What is IAQ? How to Boost Yours….( No Vitamins or Supplements Needed!!)
IAQ stands for Indoor Air Quality …it has nothing to do with intelligence!
IAQ measures the air quality is in your home or office…. Many people don’t give their IAQ a second thought but the quality of the air that you breathe can have serious consequences for your health.
Outdoor air quality has been an issue for years and most of us know about it and are concerned … in some cities the air quality can be so poor that people have to use face masks. Allergy and asthma sufferers are particularly sensitive to exhaust fumes from the traffic on a busy road, to pollen and dust levels at certain times of the year and to animal dander.
These microscopic particles in the air are known as allergens. They pollute the air that we breathe and cause poor IAQ and affect our health. They are not only present in outdoor air, they can pollute the air inside our homes as well and that is what IAQ is measures.
In winter we are more susceptible to poor IAQ because the air is warmer in homes from heating systems , windows and doors are closed and condensation from poor ventilation can allow the growth of mildew and mould. If we use open fires or a wood burning stove more dust and smoke particles are deposited into the air. Are some of those allergens lurking in the air in your home?
You can be smart and informed about IAQ in your home and office or working environment and if you take the steps we recommend to improve IAQ you can benefit from fewer health problems and enjoy a fresher atmosphere for living and working as a result.
You may suffer from poor IAQ in your home if :
- You are a smoker ( traditional or e-cigarettes)
- You or anyone in your home suffers from allergies, asthma , respiratory ailments
- You or anyone in your home suffers from headaches, sinus problems during the night or day , nasal congestion
- You own cats dogs or other pets
- You use a wood burning stove or have an open fire
- You see dust on your furniture even though you have just dusted it
- You have areas of mould or mildew growth … around windows or on the walls or in the bathroom
- You do not use a HEPA vacuum to clean your home
- You use chemical air freshners
- You have an indoor garage attached to your home.
5 Easy Ways to keep the IAQ in your home high and healthy
Here are 5 tips for improving and maintaining a good quality of air in your home. The most effective way to reduce indoor air pollution is to reduce or remove the source of pollution. Good ventilation is equally important to increase the amount of clean air from outside and to reduce the build up of humidity in the home.
1. Use a HEPA vacuum
2. Keep chemical pollutants to the minimum
3. Control Moisture Levels
4. Increase ventilation
5. Use an Air Purifier
1. Use a HEPA vacuum cleaner
HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air . it is a specialised air filter that meets the standards of efficiency set up by the U S Department of Energy. For a filter to be a certified HEPA filter, it must be able to remove 99.97% of particles bigger than .3 microns from the air that passes through.
A HEPA filter is designed to capture most of the small airborne particles, when other vacuum cleaners just recirculate the particles back in to the air .Every major vacuum manufacturer produces a HEPA vacuum cleaner and the next vacuum you buy should be one.
If you are not in the market for a new vacuum you can buy HEPA bags for your existing vacuum.
2. Reduce Chemical Pollutants in your home
Don’t smoke in your home and don’t allow smoking
Try not to use harsh cleaning agents, solvent based cleaners or any cleaner with a strong fragrance
DIY activity involving paint strippers, hobby soldering or gluing, sanding, painting etc. should be done outdoors.
Control exhaust fumes from the car or any appliance. Don’t idle cars, lawnmower or leaf blower in the garage or near the house.
Don’t use chemical air fresheners. It has been reported that 1,4 dichlorobenzene (1,4 DCB) may be harmful to the lungs. This chemical is found in many air fresheners, toilet bowl cleaners, mothballs and other deodorising products ( National Institutes of Health 2006)
“ An analysis of more than a dozen common household air fresheners found that most contain chemicals that may affect hormones and reproductive development particularly in babies ….” (The National Resources Defense Council )
3. Control the Moisture Levels in your Home
Measure the humidity in your home, it should be less than 60% . Use a dehumidifier if possible to control the moisture and clean the dehumidifier often.
Don’t dry wet clothes on the radiators.
Repair leaks as soon as possible.
Don’t steam clean your carpets … Use Dry Carpet Cleaning
Deluxe Dry Carpet Cleaning ( 0161 768 0208) Dry carpet cleaning is better for your carpets and better for your IAQ. Lower moisture levels mean that dustmites levels are controlled and we use HEPA vacuum cleaners to reduce dust and allergen levels in the air in your home.
If you have had a burst pipe or some kind of water damage contact a professional to remove the water and dry the area quickly
If you see mould and mildew growing in your home it is a sign that the humidity is too high and ventilation is poor. Get a professional to check the damp course in the house.
Use an exhaust fan in the bathroom and kitchen to remove steam.
If condensation is pooling on the window sills get a moisture absorber kit .. they are cheap and they work.
4. Ensure Good Ventilation in your home
Open doors and windows whenever possible. If you don’t have an exhaust fan in the bathroom or kitchen open the door or a window to remove steam after showering or cooking.
All fuel burning furnaces, range tops, exhaust fans, dryers, fireplaces and heaters must be vented to an outside wall and should be as far as possible away from windows and heating ventilation intakes.
Change the filter on the extractor hood in the kitchen at regular intervals.
5. Use a mechanical air purification system.
An air purifier can help to control dust and allergen levels. They are particularly useful in city centre apartments or if your home is in a high traffic area ( E.G. near a main road or motorway)
A good quality mechanical air purifier may cost from £ 500 upwards and its effectiveness will depend on how good it is at collecting and trapping pollutants in the air. (expressed as a percentage efficiency rate ) and how good it is at drawing air through the filter or cleaning element.( This is expressed in cubic feet per minute.)
A high percentage efficiency rate will not be effective if the rate of filtration is low and similarly if the the filtration rate is high but the machine is not trapping pollutants the air quality will not be optimal. Keeping the machine well maintained is also very important