Air ducts are essential parts of your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, and it comes as no surprise that they get dirty. Dirt, dust, and grime get left behind and accumulate on the walls of the ducts when blowing air throughout the house all day long. Therefore, poor air quality may be having more negative effects on your family’s health than you might think.

Here are 5 ways your air ducts may be hurting your health:

1. Allergies

Pollen and Spores can accumulate in a dirty air duct just as easy as anything else; Consistent exposure can be detrimental to long-term health. These spores will eventually be spread throughout the entire area of your home, providing no relief for anyone susceptible to those types of allergies. Here are some of the most common allergens:

Dust Mites – It’s impossible to keep our homes dust-free when HVAC ducts are spewing out dust particles which quickly settle on surfaces. Dust is a big problem for allergy sufferers.

Pollen – tracked in on your clothes and shoes. It enters your home through open windows and doors. It’s another common allergy sufferer’s enemy dispersed throughout your space by your HVAC system.

Pet Dander – The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates that 3 in 10 people have allergic reactions to cats and dogs.

Smog – Outdoor pollutants often sneak into your home.

Volatile Organic Compounds –VOCs are harmful gases that are given off by everyday household items.

2. Asthma & Coughing

The dust and other particles that settle in unkempt ventilation systems can wreak havoc on people who have Asthma. If asthma attacks or asthmatic coughing is more frequent within the home than in other areas, you might have an issue with the air ducts. Address this concern immediately as an asthma attack is not something to take lightly.

3. Mould and mildew

A warm location with high water vapour content is particularly prone to mould build-up within the ducts. Air ducts provide an atmosphere with a moisture balance that supports the growth and proliferation of moulds and mildew. Mould feeds on dust, dirt, dead skin cells, pollen, and animal dander that collect over months inside the duct along with the water.
Common symptoms of mould proliferation: irritated nose, throat, eyes when switching on the air conditioning or you step inside an air-conditioned room; Sudden headaches, nausea, fatigue as well as experiencing allergic symptoms including a runny nose, rashes, and watering eyes.

4. Sick Building Syndrome

Poor indoor air quality, high levels of dust, moulds and mildew accumulated in the air ducts can make you develop Sick Building Syndrome- SBS.

Sometimes diagnosing SBS can be difficult because of the full range of symptoms that can mimic other conditions, such as the common cold. The key to SBS is that your symptoms improve after leaving the building in question, only to come back when you return to the same location. SBS symptoms can affect your skin, respiratory, and neurological systems.

Some of the possible symptoms are throat irritation, breathing difficulties, tightness in the chest, runny nose, allergy-like symptoms, such as sneezing, burning sensations in the nose, dry, itchy skin rashes, headaches, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, irritability, nausea, body aches, fever and chills. If you already have allergies or a current respiratory illness, you may notice an increased severity in your symptoms. For example, people with Asthma might be at a higher risk of asthma attacks due to SBS. It’s also important to note that SBS affects everyone differently.

5. Aging Process

If you feel tired with no reason, although you eliminated all possible causes, it could be that you are breathing from contaminated air originating from ducts. Apart from breathing contaminated air from dirty air, ducts can also speed up the aging process. You may also start to experience outward signs of aging earlier, (such as wrinkles) as the exposure to polluted air also increases your exposure to free radicals. Free radicals cause oxidative stress to the body and damage to your cells.

If you’re concerned that you or any of your family members might be affected by any of the conditions above, or would simply like to book a maintenance service, get in touch with a member of our experienced team today!

Sources:

http://www.hydro-clean.net/
http://ottawa-duct-cleaning.net/
http://www.epa.gov/

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