Can Your Air Ducts Cause Health Problems?
It’s easy to ignore your air ducts, and lots of people do just that. Your air ducts are mostly out of sight, quiet, and don’t draw attention to themselves until there’s a serious problem. But they should have regular maintenance to keep problems from developing and potentially cause health problems.
Dirty Air Ducts Can Cause Health Problems
Dust mites aren’t the only health concern that dirty air ducts can cause. If there’s high humidity or water, mold and fungus can infect your vents, and they’re more of a health hazard than mites, whether people are allergic or not. Dust mites thrive in dust. They’re tiny, almost invisible to the naked eye, and they breed fairly quickly. In 10 weeks of life, a female mite can lay up to 100 eggs. A single ounce of dust can be home to up to 40,000 dust mites. Some people are allergic to dust mites, most of them mildly. Symptoms of dust mite allergies can include “sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, nasal stuffiness, runny nose, stuffy ears, respiratory problems, eczema and (in severe cases) asthma” according to Barb Ogg of the University of Nebraska.
Mold in your air ducts release spores, which spread throughout your home every time the blower runs. All types of mold can cause problems for people with allergies, but some molds produce mycotoxins, and nobody is immune to them. They can cause serious illnesses such as pneumonia or bleeding in the lungs.
Mold thriving anywhere in the house is a health risk, but it’s more of a problem in your air ducts than anywhere else. When air blows through infected ducts, it picks up microscopic spores and distributes them to every room in the house, where they can grow, spreading to the entire house. If people inhale them, it can cause health problems. Babies and the elderly are more susceptible to the illnesses that molds cause, but even healthy adults may get sick from breathing mold spores.
If you sometimes hear odd noises from your air vents, it may mean that insects or vermin have found a way in and are living in them. If that’s the case, they’ll leave droppings and food particles, which can be picked up by the air moving through your ducts. This is the air that your family breathes. If they die in your air ducts, the problem gets even worse, as I’m sure you can well imagine.
Other Benefits of Clean Air Ducts
An obvious benefit of air vent cleaning is that the dust can’t be blown back into your home to land on your floors and furniture, and it will help keep the air in your home clean and healthy.
More importantly to your wallet, dirty air ducts are less efficient. Your heating and air conditioning blowers will have to work harder circulating air through a dirty duct, causing a higher electric bill. The extra workload also increases the wear on the machinery, causing repairs and replacements to be needed more often.
Changing your duct filters frequently helps, but it’s not enough to get the job done right, not even with the best of filters. If you’re not prompt about exchanging your filters, the ducts get dirty faster, and the air ducts will need to be cleaned more often.
You can often do a spot-check of your air ducts yourself, with just a screwdriver, small flashlight, and a hand mirror if you’re not particularly sensitive to dust yourself. Remove the air vent register, shine the flashlight down the vent, and use the mirror to look down the duct. If your mirror isn’t small enough, you can use a camera and take pictures. If the air duct looks dirty, it probably needs to be cleaned. If the register itself looks dirty, you can save yourself the trouble. It’s a safe bet that the dirt came from the dirty air ducts behind it.
Clean air ducts help keep the rest of your house clean, reduce health risks, reduce your electric bill, and extend the life of your heating and cooling equipment.
There are plenty of reasons to have your air vents cleaned. Are there any good reasons to put it off?
Metro Duct Cleaners is a professional Minneapolis/St Paul and Surrounding Area duct cleaner. We have duct cleaning equipment that can reach every section of your HVAC system in order to provide you with the cleanest ducts possible. For a free quote, contact us at (651) 252-4654.