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Do You Have an Unhealthy Home?

Posted by on Sep 7, 2016 in Home Improvement, Interior, Remodeling, Uncategorized | 1 comment

 

Well, in this case we’re referring to a house that has an air quality issue. It’s described as unhealthy primarily because the people living there for a longer period of time will typically develop symptoms similar to a cold or flu. Symptoms such as itchy eyes, difficulty breathing, nausea, headaches, rashes, etc. Most likely this is the result of contaminants (or pollutants) in the air as a result of tainted building materials such as Chinese drywall or asbestos. It could also be the result of a mold buildup.

Clean air

In states where humidity is consistently higher, unhealthy households are usually dealing with an excessive moisture issue. Moisture is one of the main factors for the promotion of mold growth, and in cases where the residents are gone for a lengthy period of time, the buildup could result in the need for mold remediation services. If the conditions go unabated for long enough, the expenses of fixing the issue will start to skyrocket due to the likelihood of needing to remove parts of the structure, such as rotted drywall or carpeting. Ignoring the issue exposes the inhabitants to large amounts of spores containing mycotoxins, and this is where health problems start to develop. If unaddressed, they can develop into a chronic issue over time.

Keeping humidity at proper levels, which ideally would be less than 40%, offers homeowners an easy preventative measure to combat mildew. One thing most homeowners don’t take into consideration is that if mold spores make their way into the air conditioning system, this can cause an issue because this is a perfect environment for spores to spread quickly, given that it’s a dark and damp space. Once they get into the duct work, they can be funneled throughout the home.
So how do you keep this from happening? In short, proper filtering. This is as easy as changing the main filter on your system once every three months or so. If you have pets, consider an even shorter time frame. A dirty and clogged filter causes air to bypass it and carry spores and dirt particles into the ductwork. It’s also prudent practice to have your ductwork inspected at least once every couple of years to make sure there are no leaks in the joints. This is an often overlooked area where moisture can make it’s way into a house and form a breading ground for harmful contaminants. This also brings up a good point: if you run your air conditioning for most of the year, which is usually the case in high humidity states, you leave the HVAC system little time to dry up. This would point to the fact that having your ducts cleaned on a regular basis is a smart decision.

As far as cleaning the ductwork, there are several different methods that can be employed. Most involve the use of some type of industrial shop vacuum and brushes that are motorized. The problem with these methods is that it is very difficult for the individual performing the cleanup to snake this equipment in far enough to clean all of the troubled areas. More advanced equipment can be employed to get to the harder to reach areas, but it always costs the homeowner a great deal more money. Many professional cleaning services will have a fiber optic camera that can “look” into the more distant parts of the duct system. They also manufacture biocides that are made for killing mold that can be used if spores are found living in the ducts, but they can only be used if the house can remain uninhabited for several weeks while the biocide makes its way through the system and cleans out.

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