The quality of the air we breathe and how to improve its purity is becoming an ever greater concern for people, especially in the home and workplace where we can go some ways to controlling it.

In this section of the website, I take a look at what's wrong with our most precious resource and how we can use technology to help us to at least improve the purity of our breathable air inside our buildings.

At this juncture, I'd better point out that I'm dealing with indoor air quality here and not the global as well as local problems with what's going on outside the home or workplace. Air pollution is a huge problem worldwide but that's a subject outside the scope of this project.

Keeping the Air Clean Indoors

Inside an enclosed building, we have a lot better control over the air that circulates around a room than we have over what's happening outside the building. This is why I'm focused mainly on interior air quality and how we can work toward reducing airborne particulates that may cause us harm in one way or another.

There are modern appliances that utilize very fine "heap" filtering technology to remove tiny particulates or pollutants from the air inside a room. These range from vacuum cleaners through air coolers to dedicated air purifiers and filters all designed to remove a large percentage of dust and other floating particles from the air that we breathe.

Why Do We Need to Clean the Air?

You may ask why it's even necessary to go to the trouble of filtering and purifying the air inside a room. This is natural considering it's almost impossible to see the pollutants and ultrafine dust particles in the air with the unaided eye.

However, just because you can't see them doesn't mean they're not there! In fact, the atmosphere in an average living room can contain a surprisingly large array of different airborne irritants, particulates and chemical emissions that its occupants are unwittingly breathing in every day.

The effect of breathing poor air quality in a home can lead to a number of unwanted symptoms, such as mysterious headaches; eye, nose and throat irritations; breathing difficulties and allergies, concentration issues and fatigue. Allergy-based conditions such as asthma can be exacerbated by breathing low quality air especially that which contains certain chemical molecules, certain forms of dust particles especially when coupled with damp conditions.

How to Clean the Air Indoors?

Keeping the breathable air as pure as possible is something that can be done by attacking the problem on a number of fronts. The first and often easiest place to get started is to ensure adequate ventilation in a room so that he air can circulate with outside air which is often cleaner than that inside a building.

This is for a number of reasons, but mainly because in a tightly enclosed space where air cannot circulate, pollutants can quickly build up. This comes from, among other things, the increase of dust created from human and pet skin and hair.

Also, lower oxygen levels result as this is used up by the occupants breathing in the air coupled with higher levels of carbon dioxide which we exhale. Levels of chemical particulates rise as they are exuded from paints, varnishes, soft furnishings etc while any heating or air conditioning devices emit certain exhaust gases, especially in the case of solid fuel burning open fires.

Molds can be a potentially dangerous source of lung and respiratory irritation. Other chemicals such as pesticides, cleaning products and even air fresheners can reduce the air quality dramatically when there is poor or no circulation with fresh outside air.

Deploying Air Purification

The next line of defense is to deploy a purifying appliance that can mechanically circulate a room's air through its internal filtering system to remove a high percentage of all airborne pollutants and provide cleaner and fresher breathable air in a room. There are several good models available for this task and I will be reviewing and comparing several of these models in separate dedicated articles for that purpose.

Some houseplants have been shown to help clean the air in a room, so this is another avenue worth pursuing especially if you are more interested in using nature's own cleanup mechanisms to help maintain a more healthful breathable interior atmosphere. Here are two very good external resources on the topic described above: www.epa.gov/iaq/ and www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/.

More Information

As mentioned above, I am creating a series of helpful and detailed articles covering a wide range of air purification methods that can be used to great effect in the home, office or workplace or I schools and other public buildings. Take a look at the titles above (in the navigation bar):