Category : indoor air quality

6 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

The average American spends over 90 percent of their life indoors. That’s why at Oliver we stress making your home a safe environment. Of course, we can help with our heating, plumbing, and electrical services. But, one thing you may not have thought about? Your indoor air quality. We offer services to improve it and keep your home the safe haven you need it to be.
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Guest Blogger – Home Is Where the Health Is: Dust Mites and Your Health

Thanks to our friends at Thompson for putting together this great piece on dust mites!

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While they are too small to detect with the naked eye, dust mites can cause big health problems for people with asthma or allergies. These microscopic creatures thrive in warm, humid environments where there are dead skin cells from people and animals to feed on – in other words, they thrive in many ordinary households. In particular, they like bedroom carpeting and household upholstery. As many as 40,000 dust mites can thrive in one ounce of dust, with each releasing about 20 fecal pellets per day.

What Could Happen

So what’s the big deal? Out of sight, out of mind, right? Wrong. Exposure to dust mites and their waste products can trigger asthma attacks and allergy symptoms in people with these conditions. According to the Alliance for Healthy Homes, exposure to dust mites in childhood may even cause certain children to develop asthma.

Dust mite levels often go down in the winter when humidity levels drop; however, many people with breathing problems use humidifiers in the winter, which can make humidity levels even higher than they are in the summer, thus worsening their dust mite and related health problems. Of course, too-low humidity levels can cause breathing problems as well. Indoor humidity levels should ideally be between 35 and 50 percent for optimal air quality and protection from mites.

How to Get Rid of Them

Some things you can do around the house to get rid of dust mites include weekly hot-water laundering of bedding, covering mattresses and pillows with allergen-resistant covers, and regularly vacuuming and steam cleaning carpets. In humid environments, it may be especially difficult to get rid of dust mites.

While doing things like laundering bedding frequently can help reduce dust mites, if anyone in your household suffers from allergies or breathing problems, a whole-house air filtration system is the best way to zap dust mites, as well as other allergenic particles, toxic compounds, and infectious agents that your family’s air supply may be harboring. Air filtration services can also be used to provide optimal indoor humidity levels.

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This post written by Thompson Electric, Plumbing, Heating, & Cooling. Check out more posts from the Thompson Home Is Where The Health Is blog here!


10 Ways to Suffer Less From Allergies

As the weather gets colder and we start spending more and more time indoors, this time of year can present challenges to those who suffer from allergies and asthma. We’d like to thank Dr. Luetke of Broad Axe Family Medicine in Skippack for providing us with these helpful tips:

1)      To kill dust mites: wash pillows and stuffed animals weekly in hot water (above 130 degrees). If using cooler water, use bleach.

2)      Reduce indoor humidity to below 60 percent. Ideal ranges are 30-50 percent.

3)      Fix leaky faucets, pipes, or other sources of water that have mold around them. Use bleach to clean moldy surfaces.

4)      When vacuuming, use a dust mask (available at hardware stores), double-layered or microfilter vacuum bags, or a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.

5)      Replace standard HVAC filters with HEPA filters, available at home improvement stores. Air filters are rated on a MERV scale of 1-16, with a higher rating indicating better filtration of small irritants and allergens. Oliver also offers high-efficiency filters.

6)      Cover your nose and mouth with a scarf on cold or windy days.

7)      Talk to your doctor about all over-the-counter medicines you are taking, including cold remedies, aspirin, vitamins and other supplements. Some OTC medicines can aggravate asthma.

8)      Smart vacation planning can also provide relief: schedule your next getaway when pollen counts are highest locally.

9)      Professional duct cleaning can significantly reduce the amount of harmful irritants and allergens circulating in your home. Call Oliver today for a free estimate.

10)   If you smoke, ask your doctor for ways to help you quit.