Spring Is in the Air, but Your Allergies Don’t Care!

We at KB Home are celebrating the warmer temps and the fresh blooms they bring, but many of us are also reaching for the tissues. If you struggle with itchy eyes and non-stop sneezing, like some of us might do, then we have a few tips on how to beat spring allergies!

You can’t always control what’s floating around outside, but there are many ways to reduce or prevent spring allergies by reducing the pollution and pollen in your home to improve the air quality of your home.

A KB Home can help you beat spring allergies. Here’s how.

KB has long been dedicated to building energy efficient homes, as can be evaluated by their yearly sustainability report. Being energy efficient, however, doesn’t always mean installing solar panels, proper insulation, and Energy Star appliances. Those are all great, sure, but by combining construction techniques, specific materials and products allow KB Home to create a system that provides ways to reduce allergens in your home. Every KB Home comes equipped with:

Sealed combustion appliances – combustion appliances can include space heaters, gas ranges and ovens, furnaces, gas water heaters, gas clothes dryers, wood or coal-burning stoves, and fireplaces. And they all have one thing in common, they emit fumes. Some emit smoke while others emit various types of gas. It’s kind of a necessary evil to their functionality, but you don’t want that stuff in your home, right? Of course, not! Sealed combustion appliances are designed to ensure that any of these gasses and smoke are disposed of properly and that backdrafts don’t enter your home.

Low-VOC interior paint and Low-VOC carpeting – According to the , “Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gasses from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors.” Unfortunately, these organic compounds are essential to the functionality of paint and carpet. Health risks are significantly reduced by using low-VOC options.

MERV 8-rated air filters are easily one of the best ways to reduce allergens in your home and prevent spring allergies by removing finer airborne particles.

Mechanical Ventilation Systems – Once again the EPA explains these systems as, “Without mechanical ventilation to provide fresh air, moisture, odors, and other pollutants can build up inside a home. Mechanical ventilation systems circulate fresh air using ducts and fans, rather than relying on airflow through small holes or cracks in a home’s walls, roof, or windows.”

If you have an older home or are not sure whether your house has the above features known for reducing indoor allergens, don’t fret. Below are other spring home maintenance tips to reduce those spring allergies. Combine as many of these steps as you like for extra air purifying action.

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Air Filters: Don’t get too tangled up in the filter’s minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) or attempt to play the MERV vs. HEPA game. Here’s the skinny. An air filter’s MERV (which ranges from 1-20) describes the efficiency it has at removing particles from the air that passes through it. One being the least effective and 20 being the most effective. According to the National Air Filtration Association (NAFA), filters can stop particles as tiny as .03 microns in size with up to 99.9% efficiency. HEPA filters have a MERV between 17-19 and are typically used by hospitals and doctors’ offices. You may think, hey if its good enough for the doctor’s office, then its good enough to keep my family healthy. True, but consider this. HEPA filters cost more, use more energy and therefore are a lot noisier. Chances are you don’t need that kind of power filtering the air in your home. If you change your air filters regularly and implement other allergen reducing techniques, you’ll still reap the benefits. Keep the following tips in mind.

·       On average, if you don’t have pets, you’ll want to change your air filters every 90 days.

·       Include a dog or cat that number declines to every 60 days.

·       Add another pet or a family member with severe allergies, and now you’re looking at changing those filters every 20-45 days.

Furbabies: If you have pets and aren’t able to keep them outside, keeping them off the bed and out of your bedroom will help reduce symptoms of spring allergies. If you’re interested in getting a new fur-baby, but allergies are a concern, consider hypo-allergenic dog breeds like Pomeranians and Poodles that have hair, not fur.

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Easy peasy allergen reducing tips: Here are a few other tips that, once you’ve made into habits, you’ll hardly think of them again. But your sinuses will thank you!

·       Remove shoes when entering the home to reduce the spread of dirt and pollen.

·       Wash laundry in the hottest water possible to kill off dust mites (especially sheets).

·       Maintain your home’s humidity to under 50% by using dehumidifiers.

·       Reduce your use of candles or other scented air fresheners.

·       Opt for hardwood or tile floors over carpets. If you have rugs, clean them regularly.

·       Ban indoor smoking.

·       Keep your home well dusted. Be sure to keep an eye on those pesky dust bunnies that love to collect under beds and are attracted to electronics!

Just Breathe and Enjoy the Roses

Spring is a time of new beginnings. It’s not a time to stay huddled under the blankets surrounded by crumpled tissues or turning into an allergy medicine zombie. Just a few changes to your home’s environment can make a big difference. What are your favorite allergy fighting tricks? Share with us in the comments!

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