5 Health Hazards that May Be Lurking in Your Air Ducts

November 28, 2017
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As a homeowner, you have likely spent time ensuring your home is structurally sound to avoid potential safety hazards, such as leaks that encourage water damage. Many people, however, overlook the ductwork in an HVAC system. The ducts in your home are responsible for circulating the cool and warm air throughout your home. You may change your filter regularly to help the function of your unit, but your ductwork can contain some hazards that need attention.

Pest Dangers

The ductwork of your home might look appealing to various types of pests, including rats, cockroaches, and bats or birds. Cockroach infestations can cause allergic reactions and multiple conditions related to the bacteria they carry. Rats, bats, and birds can not only damage your ducts when they make nests, but these pests can also leave behind dangerous bacterial contaminants in their droppings and urine.

Molds and Mildew

Dark, moist environments are ideal conditions for mold and mildew growth. If these hazards grow in your ducts, air flow through the ductwork carries spores throughout your home. Repeatedly breathing these microscopic contaminants can lead to respiratory problems and infections.

Asbestos and Synthetic Mineral Fibers

Until around 1980, asbestos was commonly used as insulation material for ductwork. Damage and breakdown over time creates fine particles. Long-term exposure to asbestos creates irritation in the respiratory tract and can increase the risk of developing lung cancer. Synthetic mineral fibers, such as fiberglass, are often used as an alternative insulation method to asbestos. Exposure to fibers from synthetic mineral insulations can cause respiratory, skin, and eye irritation.

Dust

Dust can be a mix of insect parts, dead skin cells, mites, and pet dander. Although dust does not pose severe risks, it can be troublesome. Minimally, circulating dust can cause you to suffer from minor sinus and allergy symptoms. People with compromised respiratory systems, however, have more trouble.

Bacteria and Viruses

Viruses and bacteria can be sneaky. Some germs can survive for months. If your ductwork is dirty, it can not only collect these germs, but they will get circulated throughout your home as well. People in your home are exposed, possibly develop illnesses, and spread the germs even further.

Your ductwork does not have to be hazardous. To prevent ducts from turning your home into a microscopic danger zone, you should contact an HVAC company like Aggressive Mechanical Contractors, Inc. The contractor can inspect your system, make necessary repairs, and provide a thorough cleaning of your ducts to help minimize the number of contaminants circulating through your home.

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