Unclean air can greatly affect your health in the long run, causing side effects like headache, nausea and even cancer.
Since the pandemic emerged, working from home became a new normal for most of us. At first, it felt like a big adjustment to many, but most people got used to it in no time. A conducive, organized, and clean environment is crucial for smooth and effective remote working.
One of the essential factors affecting the working condition at home is the air quality. While it's a very crucial concern to consider, most homes tend to ignore the extent of air quality in their homes.
A home with polluted air is usually quite uncomfortable, something that can significantly affect your performance when working at home. In this post, we'll discuss all you need to know about healthy air at home, including its importance and how to improve air quality in your home.
Why is air quality essential?
All rooms in your house need to have fresh and clean air every day. Unfortunately, several pollutants can affect the quality of air in a home. These pollutants can adversely affect your wellbeing if not contained faster.
Some of the expected effects of indoor air pollutants are headaches, nausea, fatigue, eye irritation, and long-term effects like cancer.
In addition, fresh and clean air is critical for individuals with health complications such as allergies and respiratory disorders. Quality air can also minimize health issues like asthma. Statistics show that about 25 million US citizens are affected by asthma in a year, 7 million being kids. Asthma accounts for about 17 million hospital and doctor visits.
Ensuring your home has clean air will not only improve your work productivity from home but also the general health of you and your family. Therefore, it's essential to know the common causes of polluted air in your home and employ effective remedies for healthier air.
The common forms of indoor pollutants include combustion pollutants like nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide gas or gas leakage from stoves and heaters, cigarette smoke, outdoor pollutants like radon gas, excess moisture, and more.
Factors affecting indoor air quality
Several factors come into play when measuring indoor air quality. It's easy to miss the causes of poor air quality in your home since most of the effects in humans resemble those viruses. Staying in a polluted environment for long periods can cause aftermaths to your health, particularly for seniors, young ones, and the sick.
The common three factors affecting the quality of indoor air are:
1. Indoor environmental factors
Your home's air quality can be affected by environmental aspects like irregular humidity and temperature levels. The level of moisture and temperature in your house can be uneven for several reasons. For example, if your ventilation systems are not working or it's malfunctioned.
Maintaining an optimal temperature and humidity is essential for your health. High humidity levels can cause mildew and mold to grow, while lower humidity can cause health problems like dry eyes and skin irritation, or static electricity issues. It can also increase instances of asthma attacks.
It can also lead to the drying of the mucous membrane in your body, leading to vulnerability to upper respiratory ailments. Such effects can be significant inhibitors of good performance and deliverability while working from home.
High temperatures also can lead to elevated contamination levels in your home and significantly affect your breathability, causing discomfort, exhaustion, and profound sweating.
Inadequate air circulation can also make the air in your home stuffy and unclean. So, it's crucial to ensure your air-conditioning systems are functioning perfectly. If you do not use an aircon, open your windows and doors for even airflow.
2. Air contaminants
Many pollutants can significantly affect your home's air quality. Here are common contaminants that can directly disturb how clean or fresh the air in your home is:
- Aerial pollutants like tobacco smoke and perfumes
- Construction materials like dust, asbestos, fiberglass, and formaldehyde.
- Odors and Vapours like paint fumes, pesticides, cleaners, glue fumes, solvents, disinfectants, and more
- Dust mites in cushion foams, carpets, and some fabrics
- Microbial contaminants like bacteria, fungi, and molds.
3. Inadequate outdoor air intake
Lack of enough airflow enhances the level of allergens and contaminants in your home. Therefore, it's best to ensure your home has good ventilation for sufficient airflow. If you are insecure about leaving your doors and windows open, it's advisable to get a well-functioning air purifier.
Should I get an air purifier?
Air purifiers are the devices used to remove pollutants from the air in a house. Some of the reasons you should get an air purifier are:
An air purifier can remove aeroallergens in the air, which usually causes issues like runny nose, coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, nose and throat, nasal congestion, allergic shiners, weepy eyes, allergic salute, and conjunctivitis.
Getting an air purifier can significantly reduce the risk of you and your loved ones getting these problems. It can be an excellent addition to asthmatic and hypersensitive individuals since it removes harmful allergens that can cause vicious allergic attacks.
If you have a pet
Some pets are hypoallergenic but may still affect allergic individuals. Air purifiers can eliminate dander (the dead cells from hair and skin) from the air, reducing surrounding allergens.
New home renovation
New homes usually have paint perfumes, dust, and other construction pollutants like formaldehyde which can significantly affect your breathability. Getting an air purifier can help eliminate most contaminants, making the air clean and safe even for people with respiratory issues.
If there's a smoker among your family, you can buy an air purifier to remove second-hand smoke from the house. Doing this allows easy coexistence with smokers and also improves your home's air quality.
Expectant women need clean air for their general wellbeing and that of their unborn baby. Studies show that unborn babies can be affected by air pollution. Examples of these pollutants are cooking fumes, second-hand smoke, and minute pm 2.5 particles in smoke. Air purifiers can remove even these small particles leaving better air quality for you and your child.
When working from home
Clean air is imperative when working remotely. You can improve your home's air quality by using an air purifier to eliminate contaminants in the environment, improving your focus and comfort in your home office.
What is the best air purifier in Singapore?
Air purifiers come in different sizes and build. It's essential you get the most effective and appropriate air filter for your home for maximum air cleaning. Usually, air purifiers can have different types of filters, including UV, HEPA, activated carbon filters, and more.
Air purifiers that have activated carbon filters are great for homes that are near industrial areas, while TRUE HEPA filters are suitable for allergic individuals. In addition, there are some air purifiers designed for homes with asthmatic individuals, smokers, and pets.
The size of a purifier also matters. Smaller air purifiers are suitable for small spaces. There are also medium-sized, whole-house, and large houses.
It would be best to choose a strategic position to keep your air purifier for optimal air purification.
Other ways to improve air quality in your home
Besides purchasing an air purifier, there are several other steps you can take to ensure your home's air is clean and fresh. Below are three main ways to ensure your home gets quality air;
Containment of contaminants
Several pollutants can remain in the air and affect your health when you inhale them. Try checking contaminants present in your home's environment using an air quality monitor. This monitor will inform you of the pollutants present in the air and their relevant recommendations.
Other ways to remove contaminants are by effective vacuuming, avoiding fragrances, using homemade cleaners, killing dust mites, utilizing No-Vac paints, getting a house plant for your home, or buying an air filter.
Maximum airflow will ensure your home is always clean. There are several ways you can enhance air ventilation at home. First, if you're from a safe residence, you can opt to open doors and windows.
Other methods include the use of fans, and exhaust fans over stoves and bathrooms. You should ensure your home's air con systems function well and are well-maintained.
The temperature levels in your home shouldn't be too high or too low. You can ensure your home has an optimal temperature by setting a medium temperature suitable for all family members.
Elevated room temperature can affect your performance and productivity when working at home. In addition, it can cause exhaustion, and discomfort. Therefore, it's always best to ensure your home's temperature is balanced.
Low temperature reduces the growth of dust mites.
Controlling humidity is also crucial for balanced temperature. Other solutions are zoning systems, Automated AC temperature controllers, HVAC systems, opening windows, and consistent home audits.
Air quality is essential for healthy and comfortable living. It's also an essential aspect if you want to be productive and efficient while working from home. It helps eliminate possible air pollutants and allergens in your house, ensuring you breathe clean air. Improve your home's air quality with the above valuable tips and get the optimal experience working in a clean and fresh environment at home!
This article was written and medically reviewed by Dr Ben, M.D on 29/06/21