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The Air Quality Blog by Rabbit Air

Be Aware of Indoor Air Quality

Air pollution affects more than just outdoor air; dirty air can be inside every building you walk into, including your home and workplace. If there is a pollution alert outside, you might decide to stay inside to remain safe. This, unfortunately, doesn’t always help. In fact, your indoor air may be even more polluted than what you’re breathing outside.

What’s In the Air?
Outside, smog, haze, or smog hangs in the atmosphere. If there’s been a fire nearby, there might be smoke dirtying up the environment. Factories near you might be belching out all sorts of irritating pollutants and particulates. Inside your home or office, it’s likely that you’re breathing in harmful substances, too, such as:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Fire-retardants
  • Lead
  • Radon
  • Chemicals
  • Fragrances
  • Dust mites
  • Pet dander
  • Mold
  • Asbestos

How do all these indoor pollutants enter your space? They appear in multiple ways. For example, that new pseudo-leather sofa with its odd smell is releasing chemicals as it settles in. So is the laminate flooring you just had installed in your den. If you have dogs or cats, you already know where the pet dander originated. Your cleaning products also impact your environment, as most conventional cleansers get rid of grime through chemical concoctions.

Ventilation and Other Factors
There are multiple factors that magnify the effects of poor indoor air quality, also referred to as IAQ. Some of them you have more control over than others, for example:

  • Poor ventilation
  • Remodeling dust
  • Humidity levels
  • Leaks from roofs or plumbing

A poorly ventilated building is a surefire recipe for IAQ, as the healthiest spaces are those with free-flowing outdoor air. Remodeling jobs that involve drywall or lumber generate an amazing amount of microscopic dust particles that coat every surface and are inhaled as a matter of course. Low and high humidity levels impact air quality and leaks often lead to mildew and mold.

Modern Times Are Worse for IAQ
Indoor air has become more of a problem in modern times. This is because of several factors.

  • Central Air Conditioning and Heating: Today, our homes and offices have climate control systems that require closed windows and doors.
  • Chemical Cleansers: Many of the cleaning products we buy in the store are laden with harmful chemicals. If you want a spotless carpet or shiny faucet, you usually apply a squirt or sprinkle of air contaminants to accomplish your task.
  • Interior Decorating: More furnishings and flooring products are man-made from artificial materials than in yesteryear. For example, instead of having hardwood floors, homeowners install laminate reproductions. Polyester and plastic have taken the place of cotton and wood.
  • Time Indoors: People spend much more time indoors than they did in the past. This is true of workers on the job, school children in classrooms rather than on the playground, and family life in general (kids playing video games instead of freeze-tag, parents watching TV instead of taking walks).

Health Effects
When humans spend long hours inhaling polluted air, their health is adversely impacted. Many maladies and conditions are directly linked to IAQ, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Allergies
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Cancer
  • Eye, nose, lungs, throat irritation

What Can You Do About It?
Happily, there are steps that you can take to improve the quality of your air. To start with, be more aware of what you bring into your home or office building. Here are some actions that can change the IAQ of your interior world:

  • Clean Your Vents: Cleaning the ventilation ductwork of your HVAC systems can make a substantial difference.
  • Open Your Windows and Doors: It’s a wise idea to open up your house or office building to the outside world to invite some fresh air in.
  • Use an Air Purifier: These units draw in dirty air and trap contaminates in a filter.
  • Read Labels: Take some time to read the labels on cleansers and furnishings that you bring into your home or work environment.
  • HEPA Vacuum: You can suck up allergen concentrations in your house by vacuuming with a machine that has a HEPA filter. You can even remove lead and other toxins with this type of vacuum cleaner, especially one with a rotating brush and powerful suction.
  • Mop with Water Only: After vacuuming, mop with plain water. Skip the detergents and just wash your floors with good old H2O.
  • Take Your Shoes Off: A helpful household custom is removing your shoes at the door. This keeps outdoor pollutants out of your household.

Be Mindful
Clean air is one of the things that all living beings need to live healthy lives. You don’t have to shrug your shoulders and accept poor IAQ as a phenomenon of modern existence. By making a few lifestyle changes and being mindful of what you inhale, you can help to improve your health.

Let us help you choose the correct air purifier for your needs. Our knowledgeable, friendly and honest customer service representatives are available to you 24 hours a day. Just contact us or call 888.866.8862.

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How Indoor Air Quality is Affecting Asthma Sufferers

With industrial waste and the ever increasing amount of car emissions contaminating our air, it is easy to blame external air pollution for asthma issues. However, poor indoor air quality is now being pin pointed as having a huge impact on increased asthmatic problems as well. Here are a few ways the air inside your home can have an impact.

Secondhand Smoke
It is no secret that smoke is dangerous to the smoker, but to those around them there is also serious risk. Secondhand smoke places hundreds of poisons into the air including carbon monoxide and formaldehyde and can be instrumental in the development of asthma. Secondhand smoke affects the severity of attacks as well as the amount suffered by 200,000 plus children, with that number possibly being as high as a million. While being near a smoker who is currently puffing away is a large factor, being around a person who has smoked (but is not smoking at that particular moment) or in a room or household where smoking has happened is also a factor. The chemical residue that is left behind even after the cigarette is put out is still an asthmatic hazard.

Combustion Pollutants
Combustion pollutants are the byproduct of appliances that utilize fuel such as gas, coal or wood to operate. This includes water heaters, fireplaces, gas heaters and furnaces. Pollutants such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide can increase asthma issues by displacing the amount of oxygen that the body would otherwise receive. Maintenance and attention is needed for these appliances and a home monitoring system is helpful in signaling leaks or issues.

Radon
The natural breakdown of uranium found within soil, water, or rocks causes the radioactive gas known as radon to be released. Unfortunately, this natural gas can seep into a home through openings or cracks in its structure. When found in concentration, this pollutant can result in increased respiratory issues, including asthma. Unfortunately, it is not easily identifiable and an indoor air quality test is instrumental in locating issues.

Biological Pollutants
One of the biggest biological pollutants to keep watch for is mold, which can often result from having high humidity or areas covered with prolonged moisture in the household. If there is a crack in the structure, a leaky plumbing issue or flooding that was not properly taken care of, mold and bacteria can quickly set up shop and begin spreading, allowing dangerous spores to infiltrate your air and trigger allergic reactions and asthmatic episodes. Keep an eye out for any wet breeding grounds and keep potential trouble spots dry and well ventilated.

Other biological pollutants can include seasonal pollen, which can make its way in through open windows and doors, as well as dust mites or hidden excrement left behind from uninvited pests. Dander, which is lightweight and the result of shed skin cells or bodily fluids from pets and other animals, can also increase asthmatic attacks and affect the severity of them. Air filtration can assist in keeping biological pollutants to a minimum in your home.

Household Cleaners
Common household cleaners are often used in the hopes of removing triggers when, in fact, they can add pollutants to the air. Anti-bacterial mixtures, surface cleaners and furniture wipes are just a few of the perpetrators that leave dangerous chemicals behind that can irritate the respiratory system and result in inflammation of the bronchial tubes. Try instead to use more natural bases in your cleaning supplies such as vinegars, essential oils and other plant based items.

Building Supplies
Chemicals such as formaldehyde are often found in building supplies like adhesives and other agents used to bond materials such as carpets, paneling and upholstery. Formaldehyde can cause severe irritation triggering asthmatic episodes and increasing the number of attacks and severity over time. Check into the ingredients of building materials when doing any work on your home to avoid the inclusion of such items.

While it may not be possible to create a perfect indoor environment, it is possible to greatly reduce pollutants responsible for decreasing indoor air quality. Reducing these toxins can result in easier breathing for asthma sufferers.

Let us help you choose the proper air purifier for your needs. Our knowledgeable, friendly and honest customer service representatives are available to you 24 hours a day. Simply contact us or call 888.866.8862.

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What are VOCs?

VOC stands for volatile organic compounds, which are gasses that are emitted from some solids and liquids. Although VOCs can come from a variety of places, in the home they are typically associated with paint or cleaning products. Many other household substances can release VOCs as well, such as glues, solvent, or fuels. The inhalation of these VOCs can be quite dangerous for your health. In the short term, they can irritate the lungs and cause headaches or nausea, while over time they can cause more serious issues such as damage to the internal organs. It is important to be aware of any VOC emitting substances in your home, and to keep indoor levels of VOCs as low as possible.

Photo One of the most important things that you can do to minimize contact with VOCs is to keep your home well ventilated whenever you are actively using a product that emits these gases. When cleaning or painting, make sure to keep windows open and not work in enclosed spaces. Even after these substances have been used, they can still emit VOCs where they have been applied or from their storage containers, so it is important not to forget about them once you put them away.  Make sure to follow all label instructions for storage, and to purchase these products in small quantities so that you do not have large unused amounts sitting in the home for a long time.  To help get rid of VOCs, you can also use an air purifier to help remove these gases from the air. Rabbit Air has a special Toxin Absorber Customized Filter for our MinusA2 air purifier that is specially designed to capture harmful VOC emissions. Protect yourself and your family by keeping smart about VOCs and their harmful side effects.

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