It might sound surprising, but your home could actually be making you ill. Indoor pollution is a relatively new concept. Until recently, most of us worried about factors outside of our home and how they impacted our health. However, in recent years we’ve come to realize that the indoors can make you sick too. Dust mites, mold, and other microbial growth are usually the culprits. What parts of your home could be making you sick?
Heating and Cooling Systems
HVAC is probably the main culprit for ill health brought on at home. When your air conditioning is working to cool your home, for example, it can leave traces of water in the ducts. This water is the ideal breeding ground for mold and bacteria. That microbial growth can be the cause of all kinds of respiratory issues, including asthma, coughs, allergies, and headaches. Not all air ducts become contained, and when they do, not everyone experiences symptoms.
To stop this from happening, have your air ducts professionally cleaned at least every couple of years. Make sure to have your whole heating system serviced too, to make sure it is operating cleanly and efficiently.
Leaks that you haven’t found could cause mold to grow in your home, which can be a big problem for people who struggle with asthma and other allergically-induced breathing issues.
Get in the habit of checking over your pipes, closets, basements, and attics to make sure there isn’t water coming in anywhere. Make sure everything is dry. If you do find any leaky spots, clean and dry where the water has gathered, and get in touch with a plumber or a roofer to have the problem repaired as soon as you can. Leaks you can’t see can cause a lot of problems, both for you and your house.
When was the last time you washed your bath mat? If you can’t really remember, or you have a vague recollection of washing it some time ago, put it in the laundry to wash it now. Bath mats can quickly become breeding grounds for dust mites, bacteria, and mold, especially if you get them very wet by stepping out of the shower and standing on them while you dry yourself. Instead, try to dry off before you step out of the shower or tub.
Your toothbrush can also be a breeding ground for germs if you let it hang around for too long. You can give it a good clean with a BRIL sanitizer.
The Vacuum Cleaner
The vacuum cleaner, which should remove household allergens, could be spewing them back into the air. The best vacuums have HEPA filters. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air and will filter more than 99% of the particulates in the air. Some brands claim to have a HEPA-like filter, but this won’t work, because when you vacuum, the machine sucks in air and then filters the dust and expels air. If the filter isn’t collecting the dust, you will just release particles into the air.
Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter!