Each year, spring in Southeastern Wisconsin seems to bring more environmental allergies with abundant rains and milder winters. This year has been no exception, as even residents without known allergies seem to be suffering from typical allergy symptoms, and those unfortunate chronic sufferers are finding little relief in the outdoors. Your custom home should always be a sanctuary, particularly when environmental allergens are at their peak and the great indoors is the safest place to hide.

As many environmental allergens are airborne, it is easy to track them into the home and contaminate the indoor living space. They are easily trapped in carpets, upholstery, linens, screens, filters and vents. And while window screens are effective at keeping insects outside, some allergens are able to pass through. Windows are actually the first line of defense when it comes to combatting intrusive outdoor allergens, as they are the main point of entry. Therefore, allergy-proofing windows is a good place to start.

The following are a few tips for keeping windows allergy-free:

  • Keep them clean: windows tend to attract dust, and excessive dust provides a favorable environment for dust mites. A weekly wipe-down with a bleach solution around sills, frames and screens will clear the area of dust mites and mold spores.
  • Air purifiers placed near windows: this will allow for airborne allergens to be trapped before circulating throughout the home.
  • Choose window treatments that are lightweight and easy to clean: heavy drapes and small slotted blinds are magnets for dust and pollen and difficult to clean.
  • Know when to close windows: during warm, humid days when mold and dust mites thrive; in rainy, damp weather; early morning, when weeds, trees and grasses release pollen.

Especially for lovers of fresh air, keeping windows closed seems to be the hardest rule to follow, especially during the pleasant sound of falling rain or during the damp and dewy nighttime hours. Many luxury home owners opt to install window screen pollen filters, a fine mesh screen that blocks most plant allergens from invading the home.

Once pollen and other outdoor allergens breeze into the home, they join the typical indoor allergens such as dust mites, mold and pet dander as unwelcome irritants. More than half of all Americans have tested positive for some allergies; it is probable that at least one member of your household will benefit from keeping the entire home as allergy-free as possible. While allergens are carried in the air, larger allergens such as pollen and dust mites tend to settle out of the air and accumulate on surfaces quicker than mold spores and pet dander.

Some tips for reducing allergens within the home:

  • Keep surfaces clean: uncluttered shelves, floors and counters are much easier to clean and keep dust-free
  • Regularly check filters and air duct vents to minimize circulation of allergens throughout the home
  • Vacuum at least once a week and make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter
  • Air purifiers are helpful in removing airborne allergens: in addition to placement by windows, they are beneficial in the bedroom, where the majority of in-home time is spent and sleep quality can be enhanced
  • Using the air conditioner helps to reduce humidity within the home (as well as lessens the need for open windows at night)

A well kept, clean home requires minimal additional effort in making it an allergy-free zone. Your luxury custom home should be nothing less than a sanctuary.