House making us sick?

My family and I wake up in the mornings with running noses, sore throats, red eyes, etc. I have a history of allergies but my wife and her mother have never had them. Even our baby has a clear running nose. There are times of the year when this is worse. But now it is fall and we sleep with the windows closed so the foliage should not effect us as we sleep.
Could it be the house is making us feel sick? Maybe I should clean the vents. Maybe it is the large amount of plants around the outside of the house. Could it be something else in the house? Mold hiding somewhere? Some type of insect?
Have you guys ever heard of anything like this? Any solutions?
Thanks
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Senin wrote:

I suggest that if you are concerned then hire a professional inspector. Just cleaning ducts etc is not likely to fix a problem if you really have one because you may well miss what you need to fix.
Be aware that many inspectors tend to find molds almost anywhere. After all molds are almost anywhere. Pick the inspector carefully. Find one that will provide a honest comprehensive appraisal. You would be very hard pressed to find a home that did not have some molds.
There is one danger in hiring a professional. Once mold has been found in your home, you may be required to take action and are likely required to report this to any future buyer of the home.. Check this out locally before you go ahead. Also check your home owner's insurance about mold coverage. Consider all your options.
The first thing I would due is to buy a good humidistat and determine what the humidity is in various parts of your home. If you find less than about 40% (even fairly good humidistats are not very accurate) I would look at that first. Air that is too dry often causes these conditions. If you find greater than about 65% I would look to reduce it to 60% or less as that may be a cause of mold. Check all areas of your home even areas that you don't normally live in like the basement. The answer may be as simple as increasing ventilation.
I would also consider visiting a doctor, especially for the child and asking them about your question.
--
Joseph Meehan

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Carbon monoxide poisoning?
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Possible, if you're running a gas space heater with inadequate ventilation. You'd be waking up with headaches as well as dry throats if that was the problem.
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"Goedjn" wrote in message

Good suggestion! Get a "carbon monoxide alarm" - around the cost of a smoke detector and sold in same area of store. Looks like a smoke detector too...
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Thanks for all the great suggestions.
When you say inspector, do you mean a building inspector? And would he be looking only for mold?
My house is about 17 years old. It isn't brand new and I know it isn't too tight to let airflow through. Wouldn't all the construction gasses all be out by now? IN the summer we leave lots of windows open.
We don't use a humidifier. I tried it once and didn't like it.
We don't use a gas space heater.
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Google sick house syndrome. It is a known phenomena caused by the outgassing of the chemicals used in home/furniture/carpet construction. Closing the windows makes it worse as it traps the air pollutants inside. You didn't say how old the house is. Newer homes with their tighter construction are more prone to it.

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Jmagerl wrote:

Good point, Also new homes tend to have newer construction materials and contents that tend to outgas more.
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The spring and fall seem to be times when neither the cooling or heating systems are running in a lot of houses ( depending on local climate of course ).
In that case, you may get stagnant air in the house, 'tight house' syndrome mentioned above. Try leaving a window or two open and see if some increased air exchanges makes the problem any less for you.
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Do you have a drum type humidifier? We found that they tend to breed all sorts of nasties during the warmer months if the water tray isn't emptied in the spring when the humidifier is not being used. This stuff then gets spread into the heating system when the warm furnace air hits it.We were getting sore throats and general cold symptoms in the fall , but it would hit us all at the same time and not get better or worse for several days unlike a cold. We replaced the drum type with a metal mesh type ( no standing water) and had no more problems.
Just a thought Dave
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I agree with this too. Every October my family wouild get sick and stay sick all winter. Finally traced it to the drum type humidifier. Replaced it with a running water type and problem went away. The chemicals they sell to prevent mold/bacterial growth in dehumidifiers did not help one bit.
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