Since people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, it’s important to make sure the inside air you breathe is safe and circulating, say experts with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which offer ways to identify air quality problems.
Hazardous indoor air quality can be caused by smoke and scents of cigarettes, cooking or household cleaning products that linger without proper ventilation.
High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants, says the EPA.
The young, elderly and chronically ill, especially those suffering from respiratory or cardiovascular disease, are most susceptible to the effects of indoor air pollution, according to the agency.
Outdoor contaminants such as pollen, dander and bacteria can be brought into a home by family members or pets. And everyone’s aware of seasonal allergies.
Smoke from wildfires is harmful to breathe. View interactive maps of Oregon air quality at oregonsmoke.blogspot.com.
Experts say if pollutants are in the air, close any openings you can — windows, outside doors, chimney flues — and cover cracks that let air leak in. Turn off anything that draws in outside air, like a fresh air system, dryer or portable air conditioner with a hose vented out a window.
You can run your A/C if it is not pulling air from outside. Set the fan to “on,” rather than “auto” to ensure the fan is constantly circulating and filtering air.
Avoid activities that increase indoor pollution such as smoking, burning candles or firewood in the fireplace, boiling a pot of water on the stove with essential oils, or using a vacuum that doesn’t have a high efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filter, say EPA experts
Check your filters and change or clean them when dirty. Once a filter is full, it no longer traps particulates.
Health experts and others recommend using only HEPA filters, which force air through a fine mesh and trap particles in central heating, ventilation, cooling and air (HVAC) systems.
Here are portable air conditioners for sale, including window and floor models, as well as fans and air purifiers. Unsure what you need? The Home Depot explains the different types of air conditioners.
No one wants to sweat getting to the store and finding shelves empty. Retailers make it easy for you to buy online and pick up curbside, which lets you stay cool in your car.
Air conditioners like July.ac are sold out but you can give them your email and they’ll alert you when more of the the company’s window models that use two-thirds less emissions and 10% less energy used when compared to traditional window air conditioners are available.
Do you know the cooling capacity you’ll need based on the room size? Find out with the Home Depot’s air condition calculator.
Standing air conditioner
Portable, freestanding air conditioners are installed semi-permanently inside a room or space and must be near a window for exhaust setup. They are best for cooling single rooms, apartments and condos or adding supplementary cooling in computer and server rooms.
Toshiba 10,000 BTU, 115-volt Wi-Fi portable air conditioner ($379 at the Home Depot) cools and dehumidifies a room up to 300 square feet. Control it by remote or start it up on your way home using your smartphone, Alexa or Google Assistant. See all air conditioners at Home Depot
GE 8,500-BTU, 115-volt portable air conditioner ($479 at Lowe’s) has a cooling capacity for small rooms up to 350 square feet. There is a built-in air conditioning, three fan speeds and dehumidifying capabilities. See all air conditioners at Lowe’s
Window air conditioner
Window air conditioners install inside standard vertical sash or horizontal sliding windows to provide dedicated or supplementary cooling for up to two rooms.
Windmill Air Conditioner’s smart window A/C unit ($395) was designed to be installed in windows that slide up and down and are in good condition.
LG Electronics 14,000 BTU, 115-V dual inverter smart window air conditioner ($549 at the Home Depot) cools medium to large rooms up to 800 square feet. The unit has ultra-quiet LoDecibel and saves up to 25% on energy usage with its dual inverter technology. It is Wi-Fi enabled and there is a remote. See all air conditioners at Home Depot
Perfect Aire 8,000 BTU, 115-volt window air conditioner with a remote ($319.99 at Ace Hardware) with a remote control and three speeds for both cool and fan to cool a room up to 350 square feet. See all air coolers at Ace Hardware
Evaporative coolers and more
Fans do not cool air but by blowing air around, they make it easier for the air to evaporate sweat from your skin and reduce body heat.
Lasko Xtra Air, 48 inch oscillating tower fan with a nighttime setting and remote control is $79.98 at the Home Depot. See all fans at Home Depot including floor fans, box fans, tower fans, pedestal fans, industrial fans, wall-mounted fans, desk fans, hand-held fans, misting fans and ceiling fans
Lasko portable electric 42-inch oscillating tower fan ($63.69 at Amazon) with nighttime setting, timer and remote control for a bedroom or home office. There are 25,940 positive ratings. See all fans at Amazon
Some air purifier have cooling features. All should monitor the air quality in the room and adjust the fan speed when needed.
A screen on the front of the Dyson Pure Cool and the Dyson Pure Hot+Cool shows when there is a spike in pollutants, even if it’s from cooking. The machines will automatically draw in more air and push out more clean air.
Dyson cooling air purifiers, air purifiers with humidifiers and ones with heaters are certified asthma and allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. See all of Dyson’s air treatment towers that purify, humidify, heat and cool air.
Here are other air purifiers:
- Allergy Buyers Club has air purifiers on sale and free shipping. Save 42% off the UP3000 UltraPure Air Cleaner (was $1,299, now $749).
- HoMedics is having a sale on air purifiers. The TotalClean Desktop Air Purifier ($99; was $119.99) has 360-degree HEPA-type filtration that removes up to 99.9% of airborne allergens as small as 2 microns (HEPA-type filteres haven’t been certified to meet the HEPA standard).
- Walmart has the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier with True HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorbing) filters ($229.99 in black or $208.99 in white). The air purifier covers 361 square feet and captures and reduces up to 99.97% of 0.3 micron particles in the air, including pollen, pollutants and other allergens. It also reduces volatile organic compounds and odors.
- See more Coway air purifiers for the home at Amazon and at CowayMega.com, which has introduced the sleek, advanced Coway Airmega 250 ($399) with a three-stage filtration system for spaces up to 930 square feet.
- Winix PlasmaWave 5300-2 air purifier has true HEPA filters is available through many sellers: $157.43, was $199.95 at Sylvane; $145.99, was $199.99 at Amazon; and $149.99 at the Home Depot.
An air monitor and air purifier need replacement filters to work efficiently.
Portable air cleaners, also known as air purifiers or air sanitizers, are designed to filter the air in a single room or area. Central furnace or HVAC filters clean air throughout a home.
Indoor air quality monitors are designed to alert you to contaminants that affect the air you breathe so you can fix the problem.
EG Air Quality monitor with Wi-Fi, formaldehyde detector, temperature and humidity meter, pollution tester that can detect PM2.5/PM10/PM1.0 micron dust and volatile organic compounds is $104.76 at Amazon.
Kaiterra Laser Egg+ C02 ($179.99) has an app that alerts you as the Wi-fi enabled device tracks major pollutants and factors that affect indoor air quality, including PM2.5 (fine dust), CO2, temperature, and humidity.
The Temtop M10 air quality monitor ($89.99) measures PM2.5 (microscopic atmospheric particulate matter), HCHO (Formaldehyde), TVOC (total volatile organic compounds) and the AQI (air quality index).
To check the air quality in your area, visit IQair.com. Or visit the EPA’s air quality website, airnow.gov, and type in your city or ZIP code. View interactive maps at the state’s web page, oregonsmoke.blogspot.com, or the EPA’s web page, fire.airnow.gov.
— Janet Eastman | 503-294-4072