We’ve covered the importance of indoor air quality on this blog before. As we mentioned, indoor space like a house can develop its own host of problems independent from the outside air, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to the constant changes that the outside air brings as the seasons change. So as we move farther into spring, we’re taking a look at some of the most troublesome allergens that pester Central Texas residents around this time of the year. Read on to see what you can do to keep these allergens out of your indoor air.
Thankfully for many, the huge spike in mountain cedar that makes sufferers miserable in the winter months dies out just as spring is starting up. But March brings in a host of new allergens such as grasses, pecan, and a huge spike in oak. Mold, ever-present year round, hits a low point in winter but begins to peak again around late spring, and traces of ash, sycamore, mulberry, willow, elm, and mesquite show up briefly in these months.
Symptoms can include overproduction of mucus, inflammation of nasal tissue, sneezing, itchy eyes, and even bronchial contraction and asthma in some individuals. While you might feel the effects of these allergens most dramatically when you go outside or open your windows, you’ve probably noticed that even closing up your home and running the a/c doesn’t completely do away with their symptoms. So what can you do if you suffer from these allergies?
One way to reduce the amount of allergens in your home—both from outdoor and indoor sources—is to use an air cleaner. These are devices that draw air in and, through one of several different processes, remove airborne pollutants as the air passes through. There are all kinds of models available, from small tabletop models to the large investment of a whole-house system. While air cleaners don’t remove all pollutants—they aren’t recommended for gas pollutants or radon and its decay products—they can be very effective when it comes to airborne allergens in your home.
This effectiveness varies a great deal from one model to the next, though. It’s measured by the quantity of air the device draws in, as well as how well the device collects pollutants from the air it draws in. If you’re on the market for an air cleaner, it’s best to research any model before you buy it to make sure it excels in both these categories.
One final note: as we’ve mentioned previously in this blog, there are several claims going around the internet about houseplants being effective at cleaning indoor air. While having houseplants generally won’t hurt, there has been no evidence suggesting they have any significant effects on indoor air. If you do have houseplants though, be sure not to overwater them. This can lead to the growth of mold which will add another allergen to your indoor air.
So if you’re in Central Texas and suffering from seasonal allergies right now, it may be a good idea to look into an air cleaner for your home. Having your A/C unit running optimally can also help keep allergens out, so if you feel your unit needs an inspection or tune-up, give us a call!