In the Air Tonight…
By: Stephanie Benney
Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there – and no…I’m not talking about the Boogie Man. As far as I am concerned they are in the same family because they are equally scary. I am talking about allergens, dust, mold and mites found in the indoor air we breathe.
Over the course of the last few weeks, many cities across the United States have seen record temperatures well into the 100′s. This summer especially, has many people living nearly on top of their air conditioners, including myself.
We recently just moved into a house that was built in the 1950′s and the previous owners had 4 animals, 2 of which were cats(I am allergic to cats). After sneezing my head off, gouging my eyes out from scratching and using my weight in Kleenex per day, I decided to look into having our air ducts and ventilation system cleaned, since we were coming up on peak air conditioning time.
I hired a company to come to our house and clean all of our duct work, register openings, the furnace and perform a deodorizer treatment. While they were going around the house taking all of the register covers off, I followed one of the technicians to check out what had been sending me into an allergic fit ever since we moved in. I was appalled and disgusted to find the culprits. The picture I have chosen to use to go along with this article is an actual photograph I took of the register and partial duct work in my dining room. The picture hardly does it justice and seeing it in real life literally made me want to throw up.
As I continued to chat with the technician, I found out that this is something people should have done every 5 years, especially people with allergies. In my particular situation, they could tell our system had never been done before (not surprising to me, since the previous owners seemed to enjoy laying their groceries on a bed of pet hair in the refrigerator). As bad as mine was, they claimed they had seen worse.
It is expected to have to play cleanup for a while when first moving into a pre-owned home. After all, it has been lived in before you moved in. However, it is a different story when you spend half a million on a new construction home. I asked the technician what homes he felt were worse off in the air quality system department, thinking he would say an older home such as mine. I was wrong. He said that he has worked on multiple newly constructed homes by 2 popular home building companies that were all in terrible shape. The reason being, when the construction workers are finished with their work on the house and do their cleanup, they sweep excess drywall dust, dirt, cigarette ashes, etc into the ventilation system of the home. Once the system is turned on and used, the drywall creates a kind of film or coating that wreaks havoc on the entire system, including the motor(s).
So, what’s the moral of the story? Indoor air pollution is alive and well, and just as measures are taken to alleviate outdoor air pollution, measures must also be taken to alleviate indoor air pollution, in order to improve air quality. You should care about what you and your family are breathing inside the 4 corners of your otherwise safe home.
Stephanie Benney is a “Sustainable Visionary” and also the new Pittsburgh Representative for Fuzed Marketing, where she helps companies increase their brand presence. firstname.lastname@example.org