By Toni Hedstrom, P.A., Owner
Your North Hillsborough, South Pasco County Real Estate Specialist
The Nose Knows
Recently, I made a visit to my ENT who also specializes in nasal and sinus disorders. He makes it very clear that you are not to wear any perfumes when visiting his office. This demand did get me thinking about how smell sensitivity impacts our lives.
As a Real Estate Expert, I see hundreds of homes each year, and I can tell you when there is a problem with a home after stepping through the front door – all thanks to my nose! The obvious smells – cigarette smoke, pet odors, – can be recognized by anyone, but the seasoned nose can even detect mold! When entering a house with potential mold issues, I quickly get stuffed up and get a headache. Mold challenges can be common in vacant homes, especially during the summer when we have a lot of rain and humidity with no active air-conditioning to circulate the air. While this is a problem: vacant home + summer + no air conditioning = potential mold, there are a variety of allergy-related situations that exist in the home you live in today.
Identify the Allergen
I did some research trying to identify the most prominent allergy season in Florida. To my surprise, I found that all seasons are prominent allergy seasons. While the focus was mainly on spring, summer, and fall, we continue to suffer from allergies year round because we have warm, mild summers.
The best advice offered on various sites by allergy professionals is to identify the allergen and remove it from your life. But what if your house is what you are allergic to?
First, you have to concede that you have allergies. As for myself, I didn’t have allergies my whole life – they just kind of snuck up on me. According to an article in the Florida Medical Clinic written by John Hinson, signs of allergies include:
• Itchy and watery eyes
• Scratchy throat
• Runny nose
• Asthma attacks (in severe cases)
• Trouble Sleeping
He goes on to explain that mold allergy symptoms include hives, swollen eyes, itchy eyes, and wheezing.
When fighting allergens in your home, there are many key things to watch out for:
• Carpets, couches, curtains (all fabrics)
• Appliances related to water, i.e. garbage disposal
• Pet Dander
• Dried flower arrangements
The common takeaways from online research are the importance of keeping moisture at bay in all areas of the home. If your home has a good vent in the bathroom, be sure to use it while you shower or bathe. If a vent doesn’t exist in the bathroom, there is likely a window you can open (building codes require one or the other). If a closet or other space seems to hold a lot of humidity, try using DampRid.
DampRid products will pull the moisture from the air and you will be amazed at how quickly the DampRid bag fills up with water!
It is also important to air out your house. Take advantage of a cool spring day and open all of your windows to let fresh air in. This is also good to address any Radon gas concerns in your home. Radon is a tasteless, odorless gas that enters a home by way of small cracks in the foundation. Front loading washing machines also produce an enormous amount of humidity. Owners of these appliances must keep the door open between washes at all times. This is also true for enclosed walk-in showers. Between showers, keep the door ajar.
When it comes to fabrics, dust is the culprit. Drapes, couch covers, pillow covers, bedding can all contain dust and dust mites. Dust mites love warm humid places – they die when humidity falls below 40%!
Your AC System can help you battle humidity. Newer units include built-in dehumidification systems. According to David Gray Heating and Air, even older systems can help as they have an evaporator coil that condenses water vapor from the air. The liquid is condensed from the air, making your home less humid.
Create an Alliance with Your Home
Identify the Allergen
Get to know your home. Pay attention to problem areas and make a planner to clean important allergen attractors every few months. You can get the pets involved too (they may not like it), bathing them more often will reduce pet dander. Watch out for signs your home gives you – your home is your friend and ally in this war – not the enemy.
Don’t forget to check back monthly for the best home tips from the Real Estate Experts at the Home Solution Team.