Relief For Allergy Sufferers:
Cleaner Indoor Air

Allergy season is upon us, and many allergy sufferers are fleeing indoors to shut out those aggravating allergens. But what many don’t realize is that pollen, mold and pet dander may be trapped indoors, making their home one of the worst places to be.

How can you avoid irritating airborne particles? According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, the best way for reducing indoor allergy symptoms is avoiding or lessening your contact with allergens – some simple, effective ways include: keeping your windows closed and using air conditioning; using air filters or air purifiers; showering and washing your hair before bed; and drying laundry inside, rather than on an outdoor clothesline.

Dr. Walt Lyons, the nation’s leading indoor meteorologist and member of the National Council of Industrial Meteorologists, adds, "In today’s airtight buildings, airborne allergens like pollen and dust get trapped and re-circulated indoors, which can severely aggravate your allergy symptoms. Allergy sufferers can’t completely get rid of their affliction, but they can improve the air quality in their homes."

While people with allergies depend on air cleaners for relief, there are a number of other situations where an air cleaning system may be beneficial for anyone.

Air cleaners can be 95 to 99 percent effective in removing the most common household particles from the air, including pollen, dust, mold, pet dander, tobacco smoke, cooking grease and bacteria. Air filtration products clean and re-circulate air, which otherwise becomes "trapped" in stagnant households.

When considering an air cleaning system, these three steps are recommended:

Step 1: Determine your air concerns.

  • I have allergies or asthma or live with someone who does.
  • I own a pet.
  • I work out of my home.
  • I am truly bothered by cigarette smoke.
  • My home is tightly sealed for energy efficiency.
  • I’m concerned about the environment in my home.
  • I am pregnant or have a newborn.

Step 2: Learn what to look for when purchasing an air cleaner.

  • Type of filtration technology that best suits your lifestyle
  • Size of room(s)
  • CADR rating
  • Quiet operation

Step 3: Maintain your system properly.

Replace or clean filter regularly.

According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, when looking to purchase an air cleaner, consumers should look for the CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) rating, supported by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Trade Commission. This industry standard rating indicates the amount of particle-free air produced by an air cleaner in cubic feet per minute, and was designed to compare the efficiency of air cleaners.

Once you have selected an air cleaning system that best fits your needs, it is important to ensure that it continues its maximum performance. The most common mistake made by air cleaner owners is neglecting to change or clean the filter. The air filter should be changed or cleaned according to the product instructions, which is usually every three to four months. Proper filter maintenance will allow your system to continuously produce clean, virtually particle-free filtered air.

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Last Revised: Wednesday, February 10, 1999