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Hidden hazards to the air you breathe at home

Could better cleaning routines help?
Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 7:25 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Could your indoor air be creating hazards for you at home? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says even dust mites attracted to your dander in the bed could increase the risk for asthma problems. A University of Tennessee Medical Center doctor says a regular cleaning routine can do a lot to reduce your risk for breathing hazards at home.

“Changing your bed linen once a week and washing it in really hot water,” said Dr. Amy Barger Stevens. “The typical things we consider when speaking about allergens and allergies are being sure you vacuum and dust at least once a week.” Dr. Barger Stevens said you could also consider hard floors versus carpeting and not running ceiling fans, since they can stir up allergens in your household air.

At his home Dave Crawford and his wife decided to get an extra cleaning of their heat and air ducts, for extra measure, out of concern for their health. “It’s very important. And we can’t control the outside that much. But we can to a certain degree control the inside.” They hired Trinity Restoration to clean the ducts for them.

Dana Norris is production manager at Trinity Restoration, and said his crews use a special machine that pulls air from the ducts and into an industrial-grade system of air filters to trap dust and debris. They also use a large brush to sweep through ductwork. Norris said things found inside vents can be pretty alarming. “People drop a lot of food, a lot of dog hair. Mice get down in there.”

Dr. Barger Stevens said if you choose the duct cleaning, “It doesn’t need to be done more than every 5 to 10 years and you need to make certain you use a reputable company and you need to be sure you are not in the home at the time that it’s done if you are someone sensitive to air quality.”

She stresses daily and weekly cleaning routines can also do a lot to help.

“Obviously the cleaner we can all keep our living space the better we’re all going to be,” said Stevens.

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