Did you know…
Tucson, Sahuarita and Green Valley desert dwellers spend up to 90% of our time indoors breathing polluted air.
The facts about home indoor air quality are disturbing. The most shocking scientific evidence demonstrates pollutants can become fifty to one-hundred times more concentrated inside your home than outside (1). You might wonder how this invisible air pollution might hurt you.
Indoor Air Quality Testing: Is the Air in Your Home Safe?
We don’t usually think about dirty air – unless we’re forced to! Passing by smelly garbage or a sewage treatment pond can stop any intrepid soul dead in their tracks. Unpleasant but not deadly, right? But, smog hanging heavy over the city might make you wonder if it’s really a good idea to be there. What about the air you breathe at home? Beyond fishy reminders of meals past, the EPA (3) says indoor air pollution consisting of concentrated chemicals, dust, bacteria, viruses and mold, is one of the top five environmental health risks Americans face in a lifetime (11).
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Many people suffer immediate treatable effects of “dirty” air. The most vulnerable are the very young, older folks, and anyone with allergies, asthma or emphysema. How will you know they’re suffering from indoor air pollution? Take note of recurring eye, nose and throat irritation, ear infections, nose bleeds, rashes, worsening allergies, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headaches and sleep-resistant fatigue. These signs may well be caused by breathing toxic air but may be dismissed as frequent colds or viral illness. Prolonged exposure has insidious and more devastating consequences.
Chronic long-term exposures to toxic indoor air are known to cause cancer, lung disease, visual disorders and memory impairment (10, 11). It just makes sense to minimize indoor pollutants, if you can, to reduce short and long-term health risks and improve quality of life. Oasis can tell you today if the air in your home contains toxins. We think it’s essential to know what pollutants are in the air in your home which is why we test air quality for only $79.
Seven Things You Can Do to Have Cleaner, Safer Air at Home
- Smoke outside
- Vacuum and damp dust weekly
- Have your ventilation system checked
- Filter dust particles from the air supply
- Check the condenser coil for mold
- Use low Volatile Organic Compound (VOCs) products
- Ask Oasis Air Conditioning & Heating to test the quality of the air in your home, inspect your filters, ventilation, ductwork and coils for sources of contamination and help you find effective and affordable air quality solutions.
Secondhand smoke is linked with chronic disease and premature death even in second-hand nonsmokers and children in the home. Of more than 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, 250 are harmful – including arsenic, hydrogen cyanide, toluene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, heavy metals, benzene and ammonia. At least 69 of these are known to cause cancer (7). Ask smokers to always smoke outside to reduce exposure and avoid toxic residues on walls, furnishings and HVAC equipment (2, 6).
Pulverized desert dirt – which sticks to everything – is a mere inconvenience compared to the biological contaminants found in the air, and settled on furniture and bedding of every home. Dust mites, one of the strongest allergic sensitizers, feed on shed skin cells and animal dander. Virtually everyone is allergic to these unseen critters. Household dust is not only made up of people and pet dander, but also contains viruses, bacteria, mold, mildew, dried cat saliva, pollen, powdered cockroach and rodent droppings, and even dried powdered pest and pet urine – all potent allergens (2). This toxic soup is blown all around your home and through ductwork by your air conditioning system. In addition to making you sneeze and wheeze, it clogs air filters, contaminates ductwork, and coats cooling coils, making your air conditioning less efficient and costing you money as well as your health.
If your home was built in the last ten years, you probably benefit from new building codes which include a ventilation component to bring in fresh air. It should bring in enough fresh air and shouldn’t leak stale exhaust air back into your home (5, 10). Your air conditioning professional can make sure it is working properly.
A MERV 13-14 filter will catch many very small particles. Because it is so efficient, it will clog rapidly and has to be changed more often. Your air conditioning contractor should check your equipment to be sure it has the muscle to push against the resistance posed by more efficient filters. An electronic air cleaner, such as Trane CleanEffects, is built to remove even the smallest particles of dust, dirt, asbestos, mold, bacteria pollen, dander, and those nasty biologic allergens. It is certified by the asthma & allergy foundation to be of benefit to asthmatics. It is installed in the return duct and continuously cleans the air in the whole house while the fan is running (9).
Condensation from your HVAC system can create a moist breeding ground for organisms which then get blown around your home. Vacuuming and dusting can’t control biohazards originating in your air handling system. An ultraviolet (UV) light system, like the REME Halo or the REME Guardian, will kill viruses, bacteria and mold spores on the interior surfaces of the air handler. It will sanitize all the air that passes by the light – before it gets recirculated back to your family. It will also neutralize volatile organic gases and dust particles rendering them non-toxic. It will even neutralize cooking smells!
Household sources of VOCs include paints, strippers, solvents, wood preservatives, adhesives, building materials, furnishings, cosmetics, aerosol sprays, cleansers, degreasers, disinfectants, dry-cleaned clothing, moth repellents, air fresheners, permanent markers, printers, correction fluid, pesticides, and stored fuel (11). If you must use them, meticulously follow label precautions and ventilate well when using them. While Volatile Organic Compounds are usually consistently higher, up to ten times higher, inside your home on any ordinary day, during use of paints, sprays and cleaning solutions – and for hours afterwards – indoor VOC levels may be 1,000 times outdoor levels!
a. Always choose low VOC products and furniture with low formaldehyde-based fire-retardant upholstery. You may even consider gently-used furniture because older furniture emits fewer toxins (4, 5).
b. Minimize use of candles, aerosols, adhesives and air fresheners.
c. Choose a pest control company which uses Integrated Pest Management using an approach designed to limit exposure to toxins. Follow EPA recommendations on safe pesticide use (5, 12).
d. Test for formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a well-known VOC sensitizer and one of a few indoor pollutants that can be measured (besides mold and radon) (6, 11). Find and remove the source, if possible, especially if anyone complains of recurrent respiratory symptoms (5).
Install a Halo or Guardian whole-home in-duct air purification. Invented to mimic nature’s air purifying process, it’s like bringing fresh outdoor air inside without ever having to open your windows. Neutralizing organic pollutants such as pulverized rodent droppings and dust mites with light and naturally-occurring oxidizers, it silently kills up to 99% of bacteria like E. coli, Listeria, Strep, and MRSA, mold, yeast, pollen, viruses, both in the air and on surfaces. The Ultraviolet light also gets rid of up to 85% of toxic organic gases like cigarette smoke, VOCs and obnoxious cooking odors (7).
How Much Does Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Testing Cost?
At Oasis, we think this IAQ service is essential and should be affordable. According to HomeAdvisor.com, professional IAQ testing costs between $284 and $561, a national average of $422, depending on the size of their space and the type of analysis done (13).
At Oasis IAQ Testing is Only $79!
During Air Quality Testing, Oasis collects detailed data in your home, measuring eight variables, and summarizing conditions in a digital or printed report on the following critical points:
•Temperature – unbalanced system, building leaks, missing insulation
•Humidity – return/supply leaks, over-sized AC unit
•Small Particulate Matter 2.5 (0-2.5 microns) – broken or dirty ductwork, bacteria & mold growth
•Larger Particulate Matter 10.0 (2.5-10 microns) – inadequate filtration
•Volatile Organic Compounds – home chemical contaminants, garage door leaks
•Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – inadequate fresh air ventilation
•Building Pressure – building envelop air leaks
•Dew Point – condensation on interior or exterior surfaces
Your customized report will identify any air quality issues, explain the causes and detail solutions.
1. EPA. https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/introduction-indoor-air-quality
2. Asthma Triggers: Gain Control. EPA. https://www.epa.gov/asthma/asthma-triggers-gain-control
3. Biological Pollutants’ Impact on Indoor Air Quality). EPA. https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/biological-pollutants-impact-indoor-air-quality
4. Chandler, Heather. (December 6, 2013). The Furniture We Breathe: Home Furnishing & Indoor Air Quality. The Sunrise Guide. © 2018 The Sunrise Guide LLC. P.O. Box 163, Westbrook, Maine 04098. http://thesunriseguide.com/the-furniture-we-breathe-home-furnishing-indoor-air-quality
5. Indoor Air Quality Guide: Best Practices for Design, Construction and Commissioning. (May, 2010). American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. https://www.ashrae.org/technical-resources/bookstore/indoor-air-quality-guide
6. Radon Fact Sheet. (2018). Radon.com. https://www.radon.com/radon_facts
7. REME HALO® In-duct Air Purifier. © 2018 RGF Environmental Group, Inc. https://www.rgf.com/products/air/reme-halo
8. Secondhand Smoke and Cancer. (January 12, 2011). National Cancer Institute. National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/tobacco/second-hand-smoke-fact-sheet
9. Trane. (2018). CleanEffects™ Air Cleaner. © 2018 Trane https://www.trane.com/residential/en/products/add-on-components/cleaneffects
10. Ventilation and Air Quality in Offices. (July 1990). EPA. 402-F-94-003. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-08/documents/ventilation_factsheet.pdf
11. Volatile Organic Compounds’ Impact on Indoor Air Quality. (November 6, 2017). EPA. https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/volatile-organic-compounds-impact-indoor-air-quality
12. What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)? (ND). University of California IPM. ©1995-2014 by the Regents of the University of California http://www2.ipm.ucanr.edu/WhatIsIPM
13. HomeAdvisor.com. https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/environmental-safety/test-indoor-air-quality