How to Improve Air Quality & Reduce Allergens in Your Home

How to Improve Air Quality & Reduce Allergens in Your Home

Whether your allergies peak in spring, summer, or fall, or you’re someone interested in cleaning the air in your home for other health reasons, improving your air quality is of extreme importance to today’s homeowners! Good air quality in your home contributes to better health and sleep, easier breathing, and reduced odors too, so taking time to invest in improving your air is more than worth it in the long run. Here are our top tips to improve air quality & reduce allergens in your home no matter what time of year!

Air Filters and Purifiers

What’s the difference between an air filter and an air purifier, you ask? While air filters (like the one in your HVAC system) trap and literally “filter” out particles, sophisticated air purifiers have an electric charge that attracts pollutants and neutralizes them using a variety of mechanisms such as UV, ionic fields, or activated carbon adsorption. Many also use an additional filtration system that is much more robust than the typical HVAC filter, so it can capture even the tiniest particles. On the other hand, air purifiers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes so that they can be placed in rooms throughout your home without drawing too much attention. Popular air purifiers include Molekule, Air Doctor, and Levoit.

As a result of the Coronavirus, Middlefork has worked with clients to install HEPA hospital-grade air filtration systems as part of their HVAC solution, which help trap most airborne particles harmful to your health.  These include bacteria, droplet nuclei, mold spores, and fungi.  All the HEPA filters are designed to promote superior indoor air quality by removing sub-micron-level particles.  We have also installed UV light sanitizers in conjunction with the HEPA filters.  UV light for HVAC systems is installed either in the air handler or in the ductwork.  When germs move through the central air system, they eventually make it to the sanitizing light.  Once the germs are exposed to the light, they absorb the light’s UV rays, which disrupt the DNA of the germ.  Both of these can be installed after the HVAC system has been installed in your home.

Remember to change your furnace filter

This one might seem obvious, but it’s something that people often forget! Changing your furnace filter is your #1 defense against airborne allergens so they don’t continue to circulate in your home. However, depending on the type and size of the air filter, there are different intervals at which you need to replace them. The general rule of thumb is that air filters need to be replaced every 1-3 months for a 1-2 inch filter or every 6-9 months for a 3-4 inch filter.  Of course, there are always exceptions depending on the type of filter you buy, so make sure to read the label the next time you replace yours!

Dust ceiling fan blades

Of course, regular dusting is essential to reduce allergens in your home, but dusting your ceiling fans is of particular importance! The purpose of a ceiling fan is to circulate air, so if there’s anything sitting on your fan…you’ll be circulating that, too! Here’s a pro tip for mess-less ceiling fan dusting: take a pillowcase, open it up, and place it over a single blade of your fan. Firmly press down on the top and sides of the blade as you slide the pillowcase off and all the dust will fall directly into the pillowcase instead of on the floor or furniture below! 

Wash pillow coverings

We all spend a lot of time snuggled up with pillows, whether they’re on our bed, couch, window seats, or wherever! This makes them the ultimate place for things like dust mites and dead skin cells to build up, which is not only gross but also contributes to many peoples’ allergies. Wash bed pillowcases at least once per week and try to clean the other pillows around your house every couple of weeks too, whether that means throwing their covers in the wash, vacuuming them off, or at the very least giving them a good shakedown outside. 

Ditch the shoes at the door

Think about all the things your shoes step on during the day; do you really want to be bringing that into your home? The bottoms of your shoes can easily collect toxins, bacteria, and other substances that can wreak havoc on your allergies (and not to mention, your immune system!). Make a goal to take off your shoes immediately upon entering the house, whether that means simply carrying them inside to the closet or investing in a handy organizational system in your entryway or mudroom so you can conveniently slip off your shoes without having to think about it. 

Get with the greenery

Certain types of indoor plants can have a big impact on air quality! However, the key word there is certain types; A.K.A. some types of plants can contribute to allergens, particularly those that have high amounts of pollen. Opt for low-pollen houseplants like English ivy, snake plants, bamboo palms, or aloe vera (these plants are also well-known for their hardiness, so you won’t have a hard time keeping them alive!).