Sneeze Alert: How to Control Allergens In Your Basement
Usually dark, damp, and at least partially below ground, basements are breeding grounds for mold. Heating and cooling units, washing machines, utility sinks, and hot water heaters can create moisture problems. Dust and mold spores can collect on stored items, such as holiday decorations and old books. To make matters worse, chemicals, such as paint thinners and chlorine, which are often stored in basements, can aggravate allergies and asthma, particularly in kids. Try these tips to make your basement less of a bunker for allergens:
Organize a clean-out
Go through your stuff and throw out, donate, or recycle what you don’t need. If you must hold on to those old newspaper clippings or yearbooks, store them in air-tight bins and check them periodically for mold or mustiness.
Forage for fungi
Now and then, take a trip down to your basement to look around for signs of moisture. Red flags include a musty smell, pools of water, or visible mold.
Running a dehumidifier in your basement will help reduce moisture levels. But make sure you maintain your unit. A poorly-functioning dehumidifier can leak and actually add to mold problems.
Keep gutters flowing
Gutter flow that is even just slightly off can cause major moisture problems in your basement. To make sure rainwater drains where it should, keep your gutters clean (try a gutter-cleaning robot), and examine them while it rains to make sure drainage flows away from your home.
Check your HVAC
Change the air filter in your furnace and air conditioning units every few months. This helps improve allergy symptoms, makes the units run more efficiently, and can lower your energy bill.
Contact your health care professional, if you suspect you or a family member may have allergies. You can find products at Bed Bath & Beyond to help control allergens in your home.
Content provided by HealthyWomen.org.