Improve the Air Quality of your Home with Cordless Roller Solar Shades
Still caught in the throes of winter, all at home have had the sniffles and the sneezes that have us with beanies on our heads, mufflers around our throats, warm socks and mittens adorning our hands and feet, in addition to wearing warm woolly sweaters and pullovers. When is this ever going to end? We didn’t take the scrooge very seriously in the beginning, but when my daughter’s eyes started watering ceaselessly, and a hacking cough ensued, we got really worried…what if it was the dreaded Ebola still making its rounds? Not probable I knew, but certainly within the realms of MY reality!
So come Monday morning, we pay our GP a visit at Health Center, and while our consultation put us at immediate ease, with blood tests revealing no untoward illness, we were caught on the back foot to realize that we weren’t really the clean and hygienic people we thought ourselves to be! The results from our tests confirmed the good doctor’s word that we were all suffering the malady ‘allergic rhinitis’, and it apparently afflicts 28-30% of the Canadian population! The symptoms affecting us was the allergic reaction to the dust mites circulating in the possibly stale indoor air, due to tightly insulated interiors these past winter months. Well!! And with spring round the corner, when the pollens released into the air wreak havoc with most peoples’ systems, the allergies would only increase! Armed with anti-allergic medication and inhalers to combat the chest congestion, my husband and I got down to work, the doctor’s words ringing in our ears!
Dust mites are microscopic insects that thrive in temperatures of 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, at humidity levels of 70 to 80% – the ideal indoor temperature and humidity! These dust mites feed on the tiny flakes of skin that we shed and work their way into the inner layers of bedding, carpets, upholstery, drapery, and stuffed toys. Along with the other indoor air pollutants such as VOC’s, molds, bacteria, accumulated dust and pet fibers, they end up sparking irritating symptoms that manifest as ‘allergic rhinitis’.
Apparently, unless one lives in the Antarctica, it’s not possible to get rid of these creatures entirely! But during winter, and the ensuing cold months in high altitude climates, what can one do? Here are some of the things we found that can make a difference to those prone to dust allergies:
1. Envelope pillows and mattresses in zippered, dust-proof covers.
2. Get rid of drapery or any window coverings that can’t be frequently washed and install roll-type shades that can be washed.
3. Clean window frames and cornices regularly with antiseptic soap solution to rid them of mold and bacteria.
4. Get rid of carpets and rugs that are great traps for dust mites – however frequently you dry or wet vacuum them, they’re mighty hard to rid of dust mites.
5. Wear a filtering mask while vacuuming and dusting. Use special filters in vacuum cleaners to prevent dust mites from being circulated back in the air.
6. Wash bedding and blankets on a weekly basis at a temperature not less than a 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. If you really must use carpets, go for short, tightly piled throws that can be washed in hot water. Wall-to-wall carpets are a definite no-no!
8. And finally, use a dehumidifier in your home to keep humidity levels below 50%.
So, time for home improvement! Luckily, my husband’s quite the handyman, unlike me. We have wooden floors but had shaggy rugs in all the bedrooms. Those were the first things we trashed. Next went the drapes – I’d always fancied those swanky shades and blinds we saw in some of our friends’ places! In the interests o frugality in a tired economy, I’d held to sensible counsel. But now, that’s totally an old argument!
With new found vigor, we went over our checklist and systematically got to work – my chore was to get the dust mask and filters for the vacuum cleaner, as vacuuming is something that I handle, and I think no one does a better job! And as a web designer, I’m at the computer most of the time, so it fell upon me to buy the zippered pillow and bed covers, and the window coverings, all online, of course! After some extensive research, I decided not to go with the wooden shutters or wood blinds that’d had my imagination soaring, as they can be a bit of a bother to clean, and would work out to be more expensive than what we expected, seeing as we had more than a few things to redo! I decided on solar shades over the fascinating cellular shades, even though they are comparable in price, as we have fixed glazed, nitrogen-filled windows that are beautifully mounted – so insulation is not a big bother. Also, I feared the pleated creases and cells would collect dust, and that hassle, I don’t want again!
So yay! We bought these shades called ‘LightWeaves Solar Shades’ from a brand called Graber Blinds. Light weight, they were set to our specifications by Zebrablinds, the online retailer, and they could be clipped into our window recesses. We decided on a 5% openness factor as we wanted some light coming through even on a cloudy day, in case they have to be pulled down during the day. I opted for translucent, self-printed shades for the living and dining rooms, plain white, light filtering fabric for my large kitchen windows, a tad more privacy as they face the neighbour’s kitchen, blackout fabrics for the study (stripes), bedrooms and bathrooms (plain). And cordless lift mechanisms for all rooms as I didn’t want anything dangling anywhere to collect more dust. And a plain hem bar – no gimps and tassels, even though these are lovely to soften stark decor. And most importantly, because the fabrics I chose were 100% polyester, they create a virtually maintenance-free Solar Shade – in addition to vacuuming, they can be wiped down with a soft cloth dipped in a mild, soapy, antiseptic solution once a week. Plus, they’re GreenGuard and Microban certified, so they don’t contribute to indoor pollution in the least. And add to all these benefits, Graber Blinds owned by Spring Window Fashions stands behind their products 100% with a replacement warranty that ensures that any fault in the shade fabric or mechanism will guarantee a replacement of the whole unit. And my husband decided to have a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) installed to refresh the stale air without losing the coveted indoor heat. Phew! Problem solved! Hopefully, we’ll hold allergies at bay better than we have done, all this time – with fret-free interiors and windows!