Removing air contaminants is very important in maintaining a healthful home environment. The Environmental Protection Agency has identified indoor air pollution as one of the top five urgent environmental risks to human health. According to the American Lung Association, many people spend as much as 90% of their time indoors, and indoor levels of many pollutants can be two to five times higher than outdoor levels. Exposure to smoke, dust, pet and human dander, molds, and other pollutants can pose health risks and contribute to respiratory diseases, allergies, asthma, and many other chronic illnesses.
There are people with CFS, whose symptoms go away when they leave their house for a few days. There is a term called “sick building syndrome.” This boils down to toxins in the air.
Consider filtering your air. The extent to which you do, will depend upon your location and sensitivity. If you have a central air heating system in your home, it will probably have a filter. Most filters are inadequate because they let the small particles get through. Particles smaller than one micron are the most important to capture, because they make up 99% of the number of particles in your air and can be breathed deep into the lungs. A human hair is about 70 microns in diameter.
Check your system to see if it will accommodate a one inch thick filter, which is fairly standard. Examine the edge of the filter for a label stating it’s size, or measure it. Replace your present filter with a high efficiency filter that will trap particles in the 0.3 to 1 micron range. The filter I recommend is the Micro Allergen 1000 or the Ultra Allergen 1250 made by the 3M company. It is disposable, costs around $14 depending on the size, and lasts about three months. All of the air passing through the return air ducts in the house should run through a filter. You or an air conditioning specialist should check to make sure there is a very good seal all around the filter or air will bypass it. You can purchase the filters at a hardware store, or by mail order through filterMarket.com. To get maximum benefit from it, set your duct fan to run continuously.
Removing Toxic Gasses
A filter like the Micro Allergen will remove most of the particulate matter. To remove the remaining ultra-small particles and toxic gasses from the air you will need a HEPA filter. You can get a variety of free-standing (like a piece of furniture) units from NEEDS, Inc. 1 800-634-1380. They have things in their catalog that are not on their web site so order their catalog before choosing. A HEPA filter has a has a particle filter 6″ thick, plus several pounds of activated charcoal to adsorb gasses. Use of filters like the Micro Allergen up front in your central air system is inexpensive and will prolog the life of the HEPA filter. You can have your air conditioning contractor install a HEPA filter in your central air duct system, but it is much more expensive. Most of the cost is for the installation labor.
A big bonus in doing this, is that you will have practically NO dust in your house. You will have to clean much less often, and the appearance of your home will be nicer. That alone is reason enough to filter your air.
Testing for Molds
You can order inexpensive do-it-yourself home mold testing kits and a Mold Buster Tips Book from MoldInspector.com.
This is certainly non-essential, but negative ions in the air reportedly induce a feeling of well being, and definitely pull dust out of the air. The design of negative ion generators has been improved in recent years. You can obtain them from The Watershed. Consider this a low priority.