In our cities, the air we breathe is not clean. Coal plants and factories belch out harmful CO2, trucks and cars spew filthy exhaust fumes. Many families in our cities rely on coal and wood fires for heating and cooking. On the outskirts of the city, cows and other farm animals add methane to the mix. Sometimes just looking out your window at all the pollution may be enough to make you stay indoors.
The degradation ofindoor air quality can be worse than outdoor pollution. Pollutants can build up more in the much smaller closed-up area of your home. They may not be ventilated to the outside.
You may think indoor air pollution does not apply to you. In addition, you don’t live near a highway, farm or industrial plant. You don’t smoke and you don’t use a wood-burning stove. However, the air you breathe may still be polluted.
Some very surprising sources cause indoor air pollution:
Your house itself.
The land on which your house is constructed.
Furthermore, we spend a large portion of our time indoors. Indoor pollution can then becomes a serious concern.
Side effects of air pollution
Some side effects of indoor pollution is maybe a little worse than the common cold. However, pollution can lead to coma, lung cancer and death if you are exposed over a long period. Continue reading “Air Pollution in Your Home”
Some wildlife can be a real nuisance, even causing damage. Painted finishes are the most susceptible to damage from the acid in their droppings!
The most common wildlife around the home are pigeons, hadedas, sparrows, mynas, snakes, rodents (moles, house mice, tree squirrels) etc.
Think Through the Problem
Preventing and controlling pest damage involves an integrated pest management approach.
Assess the damage.
Check sources of food attracting unwanted wildlife. (Removing this could solve your problem.)
Identify the wildlife species causing the problem (not always an easy task).
Can you restrict access to the identified wildlife?
Can repellents be used, e.g. chemicals, sound barriers, visual barriers?
If you cannot repel unwanted wildlife you may need to remove them. You may need to get special permission to do this. Check with your local authority.
A final consideration: Is it worth the effort?
Living with Wildlife
You may be happy to live with some of the wildlife in your environment. You can manage their access by trimming trees and shrubbery. Thereby fewer birds or snakes will migrate to your environment.
Keep doors and windows in good repair to block access for rodents. Seal eaves, replace rotten boards, cap the chimney, trim overhanging trees, remove bird feeders or use rodent-proof feeders.
Rodents can furthermore be deterred by removing nesting habitat, e.g. logs, rock walls, and stones.
Bats prefer to avoid human contact. They establish roosts in roof spaces and abandoned buildings. Best to seal entry and exit holes after the bats have left. Use materials such as caulking, or wire mesh.
The best way to keep snakes out of your house and yard is to seal cracks and openings around doors, windows, water pipes, roof spaces, and foundations. Removing logs, woodpiles, and high grass and controlling insects and rodents are also helpful will prevent wildlife like snakes from entering your home. In addition, if you come across dangerous snakes, call aprofessional to remove them.
Pigeons, mynas and other birds
Most bird droppings contain uric acid that may cause damage to paint finishes. Dangerous bacteria may also be found in the droppings of pigeons. Some birds carry ticks, fleas and mites. You may want to rid your home of bird infestation.
Stop feeding birds.
Feed pigeons OvoControl P pellets. This is a bird contraceptive.
You may choose to use anti-roosting spikes. However, birds can be injured by the sharp spikes.
Remove any bird feeders.
Use your garden hose to spray the pigeons on a regular basis, scaring them away.
Install a scarecrow.
Sprinkle spices where birds roost. Cayenne pepper, cinnamon and pepper deter pigeons.
Professional exterminators specializing in bird control and removing wildlife.
Biological pollutants can be a problem in your home, causing considerable health problems! They include bacteria, viruses, animal dander, cat saliva, house dust, mites, cockroaches and pollen.
Sources of biological pollutants can be reduced by controlling the humidity level in your home. Therefore, the relative humidity should be kept between 30-50%. Significantly, standing water, water-damaged materials or wet surfaces serve as a breeding ground for moulds, mildews, bacteria and insects. Furthermore, house dust mites, the source of one of the most powerful biological allergens, grow in damp, warm environments.
Biological Pollutants are:
Pollens, from plants.
Viruses are transmitted by people and animals.
Bacteria are carried by people, animals, and soil and plant debris.
Household pets, which are sources of saliva and animal dander (skin flakes)
Droppings and body parts from cockroaches, birds, rodents and other pests or insects.
The protein in urine from rats and mice is a potent allergen. When it dries, it becomes airborne.
Many of these biological contaminants are inhaled.
Locations that facilitate its growth, e.g. moisture, water etc. These include:
Damp or wet areas, e.g. cooling coils, humidifiers, condensate pans or unvented bathrooms facilitate mould growth.
Draperies, bedding, carpet and other areas where dust collects facilitates the growth of biological pollutants.
Health Effects of Biological Pollution
Some trigger allergic reactions, including:
Some types of asthma.
Moulds and mildews release disease-causing toxins. Symptoms include:
shortness of breath,
and digestive problems,
Allergic reactions occur only after repeated exposure to a specific biological allergen. In addition, the reaction may occur immediately on re-exposure. Therefore, if you have mild allergic reactions or no reactions at all, this may suddenly change to highly sensitive to particular allergens.
Humidifier fever is the exposure to toxins from microorganisms that can grow in large building ventilation systems. Furthermore, humidifier fever can also occur in home heating and cooling systems, and humidifiers.
Children, elderly people and people with breathing problems, allergies, and lung disease are particularly susceptible to disease-causing biological agents.
Good housekeeping and maintenance of heating and air conditioning equipment are imperative. Moreover, adequate ventilation and good air distribution are important.
The key to mould control is moisture control. Therefore, if mould is a problem, clean up the mould and get rid of excess water or moisture. In addition, maintain relative humidity between 30% – 60%, to help control mould, dust mites and cockroaches.
Use exhaust fans to vent kitchens and bathrooms. Especially vent clothes dryers outdoors. Consequently, this will reduce moisture build-up from everyday activities.
Ventilate ceiling space to prevent moisture build-up. Keeping humidity levels in these areas below 50% can prevent water condensation on building materials.
If using cool mist or ultrasonic humidifiers, clean appliances according to the manufacturer’s instructions and also refill with fresh water daily. In addition, clean evaporation trays in air conditioners, dehumidifiers and refrigerators frequently.
Thoroughly clean and dry water-damaged carpets and building materials. However, replacement may be preferable. Furthermore, it is difficult to completely rid carpets and building materials of biological pollutants.
Keep the house clean! Obviously, regular cleaning will reduce house dust mites, pollens, animal dander and other allergy-causing agents.
If you are allergic you may choose to use allergen-proof mattress encasements.
Wash bedding in hot (50°C) water and also avoid room furnishings that accumulate dust.
Vacuuming can increase airborne levels of mite allergens and other biological pollutants. Therefore, using vacuums with high-efficiency filters may help.