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The Air Quality Blog by Rabbit Air

10 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Air Quality

Do you suffer from allergies or some type of respiratory condition? Does your home always seem to have stale air and bad odors? The air inside of your home could be the cause, exacerbating your symptoms and making your home a less comfortable place to enjoy. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the majority of Americans spend most of their time inside of their homes. In many cases, the air quality outside of the home is significantly better than the air inside. Use these 10 tips to improve your health and the quality of air you breathe inside of your home each day.

 Get an Air Quality Analysis
The first step to achieving clean air inside of your home is to get an air analysis. An air analysis will help to identify the pollutants in the air, so that you can make a better decision about how to keep it clean. You can purchase a kit to test the air yourself or you can get a professional consultation. If you decide to do your own testing, be sure to purchase a kit that detects the most common air quality offenders, such as mold, radon, pollen, dust mites, bacteria, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and humidity.

 

Change the Air Filters
Change the air filters in your home several times a year, preferably at the start of each season. Make sure there are not any gaps or loose edges when fitting the air filters into place. They should be snug and secure. When changing the filters, inspect them for dirt. If your filters are not getting dirty, then there is a high probability of ventilation problems within your HVAC system. Have your furnace, air conditioners, and all ductwork inspected for any leaks and problems.

 

Increase Air Circulation
To get rid of any musty and stale air odors, increase the circulation of fresh air inside of your home. Open your windows and doors on dry days to allow fresh air inside. Check the pollen index to ensure that the days you choose to air out your home are low pollen days, so that you do not invite these tiny allergens inside. You can also increase the air circulation in your home with an in-home air filtration unit.

 

Use Air Purifiers
The use of an air purifier can significantly improve the air quality in the home. Air purifiers use a special type of air filtration system to remove more contaminants from the air than a traditional filtration unit. If you have an influx of odor in the home, you will want an air purifier that not only has a true HEPA filter to capture particles but one that also has a charcoal based activated carbon filter to adsorb those pesky smells and any airborne chemicals.

 

Add Houseplants
Use houseplants to spruce up your décor and improve the quality of your air at the same time. Plants are natural air purifiers and placing one in each room will greatly reduce the amount carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, benzene, and other pollutants inside of your home. Consider plants that do not need to be watered too often, for easier care and to avoid overwatering. Over watering your plants can lead to an increase in humidity, bacteria, and mold growth. Popular household plants that improve air quality include the aloe plant, spider plant, and snake plant.

 

Reduce Humidity and Moisture
Many household toxins such as mold, dust mites, pollen, and bacteria thrive when there is a great deal of humidity in the home. Use dehumidifiers and your air conditioner to reduce the humidity in the air. Check the roof and the plumbing in your home for leaks. Insulate the pipes in your home to reduce condensation and prevent leaks. Check and clean your dehumidifiers, air conditioners, and other appliances on a regular basis to prevent moisture from accumulating. Eliminate all sources of standing water to prevent bacteria, mold, and other humidity loving contaminants from affecting the quality of air inside of your home. Don’t forget to use the exhaust fan each time you take a hot shower or bath to reduce steam and humidity in the air.

 

Use Nontoxic and Eco-Friendly Household Cleaners
Many chemical household cleaners have solvents that can be harsh and toxic to one’s health. These same cleaners can also pollute the air and water in your home. Use nontoxic and eco-friendly cleaning solutions to keep the air in your home contaminate free. Open the windows and increase air circulation when you are using any cleaning solutions in the home to protect your health.

 

Cleaning Carpets and Hardwood Floors
Homes that have carpet are more likely to have air quality issues than homes that have hardwood floors. Keep carpet dry at all times and clean up any spills right away. Vacuum carpet with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter each week to increase the amount of contaminants that are removed from the carpet. Sweep hardwood floors several times a week to keep them clean. Mop the floors at least once a week to remove any dust, dirt, and other debris that was left behind from sweeping. In the case of water damage, dry all affected hardwood flooring within 48 hours and carpet within 24 hours to prevent mold and bacteria growth. Replace any damaged flooring as soon as possible.

 

Ventilation for Appliances
Check the ventilation on your appliances (furnace, water heater, dryer, stove, etc.). Make sure that all vents are properly connected to the outside of your home. Clean the vents regularly so that they are free from excess dust and any obstructions. Have all appliances regularly serviced and cleaned to ensure optimal efficiency and to prevent dust, particle, and other buildup that can circulate in the air inside of your home. Unvented appliances such as space and kerosene heaters should only be used in room with open space and a fair amount of air circulation.

 

Get Rid of Odors
Avoid smoking inside of the home. Cigarette and tobacco smoke contain high concentrations of indoor pollutants that can adversely affect the quality of air in your home and your health. To freshen the air inside of your home, skip the commercial air fresheners and simply simmer a pot of water and a few spices, such as cloves, cinnamon, or vanilla to make your home smell good. You can also use essential oils and diffusers to keep odors out of the air, and of course use a Rabbit Air purifier to remove odors.

Air PurifierAir QualityCharcoal Based Activated CarbonCigarette SmokeDustfresh airHealthHEPAHEPA filterHomeIndoor Air Qualitymold sporesRabbit AirVOCVolatile Organic Compound

Green Roofs Help Improve City Air Quality
Popular in Europe for some time now, green roofs are becoming more and more common in the United States; good news for those concerned with city air quality.  A green roof is a roof that has been covered with vegetation rather than left bare, and there are two main types that are used. “Intensive” roofs, which are thick, green, and lush with deep soil, usually are intended to be used by people in much the same way as an ordinary garden, and will often have benches and walkways for people who live or work in the building to enjoy.  “Extensive” roofs, on the other hand, tend to have shallower soil and are used for the benefits that the plants provide while being generally off-limits to human visitors.  Scientists are studying the benefits of both kinds of green roofs, and have found that they not only can they contribute to reducing air pollution, but they can help with things like water management and can even last longer than traditional roofing.   One exciting benefit of having green roofs is in the reduction of carbon from the air, which helps to improve air quality and make local air better to breathe.  One 2009 study found that in the right conditions, using green roofs throughout an urban area with a population of around a million people could remove as much carbon from the air as one would get from taking 10,000 SUVs off of the road.

The spread of green roofs should be exciting news for those who live in areas with higher density populations.  Smog and other increases in air pollutants, caused by traffic or industry, can have quite a negative impact on health, from allergy-like symptoms, such as itchy eyes and congestion, to more serious ailments, such as heart or lung disease. It is hoped that widespread use of green roofs could significantly improve air quality, and that could mean a significant improvement in health as well.  In the meantime, for those wanting to breathe better air at home, adding an air purifier with a charcoal based activated carbon filter, like our MinusA2 and BioGS models, can help to filter out the toxins from smog and other airborne chemical pollutants to keep indoor air quality high.

Activated CarbonAir Pollutionair purifiersAir QualityCharcoal Based Activated CarbonCity Air PollutionGreen Roofssmog

Introducing the BioGS 2.0

BioGS 2.0 air purifier Since its debut in 2006, our BioGS air purifier has been providing excellent filtration and allergy relief for thousands of customers throughout the United States and even around the world. Although the original BioGS has been extremely popular, one of Rabbit Air’s core values as a company is the belief that we should always be looking for new ways to improve ourselves and our products.  With that goal in mind, we set out to revamp the BioGS and make it even better than before.  We listened to the opinions of over three thousand customers to see where they saw room for improvement, and we searched far and wide for the latest technology and the most modern, stylish design.  Finally, we are proud to introduce our new BioGS 2.0!

BioGS 2.0 air purifier Our BioGS 2.0 starts with the advanced, efficient filtration technology that you have come to expect from Rabbit Air.  The BioGS 2.0 has a four stage filtration system, including our bio-engineered HEPA filter and our Charcoal Based Activated Carbon filter that uses real pellets of porous charcoal.  Taking our next cue from our customers, we updated the user interface of the BioGS to be even more user friendly and easy to use.  The BioGS 2.0 is a smarter machine than before – with new features such as an adjustable Automatic mode and a filter replacement countdown so you always know how much life is left in your filters. Our unique display makes each function easy to understand, and will automatically dim after five minutes to reduce light pollution.  To wrap all these features in an exciting package, we went to Brazilian designer Guto Indio da Costa, who created a whole new look for the BioGS that was sleeker, more sophisticated, and that embodied the idea of “flow.”  We are excited to present the new BioGS 2.0, and we hope that you will love it just as much as we do!

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The Maine Project for Fine Art Conservation

Charly-MEAC The Maine Project for Fine Art Conservation is the only non-profit studio of its kind in the state of Maine, helping to restore not only artwork from museums and public collections, but pieces of artwork privately owned by families and individuals as well.  The project is based in Portland, Maine, where they work out of a small studio.  During the conservation process, their artists are exposed to a number of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, from the chemicals used in restoration, including acetone, alcohol, naptha, turpentine, methyl-ethyl-ketone, toluene and xylene.  While these chemicals are vital for the restoration of the artwork, they can be irritating or even dangerous when inhaled in high concentration. For years, the project has been searching for an air purifier that would effectively reduce these VOCs from the air and protect their conservators, who were working to restore artwork in order to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Maine.

Bonnie-MEAC Rabbit Air donated two of our MinusA2 air purifiers to the project, for use in their "in-painting" rooms.  We equipped them with our specialized Toxin Absorber Customized filter, designed to increase the air purifier’s efficiency at removing VOCs from the air.  After running our air purifiers, the project was happy to report that they noticed a significant reduction in VOCs from the air, and they sent along these fantastic pictures of their team and our MinusA2s in action.  We thank the Maine Project for Fine Art Conservation for their great work and we look forward to continuing to provide them with cleaner, more breathable air!

Charcoal Based Activated CarbonMinusA2Project MEACThe Maine Project for Fine Art ConservationToxin AbsorberVOCVolatile Organic Compound

How to Stay Safe and Healthy During the Summer

Summertime is here; when the temperature rises and we long for lazy days spent lounging on the beach.  Here are some tips for staying safe and healthy while you enjoy the season!

mediterranean beach - italy Limit Your Sun Exposure
It can be hard to resist the relaxing pleasure of lying out in the sun, but too much time spent outside can cause serious sunburns.  Make sure not to doze off by the pool, and limit direct exposure to less than fifteen minutes.  During outdoor activities, make sure to wear a high quality sunscreen, and learn to love wide brimmed hats, long flowing sleeves, and other clothes that provide protection.

Stay Hydrated
Spending time outdoors when the heat is high can leave you feeling dehydrated, sick, and put you at risk for heat stroke. Keep a water bottle with you when you go out, and remember to sip from it often.  Although strenuous activities put you most at risk, even casual strolls can leave you needing water.  You can also make keeping hydrated fun, by making creative fruit infusions that add natural flavor and color to your water.

Hiking Boots Keep Bugs Away
Humans aren't the only ones that love to come out in the summer – pesky bugs, like mosquitoes and ticks, do too.  These pests can cause irritation when they bite, and can even cause more serious illnesses, so keeping them at bay is a top priority. Wear long sleeves and pants when hiking or camping, and use mosquito repellent or netting to keep a barrier between you and the bugs.

Keep an Eye on Air Quality
The summer sun can cause air quality to worsen by heating up chemical compounds lingering in the air and combining them with nitrogen oxide to create unhealthy levels of smog.  Check local air quality forecasts when planning outdoor activities, and when you are cooling off inside, keep your indoor air clear by running an air purifier that uses a Charcoal Based Activated Carbon filter to adsorb harmful chemicals.

Air PollutionAir QualityCharcoal Based Activated CarbonHealthhepa air purifierSmogSummer air qualitySummer health

All About Activated Carbon

One of the very best things that you can do to remove common household odors from the air is to use a Charcoal Based Activated Carbon filter, like the ones we include with every MinusA2 or BioGS air purifier. These filters are packed with pellets of charcoal that are capable of removing all sorts of household odors and chemical VOCs out of the air. What makes these little pellets so powerful?  A process called activation, where each piece of charcoal gets heated to incredibly high temperatures, causing them to become extremely porous.  After this process, each pellet can have an internal surface area the size of a football field! It is this large surface area that allows the charcoal to adsorb odors and chemicals. When these impurities pass through the filter, they are attracted to the carbon and bind to it. Having a large surface area means that each pellet has the space to bind a large amount of impurities, making these filters long lasting and very efficient.

Activated carbon is great for more than just filtering the air and it is used in many other instances where purification is required.  Many households use filters with activated carbon to filter out particles or unpleasant tastes from their drinking water. Aquarium owners use activated carbon to filter water too, in their tank filtration systems so that they can remove impurities that may harm their finned friends. Commercially, activated carbon has been used in many surprising applications, from the decaffeination of coffee to the purification of gold.  Activated carbon has even saved lives, as it is used in hospitals as a treatment for some kinds of poisoning!

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