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Experts are saying that the spring of 2012 could be the worst season we’ve ever seen for allergies.  “The seasons are getting longer—they're starting earlier and pollens are getting released earlier,” says Dr. Stanley Fineman, president-elect of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and an allergist at the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic. 1

Aaron Marshbanks, a board member of National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NDCA) states, “When the house is closed up for the winter, pollutants in the air have nowhere to go.  Then spring rolls around, and the natural thing to do is open up your windows and bring new air into your home.  However, this is when allergy season is at its highest, and you’re welcoming new pollutants into your home and contaminating your air with pollens.” 2

Your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system is a vehicle through which pollutants are blown throughout your home many times each day. Even if you’re spring cleaning, dust will continue to re-circulate throughout your home and accumulate on your furniture.

Here are some tips to help you breathe easier and provide cleaner air to your home:

  • Have your heating and cooling system thoroughly cleaned, during a regularly scheduled yearly tune-up.  Dust and air pollutants collect in the vents and then are picked up by the air stream and blown back into your home.  A system cleaning helps reduce the amount of particles and contamination that circulate through your home.
  • Have your air ducts cleaned.  Dust and dirt accumulates in your vent system and will continually re-circulate throughout your home.  A cleaning of your duct system will help your HVAC system work more efficiently and save you money in utilities.  Even a newer home can have more construction debris and dust internally than a home older than 10-15 years.  Also if you’ve moved into a home (new to you), you have no idea how the previous owners lived or even if they ever had their air ducts cleaned.  There could be years of dust and dirt build-up in the duct system!
  • Regularly change your HVAC filter.  This helps remove particles circulating through the air.  When a filter becomes dirty they can restrict the airflow through your heating and cooling system.  A dirty filter greatly reduces the efficiency of your HVAC system.
  • Install an indoor air cleaner.  There are a variety of products on market today.  Aprilaire® Electronic whole-house air cleaners can trap 99% of airborne pollen, mold and spore sized particles.  They also eliminate 98% of airborne bacteria-sized particles and remove 94% of respirable dust (an asthma trigger according to the EPA).  This is an excellent way to “clean” the air in your whole home.
  • Consider installing an indoor air purifier. Carrier Infinity and Performance air cleaners are the most effective air filtration systems available.  It removes an unprecedented 99.98% of airborne allergens that pass through the filter and is up to 100 times more effective than a standard 1” filter.

Enjoy spring without suffering with indoor air quality issues.  There are many ways to ensure the quality of your indoor air.  By following some of the above tips you can increase the air quality in your home as well as improve the health of your family.

Sources: 
EMILY MAIN, ABC News, Rodale.com, March 17, 2012. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/AllergiesSeasonal/spring-2012-worst-allergies/story?id=15930328#.T4wds9Xt2Vo
Akron.com (“Make sure your indoor air is healthy this spring”, 3/11/2010)

May 2, 2012