CenterPoint Home Energy Program
Monday, July 11, 2016

9 Tips for an Allergen-Free House


 A Central Vacuum removes 100 percent of captured dirt and allergens from the living space without stirring up dust during cleaning. It’s why Central Vacuum systems have been clinically proven to relieve allergies and why both LEED and the National Green Building Standard award certification points for homes that include these systems. In addition to installing a central vacuum, here are some other recommendations from the UC Davis study on house dust-associated allergies on how to mitigate the effects of airborne particulates and house dust mites:

 Air conditioners/central heating units can be fitted with filters to remove HDM allergens. HEPA filters are replaceable and may not require a retrofit but increase air flow resistance as the filter becomes “loaded.” Electrostatic filters are helpful in removing allergens but are expensive and generate ozone. Window-mounted air conditioning units should be fitted with a HEPA filter. The unit must fit snugly and the room closed off from the rest of the house for it to work effectively.

Room air cleaners or purifiers recirculate air in a room through a collector (HEPA, electret, electrostatic filters, ionizers). They can control airborne particulate matter and some gaseous material in a confined space.

Because the human body provides warmth, humidity and food for house dust mites, bedding should be washed in hot water. Pillows, comforters and mattresses should be put in “mite-proof” coverings.

Bedrooms should feature clear, smooth nonporous surfaces to the fullest possible extent. These surfaces should be mopped every two to three days with a clean damp cloth.

Dust-attracting devices, such as radios, TVs, audio systems, speakers, computers etc., should be kept as free as possible of dust, stored in an enclosed space and covered when not in use.

House plants catch dust, as well as generate mold, mildew and plant spores or pollen, and should not be in bedrooms if the occupant has allergies.

Venetian or similar slated blinds should be dusted often.

Use hypoallergenic décor and minimize the use of harsh chemicals for cleaning.

Many HOMEOWNERS shy away from installing central vacuum systems in their existing homes, because they fear that the installation process must be part of a full-scale renovation. However, almost one-third of all central vacuums sold in the United States are installed in existing homes without tearing out sections of walls or ceilings. In fact, the entire installation process usually takes less than a day.

According to a NAHB Research Center survey, 34 percent of home buyers want a central vacuum in their next home.