AirKing Lasko B-Air Blue-dri

Is the Indoor Air Safe Here?

When you walk into a room, office, business or a home do you ever stop and think – is the indoor air safe here. Four years ago our guess is that maybe one in a thousand people would ask that question. Now it might be one out of ten or more. The fact that more people are asking that question is a good thing to our overall health and well-being, the challenge is how do we tell if it is safe or not?

To answer that question we have to look at it a few different ways. There is a scientific method that tests the air for contaminates. Some of these can be fairly low tech/low cost, while others cost a significant amount. One that has gained a lot of popularity is a CO2 monitor. As it’s name suggests, it tells you the level of CO2 in the space at any given time. The lower cost ones just tell you the amount of CO2 at the time of the reading, more expensive ones can actually take multiple reading over the course of time so you can track it and get an average. Why is CO2 important? Since CO2 is what we exhale a monitor can tell us if proper ventilation or a stream of fresh air is coming into the space to dilute the air. This in theory would also give us an indication if other contaminates or viruses are hanging around in the air. For instance: if you are in a room with 20 other people and you get a CO2 reading of say 1000, you know that the room is not ventilated very well and all kinds of “bad” things could be lingering in the air. Now open a window or turn on a ventilation fan and you should see that number drop significantly. The theory being if the CO2 is leaving the room or being diluted so will all those “bad” things as well.

Now we know that most people are not going to walk around taking CO2 readings, especially if you were invited as dinner guests. Talk about awkward. So what are other indicators of poor indoor air quality? Here are a few things to look for or be aware of:

  1. What is the size of the room and how many people are in the room – does it feel like you are packed in like sardines?
  2. Are there lingering odors (good or bad)? If so, this indicates that the room may not have a good flow of air.
  3. Do you see any type of air filtration system or an air purifier in the room? Some of these are easy to see, others are a little more difficult as they might be working behind the scenes like a ventilation fan or fresh air intake system.
  4. Are there windows in the room and are they open? Better yet, is there a window fan in them?

Our hope is this gives you a few simple points to help answer the question – is the indoor air safe in the place I am entering. There are a host of other things like asking about the HVAC air filters, what the air exchange rate for the builder is, what is the fresh air mixture for the HVAC and so on. These require a bit more involvement and can not be answered by simply walking into a location and looking around.

While we might not be able to identify a 100% safe location, we can utilize these tips to help reduce risk. The common theme in all of this is that the more ventilation, filtration and fresh air coming into a location, the better. Stagnant, poorly ventilated areas are going to be the highest risk.

For more information about indoor air quality read our other blog posts. For information regarding Air King exhaust fan and fresh air intake solutions click on the links in the menu at the top of the page.

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