While many allergy sufferers will no doubt head indoors this spring to avoid the pollen and other allergens in the air, they may want to think again.
According to the EPA, the air inside the average home is up to five times more polluted than the air outside, and contaminants like dust, pet dander, mold and bacteria are often the culprit. While the methods for improving indoor air quality can vary depending on the specific issues involved, it doesn’t require a lot of time or energy to make an immediate impact.
To help time-starved allergy sufferers clear the air in a quick and efficient manner, Jennifer Hammons, a certified indoor environmentalist with Lennox Industries – a leading provider of customized home comfort solutions, offers the following five tips for improving the indoor air you breathe in as little as 30 minutes:
1. Toss the Sheets in the Washer – Most people wash their bed sheets regularly, but many may not realize they should be using the “hot wash” setting. Washing sheets once a week in water that is at least 150 degrees will kill and remove dust mites that can lead to allergic reactions and respiratory problems. By the time the remaining steps below are completed, the sheets will be clean and ready to dry. Time involved: 3 minutes
2. Kick the Chemicals Out of the House – Vapors from common household chemicals and cleaning supplies can cause a variety of health issues. Instead of storing them under the sink or in a closet, put them outside or in a tightly sealed container. In addition, store unused or partially used paint containers outside of the home, as they too can emit harmful gases. Time involved: 5 minutes
3. Change the Furnace Filter – Changing the air filter in a home’s furnace once a month not only helps ensure the air you breathe is cleaner, but it also can help prolong the life of the heating and cooling system. Rather than choose a basic fiberglass panel filter, look for a pleated air filter with a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating of 10 or higher, which will help capture small particles, protect and improve the performance of your heating and cooling system, and make the air in a home cleaner. Time involved: 2 minutes
4. Run the Right Type of Vacuum – Vacuuming once a week is important to a clean home, but vacuum cleaners can sometimes distribute more allergens into the air than they pick up. Be sure to use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which will trap small particles like dust that other vacuum cleaners can re-circulate back into the air. Time involved: 10 minutes
5. Clean Hard Surfaces – Instead of commercial cleaning supplies, which can aggravate allergies and contribute to poor indoor air quality, use safer alternatives, such as baking soda, borax, cornstarch or white vinegar, when cleaning countertops, hardwood floors and other furniture surfaces. Time involved: 10 minutes
Lennox Industries is a leading provider of customized home comfort systems, residential generators and indoor air quality products that are designed to deliver customized comfort, efficiency and functionality, with the most innovative and reliable features available. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy have selected Lennox as an ENERGY STAR Manufacturer of the Year four out of six years for its outstanding contribution to developing and promoting energy-efficient products. For more information about Lennox home comfort products, visit www.Lennox.com or call 1-800-9-LENNOX.