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Main Causes Of Indoor Air Pollution

Main Causes Of Indoor Air Pollution

The quality of indoor air inside offices, schools, and other workplaces is important not only for workers’ comfort but also for their health. Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) has been tied to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Also, some specific diseases have been linked to specific air contaminants or indoor environments, like asthma in damp indoor environments. In addition, some exposures, such as asbestos and radon, do not cause immediate symptoms but can lead to cancer after many years.

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Many factors affect IAQ. These factors include poor ventilation (lack of outside air), problems controlling temperature, high or low humidity, recent remodeling, and other activities in or near a building that can affect the fresh air coming into the building. Sometimes, specific contaminants like dust from construction or renovation, mold, cleaning supplies, pesticides, or other airborne chemicals (including small amounts of chemicals released as a gas over time) may cause poor IAQ.

The right ventilation and building care can prevent and fix IAQ problems. Although OSHA does not have IAQ standards, it does have standards about ventilation and standards on some of the air contaminants that can be involved in IAQ problems. OSHA responds to questions about standards with letters of interpretation. OSHA’s letters of interpretation specifically addressing IAQ issues can be found in Other Resources. The General Duty Clause of the OSH Act (the law that created OSHA) requires employers to provide workers with a safe workplace that does not have any known hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or serious injury.indoor-air-pollution-ez-breathe-2

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a concern in many schools due in part to the age and poor condition of a number of school buildings. School IAQ is particularly important as it may affect the health, performance and comfort of school staff and students.

Managing IAQ in schools presents unique challenges. Unlike managing other buildings, managing schools involves the responsibility for public funds and child safety issues. In addition, occupants are close together. Typical schools have approximately four times as many occupants as office buildings with the same amount of floor space. Schools frequently have a large number of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning equipment, which places added strain on maintenance staff. As schools add space, the operation and maintenance of each addition are often different. Schools sometimes use rooms, portable classrooms, or buildings that were not originally designed to service the unique requirements of schools.

Contact the Professionals at EZ Breathe Today! 866-822-7328

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Cooking And Its Impact On Your Indoor Air

Cooking And Its Impact On Your Indoor Air

Organic aerosols — such as those released in cooking — may stay in the atmosphere for several days, because of nanostructures formed by fatty acids as they are released into the air.

By identifying the processes which control how these aerosols are transformed in the atmosphere, scientists will be able to better understand and predict their impact on the environment and the climate.indoor-air-ez-breathe-1

Experts at the Universities of Birmingham and Bath have used instruments at the Diamond Light Source and the Central Laser Facility, both based at the Harwell Campus in Oxford, to probe the behavior of thin films of oleic acid — an unsaturated fatty acid commonly released when cooking.

In the study, published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, they were able to analyze the particular molecular properties that control how rapidly aerosol emissions can be broken down in the atmosphere.

Then, using a theoretical model combined with experimental data the team was able to predict the amount of time aerosols generated from cooking may hang around in the environment.

These types of aerosols have long been associated with poor air quality in urban areas, but their impact on human-made climate change is hard to gauge. That’s because of the diverse range of molecules found within aerosols, and their varying interactions with the environment.indoor-air-ez-breathe-2

By identifying the nanostructure of molecules emitted during cooking that slows down the break-up of organic aerosols, it becomes possible to model how they are transported and dispersed into the atmosphere.

Lead author Dr Christian Pfrang, of the University of Birmingham’s School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, said: “Cooking aerosols account for up to 10 per cent of particulate matter (PM) emissions in the UK. Finding accurate ways to predict their behavior will give us much more precise ways to also assess their contribution to climate change.”

Co-author Dr Adam Squires, of the University of Bath, said: “We’re increasingly finding out how molecules like these fatty acids from cooking can organise themselves into bilayers and other regular shapes and stacks within aerosol droplets that float in the air, and how this completely changes how fast they degrade, how long they persist in the atmosphere, and how they affect pollution and weather.”

The research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council

Contact the Professionals at EZ Breathe Today! 866-822-7328

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Indoor Air Quality: 4 Benefits of a Good Ventilation System

Indoor Air Quality: 4 Benefits of a Good Ventilation System

Ventilation is the process of intentionally introducing outdoor air into spaces such as houses or rooms while removing stale air. The aim of ventilation is to regulate indoor air quality by displacing and diluting indoor pollutants. A good ventilation system should therefore be able to remove or dilute any indoor pollutants and distribute fresh air in your house.

Ventilation systems also play numerous roles that improve the quality of indoor air. Below are four benefits of a good ventilation system.indoor-air-quality-ez-breathe-1

  1. Controls air impurities

It is important for every home or building to have good circulation of indoor air in order to constantly get a supply of fresh air. A constant supply of fresh air into a building reduces the risk of indoor air pollution. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 4.3 million people across the world die annually as a result of poor indoor air quality.

A good ventilation system helps improve indoor air quality by expelling different types of pollutants including bacteria, moisture, musty odors and dust.

  1. Stops condensation

Another benefit of a good ventilation system is that it stops condensation in any indoor space. Condensation occurs as a result of a buildup of moisture. The moisture condenses on various sources to form water droplets.

Condensation can lead to the growth of mold on various surfaces including drywall, walls, and floors. Another problem that stems from condensation is wood decay, which occurs when wooden items have a moisture content that exceeds 20%. 

By removing moisture, a ventilation system helps stop problems such as condensation and the growth of mold, thus improving indoor air quality.indoor-air-quality-ez-breathe-2

  1. Regulates air

Unless you have installed a good ventilation system, you are not able to control the movement of air in your home. Too much cold air coming in may mean high energy costs due to heating. A good ventilation system controls the amount of air that enters a building and ensures that your indoor air is of the right quality and has the right temperature.

  1. Controls air temperature

The ability to control air temperature is a notable benefit of a good ventilation system. Room temperatures change due to factors such as weather, the location of the room, the number and size of windows, and the number of people in a room.

A good ventilation system adjusts the temperature accordingly so that your indoor space does not become hot and stuffy when there are many people or when the incoming air becomes hotter.

Contact the Professionals at EZ Breathe Today! 866-822-7328

Important Facts about Your Indoor Air Quality and Dehumidifiers

Important Facts about Your Indoor Air Quality and Dehumidifiers

Indoor air quality is a major health concern. According to the World Health Organization, 4.3 million people globally die every year because of indoor air pollution. One of the factors that exacerbate the risk of indoor air pollution is high humidity. Usually, the human body functions best when humidity is within the range of 20 to 60%.indoor-air-quality-ez-breathe-1

The recommended mean relative humidity when you are indoors is between 30 and 60%. When the indoor relative humidity exceeds 60%, mold and mildew start to grow, and this can cause serious health issues.

This problem is particularly common if your home has a basement or a crawlspace that is not well ventilated. A dehumidifier can help you solve the problem of high indoor relative humidity.

What is a dehumidifier?

A dehumidifier is a device that removes excess moisture from the air. You can use a dehumidifier for comfort or health reasons. A dehumidifier also helps eliminate musty odors, which are common in humid indoor spaces.

Signs that you need a dehumidifier

You can tell that you need a dehumidifier if your home has any of the following signs:

  • The indoor environment has a musty odor and feels clammy
  • You have a feeling of excess moisture
  • Mold patches are visible
  • Windows show signs of condensation
  • You see wet or moist areas on the ceiling or walls.

How a dehumidifier improves indoor air quality

A dehumidifier improves indoor air quality by doing the following things:

  1. Removing excess moisture

As pointed out above, excess moisture is one of the factors that increase the risk of indoor air pollution. This is because a high level of moisture in the air makes the air dense and stagnant.indoor-air-quality-ez-breathe-2

Humid air is also able to carry more harmful compounds like nitrogen dioxide and allergens such as mold spores. By reducing the moisture in the air to acceptable levels, a dehumidifier makes indoor air healthier to breathe.

  1. Preventing the growth of mold and mildew

Mold and mildew grow in humid conditions. Therefore, by removing moisture in areas in which mold and mildew are likely to grow, you also prevent the growth of these harmful fungi. And with that, you will have addressed the issue of musty odors.

  1. Helping get rid of dust mites and allergens in the air

Dust mites and allergens are a common occurrence when the air has a lot of moisture. If you install a dehumidifier in your home, you will have eliminated this problem.

Contact the Professionals at EZ Breathe Today! 866-822-7328

Would You Live In Your Basement?

Ask yourself this question: “Would you live in your basement?” Your answer is probably a hard “NO!” Basements are notorious for being “icky”–damp, musty, and full of spiders.

Did you know that the air from your basement may be exactly what you’re breathing all day, every day? This is due to stack effect, the process of warm air rising upward in a building. (This is because warm air is lighter than cold air.) Stack effect will cause the air to flow from a basement into living spaces upstairs, bringing airborne pollutants–mold, moisture, radon, chemicals–right along with it.

So if you’re lining up the home improvement projects for the coming summer months, think about starting where it matters most: in the basement!

Healthy Air Starts at the Bottom

How to make your basement, and your home, healthier:

  1. Manage the moisture. Improve exterior drainage to prevent water from leaking into your basement. Manage indoor humidity levels below 60% to prevent condensation.
  2. Test your home for radon. Install systems to reduce the radon if the test result is above EPA-recommended acceptable levels.
  3. Clean. Accumulated dust and dirt can trap moisture and grow mold. Throw away unwanted items–especially old paints, chemicals, and pesticides.
  4. Evict Pests. Trap unwanted visitors: ants, mice, rats, squirrels.
  5. Weatherize. insulating and air sealing your basement can reduce the impact of stack effect and save you energy dollars too!
  6. Ventilate. Below grade spaces require ventilation to exhaust harmful chemicals, toxins, allergens and to create air exchanges for a safe and healthy air quality.

 

Learn More About Moisture Control

Learn More About Basement Ventilation

Learn More About Crawlspace Ventilation

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5 Sources of VOCs in the Home That You May Not Be Aware Of

5 Sources of VOCs in the Home That You May Not Be Aware Of

How is the indoor air quality of your home? If you’re like many people, you probably think that as long as your home smells fresh, the air quality within your home must be good. However, this isn’t true. Not many people are aware that their homes contain high concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).indoor-air-quality-ez-breathe-1

Exposure to VOCs has been shown to result in both short and long-term health problems including the development of various forms of cancer. Understanding the sources of VOCs in the home is the first step to protecting your health and that of your household.

  1. Manufactured furniture

Many people are investing in ready-to-assemble furniture as it is convenient. You simply order online and have it delivered to your home where it can be assembled in a matter of minutes. This furniture often features formaldehyde, a VOC that is carcinogenic. Formaldehyde is present in resins, preservatives, and sealants used in pressed wood products such as desks, cabinetry, beds, and bookshelves.

  1. Nail polish remover

Getting ready for a day of self-care? This may involve various activities including doing your nails. That bottle of nail polish remover may be efficient at getting rid of the nail polish from your nails but will expose you to acetone, a VOC. Acetone is also present in various types of furniture as it is used as furniture polish.

  1. Mothballs

Mothballs come in very handy when you want to protect your clothes and other precious items from the destruction that moths and other insects can cause. However, mothballs can be the cause of health problems. These balls contain dichlorobenzene which is VOC. This VOC is a common ingredient in other deodorizers too.indoor-air-quality-ez-breathe-2

  1. Your clothes

There’s nothing quite as refreshing as the smell of clothes that have just come from the laundry. Having clothes dry-cleaned will help to preserve them for longer. However, it will also expose you to perchloroethylene, a VOC. It is responsible for the strong odor that dry-cleaned clothes have.

  1. Your carpets

Carpets and the padding beneath the carpets are a source of VOCs in the home. Not only do carpets feature VOCs in the preservatives and fixatives used in their manufacture but also in the adhesives used to fix them in place during installation.

Many products within the home are known to emit VOCs. The best way to protect your health and improve indoor air quality is by improving the ventilation of your home. EZ breathe provides an easy and efficient way to ventilate your home and reduce your exposure to VOCs.  

Contact the Professionals at EZ Breathe Today! 866-822-7328

Why Measure Your Indoor Humidity?

High humidity levels in your indoor environment are a common cause for moisture, mold and mildew problems inside your home.

When warm humid air lands on a cool surface, the moisture in the air condenses into liquid water on the surface material. If that cool surface is your summertime ice tea glass, your glass gets wet, we are accustomed to this harmless display of high humidity. However, when that cool surface is in your basement, attic or on your windows, and those surfaces get wet it’s a red flag that you have high humidity inside your home. Moist, damp conditions lead to mold and bacteria growth, as well as increase the risk of insects and other health related problems like asthma and allergies.

Keeping your relative humidity (RH) at or below 50% will go a long way towards preventing moisture from condensing on cold surfaces in your home. Measure your RH frequently, particularly in the summer months. Treat spaces that consistently have an RH higher than 50% with a means to lower airborne moisture.

For more information on preventing mold and moisture problems in your home from high levels of indoor humidity, visit our website: www.ezbreathe.com

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3 Odors That Are Hazardous To Your Health

3 Odors That Are Hazardous to Your Health

Every home has a smell. Many of us try to ensure our homes smell fresh by keeping them clean and using air fresheners and scent diffusers. However, sometimes odors in the home are much more than simple odors. They can be an indication of hazards in your home that could cause a health problem. These odors are an indication of poor indoor air quality and should be addressed as soon as possible.indoor-air-quality-ez-breathe-1

  1. Paint smells

The smell of fresh paint can be exhilarating for some people. However, this odor is an indication of poor indoor air quality and could affect your health in the long term if not addressed. The odor is a result of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released into the air as the paint dries. VOCs have been linked to the development of various forms of cancer.

It is important to ensure proper ventilation in your home while painting. Be sure to leave the windows and doors open. Proper ventilation is important even when only a small area has been painted.

  1. Musty smells

Musty or dusty smells are common in humid environments such as kitchens, basements, bathrooms and even in cupboards that aren’t open often. This odor is often an indication of a mold or mildew infestation. Mold and mildew are hazardous to human health. Mold spores are distributed in the air and can cause severe allergies as well as respiratory problems. Black mold is especially hazardous to your health.

If you notice a musty smell, it is important to contact a mold remediation contractor to have your home inspected as soon as possible. Invest in mold remediation to get rid of mold and address the issues that caused the infestation in the first place. These may include leaky pipes or poor circulation in your home leading to the accumulation of moisture.indoor-air-quality-ez-breathe-2

  1. Pickle odors

Does your home have a strong pickle odor? This may be an indication of formaldehyde in the air. Formaldehyde is present in many products used in the manufacture of household products such as disinfectants, resins, fixatives, preservatives, and adhesives. Formaldehyde is therefore present in building and flooding products, paneling, carpeting, pressed wood furniture, upholstery, and many other products around the home.

Formaldehyde is a VOC and is considered carcinogenic. It is important to ensure that your home is well ventilated to reduce exposure to this carcinogen.

Investing in an EZ breathe whole-home ventilation system will help to improve indoor air quality and reduce your exposure to hazards to your health.

Contact the Professionals at EZ Breathe Today! 866-822-7328

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“Making Your Basement a Livable Space”

We have seen a growing trend in the number of homeowners remodeling, renovating and generally improving their basements to make them usable, livable spaces. Home Gyms, Rec Rooms, Home Offices, Man Caves and additional bedrooms seem to be the most popular inspiration for this wave of basement improvement. The current tight housing market has also contributed to the growth in renovating our own spaces, rather than look for something new/different. It’s also one of the best home improvement projects for ROI.

HGTV shared, “The last annual ‘Cost vs. Value’ Report from Remodeling magazine put the average basement remodel at a 70.3 percent payback, which made it among the smartest redos, along with an attic bedroom, minor kitchen redo, deck, and new entry door.”

Basement Ventilation is something that is necessary whether you are considering remodeling or not – Basements are considered one of the biggest contributors to indoor air pollution for any house whether a new house, an older home and especially those that are being remodeled.

Why? 60% of the air in your home was once basement air – Basement air is arguably the worst air inside the home/building envelope.

  1. Research from the University of Wisconsin reports that “Basements and crawlspaces absorb 10-15 gallons of water VAPOR every day!” Consider the analogy of gallon milk jugs – 10-15 milk jugs of water vapor EVERY day coming in through the porous walls and floor. The natural transmission of the moisture in the soil surrounding the house migrating through the walls and the floor is based on the physics Law of Thermal Dynamics – Wet moves to dry. We can address bulk liquid water intrusion with drains and pumps redirecting that liquid water away from and out of the home’s foundation, however, that is not what we are talking about here. There is very little we can do to fight the water vapor – Water in its gaseous form – from absorbing through the walls and the floor. Once the humidity is trapped it becomes a food source for mold, mildew, and pests and encourages rust, dry rot all of which requires a damp environment to thrive. Ventilation reigns supreme in providing an escape, a way out, for the trapped moisture vapor and has proven quite successful in managing the humidity problems in basement/crawlspaces to ensure healthy and clean air.
  2. By Ventilating the lowest level and sourcing the draw of air (or the intake) on the lowest level of the basement, the worst, most polluted and damp air is exhausted first and does not allow for the large build-up or concentration of humidity/pollutants that we so often see in unvented basements.
  3. This air exchange becomes even more important when remodeling or renovating these below-grade spaces – one must have a plan to address the large volume of water vapor absorption, but also consider the chemicals and toxins being introduced into the underground space during the construction process. Glues, Paints, Carpets, Off-gassing of Epoxy and Resins, Varnishes and Glazes. Many of the materials used in this process are highly toxic often requiring those working with these materials to wear masks and containing warning labels that instruct “Only use in a well-ventilated area”. The subterranean or below ground nature of these spaces means that basements are the opposite of well ventilated! They are notoriously stagnant, stuffy places. The EPA & American Lung Association have identified Ventilation as a “key strategy for reducing indoor air pollution” and considering the EPA reports “the air in the average home is at least 5x more polluted than outdoor air” ventilation should not only be employed throughout the construction phase but is also critically important as a finishing touch to ensure all those chemicals and toxic materials do not build up and contribute to even higher toxic levels of air quality. See, the off-gassing of new materials can last for decades! That “new” smell is actually highly toxic for humans to breathe.

We so often hear of people that are looking to get rid of that musty basement smell by slathering on a fresh coat of paint! Not only does that not solve the root of the mustiness, but it contributes even more contaminants to the already poor air quality problem in spades.

  1. Our proven solution that we have been providing for over 20 years now is the EZ Breathe Basement Ventilation System that addresses not only the moisture vapor issue, but also reduces all the other airborne pollutants and contaminants. It’s not complicated, it is simple air exchange! By creating a path of escape from the lowest level, the EZ Breathe Ventilation System exhausts all the pollutants, toxins, allergens, mold spores as well as the heavy, humid air that gets saturated daily by water vapor. Turning the air over has proven to decrease airborne particulates by 85% – when a basement is properly ventilated, nothing can build up or concentrate to unhealthy levels.
  2. This is not just our theory – Basement Ventilation has been widely accepted and now mandated by a growing number of US State’s building codes as essential to creating a healthy indoor air quality.  We have seen a growing number of homeowners calling us frantic for a basement ventilation system in order to secure building permits for their basement remodeling project. We are thrilled to offer them a solution they can count on to provide a better air quality for their basement and beyond. The update in building codes to include basement ventilation is reminiscent of bathroom ventilation codes from many years back. Mandating ventilation fans in bathrooms is commonplace now, but we still find homes that were built before those codes were enforced that have un-vented bathrooms. We all know how damaging (and gross) that can be. Where there is a source of moisture or pollutants – ventilation is a must!
  3. We have found with our on-going scientific air sampling/testing that the air quality improvement is not limited to the basement alone. Once the air is ventilated out of the basement, we find significant improvements in the air quality in the upper levels of the home as well. In our early days this was quite surprising and unexpected. After receiving years of feedback from customers thanking us for less allergy symptoms or finding that they do not snore or cough as much or no longer require breathing treatments/allergy medication as they had before their EZ Breathe installation, we were able to quantify that improvement through testing.  We have seen first-hand the significant improvement Ventilation has provided not only in air quality that we can quantify, 85% less pollutants through our decades of air sampling and testing before/after scenarios, but also the improvement in the quality of life for so many homeowners over the past two decades.

 

*** In honor of April being Healthy Home Awareness Month we are offering 20% OFF EZ Breathe Ventilation. Get ahead of the musty, stuffy, mildew-smelling basements that those dog days of summer bring NOW with proper basement ventilation. Addressing the issue sooner than later is always best practice! This issue never gets better on its own, it only gets worse as time goes on.  Now is the perfect time to protect your home and health, even if you haven’t started that basement remodel project quite yet!

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How To Improve Indoor Air Quality

How To Improve Indoor Air Quality

How much time do you spend inside your home or other buildings? For most people, it’s quite a bit of time, particularly during the wintertime. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that in the United States, people spend 90% of their time on average indoors. As a result, indoor air pollution may be a greater risk to people’s health than outdoor air pollution!

The most effective way to improve indoor air quality is to reduce or remove the source of the air pollutant. Ensuring proper ventilation and utilizing air cleaners also help improve indoor air quality. 

1. Control the source

Removing the source of the contaminant is often the easiest and most cost-effective way to minimize or eliminate the problem. For example, by reducing the use of candles and incense containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), you can easily improve indoor air quality. 

Reducing mold in the home is another relatively easy tactic. Mold can be removed with soap and warm water in areas less than one square meter. However, sometimes mold cannot be removed as easily, and contaminated materials may need to be replaced.

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Strategies to control humidity and prevent mold growth include:

• Covering pots with a lid when cooking

• Drying your window sills if condensation is visible

• Ensuring the dryer efficiently vents air towards the outside

• Fixing any leaks

• Hanging laundry to dry outside

• Keeping curtains and blinds open

• Repairing damaged grout, caulking, or tiles

• Sealing plumbing pipes with foam insulation if there is condensation present

• Using a bathroom exhaust fan during and after a shower

• Using a kitchen exhaust fan during and after cooking 

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In other cases, hiring a professional may be necessary in order to control or remove the source of a contaminant. For example, exposed areas containing asbestos can be enclosed and sealed by a professional. It’s also important to measure whether there is radon present in your home. You can measure radon levels by purchasing a measuring device yourself or by hiring a professional. It may also be necessary to hire a professional to remove large amounts of mold from certain materials.

Regular cleaning can also help prevent and control sources of contamination. Vacuuming carpets with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to remove trapped dust and small particles and cleaning hard floors with a mop are simple examples. Because cleaning products often emit VOCs, it’s important to ventilate your home properly during use. Consider choosing cleaning products that are environmentally safe and contain fewer VOCs. Read product labels and contact the manufacturer of the product to learn more about the listed ingredients. Lastly, do not mix different cleaning products together because they can create harmful VOCs.  

2. Ensure proper ventilation

By increasing outdoor air circulation inside, you can easily improve the ventilation of your home or building. One of the easiest ways to do this is by opening windows and doors to let in the fresh air. Make sure outdoor air conditions are safe before opening windows and doors. You can look up your local outdoor air quality by referring to your city’s air quality index. 

Contact the professionals at EZ-Breathe Systems today! 866-822-7328