When your child suffers from allergies or asthma that can make breathing difficult, you probably already make an effort to reduce the amount of dust and pollen in your home. However, if you have a gravel driveway, you could find that the dust stirred up through daily driving or even walking on the driveway can aggravate your child's asthma during indoor and outdoor activities. What can you do to minimize the amount of dust given off by your gravel driveway, as well as reduce the potential allergens that find their way into your home? Read on for some tips and tricks to help improve your child's ability to easily breathe in your home.
Modifications to your driveway:
Your first step in reducing the amount of dust in your home is to attack it at its source -- and one of the primary sources of household dust is often a gravel driveway. Fortunately, by wisely choosing the type of gravel with which you pave and compacting the gravel once it has been placed, you should be able to give your driveway a surface more similar to a hard-packed road than loose gravel.
Although traditional driveway wisdom recommends utilizing a dusty top layer to help the gravel create a more solid surface, this can be a bad idea when someone in your home has breathing difficulties. You should be able to purchase a mix of small gravel pieces and sand or rubber cement that will allow this gravel to adhere to itself without giving off an excessive amount of dust. Each time it rains, your driveway will become a little more solid, and is likely to last longer than a similar rock dust driveway.
After placing your gravel and sand surface mixture, you'll then want to have your driveway compacted. During this process, a piece of heavy machinery will slowly compress the surface of your driveway, helping identify any structural weaknesses and firming up its foundation. This process is relatively inexpensive and can usually be performed by the same contractor or company that delivers your gravel. An added benefit of driveway compacting is the reduction of dust, and combining this process with a dust-free gravel mixture should noticeably reduce the amount of dust you find in your home.
Modifications to your home and lawn:
Even though these driveway modifications should go a long way toward improving the dust conditions in your yard and home, you might still desire a way to improve the overall air quality and allow you to dust furniture and light fixtures less frequently. These goals can often be accomplished by the installation of a whole-house HEPA air filter. Unlike the passive air filter that is likely included within your home's central heating and air ductwork, an electronic HEPA filter uses ions to attract and grab dust, pollen, and other potential allergens directly from the air. A whole-house HEPA filter should help purify the air in each room of your home quickly, and you'll notice you're no longer seeing dust on dark furniture or infrequently-used items just a week or two after cleaning them.
If you'd like another permanent option, you may also be able to provide a more physical barrier for dust and debris by planting a row of hedges or other shrubbery between your driveway and the entry points of your home. By planting "urban-friendly" shrubs, you'll be able to catch much of the dust given off by the driveway without causing any damage to the plants. This can also work well if your child enjoys playing outside but can tolerate only very minimal exposure to pollen or other outdoor allergens that may float through the yard. Contact a professional for more advice on road dust control.