Air Quality in Your Home: Humidifier Health and Safety
|All life forms are exposed to air pollution, regardless of if they are outside or tuckered away indoors. In fact, peer-reviewed studies have shown that indoor air quality has a higher percentage of pollution than outside environments. |
The American Lung Association declared that indoor air quality is one of the top five environmental risks. Indoor air pollution can induce a number of health-related problems, including cold-like symptoms, asthma and sinusitis. Indoor air quality can be controlled through one of four major implementations, they are filtration, purification, monitoring and ventilation. The degree of intervention varies between household to household.
Dry air in the indoor house environment can increase throat dryness and respiratory problems. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends that all home owners maintain a 30 to 60 percent humidity level to curtail future problems. Each home loses humidity during winter months, with some percentages dropping as low as ten percent. Therefore, most authoritative resources will recommend purchasing a humidifier, a device that purposefully adds moisture to an indoor environment. Humidifiers also eliminate static electricity and winter drought.
The Importance of Good Quality Air in The Home:
Believe it or not, most of our exposure to pollutants and toxins stems from the air that we breathe indoors. The overall indoor air quality can affect how we function on a daily basis. The percentage of air pollutants indoors comes from various activities, including various products and materials we use everyday. Depending on the environment, some indoor facilities may actually have up to one hundred times more pollutants than outdoors. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average home owner encounters up to 72 percent more chemical exposure than if they were to live off the land. The four primary reasons for poor indoor air quality include: chemicals, mold, particulates and poor ventilation.
Health Problems Attributed to Poor Air Quality:
Poor indoor air quality can pose serious health risks if left unaddressed. Some indoor environments emit harsh chemical fumes that can cause serious respiratory problems, like asthma. Asthma can be treated with medications and by thoroughly cleaning one's living environment, so that dust mites, mold, tobacco smoke and pet sheds do not interfere with one's ability to easily breathe. Additionally, monitoring gas stoves and other devices can potentially save lives from carbon monoxide poisoning. Mold, a common toxic substance found in indoor environments, grows anywhere that moisture tends to settle. People who are exposed to damp and moldy environments often display symptoms such as nasal congestion, throat, eye and skin irritation, and coughing or wheezing.
Humidifiers remedy dry air in an environment that can cause serious problems if left unaddressed for long periods of time. Humidifiers are generally used during the winter months, when the humidity levels drop below the acceptable levels. The moisture that humidifiers emit can help remedy dry skin, cold, flu, allergies and asthma. Additionally, humidifiers eliminate static energy and may also prevent interior damage, such as peeling wall paper and chipping paint. Humidifiers can also regulate an indoor house environment in which too much moisture can cause the accumulation of dust mites. These devices can maintain an adequate moisture level that sets between forty and fifty percent.
- Benefits of a Humidifier
- Humidity Control Benefits
- Dry Air is Murder on Ferns
- Use of Air Purifiers, Humidifiers, Dehumidifiers and Odor Enhancers
- Humidifiers and Health Benefits
- It's in the Air!: Humidifiers
Different Types of Humidifiers:
Several manufacturers offer different types of humidifiers that serve various purposes. In fact, there are two main types of humidifiers, one for warm and one for cold weather conditions. Warm humidifiers use a heating element like steam, a vaporizer or a misting mechanism. Each heating method heats water and then emits it into the atmosphere in order to moisten the air quality of the environment. Cool humidifiers do not utilize a heating element to emit moisture into the atmosphere. They do it through one of three methods, through an impeller, an evaporation wick or ultrasonic technologies.
While winter's low temperatures can cause an assortment of problems due to heating, humidifiers can provide the solution to alleviate certain symptoms. Humidifiers are a great addition to any home where sufferers encounter dry skin, eye irritation, hoarse throat, allergies and other ailments. However, there are certain safety measures to take before using one to increase the moisture in one's living environment. For instance, measuring the existing moisture content will help ensure that you do not increase the overall humidity to above fifty percent. ALso, failing to regularly clean the humidifier's tank and refresh the water can lead to overgrowth of micro-organisms. Use distilled water to curtail the rapid growth of micro-organisms. Clean all of the attachments and parts on a regular basis, especially after pulling the unit out of storage from the dry, summer months.