Killing Me Softly
Although these are just words to a popular song—it is what we are doing everyday in our homes.
I had a friend in school and, we hung out for fifteen years. He was a smoker and I was not. For years I told him he should quit smoking, and one day I asked him why he didn’t quit. He replied—"I don’t have cancer yet." How can you reason with that common logic?
Sadly, this is an optimistic attitude that will get you killed. It is one I run into everyday in my job as an indoor clean air inspector.
I go into more than 2000 homes each year checking on the quality of the air in the home, and the condition of air ducting in the heating system. I am appalled at how we live in North America, and the caviller disregard for the air that we breathe in our homes, by home-owners. There is little you can do about the air quality outside, but you have absolute power, and control over the quality of air in your home.
Even in the cleanest of homes—there is danger lurking in the ducting system that goes unnoticed, or ignored.
An average family will drop 40 lbs of dead skin on the floor each year, from their bodies, which represents about 85 percent of the dust in the home. Only about 15 percent of the dust comes from outside sources. For every one ounce of household dust—there are approximately five to six million dust mites in it. We breathing into our lungs, dead skin and dust mites for all the time we are breathing the air in our homes. It is not only our own dead skin, but the dead skin of all the persons and animals that have lived in the home since it was built.
The dead skin and mites fall to the floor from our bodies. As we walk around the house, we keep them suspended in the air. When the furnace comes on, they are sucked down into the ducting through the large cold air return registers. Approximately 60 percent of the dust will stay in the return. This is a great breading ground for bacteria as the dust mites leave their faeces and rotting carcasses behind, when they die. This rotting material creates bacteria. It is the bacteria that gets back into the air, and triggers major respiratory ailments such as, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and others.
The youngest and the oldest are the most effected by these conditions. Infants may be prone to symptoms in the first few months of life as their lungs are maturing. Older people whose immune systems have started to deteriorate, will become susceptible to lung disease.
Is your nose stuffed up in the mornings, does your family seem to have an unusual amounts of colds? These are symptoms of the "sick building syndrome."
There are three good reasons to have your ducts cleaned.
*It saves the housekeeper some work from dusting.
*It makes the heating system more efficient—saving energy costs.
*It is a major health issue.
Breathing is essential to life. Every second you take a lung full of air. It is the most important thing you do over 86000 times a day. It is also the one thing that we take most for granted. We assume the body will continue to breath on its own, and it will take care of any issues with pollution. But the body can only do so much, without your conscious effort.
Breathing the air in our homes whether, we have a forced air system, electric, or a radiant hot water system, is risky. One could liken breathing this contaminated air to putting a handful of household dust in a plastic bag, and putting it over our heads, and sealing it. How long would we last?
We are killing ourselves slowly in our homes. In an effort to save money on heating—we have sealed our homes off from the fresh air outside. As bad as the air is outside, our homes are 20-70 times more polluted.
Breathing, the most basic process in sustaining life receives less consideration, when it comes to spending money on it, than does a big screen TV, a vacation, new furniture, or dining out.
It has been my experience in the years that I have been selling duct cleaning that most people don’t care enough to do anything at all. Many of those who actually do something, base their willingness on price only. Little thought is given to how the work is done and the results.
It is dangerous to have your ducts cleaned, if not done properly. It is best to do nothing than to do only part of a job. Once dust is disturbed it will move, and you will breath in more dust, mites, and bacteria.
This is the one maintenance job in your home, where you cannot go cheap. It is also one job that demands some insight and thought.
All the dust must be removed, not just some, or you are wasting your money and endangering yourself, and your family. Also when you are considering having this work done, it is not just for you. You must consider the welfare of your whole family. Just because you may be healthy or don’t care about it, there are others to consider in the household.
A good duct cleaning company will not only clean all the dust out of your system, but will also disinfect it. You cannot remove all the bacteria from the system. It is that which you cannot see, which causes you the most harm. Your system must be disinfected at the same time. If it is not, you have wasted your money. You also have agitated the system and freed up the bacteria to move through your home.
You must also be cautious of what is being used to disinfect your system. You do not want to have anything toxic introduced into your ventilation system. Make sure you know about the toxicity of the chemicals being used before allowing anything to be used in your ducts. Very few companies will disinfect because they don’t have access to anything that is non-toxic.
Breathing is life. It must be at the very top of your priority list. If money is your only consideration, consider this! Medication and treatment for respiratory ailments costs thousands of dollars each year just to survive. If you have asthma or know somebody that does, you can appreciate the cost.
Duct cleaning is not something you have to do very often, usually about every five to ten years, depending on the type of filter that you are using, and the number of people in your home. But it has to be done properly the first time. Having your ducts cleaned, and properly disinfected, costs less in five years, than having it done poorly once a year at a bargain price.
If you don’t take cleaning your ducts seriously—it’s best to leave them alone. Once the dust is disturbed—it will move. Never put a vacuum hose down a register—you will loosen the dust. Do not put filters on the registers, as you are covering up a problem, and you will restrict the flow of air—increasing your energy costs.
If the company you are using will not open up your ducting, hot and cold, when they have finished, for you to inspect—they are probably hiding something. If you think that a carpet cleaning machine, or portable duct cleaning device, can do the same job as industrial type equipment—then you are fooling yourself—save your money, and don’t do anything.
A good company will clean all the dust out, disinfect the entire system, guaranty the results, and allow you to inspect inside the ducting system from the furnace end, when the job is done.
Understanding the importance of cleaning your duct system is first. Willingness to spend the money to have the job done properly is second. Getting the job done now, while you are thinking about it is priority. Procrastination will kill you over time. I promise you—you will have forgotten about this article within 24 hours of reading it.
If you believe that all the other things in your life come first, then maybe you have a secret death wish. The issue is all about your life, and the lives of others living in your home. It is probably one of the most selfless decisions you can make for your family. It is not just about you. It doesn’t get you big hugs, and kisses like a new toy would, but it is insurance against a major health issue that is plaguing North America today.
It also frees up the money you may have to spend on drugs, and ensures that all will be alive or healthy to enjoy the toys you can buy later with your savings. And if you think you are too old, and it doesn’t matter. Ask yourself how would you like to be spending the last few years of your life—on a respirator, or breathing freely?
"Killing me softly" are not just words in a song. It is what you are doing right now, in your home.
Roy is a resident of British Columbia, Canada. An international published author, a student of NLP, spiritual philosopher, New Age Light Worker, Teacher and Phenomenologist. Roy's books and articles are thought provoking, and designed to empower your imagination.Review Roy's new book at: http://www.yourlifewasnevermeanttobeastruggle.com