Your home is your castle. So of course you want to make sure that it’s the healthiest place it can possibly be.
This is especially true if someone in your family chronically experiences sneezing, wheezing, itchy nose and eyes, and/or difficulty breathing. Over 3 million Canadians are affected by chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma, and 10-20 percent suffer from allergic rhinitis.
An excellent way to create a healthier home is by improving your indoor air quality.
What Causes Poor Air Quality In The Home?
Poor indoor air quality is caused by a variety of contaminants. Even after you thoroughly clean your home, you may be faced with these nasties:
- Pollen spores from plants
- Dust mites
- Pet hair and dander
- Smoke (such as tobacco or wood smoke)
- Mould and mildew, caused by excessive moisture
- Particles given off by a gas or oil-powered appliance
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Air Purifier, Air Filter Or Air Cleaner – What’s The Difference?
If you’re confused about the difference between air purifiers and air cleaners – don’t be! Both these terms are commonly used to refer to the same type of appliance (although you’ll find many variations within this category). An “air filter” can be either a screen inside an air cleaner/purifier, or a standalone device.
So How Does an Air Purifier Work?
A wide range of technologies are available to clean your indoor air. The variety you choose will depend largely on what type of contaminant you need to get rid of. Check out this guide:
Air Filter. An air filter functions to physically screen out contaminant particles. Its effectiveness varies according to the fineness of its mesh. Extra-fine HEPA air filters (also used in some vacuum cleaners) are often recommended for households with allergies, as they filter out pollens, dust mites, and certain bacteria.
Activated Carbon. To deal with irritating gases, smoke, and VOCs, activated carbon (charcoal) works well. Gases are drawn to — and trapped by — this kind of filter via a chemical or electrostatic process.
Ultraviolet Sterilization. Those same ultraviolet (UV) sunrays that are dangerous for your skin can be deadly to mould, bacteria, and certain viruses.
Air Ionizer. An air ionizer will electrostatically charge harmful airborne particles, such as influenza viruses. These particles are then attracted to metal plates inside the air purifier.
Ozone. While ozone generators were once trendy (and killed biological cells quite effectively), their popularity has declined. There’s a compelling reason NOT to buy an ozone generator: ozone inhalation can do our bodies much more harm than good.
How Do You Fix Poor Indoor Air Quality? Practical Tips
- Look for the right type of air purifier for your home.
- Vacuum your floors, particularly carpeted areas, using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
- Clean or change air conditioner and furnace filters regularly.
- Ask smokers to take their habit outside – or better yet, quit.
- Install or upgrade a range hood and bathroom fan that will pull moisture and odors outdoors.
- Run a dehumidifier to amend damp conditions that foster mould growth. (The opposite situation – an overly dry home – is also unhealthy; try these solutions.) Ideal relative humidity is 30-50% indoors.
- Consider a ventilator to fill your home with a flow of fresh, clean air.
Best of all, talk with the pros at Ottawa Home Services about improving your indoor air quality.
We’ve been in the home comfort business since 2003 and are happy to answer all your questions or provide a no-obligation quote.