Winter allergies are nothing to sneeze at. They are very real, and for allergies sufferers, just as miserable as allergies during the other seasons. Winter allergies tend to happen because we seal up our homes tight in the colder months to prevent chilly outside air from entering our house. However, when your home is closed up from the outside air, that means there can potentially be a build-up of allergens and pollutants. In fact, our resident expert, Minnesota Air's Keith Hill, says that in some homes, mold and mildew are more prevalent in wintertime. Not to mention dust mites and pet dander. So how do you keep them out of your home?
Cleaning is top on the list for keeping winter allergies in check. That means more vacuuming, scrubbing, dusting, and more frequent washing of bedding. Keith says you may even want to wash or buy new pillows.
In addition to cleaning, being mindful of bringing any allergens into your home can go a long way. That means wiping shoes and leaving them at the door, stopping muddy and wet pets from tracking in dirt, and limiting wood-burning fires in your home.
“If you burn wood, that can trigger allergies,” says Keith. “It may not take much to trigger a problem, even if your neighbor is the one burning wood. The smoke lingering in the air outside can infiltrate in as your house breathes.”
Resolve Humidity Issues
If you’ve ever noticed condensation on a window or door, you may have a humidity problem. And humidity problems can lead to mold and mildew. Keith says when you see (or smell) mold and mildew forming in the winter could be a sign of a humidity issue that could be solved with a ventilator (HRV). Good ventilation and humidifiers/dehumidifiers can help keep your home’s moisture balance in check. Here is a list of some of the products found on the Stay Comfy Minnesota website that can help.
According to the Minnesota Department Of Health, the top areas where mold and water show up in your home are:
- Leaking roofs and ice dams
- High humidity in bathrooms and kitchens
- Leaking pipes
- Flooding in basement
- Pooling water at foundation
- Condensation on windows and exterior walls
Those are the areas to watch the most in the winter if you suspect you may have allergy issues.
Keep Pets Groomed
Another area not to overlook is how your pets can cause allergies to flare up – especially in the winter when dust mites and pet dander and hair are more concentrated in an enclosed house.
“Do what you can to address the issues head on,” says Keith. “Keep your pets groomed. Maybe take your pet to a professional groomer – outside your home.”
Buy A Better Filter
If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you’ll know that changing a filter regularly is one of the best things you can do for your HVAC system, your house, and your health. If you are new to the wonderful world of filters – here’s a quick guide to their importance. Changing your filter often, or upgrading to a high-efficiency filter can help capture more allergens, but Keith says that you should also take caution.
“A better filter may capture some of those allergens, but be careful – high-efficiency filters may also restrict the airflow,” he says. “Make sure your system can handle an allergen filter.”
That may mean checking with your manufacturer or an HVAC pro before purchasing a new high-efficiency filter to see if your system is compatible.
Invest In An Air Purifier
If you want to go all-out on allergy control, get a professional to install an air purifier – like the award-winning Carrier Infinity Air Purifier. It’s more than just a filter because it can capture and kill those tiny, microscopic pathogens like bacteria, mold, and viruses. In fact, the Infinity air purifier can clean the air inside your house as much as 8 times an hour! The only thing that will be suffering after you install an air purifier are those tiny mold spores.
Taking simple steps to improve the air quality in your home can really make a difference if you suffer from winter allergies. Talk to a professional about investing in a healthier home today!