Houston allergy seasons are often severe and Texas’ mild winters make sure the “season” for allergies sticks around for a while. This makes it difficult for residents to determine whether their seasonal allergies are just that, or something more.
Air Tech of Conroe is fully-equipped to assess your home’s Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and help determine whether your HVAC system is to blame for your winter or seasonal allergy symptoms. Our IAQ testing services will get you and your family feeling better in no time!
Common Winter Allergens in Houston
The Houston area’s high humidity levels and mild winters cause pollen (one of the main culprits behind Conroe allergy symptoms) to linger throughout the year, wreaking havoc on our immune systems.
The following are the most common winter allergens in Houston:
- Pollen from: weeds, grasses and trees
- Cedar Elm, Ash, Elm, Pecan, Cedar, Oak, Pine, Hackberry, and Box Elder
- Mold – fueled by rain and humidity levels
Seasonal allergy symptoms will vary from person to person, but the most common are:
- Itchy eyes, nose, and throat
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Red, swollen eyes
- Watery eyes
- Ear pain or pressure
- Chronic cough or wheezing
- Hoarse voice
If left untreated, seasonal allergies can cause larger health complications. It is important to monitor your symptoms and seek treatment if you are unable to manage them. If you suspect your seasonal allergy symptoms may not be caused by local allergens, your home’s air quality may be to blame.
How Winter Affects IAQ
When winter rolls around, we tend to retreat into our homes to avoid the cool temperatures and seasonal winter allergies. This makes your IAQ more crucial in winter than any other time of year. As more time is spent inside, we create more opportunities to introduce pollutants by:
- Cooking, especially with oil, which releases exhaust into the air
- Cleaning with harsh products that release harmful fumes
- Running hot water, which produces steam (in the shower, kitchen and from your clothes dryer) and can increase the presence of mold spores
- Burning candles
- Letting pet hair and dander accumulate around your home, especially after brushing and grooming
Additionally, the air outside your home can affect IAQ. When the temperature drops in winter, it affects the way air moves in the atmosphere. Warm air rises, creating a blanket that traps cold air and pollutants in our city’s air.
Using wood-burning fireplaces and running our cars for longer amounts of time (in attempts to create heat) contribute to poor outdoor air quality by releasing smoke particulates and vehicle exhaust. These can easily enter homes through open doors, drafty windows, on our clothing and on pet fur.
A natural reaction to prevent poor-quality, outdoor air from making its way inside is to find and seal any air leaks in your home. This also keeps the cold air from interfering with your heated air but poses another problem. If your day-to-day tasks are polluting your indoor air, your home needs ventilation to prevent those same pollutants from constantly recirculating and multiplying in your home through your heating system.
During summer, we can simply crack a window to let fresh air in, but during winter that is the last thing we want to do. Regularly dusting, cleaning, changing your heater’s air filters or purchasing an air purifier are the best way to combat this and maintain your IAQ.
How to Know if Your IAQ is Affecting you – Not Seasonal Allergies
The effects of poor IAQ on residents show in symptoms very similar to those associated with seasonal allergies, making it difficult to distinguish between the two. The main sign your home’s air is the cause is that your “cold/flu” just won’t go away. Your allergy symptoms may ease up when you walk out of your house or get worse only when you are at home – maybe in a specific room.
Other effects poor IAQ can have on you are:
- Itchy, watery, dry or burning eyes that are not alleviated by eye drops
- Feeling fatigued often or light-headed when you enter your home
- Asthma attacks
- Coughing and sneezing frequently
- Nausea, from breathing in chemicals or pollutants
If you suspect your home has poor IAQ, contact Air Tech of Conroe today! Serving residents in Conroe and The Woodlands since 1985, we understand the importance of indoor air quality on your health and comfort and are happy to answer your questions.
Our air quality testing services and products will help you breathe easy and relax in your home!