Air Pollution is all among us. Indeed, it is present everywhere–from industrial and vehicular emissions to cigarette smokers who releases toxic and harmful fumes that could damage lungs. The world isn’t a safe place for air pollution. Everyone is either a culprit or a victim of it. No matter how we hide even to our homes or masked ourselves well, infiltration of these contaminants within everyone’s body is inevitable.
That is why the only thing that we could do is prevent or at least minimize the spread to it. Protecting our own spaces to these pollution,testing air quality every now and then and preventing in our own little ways like avoiding burning of bio-degradable or avoiding smoking would be a big help to our environment and even to the community’s health and welfare.
In this page we will examine air quality of our own spaces, on how important it is and ways how to test it.
What is Air Quality?
-It is a measurement and degree of pollutants in air and atmosphere.Also, it is a description of healthiness and safety of the atmosphere.
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
-this refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. This also relates to the exposure of gases including carbon monoxide, radon or volatile organic compounds.
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Common Air Pollutants in Home around Mississauga, Ontario
1.Second hand Smoke
-cigarette or tobacco smoke inhaled by other people from a source smoker. This smoke includes particulate and gaseous phases with harmful gases such as carbon monoxide that could get past by lung’s defenses.
-it is an invisible, radioatomic atoms that is found within rock formations under or within the building itself. Literally,they are present mostly in air but only small amounts–usually from 0.003 to 2.6 picocuries of radon per liter of air. However, prolong exposure could result to lung tissue damages.
3. Molds and other allergens
-mold is always associated with moisture that is why they often develop on plumbing leaks and wet sides of the building. Aspergillus, a highly dangerous mold that can be dangerous for asthma sufferers. Inhalation of these molds and allergens could cause allergic reactions that could cause complications.
-a byproduct of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels.Common sources of carbon monoxide are tobacco smoke, space heaters using fossil fuels, defective central heating furnaces and automobile exhaust. Studies show that longer exposure to this gas, lead to nausea, unconsciousness and even death.
5. Volatile Organic Compunds (VOC’s)
– emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids.VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands including paints and lacquerscleaning supplies, and pesticides. Exposure to this compounds lead to harmful adverse effects within our body.
Where can buy Air Quality Tests in Ontario
Testing Indoor Air Quality
In order to test for air quality, it is a need to know the amount of pollutants on the surrounding air.Likewise,
a. Radon Testing
-To test for radon, one could apply this tests;
- charcoal canisters
- alpha track
- electret ion chamber
- continuous monitors
- charcoal liquid scintillation
The most common and applicable to homeowners for radon testing is the charcoal canisters.
-In testing for indoor molds,it should be involved by comparing it to outdoor baseline sample since molds are present everywhere.If the results are lower than the outdoor reference sample, then most likely the space is mold-free. But however the nose is still the most effective detector against molds.
c.Carbon Monoxide Testing
-there are alarms when carbon monoxide is present in the spaces.Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to install, test, use and replace the alarm.You should install a carbon monoxide detector near bedrooms. The alarm will wake you up if something happens during the night.
d.Testing for VOC’s
-Home Air Check(www.homeaircheck.com) offers a variety of test kits designed to identify formaldehyde, tobacco smokeand common VOC’s. Costs range from $65 to $125.
Air Quality Problems Mitigation
There are only three things an owner could do on mitigating problems with air quality;
a.eliminate the source of the irritant
Example: Filtration could remove and eliminate particulate matter and VOC’s.
b.encapsulate the problem
Example: applicable for lead base paint
c.dilute the pollutant to a level that reduces its impact on your health.
Example: addition of fresh air to dilute pollutants.
Incorporation to HVAC System
Another option also is to incorporate to HVAC system in order to decrease pollutant concentration.Then, one should use;
-designed to remove stale polluted air.This ventilation is made up of mechanical, ducted, whole-house system that provides a steady supply of fresh, filtered, conditioned air from the outside while exhausting stale interior air. Because the same amount of air is drawn into the home as is exhausted, the pressure within the home remains balanced, which helps prevent backdrafting of combustion appliances. The most robust system includes filtering, pre-conditioning and booster fans. Here’s a look at each feature:
- Filtering. Fresh air passes through filters as it enters the system. This helps control contaminants that would otherwise recirculate through the home. In some cases, homeowners need to clean or replace filters periodically.
- Preconditioning. A heat recovery ventilator (HRV) uses heat exchangers to recapture 60 percent to 80 percent of the conditioned temperatures from the outgoing air to heat or cool incoming fresh air. Incoming and outgoing airflows pass through different sides of the unit but are not mixed, allowing conditioned exhaust air to raise or lower the temperature of incoming fresh air without contaminating it. In climates with extreme differences between indoor and outdoor humidity, energy-recovery ventilators (ERVs) are recommended over HRVs because ERVs also exchange moisture between the two airstreams to control humidity. In hot, humid climates, ERVs are critical for drying out incoming fresh air; in cold, heating-dominated climates, ERVs can help hold in what little humidity may be indoors to control wintertime window condensation.
- Booster fans. Small, separately switched booster fans can be located in bathrooms and kitchens to control moisture or heat generated by showering and cooking. Odors and pollutants are quickly removed, while the energy used to condition the air is recovered through the HRV/ERV. Some codes may still require stoves to be separately vented to remove grease or gas fumes.
In addition to HVAC system, one could also add this features to further strengthen and reduce risks from air contaminants. Filters such as,
a.HEPA (High efficiency particulate air) filter
-high efficiency filters that composed of mat arranged fibers usually possesses diameters between 0.5-3 micrometers.This filter type takes a percentage (usually no more than 30%) of the air traveling through your ductwork and routing it through a HEPA filter.Thus,important features include;
a. It removes 99.97% of particulate greater than 0.3 microns.
b.Sincethe filter reduces air flow in the ductwork you cannot filter all the air in the system at one time.
c. It could be installed independently of the HVAC system, taking air from one room and circulating itthrough the filter to reduce indoor air particulate.
-Like HEPA filters, this eliminates particulates on air. Its should be important that this filters are MERV rated and should be 4-5 inches thick. A recommended MERV rating is 10 or 13 yet 8 is the minimum.Media filters often costs about $30 and are replaced every 12-18 months depending on the dust levels in your homes.
c. Ultraviolet Lamps
-Since filters does not kill microbes and allergen, this integration to HVAC system could help kill allergens, molds and microbes that is harmful to body. Though expensive, but it’s totally worth a cent ensuring a quality air and safety living.