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Improve the Quality of Your Air with Our Room-to-Room Anti-Allergen Guide

It's a given that improving your home's indoor air quality will help make your environment more pleasant, but did you know it can improve your health as well?

It can be easy to overlook the big role that in-home air quality has in our lives. That is, until we look at the research done by experts in the field. For instance, polluted indoor air can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as headaches, dry and itchy eyes, cough, nasal congestion, dizziness, nausea, lethargy, rash and fever. Even more troubling, as the EPA notes, poor indoor air quality may cause or contribute to infections, exacerbation of chronic lung ailments like asthma and possibly even cancer.Follow the tips in our room-specific guide to allergy proofing and you'll breathe easier in your Chicago area home:

Kitchen

  • Stove: Use your exhaust fan, properly vented to the outdoors, when cooking to clear out fumes and moisture.
  • Sink: Scrub the sink often and wash dishes every day.
  • Fridge: Clean often and throw away moldy or spoiled food. Clean rubber door seals, which are a common spot for mold growth.
  • Countertop and cabinets: Store food in well-sealed containers. Clean surfaces with soap and water.
  • Garbage: Empty trash each day. Use a lidded garbage can. Clean up crumbs and debris right away, to help discourage insects or rodents.

Bathrooms

  • Walls: Paint walls with enamel-based paint that resists mold/mildew growth.
  • Shower and/or bathtub: Dry shower stall and bathtub after use. Replace shower curtain/bath mat if mold is found.
  • Fan: Use the exhaust fan when taking baths/showers to dissipate moisture.

Bedrooms

  • Bed coverings: Choose synthetic bedding and use dust-mite-resistant pillowcases, mattress covers and encase the box spring, too. Launder bedding in hot water weekly.
  • Air filters: Use the most highly effective air filter that is compatible with your air conditioner.
  • Pets: For maximum allergy proofing, keep your pet(s) out of the bedroom.
  • Make sure you have a smoke alarm (ideally combined with a carbon monoxide detector) outside each sleeping area and on each floor of the house.

Living room

  • Fireplaces: Don't use a fireplace or a wood-burning stove too often because smoke, combustion emissions and gas can make allergies flare up. When possible, choose or upgrade to a natural gas fireplace/stove instead.

Basement

  • Leaks: Check the foundation, stairs, corners and windows often for leakage. Locate and repair the source of leaks.
  • Dampness: Use a dehumidifier to combat dampness if necessary. Clean dehumidifier units each week - or install a whole-home dehumidifier.
  • Storage: Store items in plastic storage bins rather than cardboard boxes.
  • Laundry area: Make sure your dryer is vented to the outside or moisture could build up, causing mold.  
  • Flooring: Concrete or vinyl flooring should perform best.

Whole House Tips

  • Humidity: Help prevent mold/dust mites by keeping in-home humidity under 50 percent.
  • Smoking: Ban smoking in your home.
  • Consider whole-house air cleaner.
  • Your pet: Keep pets outdoors, weather permitting, and bath them every few days to reduce shedding and dander.
  • House cleaning: Mop wood or vinyl floors and vacuum carpeted areas while wearing a dust mask. Clean surfaces with a damp cloth, including windowsills, tops of doors, etc.
  • Mold: Use the A/C and dehumidifier, with exterior doors and windows closed in warm summer weather. Sanitize moldy washable items and surfaces with 5 percent chlorine bleach. Find and fix the source of leaks (check pipes under sinks, the roof and ceilings often.)
  • Pests: Control infestations of insects, mice, etc., with traps or hire an exterminator. Seal any access points like cracks, small holes in a wall or floor.
  • Install a radon detector in your home to help ensure the air your family breathes is safe and healthy.
  • Flooring choices: Hardwood or vinyl flooring can be healthier than carpet and easier to keep clean. If carpet is a must, choose low-pile and vacuum weekly (use a HEPA-filtered vacuum) and shampoo carpeting regularly.
  • Drapes: Select washable cotton/synthetic curtains.
  • Windows: Close them during pollen-heavy periods and use air conditioning. (Replace A/C air filters monthly.)
  • Dust-collectors: Clear away dust-collecting clutter, knickknacks, magazines and books. Store toys in plastic storage bins as part of your allergy proofing effort.
  • Furnishings: Use wood, leather, plastic or metal chairs, dressers, etc., avoiding upholstered furniture where possible.

At Comfort24-7.com, we can help you to find a pre-screened contractor in your area. Just use our online search tool to find a qualified professional in your city or zip code. We're committed to helping local residents maintain comfortable, safe and healthy homes, including good indoor air quality, through personalized home comfort solutions.

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