A Microscopic Look at What’s Hiding in Your Heating Ducts

March 18, 2013
heating ducts

Do your allergies flare up when you switch on your central air or heat? You’re not alone. Turning on the HVAC system when the weather changes stirs up all kinds of allergens, and circulates them throughout the house. Take a look at what may be lurking in your heating ducts, and learn what you can do to clean up the air in your home.


You don’t have to have a flower garden growing in your living room for pollen to collect in air ducts. These microscopic allergy agitators float in during the warmer months and hang around long after the May flowers are gone.


Surprisingly, much of the dust in your home is comprised of dead human skin cells. Those cells may be a nuisance for us to clean, but they’re a nutritious food source for tiny critters such as dust mites.

Dust mites

These tiny bugs are common in households, and like to live in warm, semi-humid environments. Dust mites are one of the most common triggers of asthma, so people with that condition should minimize carpeting in their home and regularly wash bedspreads and pillows.

Animal dander

Skin cells and hair can come from your pet cat or dog – or from rodent pests in your home. Rodents, of course, are a larger problem that should be addressed with the assistance of a pest-control expert. Pet owners should vacuum and sweep on a regular basis to prevent the buildup of pet dander and hair in heating ducts.

Mold spores

If you live in a humid climate, mold spores may be an issue in your home. Consider a dehumidifier in parts of the house that are damp and prone to mold.

Keeping these microscopic allergens at bay is possible with a few simple housekeeping habits. Sweep, dust and vacuum regularly to minimize the dust that can be sucked into the furnace and heating ducts. The most effective way to keep your air pollutant-free is to change your furnace air filter as often as recommended by the manufacturer, usually every 90 days. Done regularly, these simple practices can help keep you breathing easier all year long.


Learn more about home safety with these tips and resources from Nationwide.

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