Many years ago, I realized that I was slightly allergic to my beloved (i.e. not-going-anywhere) cat. I was also quite familiar the statistic from the Environmental Protection Agency that estimates people spend 90 percent of their time indoors, and that indoor air quality can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. With three young children to protect from a slew of nasty air pollutants and super itchy eyes, I started researching air purifiers and discovered the incredible Austin Air.
I bought two Austin Air HealthMate Jr. units to help with my cat allergy and to protect my kids from everything from mold spores to dust mite feces (yuck!) to a host of gases, vapors, and fumes that might be swimming around in my apartment. Let’s face it, I can control what kind of cleaning products I use, but I don’t have any say in what my neighbors use.
The Austin Air filters use a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filtration system which removes 99.97% of all airborne particulate matter (larger than 0.3 microns) while eliminating more than 3,000 toxic gases and odors. The filters have a five-year lifespan, so unless you are doing any kind of renovation, you only need to change them once every five years
I have one purifier in my children’s room, and I leave another one on in my room. My eyes are better. However, because the cat refuses to sleep anywhere else besides my face, I might be fighting a losing battle. (Just noticed that Austin Air now has a special Pet Machine unit. Might have to consider it – cat is still pretty beloved). But I do know that whenever my neighbors have done any construction work, I’ve run the machines 24-7 and have not smelled anything.
Here’s my overall strategy for keeping my indoor air clean:
- Remove toxins by using green cleaning products, avoiding pesticides, and choosing no-VOC paints.
- Open windows to air out my apartment as often as possible. (Granted, this has been harder to do with the recent snowstorms.)
- Use my air purifiers while we are sleeping and any other times that I feel are necessary.
Francesca Olivieri is co-founder of sage baby, an online eco-friendly baby store offering everything from organic clothes and skin care to furniture. She also runs a green consulting business; blogs for The Family Groove and Scenic Hudson; and contributes to Daily Candy Kids, YogaCity, Citiscoop, and NRDC’s Simple Steps. Please visit her website at FrancescaOlivieri.com.