According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, individuals spend about 90 percent of their time inside buildings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 9 hours a day are spend at work and about 14 hours a day are spent at home. Unfortunately, if you rarely change your furnace and AC air filters, keep your windows and doors closed and have never had your air ducts cleaned in your home, you could be unintentionally inhaling indoor air pollutants, like dead dust mites, mold spores, radon and pet dander.
People Most Susceptible to Indoor Air Pollutants
While anyone who is exposed to high levels of indoor air pollutants can develop symptoms, the elderly, young children, individuals with chronic diseases and those with breathing problems or asthma are most susceptible.
Common Indoor Air Pollutants
Indoor air pollutants can come from one or more sources. Usually one indoor air pollutant isn’t a problem, but if you have several, like pet dander and mold, you may notice a decrease in your health.
Dust mites live in pillows, mattresses, carpets, rugs and upholstered furniture and eat dead skin cells from humans and animals. Symptoms of a dust mite allergy include sinus problems, itchy nose, sneezing and watery eyes. Ridding a home of dust mites is nearly impossible, but there are steps to can take to reduce your exposure and prevent them from breeding.
You should change your furnace and air conditioning filters regularly. Most HVAC companies recommend changing them every three months or more often if you have a dusty home, allergies or are a smoker. You should also consider an air duct cleaning. A professional duct cleaning service will vacuum out all the dirt, debris and dust in your vents so that it does not become airborne when your climate control system activates.
Lead Based Paint
Lead based paint hasn’t been used since the 1970s, but anyone who lives in a home or visits a home built before 1978, could be at-risk for exposure to lead paint dust. Lead exposure can cause nausea, exhaustion, headaches and learning disabilities in children.
If you live in a home that was constructed before 1978 and haven’t had the paint tested, you should take precautions to limit your exposure to the dust.
Pet dander is the dead skin cells of your pet. It tends to affect individuals with asthma and breathing problems. If the dander isn’t removed, it can cause the lungs to fail. Symptoms of a pet dander allergy include coughing, wheezing and watery eyes.
Radon is a radioactive gas that emanates naturally from the earth. At low levels, it poses nearly no risk, but it if is allowed to build-up in your home, it increases your risk for developing lung cancer.
The first step to protecting yourself from radon exposure is to have your home tested for radon. Radon can seep through cracks in your foundation and walls. If your home is found to have high levels of radon, you should seal any cracks in your foundation and walls and install a radon elimination system under your home, which typically consists of a pipe and fan that removes the radon before it enters your home.
Mold is commonly found in kitchens, bathrooms and basements, but it can also occur in your home if you have an undetected roof leak or household moisture problems. The elderly, infants, young children and individuals with breathing difficulties are most susceptible. While mold cannot be completely eliminated, there are things you can do to limit your exposure.
If you’ve had mold in your home, there’s a good chance it’s infiltrated your duct work. Since your air ducts are often located under your home, they provide the perfect breeding ground for mold. When your furnace or AC unit turns on, it can blow those mold spores throughout your home. Getting a professional air duct cleaning service from MR Duct Cleaning can eliminate the mold spores in your ducts and increase the air quality of your home.