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Breathe Easier with HEPA Filters

By Ashley Gudgel, Executive Director of BreatheAmerica Albuquerque

Most people take care to avoid outdoor air pollutants, but thinking your home is an oasis of clean air is a mistake. We’re not saying this to scare you, but to bring to your attention that indoor air quality is something that requires your attention and efforts to monitor. Indoor air pollution is one of the top five environmental health risks, and usually cause some discomfort, like a runny or stuffy nose and headaches. Luckily, there are several steps you can take to reduce your indoor air pollutants and breathe a little easier.

Ventilate your home. If your home is full of harmful air pollutants, one way to remove them is by filling your home with fresh air, displacing polluted air. In most cases this is sufficient to remove pollutants and alleviate any discomfort associated with them, but just opening your windows doesn’t mean that you’ll have a decent air exchange. Air needs to be moving. Make sure you have fans going or some type of mechanical ventilation in place to move damp or polluted air out and fresh air in. However, depending on the weather conditions or the outdoor air quality, that may not be the best method for your long-term needs. You may need to clean the air in your home.

Trap indoor air pollutants with air cleaning devices such as HEPA filters. HEPA, or high efficiency particulate air, is a type of filter that is approved by the United States Department of Energy and certified to remove 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns. These types of filters are commonly used in hospitals for active airborne diseases like Tuberculosis, so you can be certain that placing these in your home will keep your indoor air clean. You should be able to upgrade your current filtration system to an HEPA filter the next time you change your filters, so contact your local HVAC company to find the sizes you need for your home.

Clean air in specific rooms. If you don’t have a central HVAC system, then cleaning air in specific rooms of your home can still remove harmful pollutants from your home. If you have a particularly high-traffic area, or if someone in your home is particularly sensitive to allergens or air pollutants, a single-room air purifier using an HEPA filter may be the answer. Unlike some other methods of air purification, HEPA filters don’t produce harmful by-products during their operation.

Make your vacuum work double duty. More than just cleaning your carpets and floors, finding a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filtration system can help remove common triggers for allergy and asthma sufferers in your home. When searching for an HEPA vacuum, make sure you’re getting one labeled “Sealed-HEPA” or “True-HEPA” to make sure that you’re getting a vacuum strong enough to really remove all the particles. Avoid vacuum cleaners labeled “HEPA-like”, because they’ll get the floors clean without any of the good filtration benefits of a true HEPA filtered cleaner.

If you or a loved one is suffering from allergy or asthma symptoms, removing potentially harmful air pollutants is a great start, but not a long-term solution. Visit one of our BreatheAmerica clinics to find a cure for even your worst symptoms.