4 considerations for allergy-conscious home shopping.
If you live with allergies or asthma, you know that environmental factors in your home can make or break your overall health and well-being. That means it is critical to carefully investigate potential allergy factors before buying or renting a home. If you have strong allergies, you will likely recognize potential allergy irritants the moment you walk into the open house. It’s hard to hide even invisible mold from someone who has strong allergies, and you should trust your reactions. However, the real estate process has plenty of distractions, so you should make a checklist of allergy factors to investigate as you are shopping for your next home.
Follow your nose
When you walk into a house, if it smells moldy, there likely is mold somewhere in the home. Mold problems can be challenging and expensive to eradicate, so you should think twice about renting or purchasing the home. Keep a close eye out for any signs of leakage or structural problems. Moisture is prime real estate for mold, rot, infestations, and other allergens. Wood-burning fireplaces, although attractive, can also trigger respiratory allergies, while most natural gas fireplaces will not cause problems.
Investigate pets and pests
If the previous owners had dogs or cats, the dander from those pets can be a trigger for allergies for some time after they have moved on. Previous pets are not necessarily deal-breakers for your potential new home, but you should invest time and professional services in a deep clean before moving in. Plan to wash down walls, replace filters and get air ducts cleaned. Professionally clean or even remove carpets, as hardwood or linoleum flooring can easily be damp mopped weekly to cut down on allergens.
Rodent or insect infestations leave behind feces that can also be problematic. Do a careful visual inspection, and ask if there have been any issues with pests in the home. Your realtor should permit an exterminator of your choice to survey the home.
Confirm reliable AC
Air conditioning has a huge role in keeping allergens out of a home. This is because they use filters to trap particles such as dust, pet dander, and many other irritants. The air conditioning should be reliable in any potential new home. Do a visual inspection of all AC parts and ask about the age of the system, warranty coverage, and previous repairs. Confirm that the windows close securely and investigate for signs of mold around the windows or sill. If you still have concerns, contacting a Utah air conditioning service can help ensure your air conditioning is working properly to keep irritants out.
Investigate new home smells
Brand-new homes have their advantages, as you can be sure there were no previous pets, infestations, or mold growth in a home that has no previous residents. However, you may encounter volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in new paint, insulation, and building materials that can trigger allergic reactions. This “new home smell” will not last forever, but depending on the severity of your allergies, they can be problematic for long enough that they are worth consideration. Ask the realtor for a list of materials used in the construction. If you do purchase a new home, use the air conditioning system and available fans early and consistently to push out the VOCs.