Remodeling And Home Updates For Allergy Reduction

By Heather Legg

We all know the economy is tight right now and maybe not everyone can do remodeling like years ago, but sometimes you have to for whatever reason. If so, it’s a good time to replace some of the old allergenic materials with more friendly ones. It make a difference in more than how your home looks.

Here are some helpful tips I found with the help of www.indystar.com:

• Use hard flooring wherever possible. We all know it’s best in the kitchen and bathroom, but it’s also important in bedrooms and closets. We often overlook dusting in a closet, so that carpet harbors a lot of allergens. The above article recommends only using solid wood flooring and staying away from MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) and engineered flooring. If refinishing hardwoods, make sure you leave the house when using finishing products. It takes awhile for them to dry and the odor to be gone.
• If redoing a bathroom, use pedestal sinks which use less (if any) wood and have less areas for mold and mildew to grow.
• Use hardwoods in the basement (or some type of hard surface as opposed to carpet). Basements are happy places for mold and the less space it has to grow, the better off you are (also, in case of water emergencies, hardwoods are easier to dry w/ no fear of lingering mold).
• Use low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints. Not all latex paints are low VOC, so it’s worth checking into. Some are given a green seal if they meet certain standards. Some oil based now qualify, but remember you’ll need to use more chemicals in clean up.
• Use non-upholstered furniture, like leather, where your budget allows. Also, forego throw pillows that may capture and hold dust and allergens.
• If you can, install a HEPA air system, but also make sure you have no flexible ductwork and use special microfilters. Also, change them regularly. I will never forget the time we had ours changed and the serviceman was shocked at how dirty it was. That cannot be good for the air, nor allergies!
• If doing work yourself, be sure to wear a face mask and use a fan to blow dust and particles outside. Open the windows if possible not only to let fumes escape but also to let the dust and particles out.
• Talk to your contractor about healthy options and how to keep your home as safe and allergy free as possible.

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