The winter holiday season is here. We have house guests over for the weekend, dinner parties and enjoy family gatherings. All these activities in homes that are sealed tight, not letting cold air in, or heated air out. With such little ventilation from the outside, our indoor air quality suffers and suffers higher pollution levels that can affect our everyday lives.
Bacteria, pet dander, mold spores, formaldehyde, dust, pollen, and tobacco smoke are just a few of the airborne concerns locked in the home with nowhere to go. Reduce these concerns and improve air quality by: managing the sources of airborne pollution, ventilating our homes with outside air when possible and using air purifiers such as Austin Air Purifiers to clean the air. When letting outside air in, we should be careful not to let too much fresh air in, because our home will get cold and our utility bills will increase. This cold air could make you home uncomfortable and particularly costly if, for example, you live in the North Pole.
Uninvited Holiday Guests
There is a very long list of sources that can contribute to degrading indoor air quality. They include:
- Personal Care and Household Cleaners: A source of chemical gases can come from normal everyday household products. Detergents, air fresheners, hair sprays, as an example, can generate harmful chemical gases called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
- Biological pollutants - Germs, viruses, and bacteria are present in the home, brought into the home from the outside, or grown within the home.
- Accumulated Water: Water that may enter the home from rain leaks, leaching basement walls, plumbing leaks or unvented areas where moisture builds up can create mold and mildew which becomes the source of smells and mold spores.
- Fuels: Wood, natural, gas, kerosene, gasoline and coal when burning, emit VOCs and minute particulates. The most dangerous fuels are those used within the home. Gas cooking stoves, hot water gas heaters, wood-burning stoves, fireplaces and dryers are all sources of potential chemical gases. The storage of some of these fuels within the home and garage can become the source of chemical gases, if not properly stored. Appliances without proper maintenance and adjustments can release dangerous levels of pollution.
- Furniture, Cabinets and Building Material: Kitchen cabinets and other house furnishing constructed of particle boards emit gases including formaldehyde. Insulation, carpeting and furniture finishes can also release harmful chemical gases.
- Home Improvement Materials: Wall paint, varnishing and adhesives all release fumes that can be toxic to breathe.
- Outside Sources: Dust, pesticides and pollen can penetrate foundations, enter homes through open doors, attach to clothing or be brought in by pets.
- Animals: Our pets drop hair and release dander which often can be an irritation but also difficult-to-remove allergens.
- Dust Mites: These creatures can float in the air and find refuse in our beds, draperies, carpets or sofas. There can be of heavy concentrations where there is an abundance of shedded human skin.
- Plant Life: House plants and winter-blooming plants generate pollen.
- Tobacco Smoke: Cigars and cigarettes can be a secondhand smoke introducing major indoor air pollutants.
- Other Sources: Airborne asbestos microscopic fibers can be admitted from flooring and roofing materials. Other particulate matter and VOCs from roads, manufacturer exhausts and coal burning plants can also find their way into the home.
Cleaning Up the Holiday Mess
You can improve indoor air quality by: managing the sources, purifying the air with air cleaners and simple ventilation. These actions will reduce the risk to our health and reduce such problems as runny noses, fatigue, itchy eyes, congestion and ever worse, heart disease, respiratory illness and other serious health conditions. Here are a few tips that can help.
Managing The Sources
Sometimes the best way to reduce indoor air pollution is by removing the source. Toxic cleaning solvents, room fresheners and personal health care products that emit VOCs should be reduced and where possible completely removed from the home. When you buy paint, floors finishes and other household products insure that they do not emit chemical gases and are non-toxic. Properly maintain your appliances with regularly scheduled care while insuring proper ventilation of exhausts. Dust and vacuum your furniture, drapes, floors, rugs and walls. If rugs are not critical, remove them. Regularly look for water leaks from you roof, windows and plumbing. Quickly repair problems to insure minimal water built up that can be the basis of mold and mildew. Keep clothes clean. Keep draperies, bed covers and linens clean to prevent dust and dust mite buildup. Always make sure your heating ductwork is cleaned annually.
Purifying the Air With Air Purifiers
Use air purifiers to clean the air within your home. Make sure you select an air purifier capable of capturing the smallest of particulate matter and removing chemical gases and odors. Many air cleaners on the market do not remove all these potential pollutants and if they do, not very effectively. Select air cleaners that contain medical grade HEPA filtering for removal the particulates and activated carbon with mineral additives that can remove the maximum of the harmful chemical gases. The Austin Air Purifiers are a good example of a quality air purifier. These air purifiers need to last long, have low energy consumption, be of high quality construction and have the ability to exchange the air in the home at least 4 times an hour.
Mixing outside air with indoor air, improves your indoor air quality. When weather permits, open windows and doors for good ventilation that can bring fresh circulating air into the home. Properly exhaust moist air buildup for bathrooms and kitchens. Fresh air brought into the home brings great healthy benefits.
When working around the house, for example, with glues, adhesives, paints and varnishes, be aware of the need for proper ventilation. Without ventilation, VOC pollutants will build up along with an increase of health concerns.
Managing the sources of indoor pollutants by cleaning the air with air purifiers and proper ventilation are extremely important steps to maintaining a healthy indoor air quality year-around. This is especially true in winter and during the holiday seasons.
Poor indoor air quality exposes us to particulates and VOCs that can get us sick giving us such ailments as runny noses, headaches, dizziness, itchy eyes, fatigue and worse, heart disease, cancer and respiratory distress. Toxic chemical gases sometimes can have the worst effects on our bodies. Removing these dangers can offer your housebound holiday guests and family, long-term safety.
And for the holidays, you just may want to buy Austin Air Purifiers.