Do you have an “Indoor Air Pollution Problem”?
If so, there probably is leftover construction debris in the vents. Drywall and sawdust are the most common. Drywall joint compounds are made from many ingredients (i.e., talc, calcite, mica, gypsum, silica). Some of these have been associated with varying degrees of eye, nose, throat, and respiratory tract irritation. Over time, breathing the dust from drywall joint compounds may cause persistent throat and airway irritation, coughing, phlegm production, and breathing difficulties similar to asthma. If drywall work was being done, the dust from sanding can permeate the entire system if not properly prepared, thus sending micro-particles into the air you breathe.
While most insulation companies do their best to prevent contamination of the vents in your home, on rare occasions, insulation can fall or be blown into the system inadvertently. Fiberglass insulation generally causes irritation in the respiratory system, so the last thing you want is your heating and cooling system blowing fiberglass particles throughout your home.
Even if you’re lucky and dust doesn’t cause an allergic reaction, it’s unsightly and can deteriorate the air quality of your home. In fact, even if you don’t have a dust allergy, the components found in dust can affect your lungs and overall health. The bulk of house dust varies considerably from home to home. It is often dirt, skin cells, or fabric fibers, but could be more or less anything that could dry and flake off. Books, carpet, rugs, upholstered furniture, fireplaces, and pets all contribute to the dust load. Dirt, pollen, smoke, exhaust, sand, and many other things may bring in dust from outside.
There are many reasons your home could experience poor airflow. Years of dust buildup in the cold air returns can cause poor air flow, or a previous owner may have stuffed an old bath towel in a vent as they preferred “their bedroom cool at night”. Construction debris could also hamper flow – chunks of insulation that wound up in a vent, or slabs of cut drywall that were discarded inside. Sometimes even stranger items are found, electrical junction boxes, magazines, Barbie dolls, beer or soda cans… we’ve seen it all. And they certainly contribute to poor air flow. It may be time for a air duct cleaning!
We all love our pets! But keep in mind; pet dander is microscopic flakes of skin shed by dogs, cats, birds, rodents, and other animals with feathers or fur. An estimated 10 to 15 percent of Americans are allergic to pet dander and not the pet’s fur or hair. Research also shows that double the amount of people are allergic to cats compared to dogs. Other allergens include proteins found in saliva, urine, and feces from cats, dogs, and other pets. All of these things are very lightweight and tiny.
They therefore can remain in the air for a long time and easily stick to furniture, bedding, and other fabrics in the house. Dander and other allergens can flake off an animal’s fur and become airborne. They are then circulated through the duct system along with dust for you and your family to breathe. Also, pet hair clogs your HVAC system’s air filters, which causes your system to work harder and can spread dander and hair around the house. Even short pet hair can clog your air filter.
We all know tobacco smoke is harmful – but it can also cause respiratory irritation in those that don’t smoke. Children are particularly susceptible to secondhand smoke and it can cause the onset of asthma and has been linked to an increased risk of ear infections. If the previous owners of your home were smokers, more than likely there is residue in the vents. That residue mixed with dust has all of the carcinogens and dangers that the smoke posed in the first place. When your system kicks on, the smoke, ash, and other contaminants are circulating through the air clinging to furniture, curtains, carpet, etc. Dusting can only do so much, as you’re fighting a losing battle.
If you answered “Yes” to any of the questions above, your home may suffer from indoor air pollution and you may be throwing money in the trash! Now would be a good time to get a free air duct cleaning estimate!