WEBSTER CITY, Iowa – March 1, 2004 – Americans will stay home from work or school more than 4 million days in 2004 to battle allergy symptoms even though the home may be the source of most of their misery.
“Indoor air contains anywhere from five to 100 times more allergens than outdoor air,” says Dr. James Sublett, Allergy Section Chair at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and a founding partner of one of the nation’s largest allergy practices.
“Eliminating allergens from the indoor environment can eliminate or reduce the severity of symptoms and, in many cases, reduce a patient’s need for prescription medications.”
In an effort reduce indoor allergens, numerous Green Building Programs such as Denver’s Build Green Colorado program and Earthcraft Homes in Atlanta, as well as the American Lung Association recommended homeowners install built-in central vacuum systems, energy recovery ventilation systems and improve air filtration in their homes.
With a motor up to five times more powerful than a conventional vacuum, a central vacuum system captures far more dust, dirt and allergens without blowing air into the room that can stir up dust. The collected dust, dirt and allergens are completely removed from the living area to a collection receptacle in the garage or basement.
The allergy benefits of a central vacuum were proven in a recent clinical study by the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Patients recorded a 46 percent to 61 percent improvement in their symptoms when they used a Beam Central Vacuum System instead of a conventional vacuum to clean their homes.
Energy recovery ventilation (ERV) systems compensate for tightly sealed homes that trap allergen-laden are in the living area. Required in new homes in Canada, ERVs draw fresh air into the home and exhaust an equal amount of the home's stale air. They also recapture most of the heat from the indoor and outdoor air streams, thereby reducing the amount of energy required to maintain a comfortable temperature in the homes.
Air filters also play an important role by trapping airborne allergens. Rather than a flat fiberglass filter, doctors encourage allergy patients to install pleated filters with at least a MERV 12 rating in their forced air heating and cooling system. The pleated design forces the air to change direction several times and pass through more surfaces thereby increasing the volume of material the filter traps.
Because people spend more time in the bedroom than any other room in the house, doctors encourage patients to take steps to reduce dust mite levels in bedding, Mattresses, box springs and pillows should be encased in airtight, zippered plastic or special allergen-proof fabric covers. Bedding should also be washed weekly in hot water (130°F) and dried in a hot drier. For waterbeds, regularly wash the mattress pad on top of the bed.
For more information about the University of California, Davis study, or to locate a Beam dealer, visit Beam’s Web site at www.beamvac.com.