Bringing Light And Air To Old-School Properties
Keeping an older home clean and welcoming.
It might surprise you, but air quality is actually much worse indoors than it is outside. According to the EPA, this factor becomes even more pronounced in older properties, where the natural degradation of materials and chemicals used in the decoration and building process contribute to poor quality air. In many of these properties it’s also difficult to make wide-scale adjustments, such as putting larger windows in or more comprehensive air conditioning systems. With that in mind, it falls to a little creativity - and cleaning - to bring the air and light into a property and improve every breath.
Understanding the challenge
The cleanliness of a property can have a huge impact on its air quality. The buildup of detritus and dirt in the open spaces and ventilation areas of your property can lead to the absorption of sunlight, the muddying of air, and the overall degradation of air quality. This is especially true in Philadelphia. According to the Inquirer, census data shows that the majority of Philly homes were built before 1950 - and, therefore, way before many safety standards. It wasn’t until the 1970s that toxic substances such as asbestos were banned in construction.
Other particulates, like animal dander, will also contribute to this picture. As the American Lung Association highlights, it’s this mix of natural, organic and human waste that build up to cause respiratory problems. What’s more, the presence of dust in the air can actively block sunlight, and impair airflow - an important factor in a clean home, as it plays an active role in destroying harmful organisms and keeping the home clean.
Getting down to it
The most important step you can take in combating this effect is cleaning. Regular dusting and sanitization is a must-have first step. For businesses, this will entail recruiting a janitor - but it’s worth it. On top of that, it’s important to safeguard against further dust buildup, such as through waxing floors and restoring carpet pile. This will help to keep any dustfall and dirt superficial, and make it easy to clean up.
Consider every nook and cranny of the property. It’s those darkened corners that keep buildups of condensed particulates, and the windows can be a common culprit, too, retaining dust buildup on their veneers that then make it back into the room from airflow and sunlight. Only through undertaking a deep clean, and really getting in to every bit of the home, will you find a base from which to build.
Making the best
Assuming your outdoor air quality is safe, then the best way to start getting air circulating round the property is simple - open a window. Expensive and sophisticated HVAC systems have a role to play, but the most simple method is the best. It’s also a good excuse to look at getting your windows cleaned, as you’ll want to make full use of them if you’re taking the effort to let the air and sunshine in.
Even small openings can be effective - the CDC recommends opening a window just a crack in winter to allow cool airflow, and in the summer the same, in order to avoid overheating a room if heat from the outside flows in. For homes, this will make you healthy and more comfortable. For businesses, it improves the working environment and makes a more pleasant experience for guests.
Using clever technology
There are, of course, technological tools that can be used to bridge the gap. These are especially useful in older buildings, and in properties where tenants have allergic problems - when this is the case, nothing except absolute cleanliness from dust will do. One simple device is a mirror - when pointed against a sun-facing window, you can reflect the warmth around the home and easily improve the impact of sunlight.
When it comes to air quality, consumer and business dehumidifiers have been commonplace for a few years now, and are a simple and effective way to clean air. They can also simplify the cleaning process by attracting and collecting dust in one place, which can then be removed and vacuumed - it must be done regularly, however. Dehumidifiers that use a refrigerator style system will also keep rooms cool. More expensive, but just as effective, are air scrubbers, like the Dyson which has become synonymous with the clean air ideal.
However, these devices are not always needed. The best way to improve air quality, maximize ventilation, and get a little sun into your property is through keeping it simple. Clean the house thoroughly to remove dust from the air; open windows to let the air in and help it circulate; and open those curtains and blinds to allow the sun to clean the room for you and, likely, lift your mood. For specialist situations there are further steps to take, but always stay focused on the goal.
Image source Unsplash