Updated: Apr 17
Pollen? Dander? Dust?
Or is it just something in the air this time of year that makes sneezing part of our everyday routine?
As we enter the height of the pollen season, we also enter the height of allergy season. Some of us go so far as to shut ourselves into the safety of our homes. We bar the doors, slam the windows shut and celebrate knowing that the pollen can't get in (although it always finds a way).
We can't just hide from our allergies. Especially this time of year. It's finally warm enough to get outside but those little pollen packed, airborne buzz-kills are everywhere (I'm actually sitting in my backyard enjoying the transition from snow to sun here in Colorado) and the last place we should suffer is inside our own homes.
So what can you do? How can you keep the dust and the pollen and whatever else that's out to get you from infiltrating your home?
A lot of us have the thermostat set to auto and that's that. When the temperature rises or falls beyond a certain point, the fan kicks on and gets the air moving so you can get comfortable.
But did you know that leaving your air stagnant, waiting for that next fan cycle to kick in actually keeps particulates (fancy word for stuff floating in the air) in a state where they are hanging around in little cloud, waiting to attack your face and send you into a sneezing frenzy?
Tip 1: Turn on the fan (not necessarily the AC or the furnace) and get your air moving – install a floor fan – anything to keep the air circulating. You'd be surprised at how well your home's HVAC system is designed to pull air from all areas of the home, filter it, and push it back out into a new space.
Wait...filter the air?
Being the wannabe-handyman that I am, I was recently made aware as to how important that 16" x 21" x 1" piece of cotton paper really is when our furnace decided to stop working on one of the coldest weeks we had this past winter. Turns out the filter was so full that my furnace decided to bow out to spare itself from working too hard (please, take it easy furnace, I would hate for you to overdo it 🙄).
Your air filter can mean the difference between sneezing lots and not sneezing at all. I'm not kidding. The right filter can filter out pollen, yeast cells, molds, dust, tobacco smoke, bacteria and even influenza H1N1. (Remember Swine Flu?)
Tip 2: The Peak Health Advantage™ offers a service where they'll come out and measure all of your return vents and custom fit sub-micron air filters (the ones that also filter stuff invisible to the naked eye like bacteria and influenza) to each of the returns in your house. Head to their website with the link above and check out their service. You wont be sorry.
Air Filter Placement
Those filters you get from the store are usually cut out for being attached to the air-pump (on the furnace), at the source level. But what if I told you that there's a better way to filter your air? What I've found is that filtering your air at the return level yields much better results in terms of efficiency and filtration.
Return vents: suck air in.
Supply vents: push air out.
Filtering at the return has its advantages. One of them being that the only air passing through your ducts is filtered air. If your returns aren't filtered, all of those particulates and dust just end up building up and eventually, it all comes right back out.
Tip 3: Filter your air at your return vents and you can be sure that all of the air being pushed through your ducts and eventually back out into your home is clean, allergy-safe air.
Bonus Tip: If you book a Peak Health Advantage™ appointment now you can get a free Healthy Home Analysis. They'll test the quality of your air and give you some personalized recommendations for how you can keep your family's allergies at bay.
If you know anyone that suffers from allergies this time of year, share this post with them using the social links below.