Roundup: Battling Poor Indoor/Outdoor Air Quality

Roundup: Battling Poor Indoor/Outdoor Air Quality

Gregory Han
Nov 17, 2008

What a horrible weekend it has been down here in the Los Angeles. Our eyes have been watering, our throats burning and there's headaches galore being handed out thanks to all the ember and smoke choking us, forcing everyone to stay indoors when we all should have been at the beach enjoying the summertime temperatures in November. We're fortunate enough to have an industrial strength air purifier in the house, but it got us thinking about how to battle air pollution from entering into your home during these trying times...

[Photo: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times]

First off, here's some common sense tips to consider following the next few days before an onshore flow comes in to ease these Santa Ana conditions and improve air quality inside and out:

Some other tips from Los Angeles County officials to help cope with bad air:

  • Avoid unnecessary outdoor activity.
  • Do not use fireplaces, candles and vacuums.
  • When indoors, keep windows and doors closed. Air conditioners can remove particles from the air, but if residents do not have an air-conditioning unit and are getting too hot, they should consider going somewhere with air conditioning. The county warns residents not to use air conditioners that draw in air only from the outside and do not have a recirculating option.

Areas directly impacted today include:

  • Corona/Norco Area;
  • Chino Hills area
  • Pomona/Walnut Valley
  • Orange County
  • San Fernando Valley
  • portions of the San Gabriel Mountains near the Sayre Fire
  • portions of the Santa Clarita Valley
  • portions of Los Angeles County, including downtown, coastal areas, the Long Beach area and the west and south San Gabriel Valley.

For more tips on avoiding health impacts from the smoke, see //www.aqmd.gov/pubinfo/factsheets.htm.

Look to investing in a serious air purifier for any room you spend any extended time within, most notably the bedroom. We can't recommend the IQAir HealthPro Plus enough; as my girlfriend put it this weekend as she suffered each time she stepped outside, "...that machine changed my life. If it broke tomorrow, I'd buy a new one." We think an additional air purifier in our bedroom would help (we move the IQAir around), but wished they'd design more better looking devices like this one that doubles up as a trash can.

Seal your windows...this prevents not only pollution, but also drafts from blowing in. Our friends at AT Chicago did a great list of 5 Ways to Insulate Your Windows for Winter to refer to.

Replace your filters and look/cover for draft sources coming into the home.

Look to add a humidifier, which helps weigh down offending particles from reaching your sensitive air passages. Maxwell recommends the Bionaire Ultrasonic Personal Humidifier.

If you find yourself needing to vacuum, remember that a true HEPA vac is the only one advisable to use if you're sensitive to allergies. Our favourite (and one we don't own sadly) is the Miele Callisto model, which puts out zero particles and leaves your interior air cleaner, rather than dirtier, compared to a typical vac.

A fairly affordable air quality aid is adding a AC/furnace filter if you have to use a centralized air conditioner. It's hot out there, and it's bad enough to be suffering poor air quality alongside sitting inside a hot house. These affordable filters help remove some of the allergens and particles that enter the home via the ducts.

Close your chimneys. Polluted air can enter easily via the chimney. We've seen embers float down before in past fires.

Add some household plants...they're natures air purifier and arguably improve the decor with some natural colour! Here are the 10 Best Plants for Apartments you might want to consider.

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