The Dirt On Dirty Furnaces – What Every Asthma Sufferer Needs To Know

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Have you recently experienced more asthma attacks than usual? Perhaps you have suffered from a string of allergic reactions, sinus problems or respiratory infections. Dirty furnace filters and vents may contribute to your widespread health problems. Fortunately, identifying the problems caused by a dirty furnace can help you address them so you can improve the quality of the air you breathe.

The Mighty Dust Mite

If you are like most Canadians, you likely spend 90% of your time indoors. When you suffer from chronic breathing problems, such as asthma, you may feel safer indoors. Unfortunately, asthma triggers may be lurking within your clogged and dirty furnace, thus decreasing the quality of your indoor air.

Currently, more than two million Canadians suffer from asthma. Asthma is a serious condition that reduces your ability to breathe and may even cause death, which is why it is important to avoid triggers. However, many dirty furnace filters and vents contain harmful triggers known as dust mites.

Dust mites are tiny insects that are invisible to the naked eye. They prefer warm, humid environments, such as your furnace, and thrive off of dead skin cells and hair. Although these pests do not transmit diseases, they can trigger asthma. More than 50% of individuals who suffer from asthma have a sensitivity to dust mites.

You should remove wall-to-wall carpet, clean bed linens once to twice a week, vacuum your floors regularly, and clean your furnace filters regularly to reduce dust mites in your home. It is also highly recommended that you place a filter in your bedroom vent to improve the quality of the air you breathe.

Torturous Tobacco Smoke

Your furnace filter is a breeding ground for allergens and asthma triggers. In fact, tobacco smoke often becomes trapped in your furnace filters. Smoking can have a detrimental effect on people who do not have asthma, but for those who do, smoke and secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack.

Fortunately, you can improve your indoor air quality and reduce the threat of secondhand smoke by keeping your furnace filters and vents clean. Additionally, you should ask a professional to install HEPA filters to reduce allergens, including tobacco smoke, in your home.

When it comes to removing secondhand smoke from your home, you will need to regularly clean bedding, clothing and draperies. Secondhand smoke clings to fabrics as well as filters, so make sure you clean the fabric in your home at least once a week. Furthermore, ask friends and family who smoke to step outside for a cigarette rather than allowing anyone to smoke in your home.

Pesky Pet Dander

Pets are often a source of companionship for many people. Common household pets include:

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Birds
  • Hamsters

Unfortunately, many pets shed, which can lead to pet dander. Pet dander floats through the air and becomes trapped in carpets, bed linens and furnace filters and vents. Even more unfortunate is the fact that pet dander can trigger an asthma attack.

While there are many factors that can lead to the development of asthma, genetics does play a role. In other words, if you have asthma, you are more likely to have a child who suffers from asthma. When it comes to children, approximately half of all children who suffer from asthma often suffer an attack when exposed to a pet.

Fortunately, living with asthma does not mean you have to live without your beloved pet. There are a few things you can try first, including cleaning and maintaining your furnace filters and vents. You will also have to do the following:

  • Choose your pet wisely: Choose a pet that does not shed or one that sheds very little.
  • Clean rigorously: You will need to clean your carpets, and household fabrics (clothes, drapes and linens) at least once a week to remove pet dander.
  • Train your pet: If you own a dog or a cat, make sure you train your pet to stay off the furniture to decrease pet dander.
  • Set hard limits: Make sure you pet stays out of your bedroom to reduce pet dander in your bedroom, including your bedroom vent.

Improving your indoor air quality is important, particularly if you suffer from asthma. Fortunately, improving the air you breathe is as simple as contacting a professional, like those at Needaplumber, to clean your furnace filters and vents. While there are many other steps you need to take to improve the quality of your air, cleaning your furnace is a great start.


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