The UltimateAir® News

The Masking Tradition and Indoor Air Quality

Posted on Mon, Jan 23, 2012

Indoor air can be up to 5 times more polluted than the air outside

JLB New Mask resized 600

Today’s well-insulated and sealed homes trap odors and chemicals from rugs, furniture, and household cleaning products. Common sense and studies have shown that the by exhausting the pollutants and replacing this exhausted air with filtered, fresh air from outside, the quality of the home environment is uncommonly improved.  By adding heat and moisture recovery to this air exchange (in essence, recovering the energy already used to heat and cool the home), ventilation and filtration can be done for as little as 25 cents per day.

 

Green Cleaners

However, consumers are confounded by a bewildering array of sprays, powders, candles and plug-in devices to mask IAQ issues. Indeed, these masking agents - “air fresheners”, “aerosol air cleaners”, and candles - significantly contribute  to degrading the home environment and causing allergic reactions.

Check out the green cleaner experiment - you can see formadhyde levels rise.

We also used to powder and perfume ourselves instead of bathing, go on pilgrimages to avoid the plague, and build homes without insulation... And how did this work out?

Choose a better indoor air quality with the RecoupAerator

To insure the health, safety and comfort of your family, choose the real long-term solution to a better indoor environment, the UltimateAir RecoupAerator Ventilation and Filtration system.

Tags: Homeowners, indoor air quality, Air Filration, recoupaerator, Common Indoor Air Pollutants, Outdoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality Audit: The Outdoors

Posted on Fri, Oct 28, 2011

UltimateAir aims to promote health, specifically clean indoor air inside your home. As part of an ongoing "Indoor Air Quality Home Audit" series, we will travel to every room in the home and outside the home to share best practices and tips to ensure your family is breathing fresh air.

outdoor air qualityIt’s easy to overlook and think that it can’t possibly affect indoor air quality, but there are many characteristics of our yards and the environment that surrounds our homes that have direct impacts upon energy use and air quality within our homes.

How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality by Improving Your Outdoor Air Quality

  • If there are blockages in your chimney, vents or air intakes, remove them immediately (Seek professional help if necessary).
  • If you see cracks on the exterior of your home, seal them.
  • Shrubs should be at least three feet away from the foundation of your home.
  • Refrain from using chemical fertilizer and pesticides on your lawn and garden as they can be tracked in or could infiltrate your home.
  • Remove leaf and grass debris from the intake and exhaust of your whole house ventilation unit intake/exhaust hoods located on the exterior of your house.

How to Reduce Energy Costs by Improving your Outdoor Air Quality

  • Plant coniferous trees on the north side of the home and deciduous trees to the south. This combination blocks cold winds and allows for passive solar heating in the winter, and provides shade in the summer months. Trees remove gaseous pollutants from the air such as sulfur dioxide, ozone and nitrogen oxides. Additionally, they can increase the value of your home!
  • If you are building a home or choosing one, it is best to have more windows facing south than north to make use of solar heat.
  • When installing doors and windows, it is wise to add weather stripping.
  • This combination, in addition to the installation of a whole house ventilation system like the RecoupAerator®, will make your home as energy efficient as possible.

An audit of the area outside your home is one of the simple and practical steps you can take towards the continued health of your family.

Tags: Indoor Air Quality Audit, Common Indoor Air Pollutants, Outdoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality Audit: The Living Room

Posted on Wed, Oct 12, 2011

UltimateAir aims to promote health, specifically clean indoor air inside your home. As part of an ongoing "Indoor Air Quality Home Audit" series, we will travel to every room in the home to share best practices and tips to ensure your family is breathing fresh air.

describe the image

Because the living room is where our families spend a great deal of time reading, watching television, entertaining guests and eating, it tends to be an area that accumulates risks to our health. Many of these risks are hidden from view, making it all the more dangerous!

Everyone knows the danger of secondhand smoke. But many do not know that the risks do not end when the smoke dissipates and the smell ceases. The toxic chemicals in cigarettes are absorbed by furniture, clothes and curtains.The easiest solution is not to allow people to smoke inside your home.

Additionally, carpets, drapes, furniture and other furnishings may release dangerous toxins into the air. While purchasing solid wooden furniture and low emission furnishings may prevent this, it is not always possible to know which toxins are present or to go out and buy new furnishings. Investing in a product like the RecoupAerator®, which ventilates your entire home, removing toxins from the air so that they are not absorbed, is a wise decision.

Eliminating Dust In Your Living Room

Though air conditioners and humidifiers are meant to make our living rooms more comfortable, they can do more harm than good. If they are not properly maintained, both can breed bacteria and mold. The air conditioner or humidifier then circulates these dangerous micro-organisms around the living room. It is advisable to clean both as often as possible to prevent this. Dust tends to hide in living rooms, on top of cabinets and entertainment centers, and under furniture.

How to Keep Your Living Room Clean

Of course, we cannot throw out all of our furniture… but there are simple steps that can be taken to create a healthier environment.

  • Cleaning the furniture with a damp cloth on a weekly basis eliminates the dust before it accumulates.
  • By reducing clutter, the dust and mites have fewer places to hide.
  • Removing carpets reduces the amount of dust breathed in.
  • Adding the RecoupAerator® a balanced filtration/ventilation system that exhausts dust and airborne pollutants, continuously diluting them while introducing and filtering fresh, outside air into the home.

An audit of your living room is a simple and practical step towards the continued health of your family. 

Tags: indoor air quality, Indoor Air Quality Audit, Common Indoor Air Pollutants

Indoor Air Quality Home Audit: The Bedroom

Posted on Tue, Jul 12, 2011

UltimateAir aims to promote health, specifically clean indoor air inside your home. As part of an ongoing "Indoor Air Quality Home Audit" series, we will travel to every room in the home to share best practice and tips to ensure your family is breathing fresh air.

Sleep with the window open slideshow image resized 600The bedroom is an obvious place to begin auditing the indoor air quality and health of your home. In many ways, it is the most important room in the home. Sleep, as the National Sleep Foundation and many others have demonstrated, is critical to our wellbeing.

One audit area though, your air conditioners and humidifiers, are meant to make sleeping more comfortable but can actually do more harm than good. If they are not properly maintained, both can breed bacteria and mold. The air conditioner or humidifier then circulates these dangerous micro-organisms around the room, negatively affecting your indoor air quality.

Other critical areas to inspect where dust loves to gather is in our beds and on our pillows, carpets, drapes, clothing and books. Because we spend so much time in our bedrooms, we can be exposed to dangerous amounts of dust and, of particular concern, dust mites, which have been shown to cause asthma.

Of course, we cannot throw out all of our furniture and clothes and sleep on our bare floors… but there are simple steps that can be taken to create a healthier environment.

Five steps to Improving Air Quality in Your Bedroom:

1. Clean the furniture with a damp cloth on a weekly basis. Although tedious to some, this will help ensure you are eliminating dust before it accumulates.

2. Reduce clutter. This cuts down on the places dust and mites can hide and accumulate.

3. Use a mite-proof mattress and pillow encasement. This will quickly reduce the amount of dust breathed in.

4. Ensure proper ventilation and air filtration.

5. Identify where mice, insects and moths are entering your home and sealing the leak (mothballs, as noted by The National Pesticide Information Center, consist entirely of naphthalene, a toxin. They should not be considered as the best method of prevention.)

By using the steps highlighted above, you can keep a healthy environment in your bedroom, and ensure you and your family sleeps well at night.

Tags: Air quality tips, Indoor Air Quality Audit, Indoor Air Quality Tips, Common Indoor Air Pollutants

Green Cleaning Products and Formaldehyde

Posted on Thu, Jun 16, 2011

Many of us frequently use "green" cleaning products in our homes. But, did you know that some of these products can produce levels of formaldehyde that can be dangerous to breathe?

Check out this quick and easy experiment we conducted with a Formaldehyde Monitor. It makes you wonder if these cleaning products actually do more harm than good, especially for allergy and asthma sufferers.



Learn more about how to ensure the air you're breathing inside your home or business is safe by visiting our YouTube Page.

Tags: Indoor Air Pollutants, Common Indoor Air Pollutants, Air Quality Study

Allergy, Asthma Triggers, and your Indoor Air Quality

Posted on Wed, Apr 20, 2011

asthma allergy triggersAccording to the Environmental Protection Agency roughly 25 million people suffer from asthma each year. Seven million of these sufferers are children. Air pollutants commonly found in homes, schools and other buildings trigger asthma symptoms such as chest tightness, wheezing, coughing and breathing problems. Left untreated, asthma attacks can be life-threatening.

Some of the major asthma triggers include:

  • Second hand smoke: Second hand smoke is the leading cause of asthma triggers for children. The pollutants in cigarette smoke can come from adult smokers in the home, or travel through vents and cracks in windows and doors from conjoined housing units.
  • Mold: Mold grows in damp, poorly ventilated places such as kitchens and bathtubs. Toxic spores linger in the air, adhere to damp surfaces and grow. Touching these toxic spores can trigger asthma and symptoms of hay fever, which includes sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rashes.
  • Dust Mites: Dust mites are tiny critters invisible to the naked eye. They live in bedding, stuffed animals, upholstered furniture and other places. Dust mites can easily make their way into homes and schools.
  • Pet Dander: While many people love their pets, furry animals leave dead skin flakes, urine, hair, feces and saliva that can trigger asthma. Urine or saliva from warm-blooded animals including cats, dogs, mice, rats, gerbils, birds have been reported to trigger asthma episodes in individuals who are sensitive to animal allergens.
  • Nitrogen Dioxide: This odorless gas is a byproduct of indoor fuel-burning appliances, such as gas stoves, gas or oil furnaces, fireplaces, and wood stoves. Nitrogen Dioxide can cause irritation in the eyes, nose and throat and trigger shortness of breath.

You can prevent asthma triggers by taking proactive measures to maintain a clean environment with optimal indoor air quality. The Environmental Protection Agency advises there are three basic strategies to improve indoor air quality:

  • Source Control
  • Improved Ventilation
  • Air cleaners

Additionally, the EPA, has an asthma program, recommending the following steps for source control:

  • 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.
  • Keep pets out of the bedroom and off soft furniture.
  • Control pests—close up cracks and crevices and seal leaks; don’t leave food out.

For ventilation and air cleaning, the best choices are air exchangers with filtration devices that introduce fresh, filtered air into your home.

The RecoupAerator® exchanges the stale, polluted air of an average-sized home with clean, fresh, healthy air about once every two hours. It provides both ventilation and filtration (air cleaning) – removing the many contaminants created from inside the home and capturing pollens and mold spores. And, it maintains your home’s air temperature while refreshing indoor air.

Tags: Indoor Air Pollutants, Indoor Air Pollution, Common Indoor Air Pollutants

Ultimate Air Health Risks of Dust Mites, Mold

Posted on Tue, Apr 05, 2011

woman sneezingDust mites and mold are two common unwanted elements in homes and other buildings that can trigger or worsen asthma and hay fever symptoms. These environmental pollutants can cause wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and breathing problems. In severe cases, dust mites and mold contribute to life-threatening asthma emergencies.

You’ve probably seen mold along bathroom window sills and in other places with damp surfaces and poor ventilation. Mold produces toxic spores that linger in the air, adhere to damp surfaces and grow. Simply learn touching mold can cause sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rashes---all symptoms of hay fever, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

While dust mites and mold can easily make its way into our homes, there are some proactive steps you can take to reduce their threat. Improving your indoor air quality by eliminating or minimizing dust mites and mold can help you stay healthy. Here are some tips from the experts.

  • Keep it clean: A lot of dust mites and mold spores can be circulated throughout the home. Filters in central heating and cooling systems tend to trap dust and other air pollutants so change or clean filters regularly. Wash bedding once a week in hot water, keep stuffed toys off beds or choose washable toys, cover mattresses, pillows and upholstered furniture with dust-proof zip covers.
  • Be selective: What you bring into your home can affect the level of dust mites present. Experts at the University of Nebraska recommend avoiding ownership of pets with fur or feathers. However, if you love pets, you can minimize adverse health effects of by selecting a sleeping area for animals far away from your own. When furnishing your home, choose rugs, curtains and other items that can be washed regularly.
  • Set it right: High levels of humidity encourage mold to grow. The EPA recommends keeping your indoor humidity between 30 and 50 percent. You can use a vaporizer or humidifier to help keep your indoor humidity at the recommended levels. Keeping indoor humidity within this recommended range can combat the threat of both dust mites and mold.
  • Ventilate your home: Not only can you become more energy efficient, but installing an energy recovery ventilator can protect your family from the common health risks that poor air quality, dust mites, and mold can yield.  ERV’s are great for homes of any age, and are greatly beneficial to older homes by better filtering out allergens that enter the home naturally.

Taking care of your home to prevent against environmental toxins such as mold and dust mites all comes down to improving indoor air quality. Take the proactive steps necessary to protect yourself and your family against the effects of these elements.

Tags: Indoor Air Pollutants, Home Energy Efficiency Best Practices, Common Indoor Air Pollutants

Why indoor air quality is so important

Posted on Mon, Mar 21, 2011

indoor air qualityBreathing quality indoor air is critical for good health. Most Americans spend a significant amount of time indoors--either in the home, office or other types of buildings--where gas, chemical and other pollutants can cause headaches, eye irritation, allergies and fatigue. Serious pollutants can cause certain types of cancers and other long-term health complications.

Clean air can prevent many environmental health hazards such as asthma, which according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, affects 25 million people, including 7 million children in a given year. Asthma accounts for nearly 17 million physician office and hospital visits.

Common indoor air pollutants include:

  • Second hand smoke: A serious indoor air pollutant which can worsen symptoms for asthma sufferers, increase risks of ear infections in children and increase risks for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
  • Radon: A dangerous gas pollutant identified as the second leading cause of lung cancer, Radon enters homes through cracks and other improperly sealed openings.
  • Combustion Pollutants including carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide: These gases come from burning materials or improperly vented fuel-burning appliances such as space heaters, wood stoves, gas stoves, water heaters, dryers and fireplaces.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas which is not easily detectable by human senses, and interferes with oxygen delivery throughout the body. Carbon monoxide causes headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea; and toxic amounts can lead to death.

Nitrogen dioxide, which is also a colorless and odorless gas causes eye, nose and throat irritation, shortness of breath, and increased risk for respiratory infections.

Indoor air quality is a critical public health issue that continues to be addressed at the local, state and federal levels. Recognizing the importance of air quality, states such as Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin have implemented broadly encompassing legislation to address health concerns.

In Wisconsin, a statewide indoor smoking ban has already improved air quality in restaurants and bars by more than 90 percent, according to findings from the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health. Before the law, air quality in 21 percent of all tested establishments was rated hazardous, the most dangerous level according to standards set by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. After the law was enacted, over 97 percent of restaurants and bars had good or satisfactory air quality ratings.

Indoor air quality continues to be a critical concern that requires immediate action from governments and homeowners alike.

Tags: Indoor Air Pollutants, Indoor Air Pollution, Common Indoor Air Pollutants