The spring weather in Baltimore is beautiful, but it’s tough to enjoy if you have to deal with constant sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, or congestion caused by seasonal allergies. Spring flowers produce pollen, and high humidity levels in spring and summer encourage mold growth. Many people are allergic to mold, and it can also aggravate asthma. Allergens can get into your home through your HVAC system, doors, windows, or even gaps in your insulation. You can prevent spring allergies with these five useful tips.
Check the Roof and Gutters
Leaves and dirt from winter will clog gutters to the point that they can’t get rid of water from spring showers. Clean your gutters, look for winter damage and make sure the downspouts are draining properly. To prevent basement flooding and mold growth, place the outlets of your downspouts at least three feet away from the side of your home. You can also install gutter screens to keep out debris.
Check your roof for leaks at least once per year and always watch for signs of leaks like a musty smell or dark spots on the ceiling. A leaky roof can lead to mold on attic insulation or rafters. You should replace any moldy materials that you can’t clean easily.
Clean Your Air Ducts
Dirt, dust, pollen, mold, and other allergens can build up in your ductwork over time, while your HVAC system spreads these contaminants through the rest of your home. If you have allergies or other health problems, you should have your ducts cleaned at least once per year. Cleaning your ductwork also prevents inconvenient breakdowns and increases your system’s efficiency by removing obstructions.
Take Time for Spring Cleaning
Spring is a great time to clean up the dust and dirt that built up in your home during winter. After you have your ducts cleaned, dust off your air registers and return vents with a damp cloth to keep your HVAC system from continuing to spread allergens. You should also clean your ceiling fans this way. Clean bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans by removing the covers and washing them in soapy water. Then, clean the dirty fan blades with a toothbrush. Just make sure the power is off before cleaning.
To keep allergens out of your home and make your system more efficient, remove any dust, leaves, pollen, or other debris from your outdoor air conditioning unit and the area around it. Your unit needs at least two feet of free space around it to work well.
Use an Air Purifier
Air cleaners, also called air purifiers, improve your home’s indoor air quality by capturing mold, pollen, dust, dirt, and even bacteria and viruses. Use an air purifier with a high Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV rating. The MERV rating measures the effectiveness of the filters in air purifiers. Portable units are less expensive, but a whole-home unit connected to your HVAC system can clean all the air in your home before it passes through your ducts. You can install a germicidal UV lamp inside your ductwork or evaporator coil for even more protection.
Maintain Your HVAC System Regularly
Regular maintenance prevents problems that could lower your indoor air quality, reduces your utility bills, and helps your HVAC system last longer. Have your system inspected by a professional at least once per year. Like air purifiers, air conditioners and furnaces have air filters that you should change regularly. A dirty filter can’t remove allergens, so check your filters every month, and replace them at least every three months.
If you tend to forget about your air filter, install a programmable thermostat that can measure differences in air pressure and tell you exactly when to change it. Some programmable thermostats can even send reminders to your smartphone, tablet, or PC as well as monitor the humidity in your home.
Griffith Energy Services has been in business for over 100 years, and today we have 12 convenient locations. We can help you enjoy spring without allergies or solve other problems with your indoor air quality. Call us anytime at 888-474-3391 for expert help with installing, repairing, or maintaining your HVAC system.
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