Owning an older home can bring so many emotions - good and bad! On the one hand, many people enjoy the charm and character of an older home. From pocket doors to authentic hardwood floors, older homes offer many features that people of any age really enjoy. On the other hand, you’re more likely to wind up with some of the problems that tend to make homeownership troublesome. Upkeep costs, poor circulation, and repairs are all concerns that plague owners and renters of older properties. One particular issue is the former use of asbestos and the ways in which it negatively affects residents. Similarly, mold is more likely to be present in older homes and can pose a myriad of issues.
What problems are specific to older homes?
There’s certainly nothing inherently wrong with older homes (and in fact, there are many great things), but their age can lead to a few areas of concern. Additionally, the level of upkeep associated with the building can either mitigate problems or contribute to them. There are several air-related issues specific to older places of residence.
Unpleasant odors - The biggest complaint from people residing in older homes is a “certain smell”. If a house is lived in for any period of time, it’s going to have its own scent. These smells can come from cooking, pets, and even unfortunate airborne chemicals. What’s interesting is that the brain tends to ignore the smells that it’s used to - which is why people often don’t notice the smell of their own pet odors - so when people are constantly immersed in the scent of their own home, it appears not to have a scent at all. That can lead to unfortunate and even embarrassing encounters for home-owners.
Hidden mold - These microscopic fungi can invade homes and expose your family to severe health risks. This is troubling for anyone, but particularly those who are very young, older, or suffer from asthma or allergies. From a scientific perspective, molds like Alternaria, Aspergillus Chaetomium, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Mucor, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys tend to grow in places that are warm, damp, and dark - and often, we don’t even realize it’s happening. These spores can lead to unpleasant smells, but more concerning are the wheezing and sneezing symptoms they can cause. Unfortunately, mold is terrible for air quality and is a significant concern when it comes to older buildings. If the building in question has ever had water damage or been exposed to high humidity, there is a greater likelihood of mold.
Aging materials, especially asbestos - The supplies used in construction and manufacturing over the past several decades are no longer considered optimal. For example, in the 1970s asbestos was a popular building material (which we now know causes serious long issues). Used in everything from drywall to brake pads, asbestos was resistant to heat, corrosion, and other construction problems. It was largely banned in the US from the 1980s and on, but can still be found in some buildings. The smell is the least of the concerns asbestos poses, as it can create deadly lung complications like lung cancer and mesothelioma. Additionally, you might find other aging materials like rotting wood or drywall, water-damaged flooring, leaks, and all manner of other building supplies that are far past their prime and creating decay and fumes.
How likely is the presence of asbestos?
Why do I need to worry about asbestos?
There are so many serious problems with asbestos that you need to be aware of. It’s been connected to several forms of cancer, fluid around the lungs, scarring of the lungs, mesothelioma, and more.
Asbestos-related diseases can take up to two decades to appear, so often the people afflicted have no idea that the air they breathe every day is making them sick. Doctors say that the concern is in the duration and intensity of exposure.
Of course, if you’re concerned about the materials in your home, you can bring in an expert to test. However, an air purifier is a great investment for older homes where you’re unsure about your asbestos exposure. Each of our models remove 99.9% of all airborne particles that can make you sick. In fact, our H13 True HEPA filters are used in every unit, and filter particles down to 0.1 microns (most asbestos microns are between 0.7 and 90 microns, so they’ll be easily removed by these filters).
How about mold?
Mold loves moisture, and will spread anywhere that is humid, damp, and dark - which is why it thrives in older buildings.
Many residents suffer years of allergy, asthma, and breathing problems only to discover that they were living in a place with mold, breathing in illness-causing particles every day. About 40% of asthma episodes are triggered by the household presence of mold, dust mites, or rats. Furthermore, up to 25% of the population has a genetic predisposition that makes them more susceptible to mold illness. Those statistics are scary because at least 45 million buildings in the United States still have unhealthy levels of mold - and that’s just what we know (in many cases, building owners aren’t even aware of mold). For more comprehensive information about the health issues associated with mold, check out this article by Medical News Today.
Mold is a problem for your health, but it can also create a smell that is unpleasant. Many times when people refer to an “old house smell” they are talking about mold and must. So whether you are trying to stay healthy in an older home, or considering buying or selling such a residence, you need to be aware of mold and its effects.
Airborne mold spores need to not only be filtered out but destroyed entirely. Our specialty line of air purifiers uses three levels of filtration to catch and remove mold spores and more. We offer a range of options that include the Medify Air H13 True HEPA Filters, designed to remove 99.9% of particles down to 0.1 microns. Not only that, the 3 levels of filtration include a carbon filter which is great for removing odors caused by mold.
An air purifier is the answer
Indoor air purifiers are a must for older homes or apartments. The air quality in your residence is as important as any other feature, even if it’s something that is unseen and unnoticed. We’ve talked about how older buildings are more prone to bad smells and aging materials - but the more significant issue is health-related.
Asbestos, mold, and all manner of dust and bacteria are floating in the air, and the older a building is, the more likely it is to be plagued by these particles. Many of these tiny particles can have serious adverse effects when we inhale them. These conditions range from the flu and allergy problems to asthma, cancer, and other life-threatening diseases.
It’s important to immediately install an air purifier in an older residence. Doing so will improve your health, your air quality (and therefore the scent of your space), your sleep, and so much more. When it comes to older homes, a high-quality air purifier can help with the following:
- Reduction of asthma or other lung-related illnesses
- Better health for individuals with autoimmune disorders who are at increased risk for disease
- Improved health for babies - Infants who are exposed to mold in their living environments have nearly a 3X greater risk of becoming asthmatic than those who were not
- Reduced risk of cancer due to asbestos exposure
- Improved smell and general air quality
- Less exposure to the air impurities created by daily electronic use, such as in a home office
- Healthier and more content pets
Medify offers the best and most innovative air purifiers on the market. Designed with mold, asbestos, and other illness-causing particles in mind, our products come with a lifetime warranty.
With a wide range of purifiers and filters, each of our systems blends style and technology with power for long-term air cleaning. With so many units to choose from, there is an option for every size room in your house (up to 5,000 sq. feet). We recommend larger spaces have an air purifier in each room to maximize results. Our three-layer filtration goes beyond what is standard in the industry, and users love the long filter life (3,000 hours for large units, 2500 for smaller ones) along with easy filter replacement.
NOTE: This content offers general information pertaining to Medify only, and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing health issues you should always seek guidance from a medical professional. Never disregard medical advice due to something you read in this blog or any other.