Due to coronavirus shutdowns and social distancing, we are forced to spend more time at home than ever before. As a result, we decorate our living room, spend more on new furniture, and redesign our home office to make self-isolation more tolerable.
Furthermore, items that claim to improve indoor air quality, mood, and well-being such as the Himalayan salt lamps are particularly popular among new homebodies.
But are the health benefits of this home decor can be backed by science? Or is it just another marketing gimmick?
What People are Claiming
Proponents of apothecary claim that these salt lamps, which are made from the Himalayan salt found in Pakistan, provide a wide range of health benefits: improved mood, better sleep, cleaner air, relief from asthma and allergies, etc.
They argue that these lamps increase the oxygen levels in the blood as they release negative ions, which are molecules floating in the air that have been charged with electricity. While there are machines that can replicate the process, they are also naturally found in nature due to a combination of elements such as radiation, crashing ocean waves, and sunlight.
What the Science Says
To quote Dr. John Newsam, Ph.D., of the American Chemical Society and CEO of Tioga Research in San Diego, California:
“That is not happening in a Himalayan salt lamp where you have a flame, incandescent bulb, or led bulb. You are not heating up the salt high enough to liberate any of the ions from it. The strength of [sic] between positive and negative ions of salt is very strong and therefore, they want to stay together – they don’t want to scoot off into the atmosphere. A block of salt is not going to liberate any sodium or chloride ions.”
Simply put, the Himalayan salt lamps can be a great decoration for your home, but not so much as a cure-all indoor air quality solution.
Ways to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
There are science-backed ways to improve the indoor air quality of your home, ranging from simple tricks like opening your windows and doors, having indoor plants, installing an air purification system, and conducting regular maintenance on your heating, ventilation, and air condition or HVAC.
AIR PURIFICATION SYSTEMS
Sharpline Mechanical, a leading HVAC specialist in Northern California, shares some practical air purification hacks.
Use MERV Filter
A good rule of thumb is to use filters with a MERV rating between 5 and 8, making them effective in removing most pollen, dust mites, mold spores, bacteria, and other similar allergens. Some even contain charcoal or some type of absorbent to eliminate foul odor, organic compounds, and gaseous pollutants.
Consider Using Negative Ion Air Purifier
Consider using a negative ion air purifier that releases ions into the air to neutralize volatile organic compounds or VOCs that are commonly found in paints, wood preservatives, aerosol sprays, air fresheners, and solvents. In high concentration and prolonged exposure, these chemicals can lead to serious health risks such as damage to lungs and other organs, shortness of breath, and frequent headaches.
Consider Installing Air Scrubber
Air scrubber is another great way to improve the indoor air quality of your home and is almost similar to a negative ion air purifier, although the main difference is that it releases “air scrubber” instead of ions to reduce the amount of VOCs, pollutants, odors, and contaminants.
Buy Several House Plants
Aside from releasing oxygen, house plants have also been found to absorb large amounts of VOCs. In fact, a 1989 study conducted by NASA found that indoor plants can “scrub the air” of cancer-causing compounds like benzene and formaldehyde.
The tips and tricks mentioned above work well with HVAC fitted with air purification units, making your home, not just safe but also a sanctuary amidst this new norm.
To learn more about air purification units, call Sharpline Mechanical at 530-248-2131. We are a team of Northern California’s HVAC experts who provide complete HVAC service, repair, installation, replacement, and annual maintenance plans in which the aim is to improve the energy efficiency of homes and commercial establishments of our clients.