Author Topic: living next to busy road, air pollution  (Read 1364 times)

bonbonbaron

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living next to busy road, air pollution
« on: August 12, 2018, 03:29:07 PM »
I just moved into a condo; it's a dream come true and I couldn't be happier.

Only problem is it's next to a busy road, and the health risks of that [1] worries me. Which is a little disappointing considering I was looking forward to going Mustachian on my AC usage by opening my windows.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to mitigate this? I'd sure like to rest easy knowing I'm breathing clean air.


Treb3

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Re: living next to busy road, air pollution
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2018, 03:47:39 PM »
Have you considered an indoor air purifier? Or air-purifying plants like rubber plants or peace lilies?

bonbonbaron

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Re: living next to busy road, air pollution
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2018, 07:34:24 PM »
I think I'll look into that. Meanwhile I guess I'll have to limit the amount of time I spent on my beautiful back patio :( This sucks

Retire-Canada

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Re: living next to busy road, air pollution
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2018, 08:55:14 PM »
Which is a little disappointing considering I was looking forward to going Mustachian on my AC usage by opening my windows.

Your AC is pulling in the same air as when you open your windows so I don't see how it matters either way when making that choice. The air inside your condo is coming from the air outside your condo. Your AC isn't a purifying system it just cools the air a bit.


Freedomin5

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Re: living next to busy road, air pollution
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2018, 09:01:01 PM »
I live in China (aka very polluted city). We use a Blueair air purifier indoors. For the balcony/patio, put lots of plants to help clean the air. On particularly bad air days you can also wear an N95 mask though itís probably a bit overkill unless the AQI is over 150.

bonbonbaron

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Re: living next to busy road, air pollution
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2018, 10:07:31 PM »
Your AC is pulling in the same air as when you open your windows so I don't see how it matters either way when making that choice. The air inside your condo is coming from the air outside your condo. Your AC isn't a purifying system it just cools the air a bit.

Actually AC filters pollutants out as it sucks air in from the outside.

Thanks for the suggestions. My back patio is surrounded by big, luscious trees & wildlife. The busy road is less than 50 meters to my left out there. Not sure how much of an impact plants have. As for the masks, that may come in handy on the last mile of my bike commute (the previous 6 miles are all trails through nature).

Regardless I've been researching air purifiers like mad the past few hours thanks to you guys. I'm looking at a few options:
  • Air purifying systems (stand-alone)
  • Dehumidifiers
  • Basement fans to blow air out (including radon, as my condo has a 4.5 level)

Retire-Canada

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Re: living next to busy road, air pollution
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2018, 10:29:23 PM »
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-freeway-pollution-filters-20170709-story.html

I would verify that the pollution elements you are concerned of are actually removed by your AC unit. The kind of sophisticated filters you would need are going to add cost to the unit so it would have to be a unit spec'd for that particular application since people living away from a busy road wouldn't want to pay for and maintain these sorts of filters. Getting the filter into an AC unit is the first step and then making sure they are maintained according to the required schedule for the level of pollution you are facing is the next step.

Pulling dust/pollen out of the air isn't really what you are after for your situation.

« Last Edit: August 12, 2018, 10:30:58 PM by Retire-Canada »

letired

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Re: living next to busy road, air pollution
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2018, 10:51:18 PM »
DIY air purifier: HEPA + fan. I got the idea from these people: https://smartairfilters.com/cn/en/, though I think ordering one of theirs is probably cost prohibitive.

re: houseplants, check out https://www.gardenmyths.com/garden-myth-born-plants-dont-purify-air/ Which isn't to say that houseplants aren't great, but they aren't generally the driver of pollution removal.

former player

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Re: living next to busy road, air pollution
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2018, 12:34:42 AM »
Is there any published air quality monitoring in your area, by local or environmental authorities or academic institutions?

Air pollution from roads is typically worse closer and lower down to the road, if there is a lot of stop/start traffic on the road, and if there is a lot of diesel engined traffic on the road.   It's also cumulative: if you are close to or downwind of a network of heavily used roads or industrial areas or an airport it will be worse.  If you are in a pleasant and leafy residential area with passing traffic on the road there is probably not much to worry about.

Speaking as someone who lived in London for a long time, if you aren't smelling traffic pollution, and if you can hang your washing out without it getting grimy you are not doing too badly.  If you can wipe something down that's been sitting outside on your patio for a week or so and you are not getting grey dirt you are doing better than I was all those years.

Case

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Re: living next to busy road, air pollution
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2018, 04:29:06 AM »
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-freeway-pollution-filters-20170709-story.html

I would verify that the pollution elements you are concerned of are actually removed by your AC unit. The kind of sophisticated filters you would need are going to add cost to the unit so it would have to be a unit spec'd for that particular application since people living away from a busy road wouldn't want to pay for and maintain these sorts of filters. Getting the filter into an AC unit is the first step and then making sure they are maintained according to the required schedule for the level of pollution you are facing is the next step.

Pulling dust/pollen out of the air isn't really what you are after for your situation.

Don't AC units work by recirculating but cooling existing air in the house, and then pumping the her out?  I'm unaware of AC units that actually pump in outside air..? That would be I inefficient, except in the winter!

sokoloff

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Re: living next to busy road, air pollution
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2018, 05:10:55 AM »
Don't AC units work by recirculating but cooling existing air in the house, and then pumping the [heat] out?  I'm unaware of AC units that actually pump in outside air..? That would be I inefficient, except in the winter!
Yes, they do work as you describe. Inside air comes into the unit, is cooled by expanding/phase changing of refrigerant, and returned back inside. The refrigerant is cooled by the outside air (which comes from and is returned to the outside). There is no direct exchange of outside air for inside air intended (there is some incidental leakage from most installs, particularly from window units).

Retire-Canada

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Re: living next to busy road, air pollution
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2018, 07:16:10 AM »
Don't AC units work by recirculating but cooling existing air in the house, and then pumping the her out?  I'm unaware of AC units that actually pump in outside air..? That would be I inefficient, except in the winter!

Yes. Where does the air inside come from? Outside. If the air outside is polluted because of car pollution everyday the air inside will be polluted as well.

Sibley

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Re: living next to busy road, air pollution
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2018, 08:17:25 AM »
Plants outside will help. Plants inside can help as well. Some plants are better than others for air quality purposes.

There's a filter on your furnace/ac. Make sure it's changed regularly.

Cadman

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Re: living next to busy road, air pollution
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2018, 08:39:40 AM »
I suppose a window air conditioner would pull in outside air (usually there's a diverter lever), but whole-house A/C systems typically draw their source air from inside the house via return vents, pass it through a filter on the negative pressure side of the blower, and recirc the air.

bonbonbaron

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Re: living next to busy road, air pollution
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2018, 08:31:25 PM »
Sorry guys, you're right. Apparently my google source for that AC-air-comes-from-outside was wrong. XD

Tomorrow morning I've got a mold inspector coming to test the quality of both the inside & outside of my condo. When their lab gets results, they'll tell me what to do (if anything). All I  know is, last night was the first night I spent an extended amount of time in my basement. I emerged from it hours later with a headache & kind of brain-fogged. It was weird. And while I was down there I realized I was having a bit harder of a time breathing than usual. And today I had unusual amounts of mucus.

That is what triggered my posting this thread, but I wrote it going on the outdoor pollution track instead of the basement mold one.

So if the test comes back with "Everything is fine," (given that they only test for mold) I'm going to assume it has to do with the air outside & buy some air purifiers for each floor. I'd kept the windows open for a long time after moving in, so... who knows.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 08:33:30 PM by bonbonbaron »