Owning an older home can bring so many emotions - good and bad!
On the one hand, many people enjoy the charm and character of an older home. From pocket doors to authentic hardwood floors, older homes offer many features that people of any age enjoy.
On the other hand, you’re more likely to wind up with some of the problems that tend to make homeownership troublesome. Upkeep costs, poor circulation, and repairs are all concerns that plague owners and renters of older properties.
One particular issue is the presence of asbestos and how it negatively affects residents. Similarly, mold is more likely to be present in older homes and can pose a myriad of issues. In this article, we’ll look closely at these and other issues related to air quality in old buildings.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with older homes (and in fact, there are many great things), but their age can lead to a few areas of concern. Additionally, the level of upkeep associated with the building can either mitigate problems or contribute to them.
With that in mind, there are several air-related issues specific to older places of residence.
The biggest complaint from people residing in older homes is a “certain smell.” If someone lives in a house for any period of time, the home will have its own scent. These smells can come from cooking, pets, and even unfortunate airborne chemicals.
What’s interesting is that the brain tends to ignore the smells that it’s used to — which is why people often don’t notice the smell of their own pet odors — so when people are constantly immersed in the scent of their own home, it appears not to have a scent at all.
This can lead to unfortunate and even embarrassing encounters for homeowners.
These microscopic fungi can invade homes through various avenues (poor insulation, clothes and hair, your pets) and expose your family to severe health risks.
Mold is troubling for anyone, but particularly for those who are very young, older, or suffer from asthma or allergies. Mold releases spores that can get into the respiratory system and cause serious issues for these sensitive groups — especially if they experience prolonged exposure.
From a scientific perspective, molds like Alternaria, Aspergillus Chaetomium, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Mucor, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys tend to grow in places that are warm, damp, and dark — which is why it thrives in older buildings.
Often, we don’t even realize it’s happening. These spores can lead to unpleasant smells, but more concerning are the wheezing and sneezing symptoms they can cause, as mentioned. Many residents suffer years of allergy, asthma, and breathing problems only to discover that they were living in a place with mold — thus breathing in bad particles every day.
About 40% of asthma episodes are triggered by the household presence of mold, dust mites, or rats. Furthermore, up to 25% of the population has a genetic predisposition that makes them more susceptible to mold illness.
Unfortunately, mold is terrible for air quality and is a significant concern for older buildings. If the building in question has ever had water damage or been exposed to high humidity, there is a greater likelihood of mold. Those statistics mentioned earlier are scary because at least 45 million buildings in the United States still have unhealthy levels of mold — and that’s just what we know. In many cases, building owners aren’t even aware of mold.
For more comprehensive information about the health issues associated with mold, check out this article by Medical News Today.
Now, airborne mold spores need to not only be filtered out but destroyed entirely. Our specialty line of air purifiers uses three levels of filtration to catch and remove mold spores and more.
We offer a range of options that include the Medify Air H13 True HEPA Filters, designed to remove 99.9% of particles down to 0.1 microns. Not only that, the 3 levels of filtration include a carbon filter which is great for removing odors caused by mold.
The supplies used in construction and manufacturing over the past several decades are no longer considered optimal. For example, asbestos was a popular building material in the 1970s, although we now know it causes serious lung issues.
Asbestos was used in everything from drywall to brake pads because it’s resistant to heat, corrosion, and other construction problems. It was largely banned in the US from the 1980s once news of its dangers came out, but you can still find it in some buildings.
The smell is the least of the concerns asbestos poses, as it can create deadly lung complications like lung cancer and mesothelioma. Furthermore, you might find other aging materials like rotting wood or drywall, water-damaged flooring, leaks, lead paint, and all manner of other building supplies that are far past their prime and creating decay and fumes.
The construction industry used asbestos in large amounts for almost two decades. Eventually, experts discovered the adverse health effects of the compound, and the substance was banned.
But, just because people stopped using it, doesn’t mean it’s not still around. According to studies, more than half of U.S. homes were built with asbestos in or around the walls, floorboards, ceiling tiles, roof tiles, insulation, pipes, and electrical wires. For homes that haven’t been refurbished in the past 30 years — with intentional asbestos removal as part of the project — you can assume that asbestos is still present.
There are several serious problems with asbestos that you need to be aware of.
Research has connected it to:
Asbestos-related diseases can take up to two decades to appear, so the people afflicted often have no idea the air they breathe every day is making them sick. Doctors say that the main concerns are the duration and intensity of exposure.
Of course, if you’re concerned about the materials in your home, you can bring in an expert to test. However, an air purifier is an excellent investment for older homes where you’re unsure about your asbestos exposure.
Each of our models removes 99.9% of all airborne particles that can make you sick. In fact, our H13 True HEPA filters are used in every unit and filter particles down to 0.1 microns (most asbestos microns are between 0.7 and 90 microns, so they’ll be easily removed by these filters).
Indoor air purifiers are a must for older homes or apartments. The air quality in your residence is as crucial as any other feature, even if it’s unseen and unnoticed. We’ve talked about how older buildings are more prone to foul smells and aging materials — but the more significant issue is health-related.
Asbestos, mold, dust, and bacteria float around in the air. The older a building is, the more likely these particles plague the air inside. Many of these tiny particles can have serious adverse effects when we inhale them. These conditions range from the flu and allergy problems to asthma, cancer, and other life-threatening diseases.
It’s important to install an air purifier in an older residence immediately. Doing so will improve your:
And so much more.
In particular, a high-quality air purifier can help with the following:
Medify offers the best and most innovative air purifiers on the market. Designed with mold, asbestos, and other illness-causing particles in mind, our products come with a lifetime warranty. We offer a wide range of purifies and filters, each one blending style and technology with power for long-term air cleaning. With so many units to choose from, there is an option for every room size in your house (up to 5,000 sq. feet).
We recommend larger spaces have an air purifier in each room to maximize results. Our three-layer filtration goes beyond what is standard in the industry, and users love the long filter life (3,000 hours for large units, 2500 for smaller ones) along with easy filter replacement.
We are committed to offering the best quality air purifiers at our price point. We encourage you to see what our customers have to say or reach out to one of our experts for a consultation on your unique needs.
NOTE: This content offers general information pertaining to Medify only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing health issues, you should always seek guidance from a medical professional. Never disregard medical advice due to something you read in this blog or any other.