Photo supplied
PROTECTION: Ultra-violet light can destroy mould and is available in Mitsubishi air conditioning systems.
Photo supplied PROTECTION: Ultra-violet light can destroy mould and is available in Mitsubishi air conditioning systems.

Home sweet home isn’t so sweet when poor air quality affects your health.

And since air quality inside our homes is often worse than the air outside, this happens more frequently than many people realize.

Poor air quality inside the home can be caused by chemical vapours from things such as carpets and furniture, and from dust, mould (often made worse by Bermuda’s humid climate) and animal dander.

Common physical signs of poor indoor air quality include headaches, fatigue, congestion, coughing and sneezing, dizziness, nausea and for allergy and asthma sufferers, worsening symptoms.

Filtration 

And that is a big concern. According to Open Airways, Bermuda has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world, affecting 9,000 people.

It is the most common long-term condition on the island and Bermuda Hospitals Board reports that up to 2,000 people a year are treated in Accident & Emergency at KEMH (King Edward VII Memorial Hospital) for breathing difficulties related to asthma.

The airways in a person with asthma are sensitive and react to a variety of ‘triggers’.

This can vary from person to person but they include infections, exercise, weather, and allergens such as dust, dust mites, pollens, pets and mould spores.

Thousands of us also suffer from allergies, an abnormal response of the immune system, which can be worsened by the same allergens, many of which are regularly found in our homes.

So many of us suffer from reactions to the air at home, but this can be managed by addressing the source of the trigger or allergen, and through the effective use of filtration and ventilation.

Have carpets and rugs professionally cleaned a few times a year so that mould and dust don’t settle on the fibres.

Keep the rest of your house clean, especially the shelves and closets where dust and mould can linger. Clean under beds regularly and air out bedding.

Filtering the air in your home to remove airborne particles and contaminants is also a significant step in reducing asthma symptoms and allergic reactions.

Fortunately this is easy; most homes in Bermuda use air conditioning to keep the environment cool and to reduce humidity. Many of today’s air conditioning systems provide advanced filtration systems.

Popular options, such as Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating Systems, offer sophisticated multi-stage filter systems to trap dust, pollen, mites and other particles, and to reduce germs, bacteria and viruses. These units use continuous fan operation which ensures good air circulation and ventilation.

Beyond the filter, air conditioning units can attract and grow moulds on and near the cooling coils and blowers inside the machine.

Ultra-violet light, a well-proven weapon against germs and moulds, is available in Mitsubishi split air conditioning systems.

This adds an additional layer of protection against allergens and asthma-inducing particles, by attacking them in these hard to reach places, so all of the air coming out of your air conditioner and heating system is clean and healthy.

However, your system will only keep your air clean if you keep it clean.

Again, this is easy with the popular models in Bermuda, such as the Mr Slim split units, because they feature easy-to-clean filters.

Clean once a month and service as recommended and these systems will keep you breathing easy for years.

Managing the air quality in your home to reduce allergic reactions and asthma symptoms is easy with today’s technology and a few simple steps, and it can make time spent at home significantly more comfortable, healthy — and sweet, as it should be.

Stephen Savage is the sales and marketing manager at Efftech. He has more than 23 years’ experience in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and in refrigeration. For more information call 249-3570 or e-mail ssavage@efftech.bm.