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Frequently Asked Questions About Home/Indoor Air Quality

What are possible signs of home indoor air quality problems?

Possible signs of home indoor air quality problems are:
  • Unusual and noticeable odors, stale or stuffy air
  • Noticeable lack of air movement
  • Dirty or faulty central heating or air conditioning equipment
  • Damaged flue pipes or chimneys
  • Unvented combustion air sources for fossil fuel appliances
  • Excessive humidity
  • Tightly constructed or remodeled home
  • Presence of molds and mildew
  • Health reactions after remodeling, weathering, using new furniture, use of household or hobby products, or moving into a new home
  • Feeling noticeably healthier outside the home

What affect does environmental tobacco smoke have on children?

Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETC), also known as second hand smoke or passive smoke, is considered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be a serious health hazard to children, contributing to between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections a year. These infections result in 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations each year. Asthmatic children are particularly at risk . The EPA estimates that one million asthmatic children have their condition made worse by exposure to ETS.

How can I lessen exposure to environmental tobacco smoke?

  • Don't smoke in your house or permit others to do so.
  • Don't smoke if children are present. Their lungs are very susceptible to smoke.
  • Organizations dealing with children should have a smoking policy that effectively protects children from exposure to ETS.
  • Every company should have a smoking policy that effectively protects non-smokers from involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke.
  • Air from smoking rooms should be directly exhausted to the outside by an exhaust fan.
  • Air from the smoking room should not be recirculated to other parts of the building.

Can the use of portable humidifiers and vaporizers at home cause any health problems?

Use of a humidifier or vaporizer can increase dust mite and mold growth. Frequent humidification is not recommended for those who are allergic to these antigens. Routine cleaning of the humidifier or vaporizer is very important, as anyone can develop a lung condition known as Humidifier Lung (Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis).
How should I clean my portable humidifier or vaporizer at home?

Daily:

  • Empty reservoir
  • Wash reservoir completely with hot soapy water
  • Rinse well under running tap water. Be careful that no water gets into the motor
  • Fill reservoir to appropriate level. Distilled water is preferable, but tap water may be used

Weekly:

  • Empty reservoir
  • Wash reservoir completely with hot soapy water
  • Add two cups white vinegar and enough water to enable the vaporizer to create a mist. Allow to run 30 minutes in a well-ventilated area
  • Rinse well
  • Operate for three minutes with clean tap water
  • Pour out tap water and fill to appropriate level. Distilled water is preferable, but tap water may be used
  • When the water level is low, always discard water remaining in the humidifier before refilling with distilled water!