Carbon Monoxide

Bah Humbug! to ventless fireplaces

While opening up Christmas cards from various friends and companies, I came across the pictured holiday card. I’m sure when most people saw the card, their hearts were filled with good holiday cheer. They were certainly touched to find out that a 7th grader submitted this idillic Christmas scene to a local art contest.

What does the Indoor Air Nerd think? Bah! Humbug! Did you notice that fire place doesn’t have chimney? That means all the combustion products will enter directly into the home. These include:

particulate matter

The Practicals of Particles

Have you ever looked at a sunbeam shining through a window? You will find airborne particles otherwise unseen by the naked eye. These particles are likely to be greater than 50 microns in diameter. A micron is a unit used to measure distance equal to a millionth of a meter. Imagine dividing a tiny, little millimeter into 1,000 smaller units… that’s a micron.

People can see these floating particles and can observe the build up of dust on surfaces. But are these particles really a concern? Most of these airborne particles settle out of the air and are never inhaled. Those visible particles that are breathed in are typically removed by the nose or upper respiratory tract. As for concentrations of these visible particles in a typical indoor environment, you may have a few hundred per cubic meter of air.

Now let’s make it interesting and discuss the particles that you cannot resolve with your naked eye.  


Which is better, indoor air or outdoor air?

If you do a quick straw poll on this questions, the results will be mixed. Some point to vehicle exhaust and factories and say the indoor air is better. Others point to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and airborne microorganisms indoors, and say the outdoor air is better.

This morning I was reading the August edition of the journal, Indoor Air. The editorial by William Nazaroff raised this very question about indoor vs. outdoor air.

The answer to this question has wide implications.