Our new home and allergies... help?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Scott Wong, Nov 2, 2004.

  1. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    Hey everyone! My girlfriend and I bought our very first home together just three weeks ago! We closed on Oct. 7th but 'officially' had our first night together in the new place just a week or so ago.

    The previous owners had a dog and my girlfriend has allergies (just stuffy head symptoms nothing too drastic like her throat closing, etc, etc). She isn't allergic to all dogs though and they all seem to be handled on a case-by-case basis. Since actually moving in a week ago, she has been under the weather just about every day. She hasn't been sleeping well and she is forced to take her allergy pill at least once a day.

    I feel as though I've done just about all I can do. I feel awful for her because the last thing that I want is for her to be miserable in our new home. I purchased an air purifier from Target that does 250 sq. feet of purification. It has a HEPA air filter and supposedly traps all dander and other bacteria. I have been putting this in our bedroom at night to help her sleep and then moving it in various locations in the house throughout the day when I am home. Prior to actually moving in, we did quite a bit of cleaning and painting. I was able to vaccuum the carpets really well (although I am not certain how good our vaccuum really is) I have been changing the vaccuum bag after just about every vaccuum to see if that helps, as well. My mom also let me borrow her Dirt Devil carpet cleaner and I cleaned every ounce of carpet in the home... twice. It wasn't anything of industrial grade, but it seemed to work fairly well because the hot water I dumped out was black after cleaning every room.

    Short of all this, I am stumped. The townhome was built in 2001 so it is relatively new. Our old apartment manager suggested we change out the filter in the furnace, but I am not sure how to go about doing this??

    Does anyone have any other suggestions that I might be able to take to help out my poor girlfriend?? Seeing her pop a pill everyday to be comfortable in our new home is disheartening.

    Sorry for the lengthy post...

    Scott.
     
  2. Andrew W

    Andrew W Supporting Actor

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    The carpet won't be clean until you dump out clear water, not black.

    Get a professional cleaning. A typical vacuum or Dirt Devil are not really good vacuums. Something like a Miele with a HEPA filter is what you need for allergies.

    Also, get the electrostatic filters. We use the 3M ones.
     
  3. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    Andrew, which filters are you referring to?? The furnace filter? I will definitely check into this and I appreciate the input! Thank you very much!!
     
  4. Alf S

    Alf S Cinematographer
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    If you need more HEPA's, and have a Sam's Club nearby, they have a 3 pack of HEPA filter machines (filters included) for $149..One does a 20'x20' room with ionizer, and the other two each clean a 10x11 room.

    We bought this an have been happy with the results.

    We also bought the 3M Filtrete for the furnace.Can be found at Lowes, Wal Mart etc.

    I concur, call Stanley Steamer and get a pro to clean out all the junk...Oh and maybe get your air ducts cleaned.

    Good luck!
     
  5. mark alan

    mark alan Supporting Actor

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    If she has bad reactions to household allergens (like I did), the best thing you can do is get rid of all of your wall to wall carpeting. Wood floors, ceramic tile and laminate flooring is the only way to go.

    I will never live in a carpeted house again.
     
  6. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    How do I change out the filter in our furnace?? Is it something that would be done by the company who cleans out the air ducts??

    There was an ad in this past Sunday's newspaper with a free estimate from Sears for air duct cleaning. I am definitely going to do this. In the meantime, if I can buy that filter and change out the furnace filter myself, I'd love too that. With winter on the way, we've already begun to have our heat on. I can't imagine stale and filthy air blowing through the vents into our home is helping her situation....

    Any other suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks again guys for the replies!!
     
  7. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    Changing the furnace filter is easy. 1-2 minute job in most places.

    The filter is typically in the air handler (the fan box thingie that blows the air around), on the inlet side of it. Usually a small door (2" high x 20" wide or so) that opens. Grab the old one, slide it out, and slide in the new one (pay attention to direction of flow).

    I also use the 3M Filtretes. I get them at Lowes or Target. I use the Ultra-Allergen. $15 or so, I change it every three months.

    Also, consider that your lady may have a chemical sensitivity. Considering all the cleaning agents that may be in the air, from all the work, it's not that unlikely. Fresh air rules here. Open some windows during the hottest part of the day, and get some clean air in. Make sure everything stays free of mold, too (shower, sinks, etc).

    Todd
     
  8. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    The previous dog occupancy may be a red herring; your girlfriends symptoms may be due to mold. You may want to have your house checked.
     
  9. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    No

    Not exactly sure what that would entail. If it is any consolation, we had the house inspected prior to closing. He found nothing wrong at all and even complimented us on our decision to buy the place. It's practically brand new.

    One owner. No kids. Just a married couple with two professional careers. The townhome itself was immaculate. Things like the shower, both bathrooms, etc, etc were nothing short of spotless. There certainly wasn't any mold. Nonetheless, I used hot water a little bleach solution and sprayed everything down. It's spotless. I know I've heard horror stories about mold within the walls and if that's the case, you've got me. I've no idea if that's the case.

    I've found the furnace filter and will replace that today. I'll also call about getting the air ducts cleaned.

    Thanks again for all of the replies.
     
  10. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    Scott, how far do you live from Minneapolis? There is a steam cleaning service that we have used to clean our basement three times already this summer (we have two dogs). The charge for basic service is only $20 for two rooms...no size limitation! The catch is they try to sell you on other things like spot removers and other emzymes to "keep dirt out"...etc. You simply decline the extra service but they can be pushy.

    They will also clean 10 vents (8 vents and two cold air returns) for $69.99. A furnace installer recently told me to ignore air ducts and focus on the cold air returns because it is there that dirt and dander is likely to accumulate. This makes sense because the air coming from the ducts is more forceful. You can negotiate with this same company to clean most of your cold air returns instead of the ducts. Again, they will try to sell you on other useless stuff...just decline and enjoy the low prices!

    I don't have the company's name but I'm sure I will see a flyer in the mail soon. Let me know if you're interested and I'll keep an eye out for you.

    Try changing those nasty filters first and see how it goes. We just bought a hoover steam cleaner from Fleetfarm and it's amazing how dirty the water is AFTER I've thoroughly vacuumed the area. Thank goodness 80% of our home is hardwood floors!
     
  11. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Paint can cause a variety of health problems. If you did not get zero-VOC paint then that may be the problem (reactions similar to allergies are common). Here's more info about VOCs and paint.
     
  12. Mark Danner

    Mark Danner Stunt Coordinator

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    Going forward if you want a better vacuum check out Miele cannisters. They usually rank the best for allergies. They use 2 filters, and most can use HEPA filters. They are not cheap though.
     
  13. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    I'm going to agree with the person who said lose the carpet. For a person with allergies to dogs and cats, you'll never get it entirely clean. If you still want carpet, then replace it with new stuff. Otherwise, go the hard surface route.

    My wife is highly allergic to dogs and cats. My in-laws had a dog (even when my wife was still living with them...some might consider that child abuse), but after my father in-law passed away, my mother-in-law gave away the dog because she couldn't take care of it on her own. No matter how much cleaning was done to the carpets and air ducts, the allergy problems did not go away. My wife could only stay in the house for a couple hours before the allergies started kicking in, even without the dog. Recently, my mother-in-law replaced the carpets with tile in the entire house. Allergy problem solved.
     

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