Outdoor air quality is an area of major public health concern. The topic is debated by politicians and reported by the news media almost constantly. However, little is reported about the health effects of indoor air quality, although most people spend as much as 90 percent of their time inside.
All structures have some level of indoor air contamination. Even the lowest levels can potentially cause illness, especially for those with weakened immune systems. Some people are affected by indoor air pollution more than others, especially children, the elderly, and those individuals who suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD.
Some indoor air issues that can cause problems for individuals with COPD include mold, bacteria, viruses, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, tobacco smoke, and more.
There are three primary actions that can be taken to control indoor air quality problems. The first of these is to control the source of the contamination. When possible, the source of air contamination should be identified and then removed. For example, if the source of your indoor air contamination is tobacco smoke, the most effective action is to stop smoking from taking place indoors. However, some issues are not as easy to prevent or remove.
The second primary action to control air quality is dilution. Bringing in “fresh” outdoor air helps to dilute the concentration of indoor pollutants in the building. Often the only way to do this is to open exterior doors and windows since most HVAC systems do not pull in outside air. Instead, they typically only recirculate what is already inside. Opening doors and windows can also contribute to indoor pollution by causing interior humidity levels to rise, as well as allowing allergens and chemicals to enter the home from outside.
Removal of airborne particles is the third action in controlling indoor air quality. Removing or limiting carpeted areas that can potentially hold dust and other contaminants, can help improve the indoor air quality of your home or workplace. You can also regularly clean areas with a regular vacuum cleaner. This will help reduce particles that get stirred up in the air from your floor surfaces. But the best way to remove airborne particles is to use an air purifier.
Leading air quality experts agree that filtration is the best way to achieve this goal. Using an air purifier cleans indoor air by removing the tiny particles that are often inhaled into your lungs and potentially cause respiratory difficulties.
For those suffering from respiratory illnesses, try Austin Air’s HealthMate model line. It comes in both standard HM400, which effectively cleans up to 1500 square feet, and junior HM200, which is perfect for smaller areas up to 700 square feet.
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