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HEPA Filters and Their Impacts on Your Indoor Air Quality

Skin rashes and sinus infections are just a few of the many health issues that can result from poor indoor air quality. Inside environments can house a slew of triggers that can agitate allergies and asthma. Furnaces, molds, viruses and tobacco smoke are among the large amounts of particle matter and gaseous pollutants that affect indoor air quality. Poor indoor air quality can cause large amounts of moisture that can destroy walls, attics and windows. By measuring indoor air quality and by using an electronic air cleaner with a HEPA filter, we can decrease the negative health impact of the inside air we breathe.

Before improving our indoor environments, we can learn how to measure indoor air quality. Those who are having issues with their health often wonder how to measure indoor air quality. Health issues can be a good indicator in measuring the amount of indoor air pollution, especially if a person has just moved into a new home or a new household chemical was used. When measuring the quality of indoor air, identify the source. Look for obvious molds in water areas or places such as linen or bedroom closets. Since high levels of radon can cause lung cancer, measuring indoor air quality should also involve checking the levels with a device. Testing and measuring pollutants can be expensive, but health departments can help with advice about this problem. Health departments can educate people on the effects of harmful air, and teach allergy and asthma sufferers how to measure indoor air quality and how to improve indoor air quality.

Improving indoor air quality should involve the use of an air cleaner. Air cleaners that use a High Efficiency Particle Arresting (HEPA) filter are called electronic air cleaners. These air cleaners use a process called ionization, which allows the air particles to enter through a section of the air filter where they get an electrical charge. After the particles gain an electrical charge, they build up on plates that are called a collector. Because the collector holds the opposite charge, the ion generators disperse the charged ions back into the air. When the ions are released back into the air, they charge the other air particles by attaching themselves. The result is more particles attaching to surfaces instead of floating around in the air, therefore improving indoor air quality.

A High Efficiency Particle Arresting (HEPA) filter is constructed with a mesh material that traps harmful air particles that affect the indoor air quality. Most portable and small electronic air cleaners use a HEPA filter. Depending on how many particles are in an indoor environment and how the filter is made, the HEPA filter will need to be replaced about every 3-4 months. However, some filters, often called HEPA 4, may last longer because they are washable and reusable. These filters can be washed by soaking the filter in water with a few drops of dish detergent, completely rinsing, and then by leaving them out to completely dry. HEPA filters that are constructed with cardboard and paper cannot be washed. It is important to check a filter often, to decide if it needs to be replaced. Filters that need to be replaced are covered with a dark gray particle dust. If a HEPA filter becomes clogged, the air cleaner will have a weak flow of air.

In conclusion, when deciding on how to improve indoor air quality, we must understand the improvement process involves a combination of several measuring and removal methods. Running electronic air cleaners with a HEPA air filter is an effective way to reduce harmful particles in the air. The ventilation in a home must also be checked if signs of stuffy air, mold and mildew and condensation are indicated in an indoor environment. Furthermore, weatherizing may be necessary. Sweeping frequently, changing bedding, and replacing furnace filters, are a few ways the quality of air can greatly improve. It is likely impossible to remove all harmful particles from indoor environments, but our health will greatly improve if we aggressively act.

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