Improve Your Home Indoor Air Quality
If you, or any member of your family suffers from asthma, or has allergies that restrict breathing you need to go to great lengths to protect the air quality in your home. You can use air purifiers to help with asthma, as well as many other methods to control pollutants that are unseen, but hazardous in the air around you.
Every home has airborne particles that range from irritating to dangerous. These particles are produced from everyday items around the home, or come in from outside. Most VOCs, volatile organic compounds, come from common items in the home such as printer cartridges, markers, glue, cleaning products and even gas appliances.
Other types of asthma irritants come from pets in the home, smokers and even cooking odors. Organic compounds from water damage, seepage or stagnant water in humidifiers or condensation from air conditioners, or humidity also contribute to mold that hides in the walls, under carpets or wet tiles and is a strong allergy and asthma trigger.
How To Improve The Air Quality To Help Asthma
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has compiled a great deal of information on home air quality in relation to asthma and allergies. Their suggested ways to help reduce the asthma and allergy triggers in your home include:
- Replace all carpeting with tile or wood flooring. It’s easier to keep clean, and pollutants can’t hide in them.
- Place full encasements over all mattresses and pillows to prevent dust mites from collecting in them.
- Do not allow smoking in the house.
- Do not let children who suffer from allergies sleep with stuffed animals. They can hold large amounts of airborne particles and dust mites.
- Make sure your house is free of vermin including mice and cockroaches. Their urine becomes airborne when dried, and their feces produce high levels of allergen particles.
- Sweep all floors including tile and wood floors often with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner.
- Do not open windows to cool off the house. Use an air conditioner whenever possible to avoid letting outdoor pollutants and pollen enter the home through screened windows.
- Install a HEPA filter cleaner in your furnace to prevent gases and dust from being sent through the air ducts into your home.
- Use a high-quality HEPA filter air purifier to eliminate airborne pollen, pet dander, smoke, cooking odors and mold spores.
Which Air Purifier Can Help With Asthma?
There are two basic types of air purifier: ionic and HEPA filter. The Mayo Clinic suggests that HEPA filter air purifiers (Austin Air Healthmate or Blueair 501 Air Purification System) are a better choice for individuals with allergies because they circulate the air better and trap very miniscule particles in the air. Ionic air purifiers gained a lot of popularity in the air quality improvement market because they ran with very little noise, and are very often slim and attractive.
The HEPA air purifiers are bigger and bulkier, and usually noisier because they use fans to circulate the air through them, and need a lot of space for the large filters. Each filter style air purifier comes with a HEPA filter and also has one or two additional filters to pre-filter the air before it gets to the HEPA. This protects the HEPA filter from clogging from larger debris, and needing to be replaced more often.
Because the HEPA filters can trap airborne particles as small as .03 microns, and eliminate 99.97% of the airborne allergens and bacteria, they are more efficient for those who have breathing problems. Ionic air purifiers also produce low levels of ozone as a by-product that helps them eliminate odors in the home. HEPA air purifiers will also eliminate odors without the ozone levels.
While the low levels of ozone produced by ionic air purifiers are safe for most people, anyone with breathing problems is better off avoiding exposure to them. That is another reason to choose a HEPA filter unit to help asthma.