Make Your Home an Allergy Free Home
Do You Need Ideas to Create an Allergy Free Home?While the contents of this page describe how we designed and built our own allergy free home in the State of Victoria in Australia, we hope that the principles that we used will also be able to help you to move towards an allergy free home.
But first let me tell you why we decided to build an allergy free home. It all came about because a family member was subjected to an extreme exposure to insect spray and developed acute allergic reactions to a whole range of allergens including tobacco smoke, vehicle exhaust fumes, rubber, new paint, new carpets, perfumes, pine wood, gas cook tops and gas fires, chlorine used in water treatment, plus many food items. The symptoms were not just a simple sneeze, skin rash or asthma cough, but pains and aches, loss of mobility in the legs, mood changes and even bouts of irrational thinking. Sounds pretty horrible? Yes it was.
After seeking allergy treatment advice from many different doctors over a many years it became quite apparent that there was a gradual change occurring in the thinking in the medical community, from only considering allergies to be a reaction to simple things like pollens and dust mites resulting in breathing problems or skin rashes, to an understanding that many other factors were involved, including the environment that we live in, and, that there could be greater physical problems and even emotional issues for sufferers
It was also becoming more widely accepted that there was a link between allergies and an immune system that simply could not cope with the allergen loads being placed upon it, and, if this load could be reduced by living in an allergen free home, avoiding the environmental situations that caused a reaction and paying attention to diet, the immune system could repair itself to a significant degree, or possibly even completely. But that was many years ago, and we have now been living in our allergy free home for more than twenty five years, and the allergic reactions are now a thing of the past.
We are convinced that living in our allergy free home with its indoor allergy controls was fundamental in my recovery and any chance of a normal life. We also believe, that anyone who experiences major allergy reactions should try to create an allergy proof home, or at least some degree of indoor allergy controls. We hope that the following notes may give you some ideas to consider.
Finding a Home SiteBecause of the problems caused by chemical and vehicle exhaust fumes we decided to look for a home site where these fumes would be kept to a minimum, such as on the upwind side of any industrial activity or any major roadways. The result was that we chose a small seaside town on the Victorian coast which did not have any industries, and where the prevailing winds came off the ocean. Luckily we were able to find a home site that bordered a 50 acre parkland, and was in a suburban street that serves just a small residential area. It was an ideal start towards building our home.
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The design or layout was not of great importance so far as an allergy free home was concerned, but we did make sure that every habitable room had windows on two opposite walls so that the fresh clean ocean air in this locality could flow through our home and help flush out any airborne pollutants .
Because of moth, moisture, and stain proofing chemicals in carpets and floor rugs we opted to build on a concrete slab and have slate laid on all floor surfaces. We used a lovely dark green square cut slate from China to complement the warm coloured kiln fired clay bricks that we wanted to use for the walls. The bonding of slate to concrete was done with a sand and cement mix without any additives. We do have some floor rugs that are hand woven from home spun sheep wool that has been dyed with natural plant dyes to give a homely atmosphere . There is a system of water conduit pipes set in the concrete slab for under floor heating, with the external wood fired boiler located in a small structure that is on the downwind side of the house to minimise any smoke.
Because of the solvents and drying agents that out-gas from paints we did not want to have any paintwork, (but we did relax and have some polyurethane finish on the timberwork) so the external and internal walls are all brick except for two short internal wall sections that are hardwood clad behind some cupboards. The entire ceiling area is kiln dried hardwoodTasmanian Myrtle flooring boards placed above exposed oregon ceiling beams with a polyurethane finish. All of the beams and flooring timbers for the ceiling were coated in polyurethane while they were in a large shed during the time that the concrete floor was being constructed, and this gave some months of out-gassing time before the timbers were used in the home.
As pine wood and pine trees had caused allergic reactions, the terpenes in the timber were blamed for this, the timbers that were used anywhere in the home were mainly kiln dried Tasmanian Myrtle, Jarrah or Gum, which are all hardwoods and give off very little odour. Oregon was used for the ceiling beams to eliminate any shrinkage or warping in the reasonably large size beams. All windows are made with powder coated aluminium frames set directly into the brickwork to reduce the use of timber.
The built in robes have kiln dried hardwood (KDHW) framing with sliding doors constructed of metal frames and glass mirrors. All cupboards are framed in dressed KDHW and have KDHW divisions. Kitchen drawers and robe drawers are framed in dressed KDKW because the normally used particle boards and laminates contain formaldehyde and other chemicals. Kitchen bench tops are KDHW flooring boards finished with 12 inch by 12 inch square tiles fixed to the timber top with a sand cement mix.
All doors are framed in KDHW and clad on both sides with Tasmanian Myrtle lining boards. Door frames are dressed KDHW machined to the wall width so they fit flush with the face of the brick walls. This eliminated the need for architraves and as no skirting boards were needed because of the brick walls, internal polyurethane finishes were kept to a minimum. All exposed timbers are finished in polyurethane without stains and so the natural timber colours are featured. There are no surfaces in the house where paint has been used.
Kitchen cooking is all electric and there is no gas burning appliance in the home as burnt gas residues had created allergic reactions when visiting relatives, and minor items such as light fittings, switches, door knobs, cupboard handles and taps are of metal, the laundry troughs are stainless steel, the shower walls and floors are of ceramic tiles, the bath and hand basins are enameled metal.
We realized that we needed a water filter and we have an external water purifying system that is plumbed into the house supply line and treats all water before it is piped into our home. The water passes through two large cylinders, the first contains sand to filter out suspended particles and the second contains activated carbon which absorbs chlorine, chemicals and heavy metals.
When all of this came together we found that we had a very comfortable contemporary style allergy free house that cannot be dated to a particular period. But the main benefit is that we are not living with paints and their solvents, laminates, particle boards and other plastics with their formaldehyde and chemical components, pine wood terpenes, the moth proofing and stain treatments that are incorporated into carpets and floor rugs, gas cooking or gas heating.
We really have a lovely allergy free home that is located in an environment that has allowed a slow but sure return to an allergy free life.
Tormented by Allergies? We have the solutions for any type of Allergies!