What’s Really in Your Home’s Air? 4 Tiny Pests Affecting Indoor Air Quality
It’s important to clean your home’s air, right? Cleaner air helps prevent aggravation to asthma and allergy sufferers and promotes overall better breathing. Unfortunately, air is invisible to us, so even when it’s dirty, it’s not something we often think about.
Although air is out of sight, it’s important not to put it out of mind. In fact, when you realize some of the items you’re actually breathing, you’ll never forget the importance of keeping your home’s air filtered and clean. That’s what this article is about as we introduce you to four tiny pests possibly affecting air quality at home.
Pretend, for a moment, that you’ve just been shrunk to 1,000 times your original size. Now, stay close and observe as you discover what may be in your home’s air.
1. Meet the Dust Mites!
When you zoom in on these microscopic relatives of the spider, they look truly terrifying. They, along with their droppings, can be found on your bed, carpeting and furniture. One of their favorite meals is dead skin cells. Here are some more unsettling facts regarding dust mites:
- Over half of all homes are believed to be infected with dust mites.
- Up to a third of the weight of your pillow can be attributed to dust mites and their droppings.
- Even in death dust mites can cause allergies by disintegrating into tiny pieces and filling the air.
>> Home air filters with a MERV rating of at least 3 should remove most of these annoying arachnids.
2. How to Clean Up After Your Insects?
Insects “gotta go” too, you know.
You have probably noticed dark spots around spider webs before—yes, those are droppings. When these droppings become airborne (and as a result into your nose and eyes), they can cause irritation and allergies.
>> Instead of a waste scooper, use an air filter with a MERV rating of 3 to remove these particles.
3. Those Dark Spots in the Corner, Are They Molds?
Molds are fungi found in shady, damp areas of your home such as the basement or shower. They feed on moisture and organic material such as that found on ceiling tiles or drywall.
If left unchecked, molds will reproduce by making mold spores and releasing them into the air.
There are potentially hundreds of thousands of different types of molds and many of those can lead to respiratory problems ranging from the sniffles to serious lung infections.
>> Filters with a MERV rating of at least 7 should capture mold spores.
4. What About Keeping Viruses/Bacteria Out of Your Home’s Air?
You, your kids and your pets bring all sorts of viruses and bacteria into the home during the day. Most won’t hurt you, but every now and then you can get a nasty one in the air.
Common bacteria and viruses that might be floating around include E. coli, Salmonella, Legionella, the common cold and the flu.
Oftentimes they are found in set locations, such as your kitchen sink or toilet, but some of them can easily become airborne and it’s worth cleaning them out.
>> Install a filter with a MERV rating between 8 and 15 to capture most bacteria. For viruses, you may need a higher rated air filter.
5. Additional Indoor Air Quality Culprits: Various Different Chemicals
Your home is full of potentially dangerous chemicals. Adhesives, upholstery, carpeting, manufactured wood products, cleaning agents and pesticides all release chemicals that can affect your health.
Furthermore, if a smoker resides in your home, tobacco smoke will contaminate the air. Depending on the type of chemical, you may require filters with different MERV ratings to clean it up.
>> View this MERV Rating chart to determine what you need.