Becoming a homeowner often involves taking on a lot of new responsibilities, including handling the repair and maintenance of your HVAC system.
It can be a tough adjustment for those who are used to having a landlord or a property manager to address issues that arise, but taking care of your HVAC is necessary if you want to be safe at home. Your air ducts in particular can play a major role in your indoor comfort.
If you want to know why duct cleaning should be at the top of your to-do list, read on to find out whether or not dirty air ducts can make you sick.
Can You Get Sick from Dirty Air Ducts?
There are several reasons why it’s important to clean your ducts regularly, but many homeowners don’t realize that not doing so can have an impact on your safety. Can dirty air ducts make you sick? The answer is yes, there are a number of negative health effects that can be caused by dirty air ducts.
When your air ducts are dirty, that means more dust, allergens, pet dander, and dirt will accumulate inside your home. This can cause or exacerbate many health conditions.
Respiratory diseases are a common side effect of contaminated air in the home. There are also pest-related illnesses you may become exposed to, as dirty air ducts can attract pests and rodents.
Environments with poor air quality are also known to cause more colds and coughing, due to the increase in the number of allergens and bacteria you inhale. You may even develop sick building syndrome, which refers to a condition comprising symptoms that arise in occupants of a specific building.
Having your ducts cleaned regularly is only one part of HVAC maintenance. You should have the unit itself inspected at least once annually.
You’ll also need to change the filter at least once every 90 days, though some homeowners choose to change their filters as often as once a month. If you’re experiencing ongoing issues or breakdowns with a system that’s over a decade old, it may be time to consider replacing the system entirely.
What Else Can You Do to Improve Indoor Air Quality?
Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to improve the quality of your indoor air. Proper HVAC maintenance is essential, but there are even simpler steps you can take to protect the air in your home. Practicing good indoor hygiene is a smart place to start.
Experts recommend vacuuming once or twice a week with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter and laundering items that trap allergens (like area rugs, comforters, and drapes) more frequently.
You should also consider purchasing air purifiers for high-traffic rooms like your living room or rooms that are used regularly like the bedroom or bathroom. An air purifier can significantly reduce the amount of dirt, dust, and pet dander in your home in particular.
It may not eliminate the presence of allergens entirely, but it can help. If you notice mold growth is a problem, you could also invest in a dehumidifier to place in rooms where the humidity levels are too high.
Everyone knows that it’s bad to have dirty air ducts, but many people don’t realize just how dangerous it can be to put off maintaining their HVAC system.
You can increase your risk of minor illnesses, like colds and respiratory infections, but air pollution has been linked to much more serious problems, like pest-related diseases and conditions like sick building syndrome. The good news is that there’s a lot you can do to protect the quality of your indoor air.
Lifestyle adjustments like laundering your sheets more often and switching to a more efficient vacuum can make a meaningful difference. There’s a lot that goes into maintaining high indoor air quality, but it should be a priority for every homeowner.