Indoor Air Quality: The Impact on Asthma and Allergies
It’s May, and that means Spring is in full swing! But it also means it’s peak allergy season. With Spring comes itchy eyes, runny noses, sneezing, coughing, and even hives, wheezing, and difficulty breathing for some. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), more than 60 million Americans suffer from asthma and/or allergies. These stunning numbers led the AAFA to deem May ‘National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.’
Let’s Talk About What’s Lurking in Your Home’s Indoor Air, and Ways You Can Make Sure Your Family is Breathing Clean
Most folks tend to think of the great outdoors as the source of most allergens, and while many seasonal allergies are generated by pollen and other outdoor nuisances, our homes harbor all sorts of indoor allergens as well. Many of these can cause chronic suffering and asthma, especially for those who are more susceptible, like young children, the elderly, and anyone who suffers from respiratory problems or auto-immune disorders.
Wondering what’s lurking in your indoor air? With simple everyday activities, we generate all sorts of unseen contaminants and air pollutants like dirt, dust, pet dander, cigarette smoke, and chemicals. And just like those easy-to-see surfaces in your home that get dirty over time, the same can be said for your home’s HVAC system. Why? Because it pulls all those contaminants and pollutants right into your air ducts — and then recirculates that air throughout your home an average of five to seven times per day!
Then there’s mold, which is perhaps the most bothersome allergen for many Americans. Mold and mildew can lurk all around your home, including in your HVAC system’s ductwork. If left undetected or ignored, mold growth can turn into a serious issue, not only for the structure of your home, but for the health of everyone living under its roof.
Believe it or not, despite routinely replacing filters, your home’s HVAC system gets really dirty with regular, everyday use; and since your air ducts are a favorite hiding place for dust, dirt, and allergens to linger, those dirty ducts can contribute to larger health issues, especially for those with respiratory conditions, auto-immune disorders, or asthma and allergies. All those indoor air pollutants can also lead to irritated eyes, nose, and throat, as well as headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.
That’s why May and June are particularly great times to get your air ducts cleaned — with so much added pollen and allergens entering your home in Spring, it’s always a good idea to get them cleaned out before they get a chance to really linger!
All About Air Duct Cleaning and Indoor Air Quality
So many things could be lurking in your indoor air that ultimately trigger asthma and allergy symptoms. Unfortunately, just about every allergen and contaminant in your home gets pulled right into the heating and air conditioning system, and then travel through your air ducts. And all those allergens contained within an HVAC system are a serious issue. Think about it — every time your unit is turned on for air conditioning or heating, contaminants and air pollutants can be spread throughout your home, and even recirculated multiple times a day!
Having your air ducts properly cleaned can improve your indoor air quality and reduce health problems by reducing the number of airborne pollutants circulating in your home.
For more information, check out our Breathing Clean infographic!
Convinced It’s Time for Air Duct Cleaning? Look Out for Scams!
When it comes to the home improvement and repair industry, most contractors are honest and fair. But like any industry, air duct cleaning is not immune to scammers looking for opportunities to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners. In fact, the industry is plagued with fraudulent service providers eager to cheat homeowners.
Let’s be frank. Like there wasn’t enough to worry about when the COVID-19 pandemic reared its head, it gave fuel to the fire when it comes to home improvement scams. And with all the post-pandemic talk about indoor air quality, more and more households are exploring options for HVAC system cleaning, and unfortunately, duct cleaning scams have been on the rise for quite some time.
The scams are nothing new. We’ve all seen those flyers that appear in the mailbox for air duct cleaning deals that seem too good, like $69 (or less) whole-house specials. But the pandemic has caused a significant increase in scams that target homeowners through posts on social media neighborhood groups. In fact, it seems we see multiple posts for super-cheap air duct cleaning on various social media sites every single day, with posts on Facebook and Nextdoor being the biggest offenders. Worse, these online and social media scams get more and more sophisticated every day, and they feel legit since it appears to be a neighbor who’s advertising their duct cleaning business. Who doesn’t want to support a local business?
Understandably, budget-conscious families want to get the best bang for their buck, so all those special deals can seem like a no-brainer. But it’s important to know that swindlers are on the prowl, eager to cheat homeowners – especially those concerned about the health and safety of their families.
When it comes to air duct cleaning specifically, homeowners should beware of what we call ‘blow-and-go’ companies that hook unsuspecting homeowners with bargain-basement prices like those ‘$69 whole-house specials’ mentioned above. It’s a popular marketing tactic. These companies charge a nominal fee, and then do an inferior job, only cleaning what the homeowner can see in and around their vents, but leaving all sorts of dust, dirt and contaminants deep within the system. Then, these deceitful contractors up-sell add-on services, persuading the homeowner to pay for unneeded services. For instance, they may falsely lead homeowners to believe they have mold or other toxic substances in their HVAC system, or they use scare tactics to convince a homeowner that urgent repairs are necessary. These businesses give legitimate professionals a really bad name.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), properly cleaning an entire system in an average-sized home will typically range in cost from $450 to $1,000. That should tell you something about those $69 whole-house specials!
Here’s How to Find the Best Contractor to Clean Your Air Ducts
We all want our families to breathe clean, healthy air. When you’re ready to hire a company for your air duct cleaning, make sure you avoid the scams and choose a qualified contractor to ensure the job is done right – one who is certified for the task. Members of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) have technicians on staff with advanced training and certification in HVAC system cleaning. They’re the best-of-the-best when it comes to getting those air ducts cleaned!
If you want to get the job done right, it’s best to trust NADCA members! NADCA makes it really simple for homeowners to find an air duct cleaning professional — all it takes is a zip code to search our online directory to find a NADCA member in your area!