Do you live at home with a smoker? Maybe grandpa can't give up the habit, and the scent from his cigarette wanders into the house from his apartment now and again. Perhaps you had a New Years' party indoors, and a few of the people attending were smokers?
Whatever the reason for the smoke in your home, it's important to remediate the air in the room. Cigarette smoke might be enticing to smokers, but it's not a healthy substance to have in the air inside your home.
Tobacco products contain a lethal cocktail of chemicals, and prolonged exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke can impact your health. Therefore, it's critical to remediate the air in your home as soon as possible. Carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, formaldehyde, benzene, and hydrogen cyanide are a few examples of dangerous chemicals in cigarette smoke.
This post unpacks everything you need to know about getting rid of smoke indoors.
Some individuals are more sensitive to the effects of secondhand smoke than others. Ideally, it's better to stop all smoking in the home altogether, especially if someone in the family has allergies. Even smoking outdoors results in the particulate matter in the smoke and the chemicals sticking to the walls around the smoking area.
If you leave a freshly painted white room in the hands of smokers that smoke indoors, the ceiling and walls will turn a light yellow in color after a year or so, showing you the impact of the smoke in the room.
Entering a room with smokers in it is a surprise on the senses for anyone that doesn't partake in the habit. The sudden blast of acrid air to the nose is unmistakable, and the impact on your sinus and respiratory system is immediate.
Limiting exposure to secondhand smoke ensure that you don't experience an allergic reaction. However, it's challenging if the problem is in your home. Convincing grandpa to stop smoking indoors is challenging, and he'll quickly grow tired of going outdoors for a puff every 30 minutes.
So, how can we increase the air quality in your home and remove cigarette smoke? We have a few ideas. Some of them are home remedies, and others involve technology. Let's unpack a few strategies for eliminating cigarette smoke from any room.
This first tip is somewhat obvious, but it's effective. Opening all the windows and doors in rooms and letting in the fresh air a few times a day improves the air quality in the room dramatically.
However, the only issue is that it's difficult to do this in the wintertime when it's cold outdoors. It's also challenging during the windy season when dust and pollen are in the air.
Keep a large mixing bowl with baking soda in the room. The baking soda absorbs the smells in the air, cleaning it of the cigarette smoke.
However, there are limitations to this method, and we think you would need large amounts of baking soda to leave the air smelling fresh.
Coffee grounds are another air cleaner that's similar to baking soda. The grounds release an attractive coiffe scent into the air, and it also removes VOCs and cigarette smoke.
Place a few open jars of grounds around the room and leave it for a few hours to see if you notice a difference.
The sharp scent of white spirit vinegar dramatically reduces the smell of cigarette smoke in the air. Leave a few bowls of vinegar around the room, and you'll notice the air quality in the room change fast.
The best way to remove cigarette smoke from the indoor environment is with the help of an air purification system.
Air purifiers come in a range of models and capacities to suit any home or room. From whole-home HVAC solutions to portable models, you can move between rooms; there's an air purifier to suit any budget or air purification requirements.
When selecting a portable purifier system, make sure you choose the right capacity to suit the volume of the room. If you're installing an HVAC, the contractor doing the work will sort that out for you.
The most important part of choosing the right air purification system for filtering cigarette smoke is selecting the right filter for the task. Here are our recommendations for the best filters for your air purification system.
The HEPA filter stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Absorbing filter, and it's the benchmark standard for air purification. HEPA filters have been around since the 1940s, where scientists invented them to capture nuclear material from the air during the development of the first atomic bomb.
HEPA filters are available in commercial and consumer air purification systems. However, only the commercial system has any standards or regulations surrounding the efficacy rating of HEPA filters. The consumer market has no government regulations surrounding HEPA standards.
While there's a lack of government regulation, private regulatory companies fill the gaps. UL is a certification bestowed on consumer air filters meeting the standard for removing 99.97% of all particulate matter from the air or particles down to 0.3-microns in size.
Therefore, if you're purchasing a HEPA filter or air purification product, make sure it comes with the UL seal of approval. Avoid products offering your "HEPA-Like" or "HEPA-Type" filters. These are nothing more than marketing terms, and the filters don't provide the same levels of efficacy as true HEPA filters.
However, the issue with HEPA filters is that they struggle with removing gases from the air. While HEPA effectively removes particles down to 0.3-microns in size, gasses are much finer than that. As a result, the smoke and VOCs in the room pass through the filter, and they keep recirculating.
To remove the smoke from the air entirely, you need the assistance of a carbon scrubber or filter for your HEPA air purification system.
The carbon filter is the optimal air purification system for removing cigarette smoke from the air. This system contains pieces of carbon, often activated charcoal, contained within the filter structure. The air passes through one end of the carbon filter, moving over the activated charcoal.
Charcoal is highly absorbent, with similar properties to those we looked at with the baking soda example earlier. As the air passes over the charcoal, it absorbs into the carbon material, removing the odor and harmful toxins.
These systems are highly effective at removing the smell of cigarette smoke from the room. However, the charcoal filter or scrubber does not remove particulate matter from the air. Therefore, if any mold spores, pollen, or dust enter the room, the carbon filter will not remove them from the air.
Your air purification system requires the assistance of a HEPA filter to remove fine particulate matter from the room. As a result, it's common for manufacturers to combine these two filter technologies for optimal air cleaning.
Hybrid air purification systems involve the use of both HEPA and carbon filters. The system comes with a pre-stage carbon filter scrubbing the odors, smoke, and VOCs from the air before sending it to the HEPA filter to remove the remaining particulate matter.
Carbon filters effectively remove all traces of smoke and VOCs from the air in the room. However, these systems are expensive, and you can expect to pay at least 40% more for a hybrid air purifier over a standard HEPA model.
However, they make the only real option suitable for use in the home. Choose a portable unit or an HVAC – whatever setup suits your budget.
Before you rush out and buy an air purification system for your home, it helps to get a baseline reading of what you're dealing with in the air. Contact MI&T for an air inspection of your home. We'll visit your premises and conduct a room-to-room assessment of the house, giving you a full report on our findings.
At MI&T, we specialize in finding mold anywhere in the home. With smokers and secondhand smoke in the house, it may disguise the scent of mold spores in the air. If mold enters the home and starts to spread, it can cause respiratory problems for the entire family that some might confuse with complications to the smoke exposure.
Prolonged exposure to mold spores in the sir results in severe allergic responses. Some species of mold, such as black mold and aspergillus, cause respiratory problems and lung infections, leading to the need for hospitalization in some people.
Understanding the air quality in your home is critical before your purchase an air purification system. An HVAC or air-con won't get rid of the mold; it just spreads it around the house. You'll need to find and remove the source before you can remediate the air. Contact MI&T and book your air inspection service today.