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Am I Allergic to My House?

If indoor air quality is affecting you or your family, you may consider a humidifier, upgraded filters, or UV lights to manage allergy symptoms.

Issues That Can Cause Allergy Symptoms in Your Home

Sniffling and sneezing are symptoms of the common cold, but if you notice your family is struggling with allergy and asthma-like symptoms for a long time, it may be a problem with your indoor air quality.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to pack up and move out! Try to troubleshoot your HVAC issue that's causing your congestion.

Potential Issues

  • moisture on cold surfaces
  • indoor allergens
  • air is humid
  • air smells strange
  • puddle around the indoor air conditioning unit
  • furniture is warped

Warm, humid air coming in contact with cooler pipes and toilets causes the water in the air to form into water droplets, called condensation. The higher the humidity level, the higher the temperature needed to create condensation (known as the dew point). This means that as your humidity levels increase, cold surfaces that wouldn't typically gather condensation will suddenly start to sweat. Over time, high condensation in your home can damage the surfaces around your toilets and pipes. If your humidity level is over 55%, it can even create a cozy environment for mold and mildew to grow. Frequently wiping away the condensation will help in the short term, but you'll want to find a way to lower the humidity to prevent long-term damage.

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  • indoor air is polluted
  • indoor allergens

Air exchange is an important part of indoor air quality. Dusting, vacuuming, and sweeping will help to reduce dust, but each time you clean some of that dust also gets sent into the air. If the air doesn't have anywhere to go, the dust will simply fall back onto your surfaces after you finish cleaning.

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  • indoor allergens
  • indoor air is polluted
  • air is too hot
  • air smells strange

Sometimes, all your system needs is a good cleaning. Dust and other particles that float in the air get trapped in your filter whenever your air conditioner is running. Over time, this dirt and debris will build up and create a thick layer on the filter. The thicker the buildup, the harder it is for your system to push air through, which puts stress on the unit and makes your system less efficient. You should inspect the filter once a month. A good "rule of thumb" is if you hold the filter up to a light source and cannot see the light through it, you should replace the filter.

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  • air smells strange
  • indoor allergens

Your ducts are the airways within your home. Any air that moves through your furnace or other HVAC systems does so within the ductwork. If your ducts have built up dust from a lack of maintenance or dirty air filters, that dust will continue to circulate throughout your home. Too much dust can even cause respiratory issues and allergies.

  • indoor allergens
  • puddle around the indoor air conditioning unit
  • high electricity bills
  • whistling noise from the ductwork
  • pockets of cold air

A well-designed AC system should provide a consistent temperature between rooms. Each room in your home has specific airflow needs that are calculated in CFM (cubic feet per minute). If your air ducts are leaking, each room is not getting the proper CFM of airflow. Cool air will escape through the leak, which means that your AC will need to run longer, raising energy bills to meet the demands of each room.

  • indoor air is polluted
  • indoor allergens

Dirt, dust mites, pollen, and dander collect and find a home in your rugs. People and pets moving around can then carry the buildup throughout your home. Additionally, your indoor fan can circulate dirt and dust particles into low traffic areas that may not be cleaned as often. That’s when the problems start. High amounts of particles in the home, even particles as common as dust, can cause allergies, asthma, and cold-like symptoms. To keep your air clean, make sure that you have proper air circulation, clean thoroughly, and keep pollutants to a minimum.

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  • indoor air is polluted
  • indoor allergens

Most of us spend more time sleeping in our beds than on any other piece of furniture in the house. While we sleep, our bedding is building up allergens such as dust and dust mites quickly. Sheets should be washed at least once every two weeks to remove the dust and allergens and kill dust mites. The heat from the dryer should neutralize any allergens on the fabric. But, some people can be sensitive to some detergents. If your symptoms get worse after cleaning your sheets, try a non-allergenic laundry detergent and make sure that you're allowing your bedding to dry completely before you put them back on your bed.

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