Breathe Better Air at Home
Once home from a long and busy day it feels good to take a nice deep breath knowing the next few hours will be a quiet evening indoors. That is what home is supposed to feel like; a retreat from the chaotic world outside. But when you take that nice deep breath, do you ever stop to wonder about the quality of the air in your home?
What is “Air”?
Air is a mixture of gases that make up Earth’s atmosphere. The part of the atmosphere that contains the right mixture of gases to support life contains nitrogen and oxygen, as well as trace amounts of argon, carbon dioxide, helium, neon, and other gases. Air also contains variable amounts of water vapor. This is what we call humidity.
Humidity Plays an Important Role in the Quality of Indoor Air
The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends maintaining indoor relative humidity levels between 30% and 50% for optimal human health and comfort. Too much humidity can create an environment where microbes can grow and create an unsanitary environment. Higher humidity can also result in condensation of water on surfaces such as window panes. This can hold soils and organic matter, creating a perfect incubator for mold, which can have very negative effects on those who suffer from asthma, COPD, and allergies.
Air Suspends Particles
The majority of airborne particles are harmless. However, some can cause problems, particularly for those with asthma, allergies or immune disorders. There are four keys to keeping your indoor air clean and healthy: exclude, capture, clean, and control.
Exclude – Keep contaminants out.
Preventing contaminants from entering the home can be challenging because most airborne particles are very small and can be everywhere. Pollen, mold spores, organic matter, carbon, insect matter, pollution, and plain old dirt enter the home, transported on air currents, people’s clothing, and shoes. You can reduce the entry of pollutants by keeping doors and windows closed, removing shoes when entering the home, and immediately changing your clothing after dusty activities like yard work.
There are some other contaminants that originate from inside the home. Pet and human dander, dust mites and their feces, food particles, cooking gases, sprays, chemicals, cleaning agents, and many others combine to reduce the overall quality of your indoor air. That’s why exclusion is only part of the solution.
Capture – filter and contain that which enters.
Once airborne particles enter your home, they remain suspended for a period of time. Those that are larger drop out of the air and settle on surfaces. Smaller, lighter particles remain suspended longer and are best removed by air filtration devices and the filter on your home’s HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) system. Use high-quality pleated filters designed for your specific HVAC unit.
Clean – remove pollutants from surfaces.
Over time these particles settle on surfaces like floors, counters, furniture, window sills, walls, and shelves. Regular vacuuming and dusting remove most of the invaders but make sure that your vacuum cleaner has good HEPA filtration as well. Hard surfaces can be cleaned with electrostatic dusters or dust cloths that attract and hold particles, or by wiping hard surfaces with a damp cloth and wet mopping floors. Other surfaces such as carpet, area rugs, and upholstery will require professional cleaning to remove accumulated soils and pollutants.
Control – maintain equipment, humidity levels, and filters.
Regular maintenance is very important. Ensure your vacuum, HVAC system, range hood, bathroom exhaust fans and such are working at their rated capacity. Clean or replace filters regularly. Carpeting is actually the largest air filter in most homes because of its capacity to capture and hold large amounts of soils and pollutants. Keeping your carpet and upholstery clean is one of the best ways to clear the air in your home. Call Bluegrass Cleaning Company for more information or to schedule your next service call.
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