Air quality is something we often take for granted but it’s far more important than we realize. The air you breathe can either be a blessing or a curse. Why? Because of pollutants, allergens, smoke by-products, and a long list of airborne particulates.
The simple truth is that if you’re indoors for many hours at a time, you’re breathing air that may very well be unhealthy!
If you’re prone to allergies you already know how bothersome it can be. Perhaps you have pets or a dust mite problem. If you have exposure to cigarette smokers or second-hand smoke you’ve undoubtedly felt the effects. Those who are susceptible to headaches also need to pay attention and understand the impact that impure air can cause.
In order to better help you I’ve put together a basic introduction for the fundamentals of air quality as well as how to address these problems.
The basics of indoor air quality problems
Air quality factors
Airborne particles and substances
The air you breathe at home or any other enclosed space is actually, believe it or not, more likely to be fully of contaminants than you might expect.
Many common factors contribute to poor quality indoor air:
- Pollutants from the outdoors enter and are trapped inside
- Dust mites thrive and produce allergens where pets and humans live
- Dust is frequently found indoors
- Home construction material by-products can become airborne
- Pets kept indoors produce dander which can cause allergy symptoms
- Indoor air simply circulates and has no means of introducing fresh air
- Smokers who enter a home bring smoke residue and particles indoors
What you may not know is that many particulates are microscopic in size – as tiny as only a few millionths of a meter! It’s one reason airborne particles can enter your lungs and respiratory system easily. They float in the air and when disturbed can be re-introduced into the air again.
The consequences of poor air quality
The air quality around you isn’t simply a matter of being uncomfortable. Perhaps you’ve had a family member or friend with respiratory or other health problems. In that case you may have witnessed them having issues with breathing.
Air contaminants don’t always have simple side effects like some simple coughing and sneezing. In many cases they can trigger a number of additional health problems: severe allergies, headaches, respiratory problems, asthma, and difficulty breathing to name a few.
Over time additional health problems can develop if your home air is left untreated.
How to improve your air quality at home
One of the most important things to understand is that the central cause. Your home traps the air inside.
There’s no natural way for offending substances and particles in the air to escape or be removed. Simply opening windows can allow gaseous substances to escape but does nothing to resolve problems related to solid particles like pet dander or dust.
Plants can help over time, but that’s a long process and for real relief you need something far more effective and efficient.
The role of air purifiers
Air purifiers are devices that use a high-density fiber filter to trap these microscopic particles and permanently remove them from the air around you. They work by circulating the air in a room and continuously filtering the air passing through them.
Particulates are permanently trapped in the filter which, after a number of months of use, is replaced.
Good air purifiers use the standardized High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) type of filter. This is specification ensuring the filter can remove 99.7% of the particles passing through it. Particles as small as an amazing 0.3 microns (less than 1 millionth of a meter!) can be removed.
Most unwanted elements in the around you are actually far greater in size, with dust mite by-products for example being as small as about 5 microns.
Additional air purifier benefits to be aware of
Additionally, some products offer a pre-filter section which is useful for trapping basic elements like dust and pet hair. An activated carbon filter section is a special filter which traps harmful chemical substances like vapors as well as odors in the air. This is especially helpful for those with smokers nearby.
Indeed, air purifiers can improve your health at home and after being placed in use they create pure, fresh air. They are proven effective at relieving allergies, pet-related issues, smoke and smoke by-products, as well as just making your home more pleasant to live in.