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Control Your Indoor Air Quality With These Tips for Handling Allergies

Many people in the greater Chicago area suffer from allergies. Sometimes, it seems like there's absolutely nothing you can do to feel better. But there is one solution for handling allergies – you can fight back at the source. By improving your indoor air quality (IAQ), you can greatly reduce allergy symptoms and improve your quality of life.

When it comes to air-cleaning systems, you have two basic choices: a room unit or a system for the entire home. If you have a forced-air heating and cooling system, handling allergies may be very difficult with a room unit, as it may just move allergens around the home, reducing the unit's efficiency. At the same time, a whole home air purifier requires a forced-air HVAC system. Make sure that whatever system you choose is designed to handle the amount of square footage you need to have treated.

Types of Air Pollutants

Animal Dander

Pet dander is a major source of concern for allergy sufferers. Even if you love your pets, you don't want to deal with constant sniffles and itchy eyes. There are a variety of ways you can handle allergies and reduce the amount of dander in your home's air. For example, make sure to brush and bathe your animals regularly and vacuum the house often. You also can make sure that the allergy sufferer's room is pet-free, giving them a sanctuary of sorts. But what can you do about dander found in the air?

Running an air purifier, specifically one meant for pet allergies, is one of the best solutions. That being said, pet dander, especially cat dander, is incredibly small, so many air purifiers cannot properly remove it from your home. Make sure to choose an air filtration system that's rated for pet allergies and uses a HEPA rated filter for maximum benefits.


Dust can be handled very similarly to pet dander, but since it will form anywhere in a home, there's no way to simply quarantine an area. Dust in your home can come from many sources, but if your allergies have suddenly gotten worse, chances are you've introduced a new contaminant. Ask yourself what you've changed. Like for example, installing a new carpet or changing the bedding.

Dust in most homes is mainly cotton fiber, not fiberglass, ash or dirt. If your home and ducts are clean, isolating the source can be an important part of handling allergies.

If you're installing a carpet, make sure to air it out before putting it into your home. Also, seek out adhesives that are low Volatile Organic Compounds, as these can further irritate many people's allergies. When getting new bedding, make sure to wash it before the first use.

Air cleaners work well for dust since it is easier to trap than pet dander. Follow all of the best practices in choosing an air purifier for pet dander, and you'll be able to improve your IAQ.

Mold and Mildew

While purification can help in handling mold and mildew, the best idea is to treat it at the source. Mold flourishes when it has the right environment: warmth, moisture and organic material. The best way to handle allergies in this case is to eliminate that environment.

Because warm air rises, many people have mold and mildew issues in the attic. By ventilating your attic, you can make sure that it doesn't foster mold growth. There are a variety of ventilation systems, fans, and controllers you can use.

You'll also want to make sure to vacuum and clean regularly, and repair any leaks immediately. If moisture continues to be a problem, you may want to consider a dehumidifier. UV lights can also destroy mold in hard-to-access areas, depending on the mold type. If you set up UV fixtures, make sure not to look at the lights directly without eye protection.

Even if you don't feel like investing in a dedicated air-cleaning system, you can clean a lot of the air in your home with an effective HVAC filter in your forced-air system. Look for a MERV 8-12 filter for a good balance between air-cleaning ability and airflow maintenance.

Make sure to run your air cleaner at least four hours a day in the areas you're trying to clean. If you have an air quality monitor, you can tell if the appliance needs to be cleaned or run more often. It's extremely important to maintain the air cleaner according to manufacturer guidelines.

If you're worried about IAQ and handling allergies in the greater Chicago area, feel free to contact us at We have more than 50 certified technicians ready to serve you.


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