Thursday October 19 2017

Keep your indoors fresh and aerated

 

By Phionah Nassanga

Vick Nakirijja, a businesswoman remembers the day she almost lost her life. “I left a kettle boiling as I went bed. A few hours into the night, I was awoken by smoke coming from the kitchen. The water in the kettle had dried up and caused it to burn. I struggled to reach my bedroom windows and when I did, there was immediate relief,” she narrates.
We tend to think that air pollution only happens outside the house.

The truth is, the air indoors is more toxic to our health especially since it is concentrated indoors
Rashid Senyonjo, a structural engineer, says the quality of air in and out of your house can be determined by positioning the house in the right direction. This follows the principal of setting the house where the sun rises and the direction of the wind.
“This is why a well-placed house does not need air conditioners. It is, therefore, best to consult your architect and engineer on the above factors before construction begins,” Senyonjo advises.

Windows
Ibrahim Ssebaduka, the director Dean Constructions, says windows are one of the known ways one can improve the quality of air in the house. This is why they are opened at different intervals in the morning, afternoon and evening depending on the weather.
However, the size of the windows will determine the quality of air one receives.
“The recommended standard window is 90 meters from the ground. As well, one can opt to have them as low as the floor level other than opting for small sized windows,’’ says Ssebaduka.
As home owners are opting for self contained houses, having, the toilet, bathroom and kitchen under one roof can cause more pollution.
He recommends the use of Pompeii window grates, especially in the kitchen, to get rid of smoke and other gases.

Ventilation
Proper ventilation helps improve indoor air quality. Ventilation can control indoor humidity and airborne contaminants, both of which either contribute to or act as health hazards.
Two types of ventilation can help control harmful air contaminants and humidity: spot ventilation and dilution ventilation.

Spot ventilation. This draws air from a particular location such as bathroom and kitchen) and exhausts it to the outside. Exterior exhaust fans should be installed in all bathrooms and kitchens. These fans remove humidity and carbon monoxide. The most effective fans are quiet and durable. A good rule of thumb is to run a bathroom fan for about 45 minutes after a shower.

Dilution ventilation
This addresses the entire living space. Air cleaning occurs when particulates are filtered and when air is dehumidified to remove moisture. The goal is to provide sufficient changes to ensure a healthy environment.
“The cleanness of the ventilators is very important. Blocked vents will not allow easy flow of air to and from your house,” Senyonjo says.
High ceiling
Giving the house nice headroom, which is the distance from the floor to the ceiling, can improve the quality of indoor air since it creates enough space. “One can play around with height from 10*10ft,12*12ft,19*19ft. However, 10ft is the most preferable and commonly used,’’ says senyonjo.

Plants
Some houseplants can be used to eliminate toxic agents such as benzene from indoor air. In a combined effort, their foliage and roots absorb the toxins. Note that these plants’ pollutant removal rate is small, which means there’s no way they could capture all the pollution. Ethel Nambowa, a managing director at Green gardeners, says the English ivy, snake plant and peace lily are some of the recommended nature plants.
“However, the rate at which they do away with toxics from indoors is small, so do not expect your potted plants to act as full-scale air filters for your home,’’ she advises.

Professional cleaning
Although one may keep the home well ventilated by leaving the windows open and thoroughly cleaning everywhere, carpets are also a major source of persistent and dangerous spores.
“Once in a while, hire a professional cleaner to deep clean the carpets and the rest of the furniture,’’ says Joseph Ddungu Kato of Kawa interiors.

Mopping floors
Another simple, effective method of improving air quality, the regular mopping of floors ensures that one is not breathing in harmful bacteria that may have built up over time.
“Mop your house floors thoroughly everyday but once in a while remove all furniture and beds and ensure everything is cleaned,” says Ssebaduka.

Proper ventilation helps improve indoor air quality. Ventilation can control indoor humidity and airborne contaminants, both of which either contribute to or act as health hazards.
Two types of ventilation can help control harmful air contaminants and humidity: spot ventilation and dilution ventilation.

Spot ventilation. This draws air from a particular location such as bathroom and kitchen) and exhausts it to the outside. Exterior exhaust fans should be installed in all bathrooms and kitchens. These fans remove humidity and carbon monoxide. The most effective fans are quiet and durable. A good rule of thumb is to run a bathroom fan for about 45 minutes after a shower.

Caution
• Do not clutter your home. Have few pieces that bring out your style and beauty of your home.
• Open doors and windows when temperature and humidity allow, but be mindful of seasonal allergens outside.
• Fuel burning furnaces, fireplaces, heaters, range tops, exhaust fans and other appliances should be sent to the outside well away from windows and heating ventilation and air conditioning.
• The Peace lily, English ivy, snake plant are effective at filtering out ammonia. However, one has to keep in mind that these plants also have toxic leaves that are not suitable for households with children.
• Do not water plants too much to avoid mold.

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