With the picturesque beauty of the Ozarks comes a less welcome feature for many Springfield, MO residents: allergy season.
The lush, green landscapes, while gorgeous, also harbor a range of allergens that, come spring and fall, can turn your idyllic outdoor experience into a sneeze-fest.
Thankfully, by optimizing your home’s HVAC system and incorporating a few additional strategies, you can minimize the assault of pollen, mold, and other allergens.
(And remember, we here at F&S Master Air are always ready to assist you in preparing your home for the allergy onslaught.)
Let’s dive into it.
8 Steps to Help You Fight Back Against Those Annoying Allergens
1. Change or Clean Your HVAC Filters Regularly
The most fundamental step in maintaining indoor air quality is ensuring your HVAC filters are clean.
Over time, they can accumulate dust, pollen, and other allergens, thereby reducing their effectiveness.
For peak allergy season in the Ozarks, consider switching to high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, which can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns (like pollen and pet dander).
2. Consider Upgrading to an Air Purifier
While changing filters is essential, homeowners may also benefit from a whole-house air purifier.
These systems work in tandem with your HVAC to remove allergens from circulating air, providing an extra layer of protection.
3. Maintain Clean Ducts
Duct cleaning isn’t something homeowners think about regularly, but dirty ducts can circulate allergens throughout your home.
Every few years, especially if you notice a buildup of dust or reduced air quality, consider having your ducts professionally cleaned.
4. Keep Windows Closed During Peak Pollen Times
In the Springfield area, tree pollens peak in the spring, grass pollens in late spring and early summer, and weed pollens in late summer to fall.
Monitor local pollen counts and keep windows and doors closed during these times. Rely on your HVAC for ventilation, ensuring that the filtered air minimizes allergen exposure.
5. Maintain Indoor Humidity Levels
In the humid climate of the Ozarks, mold can be a significant concern.
Using a humidifier or a dehumidifier to keep indoor humidity between 30-50% can prevent mold growth and reduce allergens.
6. Introduce House Plants
Certain houseplants, like the spider plant or peace lily, can naturally purify the air, helping to reduce indoor pollutants.
Just ensure you’re not allergic to the plants you choose!
Here’s a list of plants known to help improve indoor air quality:
- Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum): Effective at removing pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzene.
- Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum): Can help reduce airborne toxins like ammonia, benzene, and formaldehyde.
- Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata): Known for its ability to remove formaldehyde and act as a natural humidifier.
- Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata): Releases oxygen at night while removing toxins like formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, and nitrogen oxides.
- Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii): Effective at removing airborne chemicals and humidifying the air.
- Aloe Vera: Not only has healing properties for the skin but also helps remove formaldehyde and benzene.
- Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica): Efficient at purifying air polluted with formaldehyde.
- Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum): Helps eliminate formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, benzene, carbon monoxide, and more.
- Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium): Effective at removing benzene, a common solvent found in paint and plastics.
- Dracaena: Several varieties exist, all of which can remove pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene.
- Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii): Effective at removing benzene and trichloroethylene and known to release oxygen at night.
- Barberton Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii): Known for removing trichloroethylene and benzene.
- Azalea (Rhododendron simsii): Helps to combat formaldehyde from sources like plywood and foam insulation.
- Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata): Reduces formaldehyde levels, especially in humid conditions.
When choosing plants, it’s essential to consider the specific needs of each species regarding light, water, and care. Additionally, some plants may be toxic to pets, so it’s important to ensure they are placed out of reach or avoided altogether if you have curious animals.
7. Regular Home Cleaning
Vacuum at least once a week using a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
Additionally, regularly wipe down surfaces to remove dust and pollen that may have entered your home.
8. Consult with HVAC Professionals
Whether you’re considering upgrading your HVAC system or just need some maintenance advice, local professionals like F&S Master Air can help.
We have the expertise and local knowledge to guide you in making your home a haven from the allergens that plague the Ozarks—and we’d be more than happy to stop by and take a look at your system.
Allergy season in Springfield, MO, and the broader Ozarks region can be challenging.
But with a proactive approach (and by leveraging your home’s HVAC system effectively), you can breathe easier and enjoy the beauty of the region without the constant sneezing.
Remember, F&S Master Air is always just a call away, and we’d love to help you prepare your home for any season.