Nobody likes breathing in dirty air. In addition to the respiratory problems caused by breathing in particles of dust and other toxic contaminants, it’s uncomfortable. Drafty spaces seem to suck in and circulate dust full force, making it hard to work in larger spaces like the garage.
When I turned my garage into a workspace, I thought I had the best office space in the world…until I started coughing. Working in the winter was wonderful, but once the spring winds picked up and pollen was in the air, my workspace became the catalyst for a future respiratory disease.
Moving my office back into the house wasn’t an option. Moving to the garage was the only way I could create a productive workspace. Between dogs, kids, music, and video games, there were too many distractions to contend with. I needed my garage office, and I needed breathable air.
Here’s what I did to make the air in my garage breathable:
First, I started filtering the garage air.
The first thing I did was get a freestanding air filter unit for the garage. I put it right next to my desk, thinking it would make the air around my desk the cleanest. After a couple of weeks, I realized it wasn’t filtering enough of the dirty air to make a big difference. I waited until dusk, turned off the lights, and looked for the areas that had the most visible dust. It was virtually everywhere, but one corner, in particular, had the most, so that’s where I put the filter. The air improved, but it wasn’t perfect.
I noticed there was a vacuum effect that sucked air into the garage when I opened the door going into the house. I replaced my central HVAC filter with a MERV 13 rated air filter. At first, I didn’t think the air in the house was a problem but replacing the filter helped. I figured if my HVAC filter was dirty (it was actually filthy), the air in the house was dirty, too. I’ll admit, I was one of those people who never bothered to change their furnace filter. Lesson learned.
My garage workspace was becoming breathable, but it wasn’t perfect so I implemented an experimental solution. I opened the garage door just a couple of feet and stuck a 20” fan in front of it to see if it would suck out the dusty air. It was a slightly inconvenient solution, but having the garage door open seemed to stop the suction that was creating the cyclones of dust. The air seemed fresher, although I have no way of actually measuring it. All I know is I stopped coughing and sneezing, and that was enough for me.
We take clean, fresh air for granted.
You’re not likely to consider air quality unless you’re experiencing an immediate problem. However, your home is probably full of dust and contaminants to a greater degree than you realize. Studies have shown that air quality is often worse indoors than it is outdoors. That’s true for dust, pollen, and even microplastics. Yes, that’s right, you’re breathing in microplastic particles right now, and they’re settling deep into your lungs where they’ll remain forever.
Dr. Mercola points out that air pollutant levels are 2 to 5 times higher indoors. Dust is the most common contaminant, and the shocking news is that dust contains more than 7,000 species of bacteria and fungi. A study performed by the Silent Spring Institute identified 66 different endocrine-disrupting compounds in household dust. The compounds identified included flame retardants, home-use pesticides, and phthalates.
I’m not particularly fond of the idea of breathing in phthalates, considering they’re known endocrine disruptors and in wildlife, they cause testicular cancer, genital deformations, low sperm counts, and infertility.
It’s worth filtering the air in spaces you spend time in.
There’s no reason not to filter the air you breathe. We spend the majority of our time indoors, where air quality is said to be the worst. That means we’re breathing in dirty air most of our lives.
Yes, high-quality free-standing air filter units cost several hundred dollars and the filters aren’t always cheap to replace. However, when you’re a human, breathable air is priceless.
This content is sponsored by Larry Alton.
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