This is the peak season for do-it-yourself projects, and maybe you already have your tape measure in hand, ready to tackle a bathroom remodel, open up the floor plan or finally reimagine that unfinished basement. There are plenty of considerations to take into account with any project, including space, budget and your desired results. But you also need to think about the people who will be enjoying this space with you, especially if any of them suffer from allergies or asthma.
Whether you undertake the project yourself or you hire a professional, each project has the potential to make life easier for the allergy and asthma sufferers living in your home. To help you create the best environment for them, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) offers these helpful tips from its asthma and allergy friendly Certification Program:
* Shut the door on bad cabinets. If you're looking to add or replace your cabinets, you may be considering common options like pressed wood, particleboard or composite boards. These materials, however, often release high levels of volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde. To make your new cabinets more suitable for the asthma and allergy suffers in your home, talk to manufacturers about low-VOC options instead.
* Keep the moisture out. Mold and mildew is a common trigger and can make breathing difficult for asthma and allergy sufferers. These hazards grow from excess moisture in your home, which comes in through the doors or windows. New windows offer energy-saving benefits, and updating the weather stripping on your windowsills and doors can reduce the presence of moisture — thus reducing mold and mildew concerns.
* Get serious about your air. No one appreciates indoor air quality more than allergy and asthma sufferers. An updated heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system can improve each breath everyone takes. If you plan to update your home's HVAC system, opt for one with a replaceable or washable filter-making it easier to control the indoor air quality. This is also a great time to make sure air ducts in your home are unobstructed and large enough to circulate air effectively.
* Find fabulous floors. If you have considered replacing your flooring this year, hardwood floors are very stylish right now. Additionally, wood floors are also more asthma and allergy friendly than wall-to-wall carpet. Cover your new hardwood floors with small, washable area rugs for a more breathable environment everyone can enjoy. And for those rooms where carpeting still exists, remember to vacuum the space weekly and clean up any spills immediately.
* Waterproof your home. Leaky pipes, water in the basement or even on the walls — moisture like this can be a source of mildew, as well as indicate a general waste of money and potential cause of greater damage. These issues should be addressed immediately before water damages your home or mold and mildew become a serious problem.
The right home project not only benefits the home itself but all of the people who live in it, including anyone with asthma and allergies. Before you start your project, consider what you can do to improve your home for them as well. Doing so will have everyone breathing more easily and loving your home even more. For more helpful tips and to learn more about specific household products that are Certified asthma and allergy friendly, visitwww.aafa.org/certified/blog