How Indoor Air Quality Affects Your Breathing
There are few rites of spring more rewarding than cleaning out the ‘winter blues’ by ridding your home of accumulated dust and dirt. Not only is this psychologically satisfying, the air quality of your home can have a direct impact on your family’s health and overall sense of well being. This is especially true for those in your household that suffer from allergies or respiratory illness. Spring is the time of year most people associate with allergies – the rains have subsided and pollen and plant spores are released into the atmosphere, wreaking havoc on many allergy sufferers. Some try and escape by staying indoors however it’s nearly impossible to keep pollen and other airborne allergens out. They’re carried in on our clothes and shoes, on our pets, and nearly every time we open a door or window. Plus there are dust mites, animal dander, mildew and even cockroaches found indoors that can also trigger reactions in both allergy and asthma sufferers. Allergy and asthma control begins at home The good news is: there are ways to prevent the build up of these allergens in the home, improve indoor air quality and reduce allergy symptoms. The first step is to remove or avoid the sources of as many allergens as possible. For example pets (pet dander), overstuffed furniture – and stuffed animals --where dust and dust mites collect, pollinating plants and bedding that can't be washed in hot water. Tips for improving your IAQ (indoor air quality) and reducing allergy symptoms Control dust mites. Keep surfaces in the home clean and uncluttered, especially in the bedroom where you spend 1/3rd of your time -- and where dust mites thrive. The most effective method of controlling dust mites is to enclose mattresses, box springs, pillows and all bedding in allergen-impermeable (mite-proof) covers. Other tips include:
- Each week, wash all bedding in hot water (130 degrees F). Wash mattress pads and blankets every two to four weeks in hot water
- Avoid wool blankets and mold-attracting foam-rubber cushions, pillows or mattresses.
- Avoid blinds and heavy, billowing curtains. Instead, install window shades.
- Keep pets out of the bedroom
- If using a floor covering, low pile carpets and throw rugs that can be washed are best.
- Remove all boxes, old shoes, knickknacks and dust-collecting junk from under the bed
- Don't place your bed over a heating vent where dust gathers and can't be accessed easily for cleaning
- Avoid eating in bed or you may find cockroaches keeping you company!
Vacuum and dust once or twice a week. It’s important to keep carpets clean and dust free. Keep in mind, though, that vacuuming will not get to dust mites deep in carpets. Professional carpet cleaning may be necessary. When vacuuming and cleaning, be sure to:
- Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter or special double filter bags.
- Wear a good quality dust mask while doing housework.
- Wear clothes you can wash in hot water immediately after cleaning. Only hot water kills dust mites.
- Wear plastic gloves whenever you clean.
- Use a damp or treated cloth to trap dust.
- If possible, leave the house for several hours after cleaning to allow any lingering dust in the air to settle.
- Take a shower after cleaning.
- Implement a 'no shoes' policy in the house to keep your carpets clean and reduce the number of allergens entering your home.
Reduce humidity and build up of moisture. Both mold spores and dust mites thrive in moist environments. Certain areas of the house are especially susceptible to the buildup of moisture, like the kitchen and bathrooms. Some methods you can use to control mold and mildew include:
- Fix all leaks originating from outside (windows, doorframes, roof, etc) as well as inside (plumbing).
- Clean mold and mildew from surfaces and fabrics (such as shower curtains and bath mats).
- Limit yourself to only a few houseplants.
- Install a dehumidifier; these can help to reduce both mold and dust mites as long as they are maintained properly.
- Circulating outdoor air into the home also helps reduce humidity, however this allows pollen and dust to enter the house.
- During warm months, your air conditioner can both reduce humidity and filter outdoor allergens such as pollen and mold. For pollen allergy sufferers, it's best to keep the windows and doors closed and set the air conditioner to ‘re-circulate.’ Be sure to clean or replace filters regularly.
- Limit mold growth in air conditioning ducts by running the unit for 30 minutes after it's been turned off.
- During the wet winter months, run your heating system regularly to keep the house dry and prevent mold and mildew from forming.
- Schedule regular HVAC system maintenance, including air duct cleaning to prevent the build of dust, dirt, pollen and contaminants that can collect in your ductwork.
Many COIT customers are concerned about the indoor air quality in their homes, especially related to the potential buildup of dust, mold, and other allergens or contaminants in their home’s air ducts. When you need your ductwork cleaned, it is important to call a company that provides professional, thorough air duct cleaning services with a pricing policy you can trust. COIT has been providing state-of-the-art air duct cleaning services for almost 20 years. It is our mission to offer our customers the best available cleaning services for virtually every aspect of the home, and we back up every service, including air duct cleaning, with a 100% money-back customer satisfaction guarantee. Air duct cleaning should be conducted every two to three years for a healthier home. Having a clean, properly functioning heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system is vital to maintaining a clean, healthy and comfortable living environment.
A newly cleaned air duct system also runs more efficiently than a dirty one, and could result in lower utility bills. COIT’s air duct cleaning technicians go through extensive in-house training, which is designed according to the standards imposed by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA - of which we are a member). Our training program includes classroom study, field training, and testing. COIT’s air duct cleaners check for dust, dirt, pollen, animal dander and other airborne contaminants that can be pulled into your HVAC system every time the furnace or air conditioner runs. Over time, these contaminants can build up inside your ductwork, making the system a breeding ground for mold spores, bacteria, fungus, mildew and other microbes, which are then re-circulated through your home, potentially impacting the health and comfort of your family. People who suffer from allergies, asthma or other respiratory ailments, especially children and the elderly, are vulnerable to the effects of indoor air pollution. Once you call COIT, we will schedule a visit by one of our trained technicians, who will examine your air duct system, talk to you about your cleaning needs, and offer a free, written, in-home estimate with no obligation.
Call A COIT PRO Today!