Types of Contaminants Commonly Found in Ducts
Believe it or not, your home is infested with millions upon millions of microscopic airborne contaminants. These contaminants can be responsible for all kinds of health issues, from allergy attacks to frequent illnesses. Many of the airborne pollutants in your home can be found in the ducts, as they are a dark and mostly undisturbed part of the house. Over time, the amount of contaminants in your ducts can build up to very high concentrations. Then, when you turn on the heater or air conditioner, the contaminants are blown around the house and have the opportunity to infect people. Let’s take a look at the types of contaminants that can commonly be found in a home’s ductwork, and what you can do to mitigate it.
Airborne contaminants can be split into two different groups: inanimate and animate (or nonliving and living). These two groups have different health effects for each person, ranging from mild sneezing to flu-like symptoms. Let’s start with inanimate contaminants.
Most inanimate contaminants are cast-off pieces of living organisms. Dust, insect dander, pet dander, pollen, and the like are all byproducts of plants and animals shedding tiny pieces of themselves. These contaminants are mostly lung irritants, provoking sneezing and coughing in people who inhale them. For allergy sufferers the reaction might be a bit more pronounced, such as swollen sinuses and watering eyes.
Animate contaminants are living organisms, such as viruses, bacteria, dust mites, and mold spores. These contaminants are generally fewer in number than inanimate ones, but their health effects are more pronounced. Viruses and bacteria can obviously cause all kinds of sicknesses, depending on the strain that you are exposed to. Mold spores and dust mites are lung irritants, though certain mold spores can also have a seriously adverse effect on your health.
The way to get rid of these contaminants is by having air duct cleaning done at least once every two years. Duct cleaning removes contaminants from your ducts before they have the chance to circulate through the house and infect you, thus improving your health and air quality.