By Chris Welsh
For allergy sufferers life can be a never ending quest to discover the causes of those headaches, congested sinuses, itchy eyes and general irritation that plagues them. Medication, weather, commercial products and personal habits are all scrutinized, put under the microscope to determine if they contribute in any way to the allergic reactions.

Air borne pollutants are high on the list of potential problem causers, and many products are geared towards filtering the air you breath in order to remove the microscopic allergens, if they are present. Once possible solution is cleaning the air ducts in your forced air systems, namely air conditioning and heating. The Environmental Protection Agency has done research that says duct cleaning does not necessarily improve air quality when it comes to preventing allergies, but some people swear by it. If you are considering having your ducts cleaned, it would help to know what is involved and how the process works to help you make the best decision.

Determining the Problem

Before you consider having your air ducts cleaned it is important to rule out other potential causes to your allergy problems. If you have eliminated all the other potential causes the air duct cleaning could be the next logical step. Cooling and heating systems can become contaminated with mold, debris, dust and pollen if they are not maintained properly, of they were installed improperly in the first place. These are the potential causes of problems for people who have sensitive allergies.

What Exactly Gets Cleaned?

Duct cleaning involves cleaning the components of your forced air systems, which include the air returns, the air supply ducts and registers, the diffusers, grilles, heating and cooling coils, the fan motors and housing, the air handling unit housing, the drip pans (where the moisture condenses and collects) and the like. When the service contractor comes to clean the system it is important they do not leave out any components; should they clean all but one, the one left dirty could potentially contaminate the air all over again.

In order to protect the humans and pets in the environment where the duct cleaning is taking place, all residents and animals should vacate the premises. Workers should were masks and respirators and HEPA filtration should be used on all the cleaning equipment.

So, Should You?

If you see mold growing on parts of the system, the ducts should be cleaned if there are allergy sufferers in the house or not; however it is hard to tell if what looks like mold actually is without a lab amylases. Visible signs that the system is contaminated or when all other precautions have been taken and someone in the house still suffers from airborne allergies are two good reasons to get your ducts cleaned.

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