A Reason for Cleaning Duct Systems – Dust Mites

Parker Services has been offering duct cleaning for over ten years now, and we have done several large duct cleaning projects as part of major mold remediation projects, fire remediation projects, and general cleaning projects.  We have cleaned ducts in many households as well.  I must admit, I have never been “passionate” about duct cleaning and have never really pushed the service.  That being said, I recently have been inspired while performing my engineering continuing education as required for my PE license in Florida and have been convinced that duct cleaning is a very important service for promoting indoor air quality and general health.  The reason for my change of heart is this little guy shown in the image here, which is a dust mite. 

Dust mites are commonly found in households and have been linked to asthmatic symptoms.  They thrive in humid households, and feed on dust.  The fact that Tallahassee is such a humid place, makes our town a haven for these nasty little invaders.  What really caught my attention, is that as the dust mites are feeding on the dust in our houses, they are leaving behind fecal pellets.  These pellets are found in the materials and surfaces in our households, and common household activities such as vacuuming will cause this fecal material to become airborne and breathed.  Dusty ducts with high velocity air caused by the natural function of an AC fan would be like a fecal jet spewing airborne dust mite feces into our living areas.

I absolutely cannot accept the thought of breathing airborne fecal waste.

 The following precautionary measures are offered by the CDC in their “Healthy Housing Reference Manual” for mitigating the effects of dust mite & related pollution;

  • Use synthetic rather than feather and down pillows.
  • Use an approved allergen barrier cover to enclose the top and sides of mattresses and pillows and the base of the bed.
  • Use a damp cloth to dust the plastic mattress cover daily.
  • Change bedding and vacuum the bed base and mattress weekly.
  • Use nylon or cotton cellulose blankets rather than wool blankets.
  • Use hot (120°F–130°F [49°C–54°C]) water to wash all bedding, as well as room curtains.
  • Eliminate or reduce fabric wall hangings, curtains, and drapes.
  • Use wood, tile, linoleum, or vinyl floor covering rather than carpet. If carpet is present, vacuum regularly with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum or a household vacuum with a microfiltration bag.
  • Purchase stuffed toys that are machine washable.
  • Use fitted sheets to help reduce the accumulation of human skin on the mattress surface.

I would add removing dust from within your duct system, utilizing a procedure that would capture as much of the contamination as possible, incorporating HEPA filtration and controlling the flow of air, as prescribed by the NADCA standards for duct cleaning.

Further measures can be applied to your home comfort system utilizing technologies to sanitize the air and coils and highly efficient filters to capture contaminants to additionally improve indoor air quality.

If you would like to know more, please contact us today at (850) 222-7722.

For further research:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services & US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Healthy Housing Reference Manual, www.cdc.gov/healthyhomes/publications.html

The National Air Duct Cleaning Association (NADCA) website