Indoor air quality is essential at the Rengstorff House to ensure that you'll breathe in clean air. Regardless of your home's age, if it has poor air quality, you will breathe in particles that can make you sick. Old homes may be charming, but they have more air quality concerns compared to newer ones since their age can produce a few complications related to air.
Old houses have different air quality problems than modern ones. They often have molds that we cannot see that have developed over the years in areas that are hard to reach. Another cause of the problem is aging and declining materials.
For example, old homes with walls made from plaster may have areas that may be deteriorating or damaged which will result in releasing tiny bits and pieces of plaster dust into your home's air in the process. Moreover, older houses have more wall cracks, windows, and doors, as well as lesser insulation. Hence, moisture and accompanying mold spores may play a significant role in air pollution inside your home.
There's no need to panic though because there are solutions to these problems. There are plenty of air purifiers and air filters available in the market today, as well as cost-effective and simple ways that will keep the air in your home healthier and cleaner for the whole family.
Air Filters For Combating Air Pollution
Keeping your home well- ventilated and clean is the best way to keep airborne contaminants away. However, if there are sensitive people in your family, this will not be sufficient, and you may need an air filter or air purifier. Whole-house filters can be installed into your cooling and heating system while you can place freestanding or portable filters in the rooms of your home.
Basic air filters come in the following types:
- Media filter. This type creates a physical wall where the smallest of particles are trapped.
- Electronic filter. A charge of high voltage is used for attracting and capturing contaminants.
There are also hybrid air filters which combine both systems. There are even some models that incorporate activated carbon elements to fight off any foul smell.
Different Types Of Whole-House Air Purifiers
You can filter the air in your home efficiently through your central aircon or forced-air system. These filters are installed into the return-air ductwork, and then particles are trapped as air passes through it. Your home's air is filtered continuously as long as its fan is operating. This air purifier has the following types:
- Flat filter. You already have yourself a rudimentary air-filtration system when your home has the forced-air heater. You have to change the matte-fiberglass filter every month since it will stop working and exhaust your heater when clogged with dust. Although it can help keep your home's surfaces a little cleaner, it will not prevent lung-irritant, microscopic particles from invading the indoor air.
- Extended media filter. This is a stack of filtration media that looks like an accordion. It's more efficient compared to a conventional fiberglass filter. It has a massive filter holder that you need to plumb into the ductwork, so it is best to ask a professional to install it for you.
- Electronic filter. The more advanced type that's also known as an electrostatic precipitator is also built into the ductwork. An electrical charge is set on particles by a high voltage current as air passes through it. There are collector plates that are oppositely charged at the unit's other end that grab the particles just like a magnet would. This type is great at trapping smoke particles.
- Ultraviolet or UV filter. A UV filter is an add-on for the precipitator of your whole-house filter. Viruses and bacteria are zapped by the ultraviolet light into oblivion. This filter is most commonly used in the tuberculosis wards in hospitals.
Portable Air Purifiers
The best choice you have if your old home does not have a heating or central air-conditioning system is a portable air filter. Most of this air filter comes with a very effective HEPA filtration system which whole-house filter do not employ because furnaces do not have powerful enough fans.
Some of these units known as ion air purifiers use the electrostatic precipitator technology. These models are quieter than HEPA units, don't need fans, and are cheaper to operate since you don't need to replace any filters. However, one of its major drawbacks is that its ionization process produces trace amounts of lung-irritant by-product.
How To Lessen The Amount Of Allergens In Your Old House
If you don't have the budget for air purifiers, here are some easy ways to keep the air quality of your home in tip-top shape without the need to shell out a lot from your budget:
- Always clean your home. The best thing you can do to lessen the allergens in your house is to decrease the amount of dust. Dust draws in and keeps pet hair, mold, mildew, and dust mites because it is sticky. It also tends to settle on your furniture and floors so make sure to focus on cleaning all horizontal surfaces that are exposed.
- Vacuum effectively. Although a vacuum does an excellent job at picking up dust and dirt, most models redistribute fine particles instead of keeping them. Test your vacuum by vacuuming an area that's directly hit by sunlight as you will be able to see the amount of dust coming out of your machine. If a lot is coming out, consider getting yourself a new one with a special bag or filter that can trap very fine particles.
- Control mites. Weekly dusting and vacuuming can control dust allergens, but they will not be able to discourage mites. You can keep them at bay by placing your mattresses, pillows, and box springs in plastic cases with a zipper covered in tape. Make sure to wash your linens and your kid's stuffed toys every week in water at 130F temperature, while window treatments and beddings should be washed monthly.
- Lessen fumes. If you have a family member who's sensitive to paints, cleaners, gardening supplies, and pesticides, store them in sealed containers and place in your garage or other non living areas with proper ventilation.
Well-ventilated area. Properly ventilate your old house to remove indoor air and let outdoor air come in which will help reduce the overall amount of allergens. Consider placing exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen to help eliminate moisture and odors.