How To Turn Your Marietta Home Into An Allergy-Free Sanctuary

When caring for allergies or asthma, the air quality inside your home is as important as the temperature. Here are some simple strategies recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency to improve your indoor air quality. We care about the air you breathe and would like to contribute to your healthy lifestyle by giving you a consultation.

Source Control

Typically, the most effective way to improve the air quality inside a home is to remove individual sources of pollution or to lower their emissions. Sources, such as those that contain asbestos, can be sealed or enclosed. Others, including gas stoves, can be adjusted to lower emissions. Often, source control is a more cost-efficient way to protect indoor air quality. Other methods, like increasing ventilation, can raise energy costs.

Ventilation Improvements

Most of the time, source control is the most cost-effective option for improving air-quality problems in the home.

Another way to lower levels of indoor air pollutants is to bring more outdoor air inside. Most home heating and cooling systems (even forced air heating systems) do not mechanically bring fresh air into your home. You can easily increase your outdoor ventilation rate by: raising windows and opening doors, running window or attic fans (weather permitting), and/or running a window air conditioner with the vent control open. You can also increase the outdoor air ventilation rate and remove contaminants from the room by running local fans that exhaust to the outside, such as those common in bathrooms and kitchens.

It’s especially important to employ as many of these strategies as possible when painting, paint stripping, heating with a kerosene heater, or cooking and when doing maintenance and hobby activities like welding, soldering or sanding. Since these activities generate high levels of pollutants, it may be best to do them outdoors when possible and when weather allows.

Some newer homes are being built with advanced designs that feature mechanical systems that bring outdoor air inside. Some also include energy-efficient heat recovery ventilators (also known as air-to-air heat exchangers). For more information about air-to-air heat exchangers, contact the Conservation and Renewable Energy Inquiry and Referral Service, P.0. Box 8900, Silver Spring, MD 20907 800-523-2929, 800-233-3071 (In Alaska & Hawaii).

Air Cleaners

There is a variety of air cleaners on the market. With several sizes and types to choose from, prices range from less-expensive table-top models to more sophisticated and pricey whole-house systems. Particular units are very effective at removing particles from the air, while others (including most table-top models) are not. Generally speaking, air cleaners are not designed to remove gaseous pollutants.

Two factors determine the effectiveness of an air cleaner: how well it removes pollutants from indoor air (expressed as a percentage efficiency rate) and the amount of air it draws through its cleaning or filtering element (expressed in cubic feet per minute). A unit that collects efficiently but has a low air-circulation rate will not be effective, nor will a cleaner with a high air-circulation rate but is a poor collector. With all air cleaners, proper maintenance according to the manufacturer’s instructions is vital to the machine’s performance over an extended period of time.

Another factor to consider when determining an air cleaner’s effectiveness is the strength of the pollutant source. Specifically, table-top air cleaners may not satisfactorily eliminate pollutants from strong nearby sources. For people who are sensitive to particular sources, air cleaners may only be beneficial when used along with other concerted efforts toward removing the source.

In recent years, information has spread suggesting that houseplants have been shown, in lab experiments, to lower levels of some chemicals. But, no evidence currently demonstrates that a reasonable number of houseplants will eliminate a significant quantity of pollutants from homes or offices. What’s more, when given too much water, a houseplant’s overly damp soil may promote the growth of microorganisms that can affect people with allergies.

Because they remove only a portion of radon decay products and they do not reduce the amount of radon entering the home, EPA doesn’t recommend the use of air cleaners for lowering radon levels and its decay products. The agency intends to conduct more research in order to better understand whether or not air cleaners are, or could become, a useful tool in reducing health threats from radon.