As air quality worldwide deteriorates due to industrial pollution, forest fires, and climate change, many of us are beginning to pay attention to what we breathe. Many of us spend most of our time indoors, or rather in the apartment. Hence, we want to consider the importance of clean air in the apartment and recommend the basic methods of maintaining this cleanliness—the amount of air consumed per day.
How clean should the air in the apartment be?
Fresh air is the basis of well-being and the ability to meet the hygiene requirements for the microclimate in the premises. Clean air should be enriched with oxygen, have no unpleasant odors and toxic effects on the human body.
Clean air has many benefits, including:
- Improving well-being due to overall good health.
- Improving mental health by reducing physical stress and inflammation.
- Better performance when performing complex tasks.
- Reducing work permits due to diseases due to clean air.
- Increased productivity due to increased cognitive ability.
Oxygen is essential for normal brain function. The brain is 2% of the bodyweight while expending 20% of the oxygen entering the body. The brain has a huge ability to accumulate nutrients, which requires a constant supply of large amounts of oxygen.
Chronic hypoxia (lack of oxygen) of the brain in the long term affects the thought process, learning ability, human performance, physical endurance. The longer the time of hypoxia, the higher the level of tissue damage. Thus, for 15 minutes of lack of oxygen die about 95% of brain tissue.
What are the sources of harmful substances and unpleasant odors in the apartment?
Did you know that indoor air is often two to five times more polluted than the outside, and maybe even 100 times worse! What’s this all about? Outdoor air pollutants enter the room and are delayed in the absence of proper ventilation. There are also sources of indoor air pollution, such as the release of gases from building materials, the growth of mold spores, etc. Buildings themselves can also be a source of harmful substances. The building codes of Ukraine specify the parameters of buildings with low pollution. It is meant that the building materials themselves, from which the building is made, should not emit harmful substances, and the amount of these substances should not exceed the permissible norms. The building has a low level of pollution provided that most materials have low pollution levels. Very low-pollution materials are natural traditional materials, such as stone and glass, that are emission-free, and materials that meet the following requirements:
- Emissions of total organic compounds (TVOC) – less than 0.2 mg/(m2 h);
- formaldehyde emissions – less than 0.05 mg/(m2 h);
- ammonia emissions – less than 0.03 mg/(m2 h);
- Emissions of carcinogenic components (IARC) – less than 0.005 mg/(m2 h);
- the material has no odor (the percentage of dissatisfaction with the smell is below 15%).
Types of air pollutants in the apartment
The air in the apartment is saturated with various pollutants, invisible and not even tangible. For example, sources of unpleasant odors are broken down in areas of distribution of this smell, whether it is the kitchen, from which the smell of burning in the apartment can be spread, or the persistent smell of fish, which should be removed, at least it is necessary to process all the surfaces of household chemicals, and then ventilate the room. If you have a pet, the carpet can accumulate cat smell in the apartment and may appear the smell of urine in the apartment, where only the beloved pet learns to his toilet. And so on. There are many such sources, and all of them require a mandatory correct approach to elimination.
If we look in more detail, all pollutants hover in the air and their immeasurable number. All of them can be broken down into particles and gases.
Particles (solid particles):
- Large particles (PM10) – flower pollen, mold spores, parts of insects.
- Small particles (PM2,5) – household dust, dust mites, bacteria, dander pets.
- Ultra-thin particles (UFP) – tobacco smoke, soot, car exhaust, forest fire smoke, viruses.
- Ozone (O3) is toxic to humans.
- Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) causes breathing problems.
- Carbon monoxide (CO) – prevents the absorption of oxygen by blood, causes oxygen starvation.
- Sulfur dioxide (SO2) – causes shortness of breath, chest pain, acute respiratory diseases, leads to irreversible changes in the lungs.
- Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – form smog, pollute outdoor air in cities.
- Formaldehyde – secretes colorless gas, which quickly accumulates and negatively affects the well-being of a person.
More detailed are all the sources of indoor air pollution described in our article “What are the main air pollutants indoors.”
Note! Given all the above types of pollutants, the apartment should always have ventilation since not all pollutants have odors or can be visible as smoke or steam. The pollutant may clearly be intangible, but it has a long-term effect on a person’s well-being and health.
How to remove the bad smell from the apartment
After all of the above, we wonder how to stop the accumulation of dangerous air pollutants in the room and remove the smell in the apartment? Particle filtration technology is not the same as the technology used to filter gases and chemicals.
Particles have a solid or gaseous physical condition. The smallest particle has a diameter of about 0.003 microns, and the gases can be much smaller than this size. Some pollutants, such as tobacco smoke, are made up of particles and gases that form the bad smell of cigarettes in the apartment.
The technologies for removing particles and gases are different. Therefore, even if the only pollutant is cigarette smoke, two technologies are needed to remove cigarette smoke from the air.
First, all rooms should be regularly ventilated. The ventilation system is used for this purpose. This makes it possible to get oxygen-enriched air to dry all rooms, preventing the appearance of mold and the accumulation of harmful toxic substances in the volume of air of the room.
To capture small particles, it is necessary to apply high-performance HEPA filters, both parts of the ventilation plant and be part of the air purifier. To neutralize harmful gases and vapors should be selected from our catalog, air purifiers with a multi-stage filtration system and the presence of a catalysis function for the decomposition of formaldehyde. It is also recommended to use an air purifier with a hydration function. This will allow further protect the airways from the penetration of harmful particles.
If there is mold that forms the smell of mustiness in the apartment, it is necessary to eliminate it. If it is already visible on the walls, you can treat the surface with a mixture of household bleach and water. And constantly ventilate the room. In this case, channel fans are often used.
Pleasant-smelling foods can actively secrete volatile organic compounds. For example, the so-called “smell of a new car” felt when buying it is an example of gas release from internal parts. The study found that inside cars are a cocktail of hundreds of toxic chemicals potentially harmful to your health because you sometimes spend a lot of time behind the wheel. In this case, you can use an air purifier for a car with air filtration technology to capture a wide range of air pollutants in the cabin, including both ultra-small particles (UFP) and car exhaust gases, as well as formaldehyde, benzene, and other volatile organic compounds.
What to consider when organizing ventilation in the apartment
Returning to the question “How to remove the bad smell from the apartment?” the right decision would be to ensure it was well ventilated and necessarily with a regular supply of fresh air.
When arranging ventilation for an apartment, it is best to divide the ventilation system project into three zones:
- The air zone is a “clean area” (all living rooms, food intake rooms, bedrooms, and workrooms).
- Transitional zone (corridors, in-room stairwell).
- The exhaust air zone is a “dirty zone” (all wet rooms, bathrooms, washrooms, dressing rooms, pantries, kitchens, all rooms with the specific operation, for example, smoking rooms, where the smell of tobacco in the apartment appears).
In fulfilling this requirement, a directed airflow is established from the premises with the air, through the intermediate zone to the rooms with the exhaust air. The distribution of indoor air determines the final effect of ventilation and air conditioning systems.
Correct selection of ventilation devices should ensure the maintenance of the required parameters of the microclimate in the serviced area of the premises, provide acoustic comfort, and eliminate the appearance of drafts and stagnant zones – to reduce the risk of the spread of infectious diseases.
What to remove the smell from the apartment depends on the area of spread of this smell. For the air zone, we recommend installing ventilation systems of individual rooms with heat recovery (household recuperators in each living room). With decentralized ventilation installations in each room with fans and heat recovery – there is no network of vent canals, inflow (extract) air is fed directly into the room in which it is located. The external (spent) air is excreted directly through a hole in the wall. The main components: vents with fans, control, heat recovery, filters, a valve of inflow exhaust air on the device, holes for the release of spent air (outdoor air intake) on the device. The advantages of this technique highlight: low design costs, high comfort (the arrival of pre-heated air), the lack of hanging ceilings, do not require central ventilation, fast, simple installation, remote control with installation in the kit. However, it is worth considering that there may be problems with noise insulation (fans indoors), and there is a need to make a thorough hole in the wall.
It is also recommended to install a Prana Air Cleaner Pro air purifier in the living rooms, which can filter particles (especially ultra-small grains) and gases such as nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide; Volatile organic compounds: formaldehyde. To do this, the purifier must have a HEPA H14 filter, a coal filter, a UV lamp for air decontamination, and preferably even hydration function.
For the exhaust air area premises, it is recommended to put a flowing ventilator and local exhaust fans. Directly above the cooking site, it is recommended to put an exhaust umbrella with a slurry to remove the products of gas combustion and fat fumes from cooking. It is also necessary to install the exhaust fan with a separate system and a flowing valve to work efficiently for the exhaust fan. The fact is that if there is no influx, the fan will have nothing to pull out of the room, and in fact, it will work idle. Studies have also shown that even high-quality hoods that bring contaminated air in the kitchen have a “capture rate” of 80% for rear rings, only 60% for ovens, and 50% for front-facing rings. Therefore, the exhaust fan and inflow valve will effectively complement the exhaust umbrella.
Wet areas (bathroom, shower, wash) also require separate exhaust fans to buy into Vencon to pull out moist air and avoid mold. It is advisable to put fans with a timer function. It will allow the fan to work up to 25 minutes after the room ceases to use.
Also in such rooms often accumulates a musty smell from wet towels, robes, rags, etc. Very well removes the wet areas of the warm floor system and towel dryer. Thanks to this, moisture will evaporate even in the most inaccessible places, and the towel dryer removes moisture from wet towels and eliminates the same musty smell in the room.
We have tried to tell you about various options for eliminating unpleasant odors in the apartment, so the more you pay attention to the organization of quality ventilation in the apartment, the more comfortable and healthier your life will be.