Air Purification for Asthmatic Toddler

Checking consumer report ratings and recommendations for air purifiers. For those of you who use them, what do you recommend for home and/or room air purifiers for an asthmatic child?
  3 answers
  • Amanda M Amanda M on Feb 20, 2013
    After hours of reading studies and reports, the bottom line seems to be that air purification is ineffective to help relieve asthma and allergy symptoms. Best defenses are replacing carpet with hard flooring, frequent dusting, and finding a new home for our dog.
  • using a free standing machine is much like using a sponge to dry up the ocean. While they will remove some of the allergens in the air, and testing will prove that. They simply will not remove enough to do any real good. Now for some brighter news that may help. Allergens oftentimes is not the result of what is inside the house, but what is drawn into it from air exchanges as the house breaths. What this means to you is if your house is leaking air any cleaning or filtering of air that you do is simply wasted as that clean air is leaving the house and drawing dirty air in. What you need to do first is to determine what is really happening in the house as far as air movement. Do you have drafty rooms? Do you have high energy bills? Does you home need dusting on a regular basis? Is the dog really the trigger? Or is it the dust coming from outside? If you have a basement that is not finished. Check around the sill areas. This is the top of the foundation walls where the cement stops and the wood begins. Is there any insulation there? If so pull some of it down and check it. Does it appear to have black streaks running through it? IF there is no insulation in those cavities, look for cobwebs, Are they blowing around even if there is no air moving in the basement area? While down in the basement, does it appear that there are more triggers for the asthma then the rest of the house, thus keeping the kids out of that area? What about moisture issues in the basement? High levels? OR really dry? The next place to check is the attic. Go up there early in the am, before ideally the sun comes up. Check along the eaves and were the nails are coming through the roof that hold the shingles on. Do you see moisture, perhaps white ice on the tips of the nails? Is there black stains around the nails where they come through the wood? If so your having issues with air moving from the house to the attic. Pull up some insulation in various areas, perhaps over locations where walls are located below. Do you see black stains in that insulation? What the black stains on the insulation indicate is air moving up and out of the house. As the air, that contains dust is pulled into the house from the basement it is drawn up and out of the attic. I understand it is difficult to visually see this pathway but it is there. As the air moves the insulation picks up this dust and traps it like a filter. This is the reason for the black stains. In a house that suffers from allergy issues in most cases no matter how hard you clean or filter the air, your going to continue to suffer as the amount of air exchanges oftentimes exceeds the ability of the filter system to trap the spores that make people sick. So the goal is to seal the house tighter to prevent as many of these air exchanges as you can. As a BPI professional our goal is to find ways to air seal homes as tight as we can down to a limit of x amount of air exchanges per hour depending upon how many people live in the house. If the house is made to tight air pollution goes up because of the people, not because of poor quality air coming into the house. The trick is to balance this amount. In homes that have people who suffer from allergies such as yours, the ideal condition is to try to stop all the air entering and to supply fresh air through special equipment attached to the heating and cooling equipment which utilizes high efficiency air filtration devices. So here is what you need to do to get a handle on this issue. Check the locations in the basement and the attic if you have access to them. If you see the stains or notice ice in the attic, or even if your home suffers from ice dams in the winter. You need to get a professional energy audit performed. Once the audit pro comes to the house, explain to them about your concerns about the air exchanges going on and ask how you can make the house as tight as possible then using a air to air heat exchanger to supplement the air needed for comfort. The audit should cost around $350 and they should be able using a blower door test determine just how many air exchanges are going on per hour in your home. Normal homes that are fairly leaky have somewhere around eight to 12 exchanges per hour. Meaning all the air in the house is being changed 8 to 12 times per hour. All that air is coming from outside, thus bringing in outside air that is dirty. If you can control this air flow, you may find that the little dust and dander that the dog adds may be low enough as not to really effect the kids. Lastly, I suggest you purchase a book called "My House Is Killing Me" Written by a Jeffery May. It will open your eyes to all sorts of things about indoor air quality that you may not even ever thought about. Amazon sells it.
  • Amanda M Amanda M on Feb 20, 2013
    Woodbridge Environmental, Your response is interesting, engaging, and educational. Thank you so much! I will go over this with my husband and search for the book you suggest.
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