As temperatures and humidity outside plummet, constantly heated indoor air can wreak havoc, drying your skin, hair and nasal passages. That can create a breeding ground for seasonal viruses and irritate respiratory systems. Keep you indoor winter air healthier this year:
- Try to keep your home temperature no higher than 68°F. Adjust your thermostat to lower temperatures at night. A cooler temperature of 64 or 65°F makes for better sleeping and less open-mouthed breathing due to dried out nasal passages.
- On milder days, open a window briefly on each floor of your home to allow fresh air to circulate.
- Have ductwork cleaned every few years to remove dust and debris collecting there, which recirculates through the home.
- If your furnace does not have a humidifier setting on it, you can improve humidity levels by placing a pan of water near heat registers. Also, fill your teakettle and heat it until it releases steam into the air for a few minutes. Cool mist room humidifiers can be helpful for people suffering with colds or allergies.
Keep indoor, air-borne irritants to a minimum. A central vacuum system is the most effective method for removing dust and allergens completely from your home environment. In contrast with a standard vacuum cleaner, which can recirculate dust and allergens back into the air, a central vacuum uses powerful suction to remove virtually all dirt and transport it through a system of in-the-wall tubing to a sealed container away from living spaces, such as in a basement, closet or garage. You can have an authorized installer easily retrofit your home with a central vacuum system with minimum disruption to your home.
Dander is made up of the minute scales from fur, hair, feathers or skin of animals. Every animal’s dander is different, which is why some people can tolerate dogs but not cats and vice versa. Most people with allergic reactions to animal dander are responding to dog or cat dander, but dander from birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, horses and many other animals can also cause problems, depending on the individual’s sensitivity. Sneezing, itchy and/or watery eyes, sinus congestion and even difficulty breathing can be caused by dander allergy. Dander is sticky and can survive for months in an environment. It attaches itself to dust.
There is no such thing as a true hypoallergenic animal, but some breeds of dogs do seem to cause fewer allergic problems than others. People with dander allergies can safely keep pets without fur or feathers, such as turtles, snakes or fish. But if you have someone in the home with a dander allergy who simply cannot give up their beloved creature, there are strategies you can follow to keep symptoms at a minimum.
- Keep animals out of the bedroom at all times, and create other pet-free zones in the home.
- Change the filters in your furnace and air conditioning frequently.
- Consider removing carpets and replacing them with tile, wood, or vinyl flooring. Wash throw rugs in hot water frequently.
- Use blinds instead of drapes, especially in bedrooms.
- Wash hands after handling animals, and never hold the animal close to the face.
- Launder bedding in hot water to remove dander that may travel into the bedroom on clothes or shoes.
- Use portable air purifiers in the home.
- Feed pets high quality pet food and consider a coat supplement. Both efforts will reduce shedding and increased flaking of dander from the pet.
- Vacuum frequently with a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter. For best results, invest in a central vacuum system. Unlike traditional vacuum cleaners, which re-circulate some of the dander and irritants back into the home environment, a central vacuum system will remove virtually all contaminants through the hose and into behind-the-wall tubes which lead to a sealed container away from living space, such as the basement, garage, or even a closet. This unit can then be easily emptied by a non-allergic member of the household.
Pets add immeasurable joy and companionship to our lives—good thing, because they sure make a lot of mess. I have found a nifty solution to some of those messes, like tracked-in leaves and dirt, spilled pet food, tumbleweeds of shed fur, stray litter around the cat box, and other miscellaneous debris created by pets:
Spot by Vroom is a flexible, 15’ long hose that lives in your wall and hooks directly to your central vacuum system. You can place one in your messiest zones, like the laundry room/pet room/mud room and pull out the Spot whenever you need a speedy cleanup. The hose automatically retracts back into the wall when you’re finished. There are also special attachments you can buy for Spot—even one that grooms your dog!
Save time messing around with a broom and dust pan or lugging out a vacuum cleaner. Spot is right at your fingertips. Also perfect for powdered detergent spills; lint screens; dust bunnies behind, between and underneath appliances and cabinets; small messes in hobby rooms or workshops. You’ll find a hundred uses for this handy little gadget that hides away when you don’t need it and appears in a flash when you do.
Don’t have a central vacuum system? You can retrofit your home with a central vacuum system in less than a day, and you won’t know how you lived without it.
I remember a time when shopping for household items didn’t used to be so complicated. Certain brand names could be relied upon, or you bought what your mother always used. Today, the marketplace is saturated with a proliferation of products offering a dizzying range of pricing, quality and features.
When buying even a toaster can boggle the mind, how to choose a much-used appliance like a vacuum cleaner, which can make a significant impact not only on the cleanliness of your home, but the health of your whole family?
While every household will have unique cleaning needs, weigh these facts when considering what kind of vacuum system you want to purchase:
- EFFECTIVENESS: Traditional vacuum cleaners remove only a portion of the dust and dirt in your home. The rest is re-circulated in the air. That “just vacuumed” smell is actually the result of particles that have been kicked up into your indoor environment, explaining why many people sneeze a lot after vacuuming. A central vacuum system, on the other hand, suctions all of the dirt from your home and transports it into a central source located away from living spaces, such as in a basement, closet or garage. This level of effectiveness is especially critical if someone in the household suffers from dust allergies, asthma, or any kind of respiratory difficulties.
- EASE OF USE: Central vacuum system owners love the easy operation of a system like VACUFLO. No more lugging heavy, awkward equipment around furniture or up stairs—a bonus for people with back or knee problems or mobility issues. Just attach the end of the hose to a central vacuum outlet positioned in several convenient locations throughout your home, and sweep. It’s quieter than a traditional vacuum cleaner, too—you can even carry on a conversation without yelling!
- COST: Certainly the initial cost of a central vacuum system will be higher than a traditional vacuum cleaner. Long term, however, you might be surprised at the economic sense of installing a central vacuum system that will last many years, offer superior cleaning and ease of use, and increase the value of your home.
- RETURN ON INVESTMENT : A central vacuum system like VACUFLO increases the value of your home and sets it apart from others, making it more appealing to prospective buyers should you ever decide to sell. The increasing number of people who suffer from allergies or asthma, especially, will immediately recognize the value of a home equipped with a central vacuum system.
Creating a clean and healthy home environment is important for homeowners. The EPA has identified indoor air pollution as one of America’s most serious environmental health problems. The American College of Allergists also reports that 50% of all illnesses are caused by, or aggravated by, polluted indoor air. No wonder indoor air is one of the top priorities for today’s homebuyers.
With up to five times the suction and power of uprights, Vacuflo®, Dirt Devil® and Element Central Vacuum Systems capture 100% of all vacuumed dirt, dust, odors and allergens. After vacuuming with most uprights it is typical to smell odors and see dust particles reflected in the sunlight. Traditional vacuums spread these particles and allergens around your home and recirculate them into the air you breathe. The power of Vacuflo®, Dirt Devil® and Element central vacuums eliminates these odors and dust particles for a cleaner home and cleaner air.
The Cyclonic Filtration Technology® of Vacuflo®, Dirt Devil® and Element central vacuums creates a powerful centrifugal force that separates the dirt from the airflow and deposits 96-98% of all debris into a remote dirt canister. The remaining fine particles are then exhausted outside or caught in a high-performance filter, depending on the model.
It’s the hidden dust that can confound even the most regular cleaning routine—those hard-to-reach places like:
- under and behind the refrigerator, stove and other large appliances
- under beds
- tops of cabinets
- high woodwork
- corners and tight spots
- fan blades
- computers and small electronics
Traditional dusting methods tend to simply move the dust around these areas, if it can be reached at all. Vacuuming can be effective, but only if you have the right vacuum system and accessories. As far as versatility and cleaning power, your best bet is a central vacuum system. Check out these handy accessories that will help you conquer even the trickiest dust-collecting spots in your home:
- The Spider Fighter is not only great for capturing those pesky insects further than an arm length away, but it also great to tackle ceilings, crown molding, baseboards, between appliance and much more.
- You’ll appreciate the Mini-Tools Set for cleaning keyboards, computers, stereos, sewing machines and more. Each attachment connects to any central vacuum hose and includes hose connector and adapter, extension wand, curved extension wand, oval brush, round brush and crevice tool.
- The Dust Mop Tool captures and removes dust and dirt from all hard-surface floors, especially in those hard-to-reach places. Dirt and dust trapped deep in crevices is easily lifted away by vacuuming power as the fluffy mop head gently dusts and polishes your flooring to a clean, shiny finish.
- Nineteen height positions make the one-piece Deluxe Adjustable Wand the perfect companion for all Vacuflo central vacuum accessories. Fully extended, the wand reaches 40-1/2″ and features the Button-down Clip to easily release the wand from the hose. Makes cleaning high-up woodwork and ceiling corners a breeze. Also handy for extending your vacuuming reach into odd corners and small spaces, as well as drapery cleaning attachments.
Today’s environmentally conscious homeowners, like me, are demanding and getting improved energy efficiency, better indoor air quality and smarter use of building materials. These “green” building initiatives not only protect the environment, but also improve comfort and boost home value.
Central vacuum systems have a unique role to play in “green” homes. By removing 100% of vacuumed dirt and dust, they ensure healthy indoor air and reduce the discomfort of allergy sufferers by more than 60%. Central vacuum systems also offer these benefits:
Improved Indoor Air Quality
Central vacuum systems can help improve indoor air quality by capturing 100% of all vacuumed dirt, dust and allergens with no recirculation of particles back into the living area.
All you discard is the dust
Unlike uprights, which are often discarded after only a few years, central vacuum systems keep up worry-free cleaning for decades.
No additional electricity
Central vacuum systems like Vacuflo®, Element and Dirt Devil® offer turbine-powered powerheads. Turbines run off the airflow of your central vacuum system so they require no additional electricity to operate.
Earn Points with Central Vacuums
Organizations like Earth Advantage®, and the US Green Building Council with its LEED®, (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Rating System are providing standards and certification to ensure that best practices are followed across the country.
Central vacuum systems earn 1 point in the LEED-H standard and 3 points in the NAHB Green Building Standard.