When most people think of air pollution, they don’t consider the indoor air quality of their homes. They should. The Environmental Protection Agency states that indoor levels of pollutants can be up to five times as concentrated as those found outside. People spend the majority of their time indoors and yet they never realize that the room’s indoor air quality is full of pollutants – chemical vapors, mold spores, pet dander, dust and cigarette smoke, among others – many times in harmful concentrations. These airborne contaminants can exacerbate or cause chronic health conditions like asthma and allergies. Thankfully, the technology exists to counteract indoor air pollution and help prevent these health problems, but first people must understand how indoor air quality negatively impacts their lives.
Unintended Consequences of Energy Efficiency
The push for energy efficient homes has worsened the problem of indoor air pollution. Energy efficiency seeks to keep homes at a comfortable temperature using as little energy as possible. This means that homes are made energy-tight, usually with better insulation so that homes don’t lose heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. A side-effect is that homes don’t “breathe” – air doesn’t flow in and out. This is good when one is trying to keep the temperature comfortable using very little energy. But it’s bad when it comes to indoor air quality. If a home doesn’t get aired out, pollutants stay inside, becoming more concentrated and creating health problems like asthma and allergies, even in healthy people.
Airtight housing also traps moisture. Mold, a well-known health hazard, thrives in moist conditions; it needs dampness to grow. Airtight housing provides that dampness, an unfortunate side-effect of the best of intentions. Mold can significantly worsen health conditions, leading to problems like fatigue, chronic headaches, or much worse. Black mold growth is especially dangerous. Often seen in the aftermath of floods, it contaminates a building, especially in hidden spaces like the inside of walls. Once it takes hold, it’s incredibly difficult to get rid of. Mold specialists must come in and inspect the building, setting up a quarantine zone and applying more chemicals to try and stop the mold’s growth. The process is expensive, time-consuming, and in the worst cases the mold can’t be stopped. If it sounds like a nightmare, it is. Even in the best-case scenario, where the mold has been eradicated, people are still left with potentially hazardous chemicals in their energy-tight homes and offices.
Energy-efficient homes reduce heating and cooling costs, but may inadvertently cost more in ways people don’t yet realize. Homes and offices sealed from the outside simply collect harmful pollutants in one area, causing respiratory health issues and leading to an indoor air quality crisis.
HEPA Purifiers Reduce Health Hazards
Once people recognize the problem, the solution immediately presents itself: HEPA air purifiers. HEPA filtration technology was developed in the 1940s by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission to remove airborne radioactive contaminants. Today’s homeowners can buy that very technology to improve their indoor air quality. HEPA air purifiers effectively filter airborne contaminants as small as 0.3 microns: three millionths of a meter or 3/125,000ths of an inch. That’s smaller than a red blood cell. HEPA air purifiers efficiently trap up to 99.97% of pollen, mold, and pet dander, among many other particles.
People can also use HEPA air purifiers in conjunction with an activated carbon filter, increasing the efficacy. Activated carbon filters trap chemical vapors, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and noxious odors which are responsible for poor indoor air quality. This removal process leads to even cleaner air that benefits all persons and especially those who are susceptible to air pollution.
Improve Your Indoor Air Quality Today
Respiratory health problems are becoming more prevalent in the US, a danger about which the American Lung Association has warned. Now is the time to be proactive about combating indoor airborne contaminants. Before respiratory conditions force you into drastic life changes – like getting rid of carpets, buying allergen-impermeable bedding, or eschewing perfumes and strong chemicals in toiletries and cleaners – you should try using HEPA air purifiers in your home. Stop the problem before it takes over your life.
When it comes to improving the air you breathe every day, HEPA air purifiers are the simplest, most effective choice. They get rid of the plague of airborne contaminants and allow you to get back to living your life, rather than worrying about the air you breathe. While contaminants are more dangerous to us than ever, the technology exists to reduce their negative impact on our health. Take advantage of it and improve your indoor air quality today. Find out more about HEPA air purifiers at Clean Air Plus.
Clean Air Plus is a veteran and family owned small business. We represent the leading manufacturers in HEPA filtration including Austin Air, IQAir, Amaircare, Oransi and Airpura. Shop online or call one of our friendly experts. We'll be happy to help.