You’ve tried cleaning and filters, where do you go next?
Spring can be a lovely season of flowers and sunshine, but it’s also a miserable time for allergy and asthma sufferers. Even staying indoors may not be enough to fight back against respiratory issues especially if you are not mindful of the air quality in your home.
A Growing Concern
Asthma and allergies are a growing concern and expense for many Americans. The Center for Disease Control reports allergies, including asthma, are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. with an annual cost in excess of $18 billion. More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year.
An asthma or allergy attack can be caused by a number of triggers such as tobacco smoke, dust mites and other factors often associated with a home’s indoor air quality. It’s important for asthma and allergy sufferers to maintain clean living spaces but what do you do you when cleaning is not enough?
Over the years we have met a number of families serious about improving the air quality for themselves and their families. Often these changes are triggered by one or more members of the family with a persistent allergy or asthma concern that was not eliminated with the standard recommendations. In these situations serious long-term solutions often begin with the house itself.
Walls that Work
For lasting relief, it’s important to take a holistic approach to allergy control and that starts with the walls.
One of the best places to begin is with CertainTeed’s AirRenew® drywall. This groundbreaking product actually helps improve indoor air quality. When formaldehyde comes in contact with AirRenew drywall, it is turned into a safe, inert organic compound. AirRenew looks and installs like regular drywall so there is no need for a special install team.
With formaldehyde under control let’s move to another common air quality culprit, mold. To stem the growth of mold you need to eliminate one of the four things it needs to grow – air, moisture, food and a warm environment. Perhaps the easiest of these to eliminate is moisture but this too starts with a little long term planning.
The average family of four generates between two to four gallons of water vapor each day through regular activities such as cooking, laundering, showering and breathing. And while it may be tempting to give up laundry there are probably better ways to neutralize the moisture problem.
Start with insulation that helps prevent mold, like SmartBatt from CertainTeed, with MoistureSense Technology. This innovative process actually allows the wall to adapt to changing moisture levels so the interior of the wall stays dry. Or add a separate vapor barrier, like MemBrain, which uses the same moisture technology but can be applied over existing unfaced insulation.
Now that you have the appropriate insulation, finish the walls with the right drywall. Again select a material designed to eliminate moisture and resist mold. We like M2Tech®. M2Tech is a mold resistant drywall that utilizes a unique technology that delivers superior protection against mold growth.
Clear the Floors
While we’re rebuilding the walls, we can’t forget about the floors. It’s time to rip out that wall-to-wall carpet. Given its ability to generate and hold indoor allergens, the National Academy of Sciences states carpeting should be considered “a serious problem” for allergy sufferers. A much better option is hard flooring, such as wood or tile, especially in bedrooms and areas of high moisture such as the kitchen, bath and laundry room.
While these changes will give you a great starting point to winning the battle against asthma and allergies. It is only a starting point. Hard floors, like all floors, still need to be cleaned as do the walls. And unless you plan on living in a cement fortress you will still have beds, curtains, cushions, area rugs and, if you have kids, stuffed animals. All of these need to be regularly washed or vacuumed.
The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) recommends investing in a quality vacuum with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Vacuum once a week and take your time. NCHH recommends spending one minute per square yard of carpet.
Allergies and asthma are a growing concern for many people. We all know it starts with diligent cleaning, keeping pets off the bed and eliminating triggers wherever possible but for some people this just isn’t enough. For them it may help the rethink their home environment from the ground up.
What do you think? Does someone in your family suffer from allergies or asthma? What works for you?