Dealing with respiratory allergies and other conditions that are triggered by allergens can be complicated, especially for families with allergen-sensitive children. There are some simple steps, however, that you can take to minimize the allergens in your home.
Replace Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Filters
Not only will changing your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) filters help eliminate allergens from your home, but it will improve the lifespan of your HVAC system. It's one of the simplest changes you can make to improve your home's health.
When you shop for HVAC filters, look for a model that is designed to capture microscopic particles including bacteria, mold spores and pollen. Pleated filters increase the amount of surface area where these particles can be electrostatically captured.
Another simple tip that can improve your HVAC filter's performance is have smokers smoke outside. Smoking indoors creates air particle levels that are several times higher than non-smoking homes.
Use a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filter on Your Vacuum
Controlling the dust in your home can be crucial to preventing allergens from accumulating, and vacuuming twice a week is the simplest, most effective way of controlling irritating dust. You can maximize the effectiveness of your vacuum cleaner if you use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. HEPA filters are able to trap 99.97% of the particles that are .3 microns and larger, which means you will catch far more allergens like pet dander, dust or pollen than you would with a standard filter.
Don't be fooled by generic filters that are labeled as "HEPA-type" filters. A true HEPA filter will have a serial number and display HEPA test results on the package.
If some of your family members struggle with respiratory problems like asthma, you may want the additional assurance of an air purifier to keep your air clean. Tabletop air purifiers are less expensive options, and they can be transported from room to room as needed. However, whole-room air purification units have larger filters and collecting plates, so they do a better job of cleaning the air.
Make sure that the unit you choose fits your room's dimensions. A smaller unit in a large room will not be effective. Also, avoid models that generate ozone as part of the cleaning operation. As you shop, look for a higher clean-air delivery rate (CADR) number. The higher the number, the stronger the air-cleaning power of your unit.