The UltimateAir® News

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 Basement

Posted on Thu, Oct 20, 2011

1242266400 resized 600UltimateAir aims to promote health, specifically clean 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.

In previous weeks, we explored ways to improve the air quality of the living roombedroom and bathroom. This week, we will focus on the basement. Because many of us don’t spend a lot of time in here we often overlook the potential safety hazards within it.

For several reasons, basements tend to become wet, and this wetness is the perfect atmosphere for biological contaminants to thrive. Even more serious, poorly-installed or poorly-maintained utilities and appliances in our basements may leak dangerous gases, as the basement is a particularly susceptible “gateway” for toxins!

They become wet for several reasons, and when they become wet they breed contamination such as mold. This occurs because they tend to be less insulated than the other areas of the house we spend our time in. When we use outdoor hoses, we may be unknowingly allowing water to seep into our basements. And when carpets or stored items in the basement become wet, we tend to keep them there, which perpetuates the problem.

One proven way to prevent mold growth is by installing an air filtration/ventilation system. The RecoupAerator® influences both temperature and  humidity to keep mold spores (and other dangers) from surviving and multiplying.

In addition to investing in a product solution, there are other simple steps you can take to prevent dangers to air quality:

  • Move down spouts away from the foundation of your home.
  • Insulate basement walls.
  • Throw away wet items from basement.

Washers, dryers, furnaces and heaters can all release dangerous gases into the air if they’ve been installed incorrectly or not properly maintained. This is particularly dangerous since these gases—unlike mold—have no smell! A whole house ventilation system, like the RecoupAerator®, is a great way to ensure clean, safe air, but it is also recommended that annual checks are conducted to ensure there are no leaks and that all of the filters are clean.

 

Tags: indoor air quality, Air Filration, Indoor Air Quality Audit

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 Audit: The Kitchen

Posted on Mon, Aug 15, 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.

2828 hood kitchenIn the previous weeks, we explored ways to improve the air quality of the bedroom and the bathroom. This week, we will concentrate on the kitchen. Because the kitchen is where our families cook and eat food, it is of critical importance to our health. Before trash day, our garbage accumulates in the kitchen, contributing to the risk. And, like the bathroom, many families store their cleaning products in the kitchen. For these reasons, an audit of the kitchen is an important step towards safeguarding the air quality and health of our families. 

Odors from the kitchen, from cooking, eating and stored garbage, attract rodents and insects. If our homes are poorly ventilated, the odors linger, increasing the chance of infection. The RecoupAerator®, which stands above all other ventilation systems on the market, removes odors from the home, greatly reducing the risks of inviting these unwanted guests.

In addition to the RecoupAerator®, there are other simple steps you can take to prevent dangers to air quality:

  • Open a window while you cook.
  • If you have a fan above your stove, turn it on.
  • Remove your garbage from the kitchen as often as possible.

Dangers can also lurk under our sinks where many people store cleaning products. As discussed last week, these cleaning products often contain chemicals that are very dangerous if inhaled or ingested, or through skin contact.

Fortunately, there are non-toxic ways to clean our homes.

  • Make furniture and floor polish from one part lemon juice and two parts vegetable.
  • Clean your oven with baking soda dissolved in water.
An audit of your kitchen is a simple and practical step towards the continued health of your family, and these steps can help give you peace of mind that you’re not cooking dinner in the company of pesky rodents and insects.

Tags: Indoor Air Pollutants, Indoor Air Quality Audit, Indoor Air Quality Tips

Indoor Air Quality Audit: The Bathroom

Posted on Thu, Aug 04, 2011

UltimateAir aims to promote health, specifically clean indoor air inside you 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

In our first post, we explored ways to improve the air quality of the bedroom. This week, we will concentrate on the bathroom. Because of the shower, sink and toilet, the bathroom becomes wet throughout the day. It also tends to be the place where we store household cleaning products. For both of these reasons, the air within bathrooms is both susceptible to contaminated air and fertile grounds for unwanted allergy triggers to live.

Wet surfaces cause mold. According to the National Association of Realtors, mold causes allergies and asthma, and can generate illnesses in ourselves and our pets. Thankfully, we can prevent the accumulation of mold throughout our home with the use of an air filtration system and other simple steps.

How to Remove Mold From Your Bathroom

    • Remove the mold by cleaning the surface with an air-friendly cleaning product such as baking soda and water.

    • After drying it well, make an effort to keep it dry by applying towels, using an exhaust fan, or by leaving the door and window open after using the shower.

While we are removing mold and keeping it at bay in our bathrooms, we should also audit underneath bathroom sinks and in bathroom closets, where many people store their household products. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, cleaning, disinfecting, and cosmetic products all contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be very dangerous if breathed in. Ammonia, for example, is present in many of these products.

How to Make Our Own Non-Toxic Cleaning Solution

Thankfully, we can protect our air quality (and even save some money!) by making our own non-toxic cleaners. It is very simple.

    • Baking soda and water, though perhaps old-fashioned, is just as effective as any modern product.
    • And vinegar is a great disinfectant; it can be used to clean grout, shower curtains, sinks and toilets.

To ensure a continuous air exchange in the bathroom, where pollutants can be created and stored, consider adding an air filtration/ventilation system that can exhaust mold spores and VOC’s, and supply clean, fresh, filtered air.

Though bathrooms are vulnerable to poor indoor air quality, these best practices are necessary to ensure a healthy environment in your bathroom – and are very simple to take.

Tags: Indoor Air Pollutants, indoor air quality, Clean Home Air, Indoor Air Quality Audit, Indoor Air Quality Tips, EPA

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