Keep it CLEAN

Air and wa­ter pu­rifi­ca­tion sys­tems for the home can help over­all health

201 Health - - Joint Health - WRIT­TEN BY JENNIFER L. NEL­SON

“Whether you’re ad­just­ing the ther­mo­stat to cool down or warm up, all of the air pass­ing through that fil­ter will be cap­tur­ing those dust mites and other al­ler­gens that may be in the air.”

CHRIS FER­RARA, GEN­ERAL MAN­AGER OF O’NEILL CON­TRACT­ING, BER­GEN­FIELD

When it comes to a strong, healthy im­mune sys­tem, eat­ing fruits and veg­gies or hit­ting the gym a few times a week isn’t al­ways enough – and nei­ther is an ad­dic­tion to hand san­i­tizer. There might be an even eas­ier way to im­pact your health, and it all starts right in­side your home, with the wa­ter you drink and the air you breathe ev­ery sin­gle day..

That’s why many ex­perts say one of your first lines of de­fense against ill­ness can be pu­rifi­ca­tion sys­tems for the air and wa­ter in your home – and the best news of all is that you can start mak­ing a big dif­fer­ence in your health right away.

BREATHE RIGHT

Ac­cord­ing to Chris Fer­rara, gen­eral man­ager of O’Neill Con­tract­ing, a heat­ing, cool­ing and in­door air qual­ity con­trac­tor in Ber­gen­field, it has only been in the past three or four decades that the ben­e­fits of con­trol­ling your in­door air qual­ity have be­come well known. Since that time, air-fil­tra­tion sys­tems have be­come in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar for both com­mer­cial build­ings and pri­vate res­i­dences, and they’re widely used in hos­pi­tals.

“Even in the clean­est en­vi­ron­ment,” Fer­rara says, “you can still have al­ler­gens, dust mites and other things that need to be con­trolled, es­pe­cially now with all of the changes to our en­vi­ron­ment.”

In­deed, par­tic­u­late mat­ter that could be cir­cu­lat­ing through­out your home in­cludes ev­ery­thing from pet dan­der and pollen to molds and bac­te­ria. And gaseous pol­lu­tants can spring from any num­ber of sources: com­bus­tion pro­cesses in ap­pli­ances; to­bacco smoke; build­ing ma­te­ri­als; fur­nish­ings; or the use of prod­ucts like ad­he­sives, var­nishes, clean­ing prod­ucts, paints and pes­ti­cides.

“Whether you’re ad­just­ing the ther­mo­stat to cool down or warm up,” Fer­rara says, “all of the air pass­ing through that fil­ter will be cap­tur­ing those dust mites and other al­ler­gens that may be in the air.”

Com­mer­cial-grade pu­ri­fiers can ei­ther be stand­alone or larger prod­ucts af­fixed to an air han­dler unit or an HVAC unit found in the med­i­cal, in­dus­trial and com­mer­cial in­dus­tries. Many of to­day’s air-pu­rifi­ca­tion de­vices are de­signed to be in­stalled in the duct­work of a home’s cen­tral heat­ing, ven­ti­lat­ing or HVAC sys­tem to help clean the air that cir­cu­lates through your home.

Other prod­ucts avail­able for home use in­clude “fresh air ducts” that help cir­cu­late fresh air from out­side into the house.

While any­one can ben­e­fit from an air-fil­tra­tion sys­tem, al­lergy and asthma suf­fer­ers are among the ideal can­di­dates for those prod­ucts.

“Th­ese are peo­ple who will def­i­nitely no­tice an im­prove­ment in their air qual­ity,” Fer­rara says. “And they’ll also no­tice them­selves mak­ing a lot fewer vis­its to doc­tors for treat­ment of their symp­toms.”

Even if you’re not quite ready to in­stall an air-pu­rifi­ca­tion sys­tem for your home, which Fer­rara says can run any­where from $500 to a few thou­sand dollars, de­pend­ing on the prod­uct and in­stal­la­tion, one of the eas­i­est things any home­owner can do to im­prove air qual­ity is in­stall a hu­mid­i­fier.

Un­like the small hu­mid­i­fiers that can be pur­chased to help con­trol the hu­mid­ity lev­els in one room, in­stalling a house­hold sys­tem can help elim­i­nate dry nasal pas­sages – which can be gate­ways for in­fec­tion – and other ef­fects of dry air in the win­ter months. A hu­mid­i­fier can also con­trol the ex­cess mois­ture in the warmer months, which min­i­mizes the growth of mold, mildew, viruses and other pol­lu­tants likely to cause ill­ness in the spring and sum­mer.

“…Af­ter in­stalling a fil­tra­tion sys­tem, peo­ple are re­ally pleased with the fresh­ness of their drink­ing wa­ter. The foods cooked with fil­tered wa­ter taste bet­ter, their clothes are brighter, and their skin feels softer and less dry.”

BRYAN ZAGARO, OWNER OF BZ DEPEND­ABLE PLUMB­ING AND HEAT­ING, TEA­NECK

CLEAN, CRISP WA­TER

Like your home’s air qual­ity, there are also prod­ucts that pro­vide an easy way to make the wa­ter in your home both safer to drink and more ef­fi­cient in pipes, plumb­ing fix­tures and ap­pli­ances. Bryan Zagaro, owner of BZ Depend­able Plumb­ing and Heat­ing in Tea­neck, says the pop­u­lar Krys­tal Klear fil­tra­tion sys­tem can de­liver clear, clean wa­ter to ev­ery faucet and shower, all while re­mov­ing some 24 heavy met­als, lead and zinc from your home’s wa­ter.

Mean­while, prod­ucts such as the Krys­tal Klear elec­tronic descaler use high-fre­quency elec­tronic pulses to help make wa­ter more sol­u­ble and non-ad­her­ent. It also trans­forms the cal­cium and mag­ne­sium found in many wa­ter sup­plies into a form more read­ily ab­sorbed by the body, which ul­ti­mately helps elim­i­nate scale build-up in your pipes, plumb­ing fix­tures and ap­pli­ances.

“That’s why af­ter in­stalling a fil­tra­tion sys­tem,” Zagaro says, “peo­ple are re­ally pleased with the fresh­ness of their drink­ing wa­ter. The foods cooked with fil­tered wa­ter taste bet­ter, their clothes are brighter, and their skin feels softer and less dry.”

The po­ten­tial dangers of un­fil­tered wa­ter in­clude ex­po­sure to chlo­rine, con­tam­i­nants, pol­lu­tants and even car­cino­gens, and Zagaro notes that even road salt run-off can af­fect the wa­ter qual­ity and cause el­e­vated sodium lev­els in our drink­ing wa­ter.

“Many pub­lic and pri­vate wa­ter sup­plies re­quire ex­tra treat­ment to re­duce sed­i­ment, tur­bid­ity, iron, man­ganese, hy­dro­gen sul­fide and ex­ces­sive amounts of chlo­rine, which is ab­sorbed through the skin in the shower and fades your clothes in the laun­dry,” he ex­plains.

But that doesn’t mean you should start break­ing the bank on bot­tled wa­ter. A re­port by the United States Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices’ National Can­cer In­sti­tute notes that fil­ter­ing home tap or well wa­ter can ef­fec­tively de­crease the ex­po­sure to nu­mer­ous known or sus­pected car­cino­gens and en­docrine-dis­rupt­ing chem­i­cals – and that un­less your home’s wa­ter source is known to be con­tam­i­nated, it’s ac­tu­ally prefer­able to use fil­tered tap wa­ter in­stead of com­mer­cially-bot­tled wa­ter.

“Bot­tled wa­ter just isn’t a com­plete so­lu­tion… its qual­ity can vary, and when you’re us­ing your wa­ter for ev­ery­thing from cook­ing to mak­ing ice cubes to brew­ing your morn­ing cof­fee, it’s re­ally not a vi­able op­tion,” as­serts Robert Arra­bito, a li­censed pro­fes­sional en­gi­neer and pres­i­dent and owner of Pro­fes­sional Wa­ter Tech­nol­ogy, Inc. in Has­brouck Heights. “That isn’t to men­tion all of the plas­tic that bot­tled wa­ter gen­er­ates; it’s not the green­est so­lu­tion.”

Zagaro ad­vises Ber­gen County home­own­ers to con­sider a fil­tra­tion sys­tem if they de­tect any foul odors or tastes in their drink­ing wa­ter, or if their plumb­ing fix­tures be­gin to show signs of hard wa­ter de­posits or cor­ro­sion. How­ever, even if your wa­ter doesn’t have a strange taste, it still might be worth in­vest­ing in a com­pre­hen­sive test of your wa­ter, which can de­tect danger­ous lev­els of tox­ins that could be harm­ing your health.

“Most peo­ple call us when they smell or taste some­thing in their wa­ter, but most of the worst dangers are odor­less, color­less and taste­less,” Arra­bito con­cludes. “Tak­ing in those trace amounts of chem­i­cals over a life­time just isn’t good for your health…and if you can elim­i­nate one thing in your en­vi­ron­ment that could make you ill, it seems like a no-brainer.”

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