Healthy Clean Air | Healthy Air |

Fall Allergies: Common Culprits and How To Manage Your Exposure

2 minute read

Fall brings changing leaves, cool breezes, chilly nights, pumpkin everything, football games, and…ragweed season! (sigh) Purifying the air in your home is the first step in reducing fall allergies for you and your family. Keep reading to see how fall allergies typically present themselves and to learn some of the best ways to optimize air purification and improve your Indoor Air Quality to achieve a Healthy Home.

Indoor Air Quality: Fixing Fall Allergies 

Ragweed is the biggest allergy trigger during the fall season, followed closely by mold. Mold spores and ragweed travel easily through the air and can cause the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Stuffy nose
  • Chest congestion
  • Dry, persistent cough

If you or a family member suffer from these symptoms during the fall months, it’s time to double check your Indoor Air Quality. Here are some steps you can take right away:

HVAC Check

Your HVAC and air purification systems do a lot to improve your Indoor Air Quality by filtering fresh air from the outside into your home. It’s important to hire a technician to do an inspection to ensure everything is running properly before you start running your heat in the cooler fall temperatures.

Run your HVAC

Once your HVAC is all checked out, it’s very important to continue using it even as the temperatures drop. As tempting as it is to shut off your A/C unit and open up the windows, it could mean serious problems for your Indoor Air Quality with the amount of pollen and other particles that can enter your home. The air conditioner helps to filter the air as it comes into your home, so even running those systems with their internal fans can be preferable to just opening the windows.

Replace Filters

It can be a pain, but be sure to change the filters in your air systems to get the highest quality air in your home. Most filters should be cleaned or changed every 30-60 days. With Aprilaire air purifiers, you need to change the filters only once per year.

Use a Humidifier

With cooler temperatures and the use of your heater, the air in your home can become dry and irritating. Remember to keep your home’s humidity level between 30-50%, with the help of a humidifier if necessary. A humidifier adds water vapor to the air to improve your Indoor Air Quality and prevent symptoms such as dry skin, nosebleeds, sinus problems, and dry eyes.

If you’re still looking for a way to rid your home of pollutants, contact one of our air quality professionals to perform a thorough test so you can enjoy your cozy fall days inside.

Healthy Clean Air | Environment |

Top 5 Summer Allergens Invading The Home

2 minute read

Top 5 Summer Allergens

Summer Allergen #1: Pollen

  • Six out of ten people are exposed to pollen trapped indoors

Summer Allergen #2: Dust Mites

  • An estimated 10% of the general population, and 90% of people with allergic asthma, are sensitive to dust mites

Summer Allergen #3: Pet Dander

  • An estimated 10% of the entire population may be allergic to pet dander

Summer Allergen #4: Mold

  • Roughly 15% of Americans are allergic to mold. Moisture control is the most important strategy for reducing indoor allergens from mold growth

Summer Allergen #5: Mildew

  • Scientists have identified over 1,000 types of mold and mildew inside houses in the United States

Prevent Irritants from Entering Your Home

Take measures to reduce allergens by making sure dust, dirt, and other pollutants are prevented from entering the house. Remove shoes before entering the household. Be sure to close and windows and doors during high pollen days. Do not allow smoking indoors.

Install a Whole-Home Air Purifier System

Whole-home air purifier systems remove up to 99% of airborne allergens and contaminants (even those one micron in size) and are 40 times more efficient than a standard furnace filter. This system removes allergens such as dust, dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, pollen, viruses, fungi, mold, and other dangerous substances from the air throughout the entire home.

Maintain Humidity Levels at Home

Whole-home humidifiers and dehumidifiers can help control allergens with the perfect level of moisture—one in which dust mites, mold, and mildew are not likely to survive.

Healthy Clean Air | Environment |

Spring Cleaning for Your Indoor Air

2 minute read

One of the best parts of annual spring cleaning is the chance to open up and air out the house. It feels good to clean up the dust, flush out stale odors, and take a breath of fresh air. However, soon enough, rising temperatures will mean it’s time to turn on the A/C and close up the house again. Start thinking about what you can do to improve your home’s Indoor Air Quality. Check out these tips and suggestions for keeping your indoor air pure and fresh.

Ditch the Chemicals and Scents

Many household cleaners, air fresheners, and even scented candles can fill your home with harmful Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These VOCs irritate asthma symptoms and other respiratory conditions. One solution is to opt for more traditional cleaners, like vinegar, and use dried potpourri instead of aerosol fragrances. When you begin spring cleaning, properly dispose of or use up what’s left of harsh chemicals and replace your stock with alternatives.

Whole-Home Air Purification

High-efficiency air purifiers, installed as part of your home’s HVAC system, can drastically cut down on dust, allergens, bacteria, and viruses. Unlike room air purifiers, whole-home systems improve the air throughout the entire house on-demand and anytime the air conditioner is running. Noticeably cut down on dust for a cleaner, more comfortable home and a healthier environment for family members with asthma, allergies, or breathing problems.

Whole-Home Ventilation

All homes—especially newer construction—can build up high concentrations of VOCs along with bad odors, smoke, and excess humidity. All of these conditions can greatly impact health and comfort as well as damage your home. Whole-home ventilation solutions expel dirty air and replace it with fresh, outdoor air without negatively impacting your energy bill. Just because your A/C is running doesn’t mean your home should be filled with stale, unhealthy air.

 

Environment |

Summer’s Most Common Bugs

2 minute read

When it comes to a love of humidity, humans and pests are on opposite ends of the spectrum. While we tend to despise air that is thick with heat and water vapor, most bugs actually thrive in it and need it to live.

Unfortunately, this means that the impending summer humidity in certain parts of the country is about to bring these summer pests out in a big way.

Summer’s Most Common Pests

Cockroaches

The German cockroach is the most common roach species infesting our homes in North America. They are attracted to warm and humid places, making your kitchen and the water heater in the basement their most frequented hideaways.

Silverfish

These small, wingless insects are nocturnal and need to keep their bodies moist at all times in order to survive. You are likely to find them beneath boxes or furniture in your basement, the shower, or hiding in your kitchen.

Centipedes

Carnivorous and nocturnal, with their 100 feet, these pests can move quickly and spend most of the day hiding in humid, secluded places. They are highly attracted to the moist, humid parts of the home because they need to rehydrate constantly in order to live.

Earwigs

Known to burrow into topsoil outside, these nocturnal bugs can also infiltrate dark and humid areas of your home. You are most likely to find them around floor drains, bathrooms, or under rugs or furniture.

Roly-Poly Bugs

Also known as pill bugs, sow bugs, potato bugs, or armadillo bugs, these bugs often infest damp basements.

Tips to Prevent/Eliminate Summer Pests:

Healthy Home |

Professionals Needed: Here Are The Home Projects You Should Never DIY

2 minute read

So you bought your first house and can’t wait to rip up that crummy carpet. Go for it! But if you hit dirt, you might need to call in backup. As more millennials take the plunge into home ownership, it’s becoming more and more common to see DIY projects big and small. Things like carpet removal are doable. But no matter how many tips and tricks you’ve picked up from HGTV, Pinterest, or YouTube, there are some projects that simply aren’t worth the money, time, or risk to do yourself.

Setting Limits on DIY Home Projects

Skill Level for DIY Home Projects:

For some people, DIY is a way of life. For the rest of us, we need to be honest about our skills and level of experience. Sometimes a “simple” job can actually be a lot more complex than it appears. Hire a professional for these projects before you try it yourself and make a mistake that costs way more to fix.

  • Paving your driveway
  • Custom kitchen and bathroom jobs – backsplashes, flooring, countertops
  • Pest removal
  • Window Installation

Time Commitment for DIY Home Projects:

Some home improvement jobs can take weeks to complete when you try to do them yourself. For big projects, hiring a professional will mean a quicker and more efficient job done well so you can get back to enjoying your home without interruptions.

  • Large landscaping projects
  • Flooring
  • Demolition

Permission for DIY Home Projects:

Some home improvement projects require permits due to building codes. Save yourself the headache, and possible code violation, by hiring a professional who’s familiar with the process when it comes to these types of jobs.

  • Additions and remodels
  • Deck or patio addition
  • Major electrical/plumbing work
  • Pool installation and repairs

Safety Risk for DIY Home Projects:

If there’s any question of your ability to do something without injury or structural damage to your home, it’s most definitely a job for a professional.

  • Mold, asbestos, lead removal
  • Tree removal
  • Roof and foundation repairs
  • HVAC system installation and repair

When you’ve decided you need a pro, try to keep the process simple to save you time and headaches. Start by reaching out to a few trusted contractors in your area to get estimates on the work, (recommendations from friends are a great place to start) and then consider price and professionalism before making your decision.

When it comes to HVAC work, we make it easy to find a pro. Along with plumbing and electrical work, HVAC is an area where it’s crucial to get the job done right the first time.

Sources:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/millennials-take-on-diy-projects-with-more-confidence-and-budgeting-discipline-than-previous-generations-300813538.html

https://www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/10-home-projects-you-should-always-hire-a-pro-for/

https://www.ahs.com/home-matters/quick-tips/8-household-projects-to-leave-to-professionals/

https://www.rd.com/home/improvement/diy-home-improvement-projects/

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/projects-you-should-not-diy_n_3923456

https://www.hallerent.com/blog/when-to-call-professional-for-home-improvement-repairs/

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OAS

AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

Foods That Can Trigger Ragweed Allergies Causing OAS

2 minute read

Oral Allergy Syndrome

Are you one of the 23 million Americans who suffer from a ragweed allergy? Ragweed is everywhere in the U.S., especially in eastern and midwestern states. Its season starts late in July and early August and ends in mid-October. This common allergen can feel impossible to escape. While a ragweed-producing plant typically lives for only one season, each plant can release up to 1 billion pollen grains that have the potential to travel great distances on the wind. And being outside on a day with elevated ragweed counts isn’t the only way you might be affected. It can also travel into your home on the foods you eat causing Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS).

Foods and Oral Allergy Syndrome

“Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) is a form of a contact allergic reaction that occurs upon contact of the mouth and throat with raw fruits or vegetables. The most frequent symptoms of OAS include itchiness or swelling of the mouth, face, lip, tongue, and throat. Symptoms usually appear immediately after eating raw fruits or vegetables, although in rare cases, the reaction can occur more than an hour later…OAS can occur at any time of the year.”

American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology

Foods that may cause OAS in a person with a ragweed allergy include:

  • Banana
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew melon
  • Watermelon
  • Chamomile tea
  • Cucumber and zucchini
  • Honey that contains pollen
  • Sunflower seeds
  • White potato

Eating these foods, especially during allergy season, can result in any of the following symptoms:

  • Itchy throat/tingling sensation
  • Watery eyes
  • Stuffy nose
  • Swollen lips

How to Avoid OAS

In order to manage your OAS symptoms, it’s important to avoid eating any of these foods raw. Baking, cooking, or microwaving food reduces cross-reactions because the high temperatures break down the proteins that cause OAS.

Peeling foods before eating helps remove the high concentration of proteins found on the skin. And canning your fruits and vegetables or eating canned produce can also limit your reaction.

Talk to your doctor if you experience any adverse reactions when consuming raw fruits and vegetables. They can help you identify your allergies and learn how to avoid them.