor air quality because of the environment it creates.
When the humidity in the house is too high, it creates a breeding ground for biological contaminants such as mildew and fungus to grow. These are known allergens for many people. Likewise, if the air is too dry, it creates an environment where dust, dirt, and other particulates stay airborne longer. This increases the effect they have on respiratory health including not only allergies but also asthma and other conditions.
The optimal indoor humidity is between 30% and 45%. This is enough to help your lungs work correctly while bringing dust and other allergens out of the air. However, it is not so high as to encourage spore growth. Using a dehumidifier in the summer months is imperative for controlling indoor allergies.
3. Volatile Organic Compounds
Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are chemicals found in many household sources. Many people do not think about these as causing allergy problems. They certainly affect air quality, the performance of your HVAC system, as well as influencing your allergies.
For instance, one of the most common VOCs is formaldehyde. This was listed as the Allergen of the Year in 2015 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society. It is found in furniture, linens, clothes, air fresheners, cleaners and more. And this is just one VOC of over 50 commonly found in the average home.
Insects are another huge source of allergens, even in a clean home. Think broadly about the word insects as not all are visible to the naked eye. The two primary sources of allergens from insects are from dust mites and cockroaches.
Dust mites are microscopic insects and are found in every home. The better you clean, the less of a problem they pose. However, the common areas they hide include mattresses, furniture, and bedding.
It is estimated that 78% to 98% of all homes in urban areas have cockroaches. The allergen from these critters comes from the saliva, feces, and shedding.
Most American families love pets, with an estimated 67% having at least one pet in the home. Non-aquatic animals contribute the most to allergies. Most pet-related allergies are associated with cats and dogs and the dander that comes off of them.
This dander can be controlled by maintaining proper humidity in the home, giving a quality diet, and regular grooming.
If you are ready to reduce your allergies this season, give the Indoor Air Quality Medics a call. We’ve been serving the Lorton area since 2011. Since that time, our customers have consistently raved about our HVAC service. Our team will evaluate your situation and offer the best solutions to improve your indoor air quality.
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