How Dust Mites Affect Your Indoor Air Quality
Virtually every home has dust mites lurking in unsuspecting areas. Fortunately, there are ways to control these nasty critters. Dust mites are one of the primary causes of indoor health issues such as allergies, asthma, and respiratory problems. With a few steps, you can stop dust mites from affecting the indoor air quality of your home.
What Are Dust Mites?
Within a particle of dust, there are tiny bugs called dust mites. These creatures survive on dead skin cells from humans. You can find dust mites in carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture. They especially love to live in bedrooms.
Dust mites are one of the most common year-round triggers of allergies and asthma. In warm and humid homes, these bugs can survive throughout the year. The average human sheds about 1.5 grams of skin each day. Those skin cells will increase your chances of dust mites thriving in your home.
Dust mites can inflame the nasal passages.
They may also trigger the following allergy symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Postnasal drip
- Facial pressure and pain
If you have asthma, dust mites might also cause the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest tightness or pain
- Sleeping issues
Learn How to Control Dust Mites
Dust mites can be incredibly detrimental to your health. They often lower the quality of air within a home. If you are battling against dust mites, you need to find ways to remove them from the building.
You always want to keep up on the maintenance of your HVAC system, including changing those air filters. When a filter becomes dirty, it cannot effectively clean the air. A clean filter will prevent debris and dust from collecting on those crucial mechanical parts of your HVAC system as well.
When choosing an air filter, you want to find one that has high-efficiency pleats. Many of these filters have large surfaces that can hold a high-capacity of dust and dust mites. With pleated filters, they can trap and contain several grams of dust, and it prevents those participles from blowing into the ducts and back into your home. Without the right filter, you’ll often see particles settling on surfaces, especially on those that you may have just cleaned.
If you’re looking to control your levels of dust, you should find a filter with a MERV rating of 8 or higher. However, if you want to trap those smaller dust particles like fine dust, then you should always go with a higher MERV rating. The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter is at capturing those fine particles.
Dust mites can show up in many places, including tables, window treatments, and bookshelves. They are often the source of frustration for homeowners. It is impossible to eliminate all these dust mites, but with the right filter, you can reduce their presence in your home.
The Favorite Hiding Places of Dust Mites
Leaking ducts are another source for those dust mites. You could have the best filters in your home, but if there is a leaky duct, then dusty air is flowing into your home. An HVAC system with holes and leaks causes the ducts to suck up dust, dirt, and other contaminants. Those particles will be blown into your vents and your home. In the process, your indoor air quality also suffers, and you are stuck with high energy bills.
If you notice higher than average energy bills, then you might have some leaking ducts in your home. You’ll want to call a professional HVAC technician to perform a pressure test. By conducting these tests, you can find the weak parts of the ducts. In addition to that, the technician can clean your duct and reseal them for you. In the long run, you’ll save money on your bills by reducing energy costs, controlling your indoor temperature, and reducing the amount of dust in your home.
Dust mites love a warm and semi-humid environment. While you cannot control the level of humidity outside, you can certainly regulate it in your home. If you live in a dry climate, this lack of air moisture can also affect the number of dust mites in your home. You need to check the relative humidity throughout the inside of your structure. Dust mites can thrive in temperatures from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 25 degrees Celsius). They also prefer humidity levels to remain between 70% and 80%.
If the indoor air is too dry, then you will see more dust mites in the air. You’ll want to invest in a humidifier that can assist you with balancing out the humidity levels throughout your home. For those seeing excess levels of dust in the air, it might be a sign of HVAC issues in your home. You’ll want to get your system checked to make sure there isn’t an underlying problem with the unit.
Finally, your flooring also plays a significant role in combating dust mites. If your home is carpeted, then those fibers can be a thriving environment for dust. On the plus side, you can easily remove dust mites by regularly vacuuming the carpet. Hard floors make it difficult for dust mites to live, but these surfaces can stir them up as you sweep, walk, or vacuum the floor.
In any case, you need to invest in a high-quality vacuum cleaner that can suck up dirt, dust mites, and other particles. You will want one with a filter that will not release those particles back into the air for you and your family to breathe.
It’s About More Than Just Cleanliness
No one wants to breathe in dusty air. You want to reduce those dust mites to help keep the air clean for your family and friends. Unhealthy air can have a significant impact on asthma triggers, allergy symptoms, and your level of comfort. The air transports all types of contaminants and allergens, and it allows them to settle on surfaces or be inhaled. By eliminating dust mites in your home, you can improve the indoor air quality throughout the building.
Our Team Can Help Eliminate Your Dust Mite Problems
If you’re concerned with the indoor air quality in your home, we can help you. At Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning in Kirkland, WA, we have a team of trained heating and cooling experts who can inspect your system and check for any damaged ductwork.
For those with air quality issues, we can help you find the right air purifier system, including products from Aprilaire and REME HALO. In addition to heating and cooling services, our team has the expertise to handle issues with your hot water heater and electricity. You can count on our fully licensed and NATE-certified technicians for your next project. With over 20 years of experience in western Washington, you can rely on our services for your home.