Humidity control inside the house is an important part of keeping an allergen-free home. If the air inside the home is too dry, occupants can show symptoms such as skin irritation, dry or sore throat, and difficulty breathing. Low levels of air humidity are mostly present during the winter months due to cool outside air and forced heating. Another good indicator of dry air is the excessive presence of static electricity. Dry air is easily fixed by running a humidifier.
High humidity (above 45-50%) is a more serious problem than low humidity because it can lead to mold growth, dust mite population increases, rot, and bug problems. High humidity increases the levels of indoor allergens, making the home a trap for people with allergies or asthma. In moist air, mold and mildew grow and spread faster, leading to rotting that may not be openly visible. It also provides a more suitable living environment for bugs and dust mites. For these reasons, it is important that you keep your home’s humidity level controlled. A common indicator of high humidity is the presence of condensation of moisture on the inside of windows and on the surface of glass and mirrors. Another indicator of high humidity is the excessive presence of spiders in the home because they prey on smaller insects, such as dust mites, that require humid conditions for their water supply. Carpenter Ants in the home are yet another indicator of excessive moisture.
High humidity can be lowered and controlled by running a de-humidifier, ventilation system, and air conditioning. Remember to ventilate areas of the home that have more water in the air, such as the bathroom and kitchen. If possible, replace carpet with wood floors because carpet traps moisture, allergens, and harbors dust mites. Humidity can be monitored with a humidity gauge. The target humidity in a home is about 35%.
For more information about humidity control:Moisture Control in Homes
Mold & Mildew Prevention
If you look in the dark and damp corners of your basement or between the tiles of your shower walls, you may see brown, black, green, or even white spots of mold or mildew. Mold and mildew are commonly found in areas of the house that are damp, warm, humid, poorly lit, and with little air ventilation. Though mold and mildew can bother all people, symptoms are worse for people with allergies or asthma. Mildew produces spores that can become airborne and inhaled. If left alone, mold and mildew can spread throughout your home, rotting woodwork, walls, carpet, etc. In addition, some species of dust mites even feed off of mold. For these reasons, it is important to clean your home of any mold and mildew and take preventative measures to keep it from coming back.
- Using a flashlight, search for any mold or mildew spots in your basement, closets, behind furniture, etc.
- Listen to your nose! If something smells musky, chances are you have mold or mildew growing close by!
- Mold and mildew love moisture! Ventilate areas of the house with high humidity, including the kitchen, bathroom, and basement.
- Dry the air by running a de-humidifier, air-conditioning, and opening windows and doors.
- Eliminate any found mold or mildew with mold/mildew killing sprays or bleach water.
- Be proactive! Spray surfaces likely to grow mold or mildew with preventative sprays.
For people living with weed allergies, the fall months bring inflamed allergy symptoms. Itchy or watering eyes, runny or itchy nose, sneezing, and congestion are just some of the possible symptoms. Below is a list of recommended environmental controls for people dealing with weed allergies. Using these controls can help reduce or eliminate seasonal allergy symptoms!
- HEPA air purifier
- Mattress, Box Spring, Pillow, & Comforter Encasings
- Washing the sheets, blankets, mattress pads, etc
- Vent Filters