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The Air Quality Blog by Rabbit Air

8 Ways to Get Clean Air in Your Home

You may not realize it, but indoor air is most likely anywhere between two and five times more polluted than outdoor air. Since we spend most of our time inside our homes and offices, you might as well make sure that the air you and your family are breathing is as clean as possible. Use these eight methods to effectively clean the air circulating in your home and keep it clean for as long as possible.

 

  1. Improve the Ventilation in Your Home

While opening the windows in your home is a good way to bring in fresh air, it’s not necessarily effective for bringing in clean air. The reason is that the air outside of your home is filled with mold, industrial pollution and dust in addition to harmful by-products created from the gas emissions expelled by vehicles. What you’ll want to do is utilize trickle ventilation, which is a screen with a series of filters that helps bring in fresh air and screen out harmful pollutants.

 

  1. Always Smoke Outside

Never allow anyone to smoke inside of your residence. Not only can smoke cling to the walls, ceiling, floor and your furniture, it’s also harmful to everyone, not just the individual who’s smoking. You might not realize it, but roughly 7,500 to 15,000 children are admitted to the hospital or become sick every year because of a respiratory tract infection. Anyone in your house who has a lung or cardiovascular illness will be at risk of further health complications.

 

  1. Install an Air Purifier with a HEPA Filter

A quality air purifier is one of the best ways to improve your home’s indoor air quality. There are air purifiers that scrub the air in a single room and larger ones that can clean the air in your entire home. It’s best that you use air purifiers that offer quiet operation rather than models that can be quite noisy, since you are more likely to use a quiet air purifier at all times of the day. There are several different types of air purifiers for you to choose from, depending on the size of the room and which harmful particulates you’d like to filter out.

You can also install HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters in your air conditioner as a way to increase clean air in your home. If you do decide to use HEPA filters, make sure that you change them regularly for maximum efficiency.

 

  1. Turn on Your Air Conditioning Unit

Running your air conditioner is also a great way to clean the air in your home in addition to cooling it down or warming it up. A majority of water pollutants are water-soluble, which means that while your air conditioner pulls water from the air inside of your home it’s also pulling pollutants out. Another advantage to using your air conditioner to improve your air quality is that it can get rid of particulate matter and pollen.

 

  1. Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector

It’s estimated that more than roughly 400 people die every year as the result of carbon monoxide poisoning in addition to thousands of people who either become sick or require medical assistance as a result of being exposed to carbon monoxide.

The largest issue with carbon monoxide is that you can’t smell it, which makes it harder to determine whether or not it’s present in your home. Some of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include flu-like symptoms. You may notice that you feel better when you’re not in your home, and there’s a chance that you may notice a difference in your pets. It’s best that you install carbon monoxide detectors close to bedrooms and that you have all of the appliances in your home that burn fuel inspected every year by a professional technician.

 

  1. Clean the Gas Jets of Your Stove

If you use a stove that uses propane or natural gas, it’s recommended that you have your gas jets cleaned and maintained at least once a year by a reputable technician in order that you can be sure the gas is burning cleanly.

Your stove gives off nitrogen dioxide, which can create ozone if it’s exposed to sunlight. The irritating gas has been known to cause wheezing in perfectly healthy individuals. In addition to having your gas jets clean, it’s a good idea to open up a window so that any nitrogen dioxide your gas stove creates can be dispersed. You can also turn on the exhaust fan to keep the gas from building up.    

 

  1. Choose Your Cleaning Products Wisely

While keeping your home clean can also improve your air quality, you can do more harm than good if you aren’t careful of the cleaning products you use. It’s best that you use products that contain either low or no VOCs, which or volatile organic compounds. You might also want to switch to cleaning products that are fragrance-free, no matter how much you might like having your home smell like a blossoming lemon tree.

Another good idea is to use liquid or paste cleaning products since they don’t spread as many particulates in the air as sprays. As you’re cleaning, keep an eye out for spots of mold since there might be spores spreading through the air of your home.

 

  1. Take Care of Leaks

Have your basement, roof and foundation checked for leaks and signs of leakage and have any problem areas repaired as soon as possible. Rain and high humidity can enter your home through leaks and lead to mildew and mold, which can lead to coughing, wheezing and other asthma symptoms. In addition to having your home inspected at least once a year for leaks, you’ll also want to make sure that rain and water runoff is channeled away from your home’s foundation as much as possible to keep runoff from seeping into your basement.

Put these methods into practice and see if your breathing and health in general don’t improve. Not only can you save your indoor air, you might also be able to save on medical bills by introducing clean air into your home.

 

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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5 Reasons Why Buying an Air Purifier is Worth Your Investment

Chances are you have heard at least one person you know who has talked about, or recommended, using an air purifier. Because they are becoming more and more popular, it may be tempting to wonder if they are simply a fad that will eventually disappear. In reality, these carefully designed filters have been created to greatly improve air quality by effectively eliminating the most harmful and bothersome particles. These pollutants include dust, pet dander, smoke, allergens, and environmental pollution that always seem to find a way into your home or office. As you consider whether or not purchasing an air purifier is worth your investment you may wish to consider some of the most compelling reasons why this product is well worth every penny you will spend.

 

 You Are an Animal Lover with Allergies

Many people who adore animals and live with pets experience allergies related directly to the pet dander, hair, and fur that are a consequence of living with these lovable creatures. An air purifier works effectively to filter this dander from your air to leave the environment cleaner and healthier. In some cases, small children are more sensitive to pet dander than adults, so for families with both small children and pets, an air purifier is an excellent investment.


 Your House Smells Dirty

Sensitivity to smells is something a lot of people find bothersome and at times sickening. If your home seems to absorb odors from sports playing teenagers, a smoking roommate, dirty diapers, or your furry friends, an air purifier could be just what you need to eliminate unwanted smells and leave the air fresh and enjoyable to breathe.

 

Residents of apartments or employees in an office building, may also experience drafts coming from another part of the building that carry odors with them. Oftentimes, unpleasant smells may waft through into your work or living space. Positioning an air purifier at the entrance of these odors can help to eliminate them before you ever smell them.

 

 You Have Loved Ones With Respiratory Problems

Respiratory diseases such as asthma are unpredictable in the sense that certain allergens can immediately set off an attack that can reduce lung function and in severe cases, result in an inability to breathe. For families with children or parents with such diseases, doctors often recommend keeping air quality as high as possible to allow easy breathing and to eliminate the possibility of health problems from occurring.

 

Air purifiers are designed to filter air of harmful allergens that often trigger these attacks. Whether smoke, dander, or dust seem to make breathing harder for suffering family members, the right air purifier can increase air quality and provide everyone with peace of mind.

 

 You Live With or Near a Smoker

Studies have shown that secondhand smoke is incredibly harmful to the human body and can have serious side effects. Air purifiers with HEPA filters are specifically designed to eliminate smoke and tobacco pollutants and odors. If you live with or near a smoker, your decision to invest in a purifier could make a significant difference in the way you feel.

 

 You Have a Brand New Home

Moving into a brand new home can be incredibly exciting and rewarding. However that “new house” smell can be filled with pollutants such as formaldehyde which is a dangerous toxin that has been shown to cause health problems. An air purifier can help filter this toxic air and give everyone in the home a bit more confidence that they are breathing healthier air. This is an especially smart decision if you have small children or babies.

 

With these compelling reasons why investing in an air purifier is beneficial and rewarding, it isn’t any surprise that many people are making the decision to purchase one today. Increase the quality of the air in your home or office with this revolutionary product.

 

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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Improve Indoor Air Quality With Your Home Remodel

When you begin the process of remodeling your home, you are probably focused upon the aesthetics. A big part of the joy of remodeling is thinking of how your home will look upon completion, how the flow of the space will be, and how much easier you will be able to access certain spaces. Color, design, and convenience will surely be large components in how you plan. However, the one factor that is easy to miss but should most definitely play a large part is that how your remodel can also improve your air quality. With millions of people affected by respiratory issues such as asthma and allergies, this is the perfect time to change your home in such a way that indoor pollutants are minimized so that the health of the inhabitants may be improved.

Supplies and Materials
One of the first things to consider in the planning stages is the type of building supplies you will be using. Some materials such as bonding agents and adhesives can emit formaldehyde into the air, reducing the air quality. It can cause breathing difficulties, severe allergic reactions, wheezing, increased rates of cancer, and can trigger asthma attacks. It can also be found in in pressed woods, some types of drapes and certain foam insulation. Make sure the agents that are being used in the adhering of paneling, upholstery and carpets will not leave behind such contaminants. If they are present, be sure to increase ventilation both during and after the construction is complete.

Flooring
When choosing flooring, the formaldehyde content is only one of the factors to take into consideration. Be sure to choose flooring that will not be easily permeated by water, spilled or otherwise. If water can seep through into the subflooring, it can create an environment that where moisture lingers and can house mold spores or bacteria. These can contaminate the air at a quick rate. In addition, try to avoid using carpets in areas where the likelihood of water absorption is greater, such as near sinks, bathtubs and showers, or toilets. Regular water exposure is inevitable in these areas, making it difficult for moisture to be dried completely and thoroughly before it is once again exposed to wetness.

Windows
When replacing the windows in your home, efficiency is surely a top priority in regards to saving energy and money. Another benefit to high efficiency options, however, is the reduction in condensation that you are likely to experience. This removes another breeding ground for mold and bacteria.

If you are in an older home, there is the possibility that lead based paint was used at some point. Be cautious of this during construction and take the opportunity to either have it removed or sealed properly. Otherwise, the constant movement of opening and closing windows can disrupt the paint and release lead particles into your air. The risks of lead poisoning are high and can result in serious health issues including developmental issues in children, kidney damage, and fertility problems.

Painting
As with the windows, adding a fresh coat of paint to a room is the perfect time to ensure that any previously used lead based paint is either properly removed or covered. Do not sand down an area that may have lead based material beneath or you run the risk of disrupting and emitting it into the air. Also, do not paint over any areas that are flaking as it will continue to flake after the fresh coat has been applied.

When searching for the new color, research the brands that will emit fewer chemicals and have the least volatile organic compounds. Avoid using any that may include mercury in its content and be careful not to choose paints created for exterior use on interior projects, as they may release more chemicals. Water-based often emits fewer chemicals than oil-based tend to, but will want to verify the emissions information prior to choosing.

Ventilation
Remodeling is the ideal time to increase ventilation within your home. Unblock any systems that may be stuffed up, creating a slower process. Replace any old systems that may no long work properly. In the bathrooms, a well-functioning fan will be helpful in removing moisture and reducing the chances for mold or fungus to grow. You should also verify that the fan in the kitchen is whirring and operating smoothly to control moisture related to cooking and reduce the chances of biological pollutants settling in.

In addition to fans that are likely already in your home, remodeling is the perfect time to implement further ventilation throughout. By implementing filtration systems into your remodel, you can reduce the pollutants and pollens that make their way in from the outdoors as well as remove dust particles, pet dander and other contaminants that can impact indoor air quality.

Remodeling your home can improve the way you feel about your surroundings with a fresh appearance and updated décor. It can also be used to improve the way you feel in regards to your health. Do plenty of research before beginning your projects and tweak your plans to improve your indoor air quality at the same time.

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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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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5 Things You May Not Know About the Air Quality in Your Home

The majority of our lives are spent indoors, whether sleeping, in school or working. Unfortunately, the lack of ventilation found in many homes and buildings can result in higher quantities of contaminants, creating poor indoor air quality. This, in turn, can result in a number of health ailments. The type of air you breathe in your own house has quite the effect on your life in general. Here are five things you may not know about the air quality in your home.

A Little Mold Can Have Big Effects
Mold finds its ideal home when the tiny spores locate an area containing moisture. It doesn’t have to be a large area of wetness or even an obvious one, so if you have had a flood, a broken pipe or a slow leak, you want to be proactive in drying the area and getting humidity under control. Once mold finds its way in, it quickly becomes invasive, growing and damaging your property at a rather fast pace. However, it can affect more than just the structure of a building. Mold is transferred in small spores that are lightweight and easily airborne, making it easy to breathe in the contaminants without realizing it. For someone with an allergy to mold, this can result in sneezing, rashes, itching and other symptoms of hay-fever. It can also exacerbate asthmatic symptoms. Even if allergies aren’t present, mold can irritate one's eyes, skin, and respiratory system. Extended exposure can result in even more serious conditions and ailments. While the first step is to remove the conditions that helped create the mold in the home, such as fixing leaks and ensuring all areas are dry, the air needs to be purified as well to ensure the airborne spores have been removed.  

Better Air Quality = Higher productivity
If you have a home office, you might want to take measures to increase your air quality if you want to get more out of your workday. A study published by the International Centre for Indoor Environment and Energy, an organization from the Technical University of Denmark, shows that the better the indoor air quality is, the higher the output of productivity you can achieve. In fact, there can be upwards of a 9 percent difference based solely on the air around you. While it may cost a little extra to make the initial changes, it is projected that those particular expenses can be recouped by the boost of productivity that will come afterwards.

Radon May Be Present
Radon may sound like something out of a science-fiction film, but unfortunately it’s more than just a fictional plot twist in many homes. When naturally occurring uranium breaks down in the soil, radon is released. Openings in your home that are near this part of the earth can become a portal for the odorless, colorless – and very dangerous -- gas to enter your home. It can be a slow but deadly process. Once it is breathed in, it breaks down further in your lungs, resulting in increasing damage to your respiratory tissue. Over 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year are now being attributed to radon poisoning.

Pets Affect Air Quality
Most people associate pet allergies with an animal’s fur. However, this isn’t actually the case. The allergen is found in the dander (dead skin cells that have been discarded) and secreted fluids from the animal’s saliva or urine. These allergens can easily attach themselves to the hair, which is why the presence of the fur is commonly associated with allergic reactions. However, even when that fur is cleaned from an area, that doesn’t mean the dander is gone. Micro in size, dander is lightweight and can become airborne for some time before finding another surface on which to attach itself, whether fabric, flooring, carpets or clothing. Vacuuming and dusting can remove some,  but these activities also stir up the air, causing some dust and dander to become airborne again. Even if a person with an allergy keeps their distance from a pet, they are still exposed to the dander simply by breathing in the air, which can trigger an allergic reaction. Air purification is necessary to filter out these pollutants that are too small to be visible, thus difficult to remove by manual cleaning methods.

What Gets Inside Stays Inside
Today’s homes are built with amazing precision and with much tighter construction, which is usually viewed as a positive characteristic. After all, that means warm air stays in during winter months, less conditioned air seeps out in the summer, and nature is kept outdoors. Unfortunately, this all means there is less natural ventilation in today’s homes. When doors and windows are opened, outdoor pollutants that make their way in can’t easily make their way back out again. This also goes for indoor contaminants such as chemicals associated with cleaning products, byproducts of heat sources, allergens, smoke and pet dander, which become trapped.

The risks associated with poor air quality are seldom visible to the naked eye, making them difficult to pinpoint and rectify. It is important to remain vigilant in removing pollutants from the air you breathe in your own home with purification and continued testing to ensure it remains the highest of quality.

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The Best Houseplants for Improving Indoor Air Quality

It’s no secret that vehicle and industrial emissions negatively impact air quality outdoors. However, when it comes to purifying the air that you breathe at home, don’t forget to think inside the box. While today’s energy-efficient homes are great at reducing heat transfer and lowering energy costs, they also trap in airborne toxins that are produced by synthetic building materials, cleaning supplies, and other chemicals used inside. This is sometimes referred to as Sick Building Syndrome. Indeed, the toxins in your home can be quite harmful, especially to those who may be suffering from asthma or other respiratory conditions. In fact, some cases of indoor air pollution may be far worse than any corresponding outdoor conditions. Fortunately, there is a solution for purifying your indoor space, one that will save money and the environment at the same time – houseplants.

A Special Thanks to NASA
Plants are essential to human life; they convert carbon dioxide into useable oxygen. As a bonus, they also remove dangerous elements from the air. These toxins are either metabolized into harmless byproducts or simply absorbed into a plant’s tissues. It was NASA who first began researching houseplants during the late 1980s in an effort to maintain healthier air for astronauts who were on extended missions in orbit. They found that some botanical species are just as adept at filtering interior spaces as they are at cleaning outside air.

Most common houseplants come from tropical regions where they have adapted to low light under thick canopy ceilings. As a result, these species are expert photosynthisizers and can also absorb some of the most common and toxic airborne pollutants, including:

  • Formaldehyde –Released from cleaners and building materials like plywood and foam insulation.
  • Benzene –Emitted from paints, oils, and synthetic plastics.
  • Trichloroethylene –Found in adhesives, varnishes and paints.
  • Toluene –A common byproduct of nail polish and glue.

Seven Effective Houseplants
NASA scientists studied 19 different species over the course of two years. Here are some houseplants that are highly effective at purifying indoor air:

  1. Weeping figFicus benjamina2 –Also known as a ficus tree, the Ficus benjamina is a popular evergreen plant that helps rid your home of formaldehyde, toluene, and even xylene. It grows best under bright indirect light, with frequent watering, and at higher temperatures. Unfortunately, it is poisonous to animals, so you want to make sure to place it in an area that your dog or cat cannot access.

 

  1. Bamboo palmChamaedorea costaricana –As its common name suggests, the Chamaedorea sefritzii is a cross between bamboo and a palm. Due to its bamboo-like stalk, it is sometimes referred to as a bamboo reed plant. This is one of most popular houseplants all over the world. Not only do you get the lavish look of a palm, but you also get that ancient tranquility provided by bamboo. Perhaps this is because it is one of the best species on NASA’s list of formaldehyde-cleansing plants. This makes it a good choice for today’s synthetic-based homes. Try to mimic its natural environment with moist soil and low light.

 

  1. Snake plantSnake plant –The Sansevieria tifasciata is also famously called the mother-in-law plant. This African native is great at absorbing formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene, and nitrogen oxide. This is a hardy beginner plant that requires little attention. While it grows well under bright light, it can easily adapt to darker corners as well.

 

  1. Peace lilySpathiphyllum cochlearispathum RTBGSpathiphyllum includes many species that all share similar features. It is known in Hawaii as the Mauna Loa. This is a highly popular choice due to its beautiful white flowers and dark green foliage. It is highly effective at removing benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. Moreover, it tends to prefer low light and little water, so it’s fairly easy to maintain. The peace lily is moderately toxic, so avoid ingesting the leaves or flowers. More than anything, however, it’s just plain intoxicating.

 

  1. Hedera helix 'Buttercup' Urn 2000pxEnglish Ivy –The Hera helix is an outdoor vine that has been a vital part of the European landscape for centuries. Its invasive nature can be tamed by keeping it indoors. Here, it helps to remove formaldehyde, xylene, and benzene. As a bonus, it even reduces airborne mold. When it comes to care, it generally grows best under direct light at a constant temperature. Make sure to provide plenty of water in addition to well-drained soil.

 

  1. Gerbera daisy –This is one of two species from the NASA study that is not considered a true houseplant; however, the Gerbera jamesonii is the most effective for treating benzene-contaminated air. Many common tobacco products on the market contain significant amounts of benzene. Therefore, smokers may want to consider the hidden benefits of this showy piece; it’s known for its stunning, brightly-colored flowers. Just make sure to give it plenty of direct sunlight.

 

Maximizing the Air Purification Benefits of Your Plants
When taking advantage of the cleansing power of plants, don’t narrow in on the leaves alone. According to NASA, the root zone is where the action happens. In order to encourage maximum absorption, you need make sure that your soil is exposed to air. It helps to use pots that are at least six inches wide. You can even go one step further by incorporating an activated carbon filter near the plant’s base.

As another general rule of thumb, avoid overwatering these in-home cleansers. Not only does this kill most roots, but it also creates excess moisture, which can lead to further problems like mold. In addition, it is helpful to try to create the dense, low-light conditions that most of these jungle-dwellers prefer.

Ultimately, the more houseplants you have, the cleaner the air in your home. In fact, NASA suggests using one plant for every 100 feet of living space. With all the chemicals, detergents, and synthetics that may be used in your home on a daily basis, don’t you think it is important to keep an eye on those hidden health risks? Why not let nature take some of the responsibility? Get in touch with your local nursery for more tips and suggestions. Ultimately, houseplants are a great way to improve the look of your home and the well being of your family.

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Indoor Air Quality Impacting Employee Productivity

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, also known as the EPA, indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than the smoggy atmosphere outside. Most people pay attention to the pollution warnings on their local news channels, even staying inside their homes or office buildings in order to stay “safe.” Unfortunately, these individuals may be breathing even more contaminants while spending time in their houses and offices.

 

Chatting Around the Water Cooler

At work, employees might be sniffling, coughing, and even wheezing, but they might not suspect that their office buildings are to blame. Instead, they may gather around the water cooler and blame the weather, the flu, or whatever seasonal plant is blooming outdoors. Some of the symptoms that occur include:

In addition to these ailments, individuals who are inhaling in polluted air-spaces might suffer from limited attention spans and low productivity on the job. This can cost companies that are housed in airtight buildings some big dollars. In fact, OSHA estimates that poor indoor air quality (IAQ) costs employers in the neighborhood of $15 billion in sick leave and poor work performance each year.

 

Employers Take Action

Today, companies are taking action to create a healthier workforce, but their tactics are often missing the mark. Ignoring their indoor air as a cause of employee ailments, employers are focusing on the home life of their employees and instituting wellness programs. These encourage workers to:

  • Eat more nutritious cuisine
  • Exercise regularly
  • Practice stress management

While these practices are certainly beneficial and generally good advice to help improve quality of life, they won’t help to relieve symptoms caused by poor IAQ. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s performed research that showed that an employee’s performance at work can be improved by 10 percent if air quality is cleaned up.

 

Reasons for Indoor Air Pollution

Why is the air inside office buildings so polluted? For one thing, workers are spending much more time indoors than they did in previous eras. Today, an American spends 90 percent of his or her time inside, and there are hazardous pollutants looming in the air, such as:

  • Chemicals in a Work Space: There are chemicals emanating from technological hardware, cleaning products, furniture, and construction materials.
  • Copiers and Printers: Volatile organic compounds, also known as VOCs, are emitted from printers and copy machines.
  • Floor and Wall Coverings: Ozone and tiny particulates are released from flooring materials and wall coverings.
  • Paints and Furnishings: Formaldehyde and toluene are just a couple of the hundreds of VOCs being released from furniture and the paint in a building.
  • Computers and Electronics: These products send emissions into the environment from adhesive, circuits, and plastics. Because computers and electronic gadgetry heat up, the effects are magnified.
  • Pest Control: Most commercial facilities have some sort of weekly or monthly pest control service to kill bugs, and while employees may deeply appreciate a pest-free workplace, these treatments send toxins into the air.

What Can Be Done

Although The World Health Organization estimates the nearly a third of all renovated or new construction has problems with IAQ, steps can be taken to improve the situation. After smoking was banned in American offices, for example, air quality drastically improved. Changes can be made to curtail other pollutants as well, for example:

  • Bring outdoor air in with proper ventilation.
  • Confine networked printers in well-ventilated areas.
  • Use slower print speeds on personal printers.
  • Install an air purifier.
  • Purchase green, low-chemical office products, furniture, and paints.
  • Maintain a stable temperature to discourage condensation and mold growth.

Every step employers take to create a healthier environment for workers can lead to increased productivity and a healthier bottom line. Employees will feel more comfortable and well, which may help prevent them from calling in sick. Small steps can lead to big results, allowing everyone to breathe a sigh of relief.

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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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.

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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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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!

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