What Are The Health Risks Caused by Dirty Ducts And Vents
Health & Beauty

What Are The Health Risks Caused by Dirty Ducts And Vents

Have you ever heard of the cliché what you don’t know can’t kill you? Any enclosed spaces with air conditioning, air vents, and ducts are prone to accumulate particles that you must be aware of. They can be harmful, and if you keep pretending they don’t exist, they can cause illnesses that may put your health at risk. This is why air duct cleaning and maintenance are essential. Air ducts pull air throughout the area where it is installed throughout the day. Unfortunately, doing so leaves out grime, dust, and dirt on their walls. Just imagine how much dirt the ducts and vents will accumulate through time if you don’t keep them clean or have them checked by a professional regularly. So what are the health risks caused by dirty ducts and vents.

Health risks caused by dirty ducts and vents

Dirty air ducts and vents can hide harmful stuff that circulates in your house. They include viruses, by-products of tobacco smoke, pet and human dander, insects, rodents, pollen, and many more.

If your family is experiencing two or more of the following symptoms, it is likely that the culprits may be hiding in the vents:

  • Feeling unwell or extreme sadness
  • Hives, rashes, or eczema
  • Frequent headaches
  • Asthma or wheezing
  • Having difficulty breathing
  • Congested nose, sore throat, coughing

The symptoms mentioned above may already be an indication of bigger health concerns, such as:

Develop respiratory problems

Those with respiratory illnesses, including asthma, are often advised to stay home when the outside pollution is too much to bear. However, if their homes have unkempt ducts, the indoor air may be worse than the air outdoors.

Poorly maintained air ducts can even cause respiratory illnesses to those who did not have a history or weren’t prone to related health concerns. Respiratory problems can result from the fungi and bacteria that may have accumulated in the ducts and carried in the air you breathe indoors.

According to the American Lung Association, Unhealthy indoor air can contribute to or cause asthma and other chronic lung illnesses, lung cancer, and respiratory infections.

Existing health issues getting worse

People with existing health issues like allergies and asthma can have higher risks of frequent and longer attacks. This is due to the potential dangers lurking in the dirty air ducts and vents in their homes.

Some allergens that can be collected in the vents and recirculated in indoor air include pollen, mold, debris, or decaying matter. So if you often wake up with itchy eyes, itchy or sore throat, or you can’t stop sneezing, the problem may already be with the air you breathe.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, installing an efficient media filter with an 11 or 12 MERV rating in the air conditioning unit or furnace is crucial. To get rid of the particulates, most of which are invisible to the naked eye, make a DIY whole-house filter by turning the fan on.

Having your cooling and heating units serviced and replaced every six months is also recommended. It would be best if you also made it a habit to change their filters every three months. You can schedule the replacement of filters on the changing of seasons.

Cause skin issues

The allergens trapped in unmaintained ducts and vents can cause rash, itch, acne, and allergic dermatitis. Most of these skin issues, especially if they take longer to heal, are due to the mildew and mold in your indoor air.

The skin shows topical reactions to contaminated indoor air. However, the gravity may vary depending on a person’s tolerance to allergens. Some people are more prone to having allergens penetrating the skin barrier. This results in skin problems, such as eczema or acne to become more visible.

Continuous exposure to contaminated indoor air can put you at a high risk of skin cancer. You have to be aware of the pollutants that are unsafe for the skin. It would be best if you also did everything to keep the air healthy and clean and the ducts and vents well-maintained.

Nasal conditions

The particles from dirt vents and ducts that enter your system through your nasal passages can cause inflammation. This may be due to inflamed sinuses.

Sinus infections are painful. They can lead to other ailments, including allergies, especially when not promptly or effectively treated.


Frequent exposure to polluted indoor air will result in many illnesses. When you often feel sick, you will find it difficult to sleep or stay asleep. Your fatigue may also be due to the drowsiness you often feel. This can happen when you often breathe excessive dander, bacteria, pollen, and other harmful particles in the air.

Sore throat

Precipitation normally happens when your air conditioning unit is turned on and working to make your house cool. However, the problem begins when the AC unit underperforms. This can be due to many reasons.

It can be caused by an electrical issue, dirty coils or filters, thermostat problems, or a blocked vent or duct.

When the vents and ducts can’t circulate air due to blockage, they become a breeding ground for mold and mildew. The dirt recirculates in the air you breathe, contributing to your throat irritation, itching, and soreness.

Worse symptoms for people with autoimmune disorders

Autoimmune diseases are the kinds that happen due to the body’s defense system failing to distinguish foreign cells from your own cells. The most common autoimmune diseases include thyroid problems, Type 1 diabetes, lupus, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

People suffering from these diseases are often advised to avoid polluted air outdoors because it can make the symptoms worse. However, many of them get exposed to the toxins found in indoor air.

If you have this disorder or are prone to developing one, you must ensure your house’s air system does not circulate contaminates, such as pet hair, dander, and dust.

You must be vigilant in keeping your ducts and vents regularly maintained. It is also crucial to have the air ducts fully serviced every three years.

However, you may need to schedule the service asap if you have recently experienced the following:

  • Your house has uncontrollable dust
  • Your house has undergone remodeling
  • You had a major rodent infestation

Final Thoughts

Why would you allow yourself or your family to suffer from various health concerns due to polluted indoor air? As a responsible homeowner, you have to keep your house clean.

Your work doesn’t stop with what you can see with your eyes. You must also check the possible sources of indoor air pollution, such as dirty air ducts and vents. When the problem becomes too much to handle, call a pro and have the issues fixed before they can wreak havoc on your health.

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

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