Mr.b blog making a difference in your indoor air quality

It’s almost August and I see all of the thousands of ads about college and getting your students ready for dorm life. My thoughts go to a very small space shared by at least one other person (sometimes 3 or more). Seems like an indoor air quality nightmare. The institution your student has chosen is responsible to maintain the cooling and circulation systems in the actual residence halls. And, if they feel like that is not being done they should definitely bring attention to it. But, there are some things that they can do in their own personal spaces to improve the quality of the air they are breathing and stay healthier. There are some studies that even suggest clean air improves study ability and retention. Every little bit helps!

Perhaps, an investment in a good quality air purifier would be of some benefit as well.

Particularly this would be of benefit if your student suffers from asthma or severe allergies. With all the different folks who will inevitably be in and out of dorm rooms, a purifier would most likely be a great help in keeping many germs/pollutants at bay.

If a purifier seems a little extreme, perhaps employing a few “air cleaning” plants in the space would be beneficial. I realize some students would kill them immediately but there have to be some out there who could keep a low-maintenance plant alive without too much trouble. The Spider Plant, Dragon Tree and Mother-In-Law’s Tongue are three that are easy to keep alive and great at helping purify the air.

Of course the first thing would be to always check/change your air filters monthly. If your HVAC system is not terribly old you can use the newer high quality HEPA filters. If it is older, still consistently check/change them. But, you may need to consider also adding a purification system in your home, or, at the very least, in the rooms that you sleep and spend the most time in. There are so many purifiers out there. Just make sure you choose one with the HEPA filter and that has the most and best reviews. Research, research, research.

Next, vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. This is particularly important if you have lots of carpeting/rugs in your home. The amount of dander and pollen and dust etc. that settles into carpeting is unbelievable. The summer element that makes it a bit worse is all the coming in and out of the house that happens because it is warm and we spend more time in and around the house. Not exactly what you want to hear I completely understand but it does a world of good.

Each of these things are very helpful. However, the last thing I will mention is air duct cleaning. If you do all of the things mentioned earlier but have very dirty air ducts you are basically wasting your time. If you have never had them done or if you know they have not been cleaned in the last seven years it is essentially as must. It is really a must if you have allergy sufferers in your home. Again, research, research, research. Air duct cleaners are not all the same. You want one that uses a HEPA filtered vac system. You also want one that doesn’t sweep anything into your home. Preferably you’d want one that takes everything out through the trunk line to be sure everything is removed. Yes, we do all of these things. We would love to help make your home more comfortable and your indoor air cleaner.

Consider the possibility that there are things in there that don’t make sense. The first thing that comes to mind is construction/remodeling debris. For whatever reason the leftover wood, sheet rock, nails, carpet remnants, screws etc. have been found in the duct work. It doesn’t seem like an ideal location to deposit said items but they have definitely been found and removed on occasion by many duct cleaners. Another unusual find has been the remains of rodents. I know, gross! But, it has happened. Mice are the usual finds but some duct cleaners have actually found rats, squirrels and even one reported finding a fox. Of course, there are also bugs and an occasional reptile.

Obviously none of these things belong in duct work. And, yes, the presence of these things in your ducts can cause your system to run inefficiently and wreak havoc on the quality of your indoor breathing atmosphere. The good news is, all of these things can be located and removed by an expert duct cleaner. So, don’t waste time worrying about what might be in them and contact an expert, especially if you’ve never had them cleaned or if you haven’t had them in cleaned in the last 5-7 years.

Some of you already understand the dust and mess that remodeling can bring. It always seems as though the actual remodeling takes at least twice as long as they say. In the mean time you see the effects. There is just dust and mess and yuck everywhere. It’s affecting your feelings of how clean your home is and what you are breathing in everyday. You just want the job to be done. Not just so you can enjoy the finished product but also so you can FINALLY clean up. Once you have gotten to do that it seems as though everything is right with the world again. But, what about what has gotten into your ducts during this time. It’s absolutely amazing what gets trapped in there during even the shortest of remodels. Of course, there is dust and dirt etc. Honestly, there is probably even some construction debris.

What I’m trying to get at is that even though the job is done, you love the results and you’ve gotten to clean up, there is another step you should seriously consider. I’m talking about duct cleaning. A thorough duct cleaning after any remodeling project can restore your home to breathing easy again. Thorough duct cleaning removes the dust, dirt, and even the construction debris that was quite possibly left behind. Think about how much less dusting you will have to do and how much better your indoor air quality will truly be.

This is definitely cold and flu season! Wow! Schools have even taken days off because so many students and teachers have been affected. We have probably all been affected by it one way or another. So, the question is, how can we avoid the colds and flu? Or, at the very least, reduce the symptoms and duration if we can’t avoid it altogether? Those are huge questions and there is no one answer. However, there are a few things we can put in place to at least give us a fighting chance.

First, the quality of the air we are breathing in our homes does play a part. Obviously once the viruses which cause the colds and flu come into our homes it gets tricky. Air purifiers are the best bet here. Just be sure they are quality purifiers made to filter out the smallest pollutants. Of course, as we generally suggest, get some fresh air introduced as well. And, always make sure to keep the air filters clean/changed. If the colds/flu keep recirculating through your family perhaps consider air duct cleaning as well. Especially if you’ve not had the ducts cleaned in the last five to seven years.

After that it’s the stuff we really already know. Wash your hands constantly! Try to avoid tight spaces and/or close contact with those who are already sick. For those of you with kids in school, give those backpacks and lunchboxes a good scrub. Perhaps even consider sending the coats, gloves, hats etc. through a good wash. Remind your kids also to keep their hands away from their eyes, noses and mouths. I definitely know that is easier said than done.