Fall is an exciting and beautiful time of year. Halloween and Thanksgiving are accompanied by colorful leaves, migrating birds and cooler weather. Unfortunately, this season is also plagued by allergens that leave many people sneezing and coughing. Increased moisture also worsens autumn air quality. Why is this the case? And what can you do to make a healthier indoor space this fall? We have a few tips to offer!
Autumn Season Allergies
Spring has come and gone, so why are your allergies still present? Well, despite all of the beautiful seasonal changes, there are several pesky allergens lurking around.
- Ragweed is an extremely triggering allergen, particularly present during autumn. Unfortunately, ragweed pollen can travel hundreds of miles when the wind blows. Thus, the scattering of ragweed and resulting allergies can last through October.
- Dust mites are generally present during the summer when the weather is humid. However, turning on your heater during the fall may stir dust mites and their remnants. Or, poor indoor humidity regulation and increased moisture will allow dust mites to live longer than desired.
- Mold is another ever-present allergen with moderate to severe health effects. Fall weather caters to the conditions mold spores need to grow. For example, damp or wet areas with a bit of warmth are prime for reproduction.
While all fall-time allergens should be taken seriously, mold is particularly noteworthy as it contributes to indoor and outdoor air pollution.
Is Mold An Air Pollutant?
Mold is a type of fungi that can grow in and around your home. In order to grow, mold requires oxygen and moisture. Indoors, mold growth can occur on food, wood, wallpaper, carpet, upholstery and other surfaces. Outdoors, mold growth can occur on patio furniture, gutters, roofs, firewood and other surfaces.
How does mold get indoors? Windows, doors, vents and HVAC systems can allow mold to enter your home. Additionally, clothes, shoes and pets bring mold inside. There are various types of mold in an assortment of colors. The following are most commonly found indoors.
- Cladosporium: This type of mold is green, brown or black in color. It is commonly found on carpets, window sills or wallpapers.
- Penicillium: This type of mold is green, blue-green, gray-green, white, yellow, or pink. It is commonly found on carpets, mattresses, upholstered furniture and wallpapers.
- Aspergillus: This type of mold is typically black. It is commonly found on foods, spices and composts.
Exposure to mold may cause sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, skin rashes, dizziness, headaches and asthma attacks. Children, elderly people and those with pre-existing respiratory issues are particularly at risk.
Autumn Air Quality Tips for Homeowners
Addressing fall season allergies, moisture issues and air quality problems means HVAC maintenance and potential home system upgrades. In order to prevent illness and protect your home, check out the following autumn air quality tips!
Whole-Home Air Purifiers
Wouldn’t you like to address the root of indoor air pollution before it becomes a problem? A whole-home air purifier eliminates the source of air pollutants such as volatile organic compounds, dust, dander, viruses and the like. This device will dramatically improve HVAC filtration and deliver clean air to every room in your home.
Air Filter Maintenance
The beginning of the season should be welcomed with brand new air filters. Dirty air filters help circulate allergens, bacteria, viruses, pollen, dander and other air pollutants. Clean air filters with a MERV 11 rating or higher (we’re partial to MERV 13) catch debris, dust mites, mold spores, bacteria, viruses and more. This will allow you and your family to focus on fun fall activities instead of allergies.
Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers
These indoor air quality solutions can help your home achieve the ideal humidity range: 40-60%. Humidifiers increase moisture while dehumidifiers decrease moisture. The device that will benefit you most depends on what type of climate you live in (e.g., desert or tropical).
Now that you are equipped with knowledge of allergens and indoor air quality solutions, you and your family are well prepared for the fall season!