offgassing

Healthy Clean Air |

What is Offgassing?

3 minute read

Offgassing occurs when Volatile Organic Compounds (or VOCs) are released into the air we breathe. VOCs can live anywhere in your home in the form of solids or liquids. Common sources, like paints, furniture, carpeting, cleaning supplies, and more, can create some of the most well-known VOCs including formaldehyde, chloroform, acetone, ozone, and more. When these sources offgas, it can impact your family’s health and cause discomfort in your home. So, what can you do?

How to Tell if Something is Offgassing

Sometimes, odor can be a sign that something is offgassing. While it’s not always present or an indicator of offgassing, it’s not uncommon to experience odors. For example, a new car smell—a smell that most of us actually enjoy—is an example of offgassing chemicals from manufacturing glue. The same is true for that ‘clean’ smell we all love after a day of disinfecting. These smells can create long-lasting health problems for you and your family. All VOCs (and people) are different, so it’s possible that you won’t even recognize an odor or even know that something around you is offgassing, but that doesn’t mean VOCs aren’t releasing themselves into the air we breathe.

If you’re wondering if offgassing is a problem in your home, an Indoor Air Quality test can help you identify it. One of our Healthy Air Professionals in your area can also help you discover some IAQ solutions that could work for your home and family. Or you can work to eliminate your exposure to VOCs altogether by making some changes in your home.

What Are the Health Risks of Offgassing?

If you’ve been exposed to offgassing, you may find that your allergy and asthma symptoms are acting up. Since VOCs are known to impact your Indoor Air Quality, these symptoms can worsen due to the polluted air surrounding you. If you’re exposed for a substantial amount of time, you may find yourself experiencing the following:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Eye, nose, and throat irritation
  • Long-term symptoms, including:
    • Vision problems
    • Memory problems
    • Respiratory issues
    • Heart disease
    • Cancer

How to Prevent Offgassing

The best way is to eliminate or lessen your exposure to high VOC products and opt for more natural remedies when cleaning, crafting, shopping, and more. Here are some suggestions:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Avoid products known to offgas and instead, use:
    • Natural cleaning solutions
    • Furniture made with natural materials
    • Low or non-VOC paints

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You can also make some healthy changes to your home in order to reduce VOCs from releasing into your indoor air and slow offgassing. You can:

  • Bring Fresh Air In: With the air inside our homes being 5 times more polluted than the air outside, bringing in fresh air can help replenish your indoor air. Take a second to run your ventilation or even open up your windows and let all that new air in.
  • Fill Your Home with Houseplants: There are a wealth of houseplants known to boost your home’s air quality. Check out some of our favorites.
  • Install an Air Purifier: Air purifiers and the right air filter can help remove VOCs from the air and boost the amount of Healthy Air circulating in your home.
  • Practice Healthy Humidity: High humidity can actually make items offgas quicker. Investing in a dehumidifier can help you regulate your humidity and slow the offgassing process.

Clean air is Healthy Air, pure and simple. And when it comes to your home, breathing the highest quality air is important for the health of you and your family. Creating a Healthy Home environment is easy when you have the right tools. See how a Healthy Air Professional can help you.

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Healthy Clean Air |

Seasonal Allergy Relief: Tips for Combating Allergy-Related Dizziness

3 minute read

Spring means allergies. When you think of spring and seasonal allergies, what comes to mind? For us, it’s the nature-related things going on outside, like pollenating flowers and trees or freshly cut grass. But, what we fail to think about are the allergies we experience indoors in the springtime, too. With open windows, pets, and frequent time outdoors, we’re bringing allergens inside, and once they’re in here, they don’t have many ways to escape. After all, our indoor air is 5 times more polluted than the air outside, and since we spend about 90% of our lifetime indoors, it’s possible to see increased allergy symptoms while at home even when we’re not directly exposed.

What allergy symptoms do you experience? Some of us see the general, well-known spring allergy symptoms like runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing. But there’s a lesser known symptom: allergy-related dizziness. The allergens around us—whether they’re indoors or out—can affect a tunnel that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat, called the Eustachian tube. This tube helps regulate balance and equalizes pressure so we stay upright and stable. When the tube is blocked with mucus caused by allergens in the air, it struggles to regulate balance and pressure, making you unstable and causing symptoms of dizziness and even vertigo.

What types of allergens are the cause of dizziness? Well, it can range from foods (like gluten, wheat, and dairy) to airborne allergens (like pet dander, dust, or mold). The only real way to avoid feeling symptoms of dizziness is to avoid allergens altogether…but that can prove difficult with all that goes on in our world that we can’t control. Luckily, we can help you tackle the feat of reducing the airborne allergens in your home and even help you combat allergy-induced dizziness or vertigo-like symptoms with these tips.

Remedy Your Allergy-Related Dizziness

First things first, try these home remedies to help reduce your symptoms of dizziness:

  • Drink water to promote hydration
  • Consume foods high in Vitamin C, D, and E like strawberries, spinach, or oranges
  • Raise your iron levels by eating meats or beans

Suppress Allergy Symptoms

Now that your symptoms of dizziness have subsided, you can begin to focus on what’s causing your symptoms and get to the source. It’s best to know what you’re allergic to so that you can reduce your exposure and lessen the symptoms you experience. Get started with:

  • Allergy Testing: See an allergist to learn exactly what you’re reacting to and how you can limit your exposure or symptoms
  • Medication or Allergy Shots: Talk to your doctor about OTC medications, like Benadryl, that you can try for relief. Or, if your allergies are more severe, you can discuss prescription medication or allergy shots
  • Dietary Changes: If you’re experiencing food-related allergy symptoms, consider trying an elimination diet to figure out what foods you may be sensitive to

Fight Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (ETD)

When you’re a routine allergy sufferer, you may experience this pretty common condition that comes from frequent mucus buildup in your Eustachian tube. It can also be caused by changing altitudes, like when you’re in an airplane and need to pop your ears. If you’re having symptoms of fullness or pain, try:

  • Home Remedies like chewing gum or using saline nose spray
  • Medications like Benadryl, Tylenol, Advil, or doctor-prescribed ear drops

Maintain a Healthy Humidity

To reduce allergens in your home, get a firm handle on your indoor humidity. Balanced humidity will help reduce asthma and allergy triggers floating in your indoor air. Get started by:

  • Keeping humidity as close to 50% as possible
  • Investing in a humidifier or dehumidifier to help keep allergens at bay

Healthy Air Is on the Way

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Purify the Air

Clean air is Healthy Air, pure and simple. To keep your air healthy, invest in an air purifier and fight back against invisible allergy triggers. With our MERV 16 air filters, you can remove up to 99% of allergy and asthma triggers*, including dust, pollen, and bacteria.

Don’t let symptoms of dizziness caused by allergies stop you from enjoying springtime walks or outdoor activities. And, for when your symptoms follow you inside, see how you can breathe easy and enjoy a heathier home for you and your family with a little help from a Healthy Air Professional in your area.

*Contaminates removed based on air passing through the filtering system

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Healthy Clean Air |

Everything You Need to Know About Radon

3 minute read

What is radon? It’s a naturally occurring, odorless, colorless gas that is known to impact the health of you and your family if it enters into your home. Radon gas can build up inside homes, workplaces, and even schools. Because it’s odorless and colorless, it isn’t easily detected by smell or look, making it possible for it to unknowingly rise to dangerous levels. With radon being the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, it’s incredibly important to know whether you and your family are being exposed to radon gas. Below, we answer all your radon-related questions.

How Does Radon Gas Form?

Radon comes from uranium present in rock and soil. Eventually, that uranium breaks down and turns into radium, which forms into radon gas.

How Does Radon Get into Your Home?

Being odorless and colorless, radon can be pretty sneaky. It can enter into your home through cracks in walls, basement floors, foundations, and other kinds of openings. It’s rare but in some cases, radon can enter through your home’s water supply or building materials as well.

When radon gets trapped indoors, it can linger in dangerous levels. As it decays, it releases radioactive byproducts, which can enter into your lungs as you breathe and increase your risk of lung cancer and other serious health complications.

How Do You Know If There’s Radon in Your Home?

It can definitely be hard to detect since you can’t experience it by smell or sight. Health-related symptoms are a key sign that you’ve had radon gas exposure. If you experience possible signs or symptoms of lung cancer, it’s possible that you’ve been exposed to radon and should immediately contact your doctor. These symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • New or worsening cough
  • Pain or tightness in the chest
  • Hoarseness
  • Trouble swallowing

Another way to know (and the best way to find out) if there’s radon in your home is to test for it. There are plenty of testing options and they’re generally inexpensive, costing about the same as other common home repairs. Some options include:

  • DIY, At-Home Tests: These tests can take anywhere from two to seven days to measure your home’s exposure. Other, more detailed tests can take up to three months. All you have to do is follow the instructions and send the results back to a lab which will test your sample for present radon.
  • Professional Tests: A certified radon professional can come to your home and test for radon, which is the recommended route. Professional tests can not only be more accurate, but can give you the peace of mind that your findings are conclusive and in good hands.

It’s important for your home’s radon levels to be as low as possible. If, in your own testing efforts or with a professional’s test, you find a spike in your levels, remediation is necessary to lessen your exposure to this harmful gas.

What Remediation Options Are There?

If your findings show that your radon gas levels are high, you must look into remediation. Good news: Radon remediation systems can reduce your levels up to 99%, making them incredibly effective. The most popular, and widely used, remediation method is a vent pipe and fan. With this system, it’s necessary to seal all cracks on your home’s exterior or foundation in order to keep radon at bay. This combination traps radon gas and vents it to the outside of your home so it doesn’t enter your indoor air.

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Other remediation methods include making sure you’re using radon-resistant materials around your house, like gravel and crack sealing, to reduce future exposure. If you’re starting a new home project, it’s best to use these methods for radon remediation.

Curious how much these methods actually cost? Learn more about potential radon remediation costs.

Clean air is Healthy Air, pure and simple. Ensuring your home is filled with Healthy Air will put your mind at ease and keep your family safe. Get started with Healthy Air today with help from a Healthy Air Professional in your area.

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Healthy Clean Air |

Can Spring Cleaning Impact Your Mental Health?

3 minute read

After a grey and dreary winter, it’s time to open up the windows and let in the fresh spring air. While the outdoor air will help clean up and replenish your indoor air, it’s also a perfect time to start your annual spring cleaning routine. There are many benefits to spring cleaning:

  • Say Goodbye to Bacteria, Dust, and Allergens: Cleaning can help reduce allergen triggers, which are at a high during the springtime
  • Save on Your Energy Bill: Who doesn’t love saving money? Regularly cleaning can help reduce your energy bill
  • Stress Less: Keep calm and clean on! When your home is clean, there’s no reason to stress
  • Improve Mental Health: Spring is the perfect time for a mood boost. Start with a clean, Healthy Home

It’s true, cleaning, decluttering, organizing, and more can help boost your mood. So, are you ready to get started? Check out these spring cleaning ideas and read on to see how spring cleaning can help you achieve your Healthy Home, healthy family, and healthy lifestyle goals.

What Spring Cleaning Can Do for You

Reduce Bacteria, Dust, and Allergens

Cleaning regularly can help eliminate respiratory irritants from the air you breathe. If you haven’t cleaned in a while, or don’t clean as often as you should, take this opportunity to deep clean all your surfaces, carpeting, flooring, etc. and enjoy the benefits of a fresh, clean home. Whether it’s time for a light dusting or you’re overdue on steam cleaning your carpets, the time you spend cleaning can ensure your family is consistently breathing Healthy Air.

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For hands-off cleaning, install a whole-home air purifier. It can help lessen your cleaning time by regularly purifying the air around you. You’ll notice less dust, fewer allergy triggers, and better Indoor Air Quality overall. For higher traffic areas in your home, like where your pets frequent, consider investing in a room purifier for a supplemental boost.

See Annual Energy Savings

Keeping a clean home, inside and out, can result in savings on your energy bill. When your air filters are clean and your pipes are in order, your home doesn’t have to work as hard – leaving you with extra money each month. Looking for more ways to save energy year-round? Check this out.

When cleaning around your home, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when it comes to replacing things like air filters or water panels. This will help make your home continue to run smoothly and without a hitch.

Reduce Stress

It’s obvious – when you procrastinate, you stress. Don’t save cleaning for tomorrow…or the next day…or the next day, start today! Set a cleaning schedule and stick to it. This will ease your stress and make sure you’re giving your home the refresh it needs. Create an easy-to-follow cleaning schedule for you and your family. Whether you plan to do bathrooms on Sunday or the kitchen on Wednesday, you’ll stress less with a weekly plan in place. Plus, your kids can get in on the action with a room cleaning schedule and regular chores. More hands will help speed up the process and give you more time together outdoors.

Bonus mental health tip: When you’re less stressed, you sleep better…and when you sleep better, you’re less stressed. Need we say more?

Boost Your Mood

It’s pretty simple: a clean home is a happy home. When your home is clutter-free and clean, there’s no reason not to smile about it. Our brains are made to love instant gratification. When we say we’re going to do something, our brains want us to get right to it. So, next time you think about starting your cleaning routine, follow through. This mindset builds us up and supplies us with a nice dose of happiness during (and after) cleaning. After all, cleaning is a branch of self-care, isn’t it?

Clean air is Healthy Air, pure and simple. And there’s no better way to ensure you’re breathing Healthy Air than keeping your home healthy. For more tips, check out our Healthy Home blueprints or contact one of our Healthy Air Professionals to see how you can spend less time cleaning your home with some of our whole-home purifiers, humidifiers, and more.

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AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

Healthy Air System™ Helps Combat Airborne Viruses

3 minute read

Coronavirus is going to have a major impact on our lives moving forward. As scientists and medical experts continue to grapple with the consequences of this and other airborne viruses, engineers and others are looking at preventable ways to reduce its spread.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers believes the best way to prevent the spread of airborne viruses is to utilize a three-pronged approach combining fresh air ventilation, air filtration, and healthy humidity in to a Healthy Air System™. These three methods can help reduce the chance of contracting and transmitting airborne viruses.

Fresh air ventilation helps bring fresh air into the space. Air filtration helps to help capture airborne viruses and other airborne pollutants. Humidity control helps to reduce the spread and proliferation of airborne viruses and other airborne pollutants that can be harmful to your health. These methods are used as source control to prevent the contraction and transmission of airborne viruses. Each of these techniques can be used separately to combat airborne viruses, but our Engineering Executive Advisor John Bloemer encourages using all three together.

Health experts also agree that this 3-part approach is important to reducing the spread of airborne viruses.

Air quality is a major health problem that has been cited as one of the leading causes of disease and preventable deaths worldwide. There has even been evidence linking the spread of COVID-19 to exposure to air .

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Building design will be borne out of COVID-19, in the same way we design and aestheticize our bathrooms stemmed from tuberculosis and the flu. Slowly, the design from sanitariums used to treat TB patients eventually transitioned in to modern life. The idea of sanitation and cleanliness evolved from something very boring and stale to something elegant as the worlds of public health and design intersected. Bathrooms prior to these pandemics were covered in wood. This gave way to hard, solid surfaces and fixtures as design and function intersected for style as well as for cleanliness.

As public health experts continue to learn more about COVID-19 and its spread, the design of our homes and the importance of indoor air quality as a method of defense against airborne viruses will also develop. While the HVAC system is not the most aesthetically pleasing piece of architecture in your house, it is an important defense against airborne viruses. Technology and design have started to fuse together to create a more elegant and robust HVAC system that’s both aesthetic and convenient. It’s a trend that’s sure to continue as public health experts tout indoor air quality.

More drastic steps will have to be taken in other larger indoor environments like malls, grocery stores, shopping centers, theaters, and hair salons. Recirculating air inside congested indoor environments helps spread airborne viruses. To undertake such a measure, governments and the private sector will have to work together for the sake of public health. Moving forward non-healthcare commercial buildings in the United States will be encouraged to maintain temperature and humidity as applicable to the infectious aerosol to reduce the likelihood of an airborne virus being transmitted in these indoor spaces.

A Healthy Air System™ is a step toward the future in disease prevention. Even on its face, our homes are filled with volatile organic compounds, odors, pet dander, dust, mold, and mildew. The EPA estimates the air inside our homes can be up to 5 times more polluted than air outside. This can lead to a host of health problems like asthma, allergies, and cardiovascular problems. Just as you exercise, eat well, and use disinfectants to keep your home clean, maintaining indoor air quality is an important part of everyday wellness and health.

While some may look at using UV as a way to kill off viruses in our homes, there is not enough clear scientific evidence to conclude that it is an effective strategy by itself. We recommend using UVC treatments in adjunction with air filtration in combating airborne viruses.

Our 3-part approach is a matter of source control. Humidity control creates an environment that is difficult for airborne viruses to both live in and to spread. Air ventilation helps dilute the stale air in our homes that include airborne viruses and air filtration helps to capture the airborne viruses

It’s hard to know what the next several months and next year will look like as we continue to learn more about the importance of indoor air quality, airborne viruses, and prevention methods. It is clear that airborne viruses will continue to be an ongoing discussion in the public and private sectors as we continue to search for answers to better protect ourselves both inside and outside of our homes. Our homes still remain an important place to focus on for proper indoor air quality to ensure you’re breathing healthy air.

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AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Clean Air |

Farming and Air Quality – What to Know about Living and Working near Farmlands

2 minute read

American farmlands are among the most productive in the world. They fill a vital need, feeding millions of people every single day. But what are some of the effects of this widespread farming that we may not think about? Studies have shown that agricultural pollution from farms far outweighs all other human sources of fine-particulate air pollution in much of the United States.

Farming and Air Pollution

The Environmental Protection Agency reports four main agricultural activities linked to greenhouse gas emissions: soil management; enteric fermentation (a fancy term for ruminant animals’ burps and gas); manure management; and fossil fuel consumption.

Enteric fermentation and manure management are responsible for the emission of methane (CH4), and soil management accounts for the biggest source of nitrous oxide (N2O).

Additionally, agricultural pollution contains other dangerous gases and pollutants including:

  • Carbon dioxide
  • Ammonia
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Airborne particulate matter

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Living Near Farmlands

For those who live close to farmlands, this agricultural pollution can result in serious health concerns.

Here are some of the diseases linked to living near farmlands and other places where pesticides are used, with links to the studies:

Alternatives To Large-Scale Agriculture

Most of the pesticides and pollution come from large farms that produce food for a wide range of areas. One way to reduce the need for these types of farms is to focus on eating what’s grown in our area.

And here are some other steps you can take to help reduce agricultural pollution regardless of your proximity to farmland:

  • Eat more plant-based food and consume less red meat, (the most carbon-intensive food)
  • When you do buy animal products, check for any of the following labels:
    • USDA Certified Organic
    • USDA Process Verified No Antibiotics Ever
    • Global Animal Partnership (GAP)
    • American Grassfed
    • Certified Humane
    • Animal Welfare Approved
  • Support local farmers who are practicing more sustainable growing methods
  • Meal plan to prevent food waste, which is a significant contributor of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Buying “ugly” produce is another way to cut down on food waste – you can buy it at any level, even directly from local farmers
  • Be mindful of this year’s “Dirty Dozen” when buying produce – these are the fruits and vegetables known to carry the highest amounts of pesticides and should be purchased organic whenever possible
  • Plant your own backyard garden to grow your own chemical-free food

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AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

Healthy Juice Recipes – Quick, Delicious Fruit and Veggie Combinations

2 minute read

Fruits and vegetables are great sources of the vitamins and minerals that help our bodies function properly. But making sure you get the recommended amount of those fruits and vegetables each day, (usually 5 servings), can prove to be quite the challenge.

Juicing is a great way to supplement your intake of whole fruits and vegetables, and makes for a tasty, refreshing treat. You can enjoy one fruit or vegetable serving with only 150 ml (about 5 oz.) of juice.

Tips for Beginners

  1. Simplicity – Limit yourself to recipes that call for 2-4 ingredients so they’ll be quick and easy when you’re first starting out. As you get the hang of juicing, you can more comfortably take on recipes with a long list of fruits and veggies as well as other additives without being overwhelmed.
  2. Balance – The best juicing recipes call for a combination of sweet tasting fruit and lots of greens or low-sugar vegetables. That makes it easy to pack in more nutrients while still enjoying the taste and tartness of the fruits.
  3. Chill – Juice is always better cold! Put your fresh juice in the freezer for five minutes before you drink it or add some ice cubes if you’re in a hurry. Just remember to drink it within half an hour of making it to ensure you consume it at its freshest.

Easy Juice Recipes

Below are some fruit, vegetable, and herb options that are great for juicing. You can pick your favorites, then mix and match to come up with some excellent combinations for summer.

Fruits

  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Orange
  • Grapefruit
  • Pineapple
  • Lemon
  • Lime

Vegetables

  • Celery
  • Tomato
  • Carrot
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Jalapeño

Herbs/Spices

  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Ginger
  • Mint
  • Garlic

Easy Juice Recipes To Get You Started

  • Green Boost
    • ½ Head Lettuce, 2 Apples, ½ Lime, 1 small handful Spinach, 1 small handful Kale
  • Carrot Juice
    • 10 Carrots, Handful of Spinach, 2 Cloves of Garlic, 1 Lemon, 1 Apple
  • Refreshing Afternoon
    • 4 Ribs of Celery, 2 Asian Pears, 4 Carrots, 1 inch of Ginger Root, 1 Lemon
  • Beet Juice
    • 1 Beet, 1 Apple, 1 Orange
  • Vitamin C Shot
    • 2 Oranges, 1 Grapefruit, 3 Carrots, 1 Lemon, 1-2 inches Peeled Ginger
  • Color Splash
    • 2 Beets, 2 Oranges, 4 Carrots, 1 Pomegranate