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5 QUICK AND EASY WAYS TO BEAT THE 2019 ALLERGY SEASON

Meadow-with-wild-flowersNo, it’s not your imagination. Each year, the allergy season is getting longer and more intense. In fact, many predict that 2019 will be the worse pollen season on record for states throughout the East Coast and Midwest. Chicago, Indianapolis and Cincinnati are just a few of the cities where allergens are expected to be particularly profuse. 

“Higher nationwide temperatures and wetter weather are the main culprits behind extended year-after-year allergy seasons,” said Ken Summers, co-founder of Comfort Institute, an international home health and comfort training and research organization. “And while there is little we can do to eliminate the allergens floating around outside, there are several quick and easy things people can do to reduce their allergy-related symptoms while inside the home.

Summers suggests allergy sufferers take the following actions to make their home healthier and happier this allergy season:

1.  Clean your ductwork. While your HVAC system’s ductwork may be hidden from view, over time, it can become lined with a layer of dust and other sneeze-evoking allergens that can be easily spread throughout the house. Rule of thumb dictates that you have your ducts cleaned every three to five years but every home is different. Your local HVAC expert can quickly inspect your duct system to determine if it’s time to have your ducts cleaned.

2.  Seal your ductwork. Once you have your ducts cleaned, make sure they are sealed tight. Leaks in the ductwork can suck in contaminants from behind walls, inside the garage and attic or other undesirable places, and then spread them into rooms throughout the home. New aerosol-based duct sealing methods are highly effective at sealing leaks throughout the entire duct system – not just the parts that are accessible by hand. Best of all, this method usually takes just a single afternoon to complete.

3.  Set fan to “on.” Now that your ductwork is sealed, you can run the AC/Furnace fan with confidence. Leaving your fan on 24/7 during allergy season ensures cleaner air, as it is drawn the air through your HVAC system’s filter and/or UV light system.

4.  Change the filter. This is the perfect first-step to ring in each allergy season. A high-efficiency furnace filter can remove many of the fine particles of pollen, dust and other allergens that would otherwise circulate throughout the home. It’s recommended that you replace the furnace filter every 90 days or so.

5.  Monitor your home’s humidity. Humidity is the fuel that drives mold and fosters dust mites. To thwart these allergy-causing culprits, the CDC recommends you keep humidity levels below 50%. You can use a humidity meter (or hygrometer) to measure moisture levels in the air and a dehumidifier to keep it at an optimal level. Also be sure the exhaust fan is working properly in the bathroom and other rooms where moisture may be of particular concern.

“Recent studies have shown that the air quality inside the home is often three to five times worse than outdoors,” said Summers. “So while many of us stay inside when allergy symptoms are particularly bad, this may actually make those symptoms worse – unless you take steps to maximize the indoor air quality of your home. Luckily for all of us, improving indoor air quality can be a fast and simple process.

For more information about ways to improve indoor comfort or information on the Comfort Institute visit comfortinstitute.org/blog/.

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