Suffering from indoor allergies can be a year-round problem in this region because the five most common allergy triggers can survive all year in this climate. Fortunately, many can be controlled through mechanical means to alleviate the allergic response, lessening the symptoms of those reactions.
Dust mites are one of the most common allergy triggers indoors. Dust mites eat dead skin cells and reach high populations indoors, especially in bedrooms and closets.
Mold can trigger allergies and asthma, and it thrives in warm, moist environments. Besides being a common allergen, some forms can cause serious diseases or reactions.
Pet dander is nothing more than the shed skin cells from dogs, cats and other pets.
Pest Feces is not only an allergen, but insects themselves can spread diseases like staph and salmonella. Since this region has mild winters, roach populations are active year-round.
Pollen from inconspicuous flowers can trigger allergies and asthma. Grasses, trees and shrubs create more airborne pollen than large, colorful, or highly scented flowers.
Air purification systems can ease suffering from indoor allergies because they trap the particulates that cause them. Purifiers that use ultraviolet (UV) lights also eliminate allergies caused by mold spores, as well mitigating the harmful side effects of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
UV rays alter the DNA of mold spores, viruses and bacteria, making it impossible for them to reproduce. The rays render VOCs less toxic, which eases respiratory distress.
Many air purification systems use filters that trap the most common allergy triggers. They can be part of your central HVAC system or smaller portable devices used to clean the air in one space only. A central air purifier improves air quality throughout your home and will relieve the symptoms by reducing the airborne particulate load indoors. A central air purifier often costs less to operate in terms of energy consumption and filter replacement than using several portable purifiers.
Learn more about Air Specialty’s indoor air quality solutions for those suffering from indoor allergies, or contact us today at 251-545-3337 to discuss all your home comfort needs.
Allergy season in Saraland brings discomfort to thousands of our friends, neighbors, and pets. Indoor ventilation and recirculated air are perfect breeding grounds for the most common allergy triggers. Luckily, there are steps you can take to minimize the presence of allergy sources within your home.
Common Indoor Allergy Triggers
Here are five indoor allergens that every southwest Alabama homeowner should be aware of and take steps to minimize:
Dust mites – Many people are allergic to dust mite droppings. Dust mites thrive in warm, moist environments, so our climate is perfect for them.
Pet dander – Pet dander is a protein in pet saliva that triggers allergic reactions in many people. It’s sticky and hangs around on pet hair, furniture and the clothing of people who come into contact with pets.
Pollen – We have something blooming almost every month of the year. Good ventilation keeps indoor air fresh, but it can also bring pollen into your home if outdoor air isn’t filtered as it comes inside.
Mold – Mold and mold spores can trigger allergic reactions and sometimes serious illnesses in sensitive people. Mold thrives in damp areas such as crawl spaces and bathrooms.
Cockroaches – A protein in cockroach droppings causes allergic reactions in many people. Everyone along the Gulf Coast knows how roaches love our warm, damp environment.
Improve Indoor Air Quality
Here are a few tips for improving your home’s indoor air quality so your family can avoid many allergies:
Clean frequently. Vacuum carpets, upholstery and registers to remove dust and pet hair. Sweep and mop hard floors. Use mild bleach to remove mold in showers and tubs.
Get adequate ventilation. Open windows on mild days to enjoy fresh air. Change the air filter frequently. Ask your HVAC pro if HEPA filters will work in your HVAC system.
Consider a whole-house air purifier. A free-standing air purifier or equipment integrated with your HVAC system can remove many of the allergens from your indoor air.
The ideal comfort zone for indoor humidity is 35 to 50 percent. As cold air holds less moisture than warm air, winter air can be 15% dryer than spring and summer air. How does this impact your health? In most homes without humidifiers, indoor relatively humidity is well below the 35 to 50 percent zone, resulting in mild to severe health related concerns.
Maintaining the right humidity level is a great preventive measure against getting a cold or the flu because bacteria and viruses thrive at both very high and very low humidity, but they don’t do so well in the mid zone. Moist air is also needed to prevent uncomfortable conditions such as itchy skin and dry nasal passages so common during the winter.
As humidity drops, the air saps moisture out of everything in the room. This can cause the wallpaper to peel, hardwood floors to crack and shrink, and expensive musical instruments to become damaged. Static electricity also builds up more, giving you power in your fingertips that could zap sensitive electronics when you touch the power button. By preventing these scenarios, one of the most profound benefits of a humidifier is that it helps protect your sensitive belongings.
Lower Energy Bills
You already know that low humidity causes evaporation to speed up. In addition to drying out wood products, this also more readily evaporates moisture from your skin. The result is a cooling effect, the last thing you want in winter. When the air is more saturated, it wicks less moisture from your skin, helping you feel warmer even if you set the thermostat down a degree or two.
If you’re ready to enjoy these benefits of a humidifier, please contact Air Speciality to schedule a whole-house indoor air quality inspection. Unlike a portable unit, a whole-house humidifier keeps the entire home at a comfortable humidity level so you can enjoy the benefits in every room.
In our hot and humid climate, it’s important to know the likely life span of your air conditioner so you can plan ahead for its replacement if it begins to fail. It’s the one appliance that delivers the cooled air that makes summers habitable. These mechanical symptoms can help you estimate your system’s health:
Energy consumption is up. If your electric bills are rising for no apparent reason, your cooling system may be aging. Over time, the parts inside the air conditioner wear out. As they do, they use electricity less efficiently, driving up energy bills. One of the best ways to prevent reduced performance over time is to have your appliance serviced by a trusted HVAC technician who can evaluate the condition of its components. Annual maintenance also extends the life span of a central cooling system because the parts are kept clean and adjusted.
The A/C is over 10 years old. Today’s cooling systems offer better efficiency than older equipment. If you need a repair, the money you put into it might be better spent if you devote it to an entirely new system, especially if yours uses R-22 refrigerant. This refrigerant is being phased out and the cost of recharging it will continue to go up.
High indoor humidity. Although humidity removal is a side benefit of most air conditioners, the humidity level can predict air conditioner life span. Generally, systems that are too large don’t remove as much humidity because they run for shorter periods than one that’s properly sized. The water vapor in your home condenses when it passes over the cold evaporator coil inside the air handler. A system that’s too large won’t run long enough for much of your home’s air to pass over the coil, resulting in higher humidity. It also won’t last as long, since frequent starts and stops put a strain on all its parts and increase energy consumption.
The pros at Air Specialty can help evaluate the remaining air conditioner life span of your cooling system, along with advising you on its overall performance. We proudly provide HVAC services for homeowners in Saraland, Ala., Mobile, Ala. and Lucedale, Miss.
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