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Friday, July 09, 2010
Air Purity in the Home

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By Michael K.

Clean air is essential to one’s overall health. As oxygen is part of every bodily process, the characteristics of the element being taken in by your body are grave. Simply put, the quality of the air you breathe is as important as the food you eat and the water you drink.How is your air quality?

While measures are being taken by local, state, and federal authorities to address to question of air quality outdoors, far more important is the air quality of your indoor surroundings. It was reported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that Americans spend 90% of their lives indoors. To aid our customers in ensuring the highest of air quality for them and their loved ones, we at GoodDeals.com have compiled a short informational article to help you both identify the major contributors to poor air quality in the home, and remedy them. 

The vast majority of factors contributing to poor air quality in the home reside in the kitchen. Unfortunately for new home owners, this reality is compounded by the effects of off-gassing – the slow release of gasses trapped within the material of an object – of new kitchen installations. Certain kinds of resin used in the production of both countertops and cabinets can off-gas formaldehyde – a known carcinogen – for years after installation. What’s worse is that in the case of cabinets, the gas oftentimes accumulates inside the cabinet, and is released only when the door is opened. Similarly, high-gloss paints used in many kitchens (and elsewhere in the home) can off-gas formaldehyde for up to 30 days after being applied. Carpet used elsewhere in the house can also release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) long after being installed.

This problem unfortunately, is not localized to new home owners. Negative pressure within the home, a condition that occurs when more air is exhausted from the interior than is supplied by a window or central air unit, can leech formaldehyde and VOC’s from all of the above mentioned sources in older homes.

Building materials ought not to be the only item of concern when inspecting air quality. Most of us have heard that Radon, a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and chemically inert radioactive gas can be present in the home. Many of us however, have not had an official Radon test conducted in our homes. In fact, of the 50 states in which the naturally occurring can be present, only Maryland requires such a test before purchasing a home.

So what is to be done with all these potentially deadly contaminants invading our home? The answers are relatively simple, yet involved. If you’re looking to buy a new home, check with the home builder to see what kinds of materials were used in the building the kitchen. Keep in mind, generally speaking, materials which off-gas is cheaper, and that the home builder may be reluctant to reveal this information. If you want to get into an older house, or perhaps you’re looking to safeguard the one you already have, determine how long it has been since each of the above items were installed. If it has been several years, you’re likely in the clear. Do keep in mind however, that negative pressure does have the potential to cause materials which have long been installed to off-gas potential deadly fumes. Lastly, schedule a radon inspection for your home. Even if you had one done when you first bought your home, keep in mind that the decay of uranium – the process by which radon is yielded – is natural, and may have only started occurring. Breathe well!

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