What causes indoor allergies in Arizona?
When most people try to figure out what’s causing their environmental allergies they often assume that it’s the normal irritants like pollen, dust, and environmental pollution. In some cases, people are right considering that every time they leave their home outside allergens triggers their allergies. For others, they could be dealing with indoor allergens and feeling sick when they are at home or at work. Symptoms may include runny nose, itching, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion, fatigue, headaches, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Airborne allergens can also trigger asthma which is one of the most severe symptoms that can occur.
Issues With Indoor Air Quality
Although outdoor air quality is on average worse then the air quality in your home, your indoor air quality can be the reason your allergies only act up when your home or at work. It’s difficult for your allergist to figure out exactly what’s causing your respiratory symptoms and people are often misinformed and prescribed costly allergy medicine that is just treating a symptom rather than solving the underlying problem. Outdoor air quality is definitely something to be concerned about on any given day, but most people understandably want to be comfortable at home or work but never investigate why they always feel sick there.
Home Air Duct Maintenance
Let’s face it, indoor air quality starts with cleanliness and maintenance in your home or workspace but no matter how much you clean allergens often find a way to build up. Allergens that may build up in your home or at work include a mixture of fine particulates like dust, dirt, mold spores, pollen, fabrics, houseplants, dust mites, cockroaches, and pet dander to name a few.
Poor Construction Causes Air Duct Smells
Now let’s talk about the allergens that are already in your home or workspace long before the ones that I mentioned above have a chance to build up. When a residential or commercial building is built some of the materials used are hazardous to your lungs and health. A building that is not what we call “tight” means that it has gaps, leaks, and penetrations that allow allergens from inside the walls, attic spaces, and outside into its livable space. Materials used in the construction of a building such as drywall, fiberglass insulation, Asbestos, and aerosols can cause respiratory issues when a person in the livable space is exposed to them soon or long after its completion.
Inefficient AC System Common in Phoenix
A building that is not tight is also not efficient, this means that under negative air pressure its pulling contaminants in and with positive air pressure its pushing your conditioned air out through the same gaps, leaks, and penetrations. An efficient building will not have extreme changes in air pressure making it tight and energy-efficient with improved indoor air quality.
Have you ever noticed when you open a hinged door you create a rush of positive air and it opens another door or moves it slightly? The exact opposite happens when you close any hinged door, negative air pressure is created and will force air out from other areas. What’s really happening is that every time you walk into a building through a hinged door it’s allowing outside air along with all its allergens into your livable space.
Air Duct – Negative Air Pressure
The worst of it is when you continue to close the door, now you’re creating negative air pressure and pulling contaminants from inside the walls and attic spaces. Every air vent, light fixture, light switch, receptacle outlet, smoke detector, and plumbing penetrations are never tight unless you hire a company to come in and seal all of them. Air duct vents are notorious for having huge gaps between the drywall and duct allowing a bridge right into your airstream packed with allergens and an expensive energy bill.
Indoor air quality is not only affected by a building that’s not tight in Arizona we also deal with many critters that find their way into your home. Most commonly desert rodents find there way into your home and use the air ducts as highways making the air you breath unsanitary. One of the most common reasons is not maintaining your A/C system. Mold is more likely to grow in your A/C units evaporative coil in one summer if it’s not properly maintained. Due to our Arizona dust storms during monsoon season our buildings are blasted with airborne dust, dirt, and debris every year. This dust, dirt, and debris finds its way into your buildings and gets sucked up into our air return ducts and into the evaporative coil. What doesn’t get trapped in the coil is supplied back out to the air your breathing.
How Often Do You Clean Air Ducts in Arizona?
Checking or changing the air filters regularly and having the evaporative coil cleaned every spring is really important for your indoor air quality. Ideally, you want to have an air duct cleaning performed on the same day as the evaporative coil cleaning every 2 to 3 years around spring. This is especially important in Arizona when we have a summer with a lot of dust storms. Have your home or business air sealed and duct sealed, add air pressure relief by installing pass through or jump ducts, limit having open exterior doors or windows with screens or without, and replace or repair weather stripping on doors. Having an air purifier or more will assist the A/C unit by keeping the system and the air you breathe cleaner. Stay on top of cleanliness manage the build-up of allergens by maintaining and having routine air duct cleaning. Ask your indoor air quality technician about having your A/C unit and air ducts sanitized only with environmentally friendly