Do you find yourself getting stuffy or have a cough only when you are at home? Do you go to bed with clear sinuses and wake up congested? Do you find that these symptoms clear up when you leave the house? There is a chance that the problem might be the house and not you. If you haven’t had your air conditioner maintained in awhile that would be a great place to start. Air conditioners and duct systems are the perfect place for mold and allergens to hide in the typical single family home.
Let’s talk mold for a minute with scary names like Stachybotrys, Aspergillus, and Cladosporium to name a few of the thousands of molds out there. Mold is one of the biggest causes of allergic reactions in humans. Don’t get me wrong, we are constantly surrounded by mold both inside and out. It is when the levels of mold become elevated in an enclosed place that the issues often begin.
Back to our air conditioning system for a moment. Mold needs three things to be happy and they are a food source, moisture and darkness, so the air conditioner is truly the perfect habitat for unwanted biological growth. One of the best investments you can make if you are sensitive to mold is an ultra-violet light system installed in your air conditioner. Mold spores will still form however, they will be sterilized by the UV light and will not continue to grow. As we humans are all unique, so goes reactions when it comes to mold. I personally have sensitivity to Stachybotrys and will end up with a blinding headache within minutes of exposure, while others could roll around in big piles of Stachy and it would have no effect. When it comes to possible mold issues, just like the doctor can test you for allergies, we can test the house to see if that nasty little fungus is the problem
Another consideration when it comes to allergy issues only at home is the condition of the ducts and the duct connections. If duct connections are not sealed properly or there are holes in the duct system, it starts to act like a giant vacuum cleaner when the air is running. The fancy term is Venturi effect and when there are openings in ductwork the air moving through the ducts causes a little miniature tornado that sucks in whatever is around it. Since ducts are often run through attic spaces, a failing duct system can be the equivalent of opening all your doors and windows with a large amount of particulates in the home. A good self test to see if you may have duct issues is to determine how often you find yourself dusting things in your home? If you dust the dining room table and look up in a day or two and the dust is back, there are likely issues with your air distribution system that should be addressed.
I’m not a medical doctor and can’t make any promises when it comes to curing any allergy issues you may have, but I can promise you that addressing the indoor air quality in your humble abode can’t hurt. Also without testing the home the two topics discussed in today’s post are not the only possibilities when it comes to home allergy issues. The possibilities are endless, however, an in-depth examination of your home’s health can only help.
As always my friends I’ll be back next week with more tidbits of things to help around the house and in my usual tradition I leave you today with two thoughts. “We Can Fix It!” and as the great band Kansas once said, all we are is dust in the wind.
House Whisperer out!!
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