There’s not much we can do to control the air outside our homes, but indoors, we’re the boss of our air quality.
Here are a few tips to help reduce allergens in your home.
Use MERV-rated HEPA HVAC filters and change them regularly
A home’s heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system, or HVAC, is designed with filters that primarily function to protect the system from debris entering it. Standard filters won’t trap microparticles like pollens.
High-energy particulate air filters, or HEPA filters, are made from densely packed layers of fiberglass that block these tiny particulates. Additionally, look for HEPA filters that use MERV ratings (minimum efficiency reporting system). MERV ratings run from 1 to 12, with a higher the number indicating greater ability to capture smaller particles.
Generally, a MERV rating of 10 or higher is best for allergy sufferers. Consult with an HVAC specialist to know what’s optimal for your home and system.
Use a home air purifier.
A proper HEPA filter is a good first line of defense for improved air quality, but to really “clean” the air, you need a home air purifier.
Experts recommend that when researching an air purifier some of the first things to consider are room coverage area, air-quality concerns, filter availability/cost, and warranty. Noise level is also important, especially for bedrooms, so look for units that are “quiet operation” and not just at its lowest setting.
Remove tree and shrub litter from around your HVAC unit
A properly functioning HVAC is your first step to better indoor air quality. With all the blooms and pollen that drop in spring, its almost deserving to have been named fall. Debris buildup reduces a unit’s efficiency by blocking airflow and can actually cause your unit to age more quickly.
Blocked airflow can also raise your power bill. Spring is an important time to make sure the area around your unit is clear. With the unit off, remove any debris within at least 2 feet of the unit’s base.
Keep your windows closed and HVAC on
We crave some fresh airflow with the windows open, but not with pollen ratings of “high” these days. If the air in your home feels stale, run your HVAC in fan mode for circulation.
Clear pathways to your entries
If you don’t remove your shoes when entering your home, clear paths of debris leading up to your door to reduce tracking pollen and other allergens into your home.