Keep it CLEAN
Air and water purification systems for the home can help overall health
“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.
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.”