Jan

Caring for Your Air in the Age of Covid

The air we breathe inside our homes, our schools and our workplaces can put us at risk for various health problems, many of increasing severity. Pollutants in the air, such as chemicals, gases and living organisms like mold and pests, are especially harmful for children, elderly people and those with respiratory concerns. Covid-19 has made household ventilation and air purification a high priority.

To care for your air, the Take Action Steps outlined below can help.  

Another smart idea is to contact Quality Heating for an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) assessment.

When and where indicated, we can advise on products designed to significantly improve the air you breathe. For instance:

• the REME Halo uses the power of LED or Infra-Red Light to destroy the virus that causes Covid. 

• the iWave Ion Generator does such a good job purifying the air it even cleans itself.

• the Air Scrubber by Aerus features certiied, NASA-approved, Space technology.

• the Daikin One Ecosystem features built-in monitoring that can inform when particles or chemicals in the air are at an elevated state. 

• the Aprilaire system not only prevents dust buildup but can remove more than 98% of dirty indoor air and kill particles less than one micron in size. 

• the Honeywell TrueClean features whole house air cleaning and works with all gas, oil, and electric systems. 

Learn more about each of these products at https://heatingwithquality.com/products/indoor-air-quality/

Let’s take a look at the other Action Steps you can take to identify risks and improve indoor air quality.

Radon

Radon is a radioactive gas that is formed in the soil. It can enter indoors through cracks and openings in floors and walls that are in contact with the ground. January is National Radon Action Month.

• Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers, and the second leading cause of lung cancer overall.

• Find more information at the Washington State Radon Website. Maps and data showing radon risk in our state can be viewed on the Washington Tracking Network

Take Action:

• Test your home with a do-it-yourself radon kit. If the test result indicates you should fix, call a qualified radon mitigation specialist.

Secondhand smoke

Secondhand smoke comes from burning tobacco products. It can cause cancer and serious respiratory illnesses.

• Children are especially vulnerable to secondhand smoke. It can cause or worsen asthma symptoms and is linked to increased risks of ear infections and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Take Action:

• To help protect children from secondhand smoke, do not smoke or allow others to smoke inside your home or car.

Combustion Pollutants

Combustion Pollutants are gases or particles that come from burning materials. In homes, the major source of combustion pollutants are improperly vented or unvented fuel-burning appliances such as: space heaters, woodstoves, gas stoves, water heaters, dryers and fireplaces.

Take Action:

• Ventilate rooms where fuel-burning appliances are used.

• Use appliances that vent to the outside whenever possible.

• Ensure that all fuel-burning appliances are properly installed, used, adjusted and maintained.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs): are chemicals that evaporate at room temperature. VOCs are released from products into the home both during use and while stored. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products used in homes including: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, varnishes and waxes, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment, moth repellents, air fresheners, dry-cleaned clothing.

Take Action:

• Ventilate rooms where fuel-burning appliances are used.

• Use appliances that vent to the outside whenever possible.

• Ensure that all fuel-burning appliances are properly installed, used, adjusted and maintained.

Asthma 

Asthma triggers are commonly found in homes, schools and offices and include mold, dust mites, secondhand smoke and pet dander. A home may have mold growing on a shower curtain, dust mites, pillows, blankets or stuffed animals, secondhand smoke in the air, and cat and dog hairs on the carpet or floors. Other common asthma triggers include some foods and pollutants in the air.

Take Action:

• Environmental asthma triggers are found around the home and can be eliminated with these simple steps:

• Don’t allow smoking in your home or car.

• Dust and clean your home regularly.

• Clean up mold and fix water leaks.

• Wash sheets and blankets weekly in hot water.

• Use allergen-proof mattress and pillow covers.

Indoor Air in Homes and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Ensuring proper ventilation with outside air can help reduce indoor airborne contaminants, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and other viruses. However, by itself, increasing ventilation is not enough to protect people from exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. When used along with other best practices (such as physical distancing, avoidance of crowded indoor spaces, and wearing masks) recommended by the CDC, increasing ventilation can be part of a plan to protect yourself and your family. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do say that improved ventilation — including open windows, ceiling fans and portable air cleaners — can help curb the spread of COVID-19. “With good ventilation, the concentration of virus particles in the air will be lower and they will leave your home faster than with poor ventilation,” the agency says. 

Researchers have concluded that many indoor facilities, businesses, schools, houses of worship — the buildings where we spend our daily lives — are not adequately designed or equipped to handle the pandemic. 

“We urgently need to improve the safety of the air that we breathe across a range of environments,” researchers wrote. “Data from COVID-19 outbreaks consistently show that a large fraction of buildings worldwide have very low ventilation rates despite the requirements set in national building standards.”

Call on your Quality HVAC consultant for more information on the best practices and products to best serve your family’s needs.  [QHEAC]

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