How to Minimize Summer Allergies in Your Home 609

It’s hard to argue with all the benefits of summer, but one thing we could all live without is allergies. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot anyone can do about the conditions outside during allergy season. What you can do is improve air quality and reduce summer allergies inside your home with these simple strategies:

  • Open your windows to improve air circulation and reduce dust and mold. You may want to keep an eye on the pollen count, however, so you can leave the windows shut on days when pollen is high.
  • Run your bathroom vent fan during and for a few minutes after showering. This will lessen the excess moisture that can lead to mold growth. If you do spot mold, you can remove it with a sponge and a solution of bleach and water.
  • Upgrade to higher-efficiency air conditioner filters, and have extras on hand so you can change them when they get dirty. High-efficiency filters do more for your air quality, catching allergens like dust, pollen, mold spores and pet dander much more effectively than low-quality filters. During the cooling season, filters generally need to be changed every one to three months.
  • Have your air ducts professionally sealed. Cracks, holes and loose connections can develop in ductwork over time, potentially allowing all sorts of fumes and particles into your air.
  • Wash your bedding weekly in 130-degree water to kill dust mites, and if you have thick carpet and upholstered furniture, vacuum them often. Better yet, replace carpet with tile or hardwood floors, and choose vinyl or leather over upholstered furniture.
  • If you have pets, it’s best to keep them outdoors. If you can’t bring yourself to evict pets from your house, at least try to keep them out of your bedroom. Brush them off any time they come in from the outdoors, and take them outside for a thorough bath at least once a week.
  • When you come indoors, take off your shoes to avoid tracking pollen and other allergens into your house.
  • Have your HVAC cleaned and serviced annually. Air conditioners in particular should be serviced in springtime, before the start of both the cooling and allergy seasons. This will remove the previous year’s worth of particle buildup in your heating and cooling system, as well as improving energy efficiency and extending the lifespan of your HVAC.
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