What to do to Your Homes When the Haze Hits
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Although the South Sumatran governor promised in April that “there would be no haze originating from his province for this year and the next couple of years”, that doesn’t mean we will be guaranteed blue skies from now. Haze can come from many other sources, like in neighbouring Vietnam, Laos or even right in our home turf (pun unintended) when days are hot. When the haze hits for real, you’d want to stay at home as far as possible and haze-proof it as best as you can.
Install Proper Air Purifiers
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Should you get an air purifier (HEPA) or an ioniser? With such a vast array of options available, it can really overwhelm. An air purifier pulls the air through a filter while pushing out cleaned air back into the room, whereas the ioniser sends out charged ions into air that bond with harmful impurities, which then become heavy and fall to the ground. Depending on the model, some have collection plates that attract these particles; otherwise, you will have to clean them off manually.
When deciding which purifier to get, effectiveness, coverage and cost are your main concerns. While ionisers are generally less effective, they are significantly cheaper. Ionisers also cover a way larger area than HEPA purifiers. You can purchase HEPA purifiers from many top brands like Sharp and Hitachi and choose a model according to the size of your room and your budget. You can even consider filters that you can put over conventional fans. For more information on buying an air purifier, click here.
Use more Aircon and Replace its Air Filters Often
Image Credit: Senior Airman Brigitte Brantley / Wikipedia Commons
Rare is the occasion when you are encouraged to use the aircon, but yes you’ve read this right! Aircon units usually have air filters that can trap impurities. When there is haze, the filters get dirty fast so do remember to clean them regularly, like once every 3 days. But do note that aircon’s primary purpose is not for air purification and relying on your aircon to do the job may burden your aircon quite significantly.
Seal Your Home Up
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You should ensure that every last spacing nooks and corners, big and small, is sealed up at all times. This means that simply closing all doors and windows is insufficient. Beyond making sure they are shut tight, don’t forget the small spacing between the lower end of the door and the floor. These tiny spaces and cracks let in more air than you’d expect! To combat this, just slot used cloth scraps or newspaper rolls into the cracks. As Jen advised on Jentrified Citizen, “If you must have a window open, cover it with a wet cloth to trap some of the dust.”
Vacuum Your Sofa and Bed Regularly
It is hard to predict precisely when a haze will strike. And when you do realise, the haze has already arrived and those nasty little particles have already found their way into your sofa and sheets, and carpets if you have that. By vacuuming them you can immediately be rid of the pollutants and leave little time for it to pollute the indoor air.
Wipe Floors and Non-fabric Furnitures with Wet Cloth regularly
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Although it is hard to tell with your naked eye, the little particles build up on your floors and furniture very quickly, especially in the corners. You can feel it by swiping your finger across the floor. If you decide to get an ioniser, cleaning your furnitures and floors regularly is even more important. Using a wet cloth makes wiping a lot easier as it traps particles more effectively. Make sure to use proper cleaning solutions.
Have Purifying Plants
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Why not enlist the help of Mother Nature? Plants are generally air purifiers, and some, like rubber plant and English Ivy, are superstars at it, so using plants for air purification is a great long term measure. Make sure to pay attention to the requirements of each plant and adhere to them. For example, the bamboo palm needs a lot of sunshine so it is best placed by the window. Just know that you cannot rely on purifying plants alone when the haze hits.