It’s summer in Atlanta, and for those with pollen allergies, you may be feeling the squeeze. There are lots of ways people try to handle outdoor allergies. From over-the-counter allergies to nasal sprays and even shots, many locals are desperate for some relief. Ideally, coming inside should give you some refuge from those nasty allergies. But for too many Atlantans, the indoors is just as bad as the outdoors. There are plenty of indoor sources of allergens. In fact, the EPA reports that indoor air is almost always more polluted than the air outside. And Americans spend nearly all of their time indoors, even in the summer. So what can you do to get some relief? For one thing, you can breathe easier this summer with professional duct cleaning.
Combat Allergies With Professional Duct Cleaning
Environmental allergies are extremely common in the Southeast and around the country. Atlanta attracts new transplants from all over the country, and the saying goes, “If you didn’t have allergies when you got here, you do now!” And that’s no surprise, considering that Atlanta is one of the greenest major cities in America. According to the EPA, most Americans spend the vast majority of their time indoors. So if you want to cut down on those annoying sniffles, itchy eyes, and aching sinuses, you need to take on indoor air pollution. One of the best ways to do that is with professional duct cleaning.
Pesticides or Toxic Cleaners
Indoor air suffers from some types of pollution that aren’t as common outdoors. For example, when gardeners or farmers use pesticides outdoors, they dissipate quickly into the surrounding air. But even a small amount of pesticides used on indoor plants can hang around in the still indoor air for hours or even days.
In addition to pesticides, harsh chemical cleaners can easily pollute indoor air. Every time you clean your bathroom, scrub down your stovetop, or Clorox your counters, you introduce chemical agents into your home. And they all give off airborne pollution. If you’re going to use toxic chemical cleaners, we recommend wearing gloves and a mask and making sure the area is well-ventilated. But even with these precautions, traces of toxic chemicals can linger in the air.
Increased Dust Mite Exposure
Lots of people think they are allergic to dust. That may be the case, but what they are actually allergic to is dust mites, a nearly microscopic arachnid that makes up a large percentage of what we consider dust. House dust mites are present everywhere that humans are. They feed on dead skin cells from humans, and their feces and exoskeletons are common contributors to asthma and sinusitis.
Since house dust mites are present in everyday dust, one of the best ways to control dust mite allergies is to minimize dust in the home. Regular dusting and vacuuming are useful. However, your home HVAC can collect as much as 40 pounds of dust annually, and if you don’t clean your ducts, all that dust is being spread around every time you use the heating or air conditioning.
Mold is another common cause of asthma, sinusitis, and general allergy symptoms. Mold can build up anywhere that remains most for an extended period. Some mold can grow in parts of your duct system. Bathrooms, especially in grout or hard-to-reach corners, are another hotspot for mold. Many homeowners don’t realize that mold can also grow in sink traps and trash disposals.
Mold releases spores that can linger in the air and are easily inhaled. Inhaling mold spores can cause a variety of respiratory and other diseases.
Air Fresheners and Incense
Some homeowners use air fresheners and incense to improve the air in their homes. While they may cover up smells, these odor-improving substances leave smoke and chemicals hanging in the air. Inhaling smoke from incense or chemicals released by air fresheners can cause headaches, inflamed nasal passages, and breathing difficulty.
Pollen and Outdoor Allergens
Heading inside should be a refuge from outdoor allergens. But unless your home is completely air-tight, pollen will get in. Pollen can also enter your home on clothing, shoes, or pets. Once pollen is in your home, it can be circulated throughout your house by your HVAC system. A typical HVAC system circulates all the air in your home 5-7 times a day, which means that pollen you brought in can easily reach every corner of your home.
Special Considerations for Pet Owners
Pets can add an extra layer of allergens to your HVAC system. Pets, especially cats and dogs, can leave hair all over your home. Even if you keep your home clean, a lot of that hair can end up in your duct system. Pets can also track in dirt, pollen, and other outdoor allergens.
What Is Pet Dander?
Another concern for pet owners is pet dander. Pet dander is nothing more than microscopic bits of dead animal skin. Dander is released by dogs, cats, birds, rodents, and other animals that have fur or feathers. Pet dander easily sticks to furniture, clothing, carpets, bedding, and many other surfaces.
How Pet Dander Affects Health
Most people who claim to be allergic to pets or animals, in general, are more precisely allergic to dander. Depending on your allergy, dander can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms. Common reactions to dander include:
- Runny nose
- Itchy or watery eyes
The severity of these reactions can vary, and many people find that the reaction grows more severe with continued exposure.
Protecting Against Pet Dander
If you have a pet and you have a pet allergy or if you want your home to be safe for people with pet allergies, you need to do a lot of cleaning. Constant sweeping, vacuuming, and dusting are just a start. In addition, you need to use a MERV 11 or 12 filter on your HVAC system and replace it monthly. To prevent a buildup of pet hair and dander, pet owners should have their ducts inspected and professionally clean at least once a year.
Lower Utility Bills With Professional Duct Cleaning
In addition to keeping your home clean and allergen-free, regular duct cleaning—that is, once every three to five years for most homeowners—will feel good on your pocketbook. When an HVAC system builds up a lot of dirt and grime, it can inhibit the free flow of air. And the harder your HVAC system has to work to move air around, the more energy it consumes. If your clogged HVAC system isn’t delivering hot and cold air equally to all parts of your home, you may find yourself running the system for longer in an attempt to heat or cool every room. An HVAC system with clean ducts functions more efficiently and uses less energy for the same results. That means a reduction in your utility bills that you’ll feel in your wallet.
If it has been three or more years since you had your duct cleans—or if you can’t even remember that last time they were cleaned—call a TrustDALE certified duct cleaning professional today. A duct cleaning professional uses specialized robots and remote cameras to show you the before and after of your duct cleaning. You may be amazed at just how much dirt and grime can build up in your ducts, and at how much more easily you breathe with newly cleaned ducts.