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Quality Vacuums and Air Systems Keep Allergens out of your Life

Vacuuming does more than improve your home's appearance. A proper vacuuming also makes the area a cleaner, healthier place to live. If you or someone else in the house suffers from asthma or allergies, then carpet-borne particles from pet dander, dust mites, dust mite feces, pollen, and dust are all eagerly waiting to agitate your condition. In fact, the environment indoors, where people spend 90% of their time, can have a pollutant level 2-5 times higher (or even more) than the outdoor environment! At Basement Systems, we’ve seen more than our share of problems caused by mold, dust mites, and other airborne pollutants. A reliable vacuum cleaner is one line of defense.

Lurking Pollutants

The size of most airborne pollutants is measured in microns (one-millionth of a meter). Common and harmful airborne particles range in size from 2.4 microns to .3 microns. Below are some common household particles and their width:

Human Hair: 60-100 Microns
Dust Mites: 125 Microns
Dust Mite Feces: 10-24 Microns
Pollen: 10-40 Microns
Mold Spores: 2-10 Microns


Unfortunately, the average vacuum cleaner will only filter particles from 30-50 microns in size, meaning that dust mite feces, pollen, and mold spores are not being effectively removed. Animal dander is especially difficult to remove, with particles about 2.5 microns in size that can stay airborne for hours. Some models of vacuum can actually increase the airborne allergen levels in a home! It’s time to kick things up a notch.

Dust mite feces can create more than 200 times its body weight in fecal material in a single lifetime.  As this allergens is breathed in, adverse health symptoms such as wheesing, coughing, itchy eyes, sniffles can occur.  In more severe cases, Asthma, eczems, and allergic rhmitis can also become agitated.  According to American Family Physician, sensitivity to dust mite waste is present in 10% of the population in general and 90% of asthmatic patients.

Window Shopping

Consumer Reports states that high-priced, feature-laden machines will not necessarily do a better cleaning job. In many cases, you’ll be able to find a quality upright model that can get the job done. They especially recommend upright models for carpets, but warns that they’re awkward on stairs and do not have the cleaning power of central units.  Additionally, they’re a louder, heavier unit that is much more awkward and inconvenient to use.

If you suffer from allergies or asthma, however, a central vacuum system may be the best answer. While new vacuum cleaners make many claims, such as High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) cleaners that can remove 99.97% of the particles from the air, a central vacuum cleaning system removes 100% of the particles because the air is being ejected outside of the house. Most central vacuum systems have 3-5 times the suction power of a portable system, which means less time vacuuming with better results. While they have a higher initial cost than portables (often less than $2,500), they can increase the value of the home’s resale value as much as $2,000 and can last 20-25 years!  And through the course of a central system’s lifespan, it will cost about the same as repeatedly replacing portable models.  Even basements can usually be retrofitted with a central vacuum system in a day or two by a pair of servicemen.  And ultimately, it provides better cleaning, extending the total life of carpeting and lessening the total cost of floor maintenance.  Click on the picture to the left and below to visit and price top-quality vacuum cleaners!

Taking Care of Business

When you think of vacuuming, you’re probably thinking “carpet”. That’s a great starting point! Hit the visible carpet area, and be sure not to neglect areas under and behind furniture, where heavy amounts of allergens collect. And take your time- it’s easy to vacuum too fast and miss the dirt and debris lying in wait deep within the carpet. Run over all surfaces several times to ensure that they’re cleaned properly. Hard floors should never be neglected, as they can also accumulate dust, mold spores and debris. Make sure to change the vacuum bag when it’s about three quarters full, and change the filters often. Don’t stop vacuuming with the floor. Dust mites and other asthma triggers love upholstered furniture. Be sure to take some time on the couch and chairs, and if your drapes and curtains have been hanging untouched all year, it’s time for some TLC. And here’s a pop quiz: what’s the difference between a mattress and a floor when it comes to dust, mold spores, pet dander, and allergens? The answer? You sleep on your mattress! Vacuum it frequently to keep it healthy. To recap, you’re sleeping, sitting, and walking in areas laden with mold spores, dirt, dust, dust mites, and pet dander. And to add injury to injury, dirt is grinding continuously against the carpet and wearing it out. The right vacuum cleaner used properly will help stop this. Simple solution, right?

You spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on your home, and it only takes a little more to make it healthy and comfortable. Your home is where you go to relax, recharge, and enjoy your family. Don’t sweep allergens under the rug!

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