Rabbit Air Featured on Tiny House Nation

Tiny House Nation, a new show on the FYI network, is out to prove that bigger isn’t always better.  Hosts, John Weisbarth and Zack Griffin, both experts in renovation, present a new family in each episode, some who have already been living the tiny house lifestyle, and others who are just embarking on their own tiny adventures.  The homes are all under 500 square feet in size, but John and Zack believe that with a little creativity and careful planning, these small spaces can become not only livable, but they can allow homeowners to relieve some financial tensions, decrease their reliance on material things, and bring families closer together.

On Wednesday, July 9th, Tiny House Nation introduced John and Chelsea, a couple from Tennessee and parents to an adorable toddler.  Their tiny house move was a real big challenge; they downsized to a home just 173 square feet in size.  Though it might seem like an impossible challenge, the Tiny House Nation team created an incredible home for the family.  What was our favorite part of the finished home?  The Rabbit Air MinusA2 Artists Series air purifier that the team added to the kitchen!  The MinusA2’s thin profile and large coverage area was a perfect fit for this family, and by running the purifier in the kitchen they will keep the small space smelling fresh and clean.

Want to see more?  Check out Tiny House Nation on Wednesdays at 10pm ET

Getting Started with Meditation

Stone TowerPracticed for thousands of years, meditation has surged in popularity recently for the seemingly endless array of health benefits that it is claimed to provide. Although there are numerous styles of meditation – mindfulness, Zen, guided, and chanting to name a few – they can all be used to feel more at peace, experience less stress, and to improve self-control. With meditation’s rise in popularity there has been a sharp increase in research on how it affects practitioners, with studies showing that the emotional benefits of meditation assist people in all kinds of ways, from helping to manage the stress-related symptoms of illnesses like high blood pressure and anxiety disorders, experiencing more compassion and love for others, boosting creativity, to even reducing perceived levels of pain.

Stick to What is Comfortable for You
There are many different forms of meditation, and it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. Although different types of mediation can produce different results, the variety that you most enjoy practicing will be the most effective. You may want to try out a few different styles to see what is most comfortable for you, and sticking with what is comfortable is the best way to ensure that you will make it a part of your regular schedule.

Don’t Eat Beforehand
While it may sound pleasant to meditate after a meal, chances are a full stomach will make you too sleepy to make the most of the exercise. A relatively empty stomach allows you to devote your attention to the task at hand, so plan your meditation time accordingly.

Wear a Relaxed Smile
Keeping a positive expression on your face can help you to feel more positive as well. Meditation is more effective when you can stay calm and relaxed throughout – so make sure to practice when you are in a happy state of mind.

biogs2_gallery6Breathe in Peace
Breathing provides a rhythm to your meditation practice, which in turn helps you to focus. To make sure you are breathing as easily as possible meditate in a place with clean, fresh air – such as the beach, a park, or in your own home. Our Ultra Quiet air purifiers make a great meditation companion, as they will not only remove harmful toxins and pollutants from the air, but in their whisper Silent modes you will forget they are even there, allowing you to focus on your breath and your health.  If you are not partial to silence, mediate to your favorite soft music.

So what are you waiting for?  Follow us down the meditation rabbit hole to better health and happiness.

Green Roofs Help Improve City Air Quality

City SmogPopular in Europe for some time now, green roofs are becoming more and more common in the United States; good news for those concerned with city air quality.  A green roof is a roof that has been covered with vegetation rather than left bare, and there are two main types that are used. “Intensive” roofs, which are thick, green, and lush with deep soil, usually are intended to be used by people in much the same way as an ordinary garden, and will often have benches and walkways for people who live or work in the building to enjoy.  “Extensive” roofs, on the other hand, tend to have shallower soil and are used for the benefits that the plants provide while being generally off-limits to human visitors.  Scientists are studying the benefits of both kinds of green roofs, and have found that they not only can they contribute to reducing air pollution, but they can help with things like water management and can even last longer than traditional roofing.   One exciting benefit of having green roofs is in the reduction of carbon from the air, which helps to improve air quality and make local air better to breathe.  One 2009 study found that in the right conditions, using green roofs throughout an urban area with a population of around a million people could remove as much carbon from the air as one would get from taking 10,000 SUVs off of the road.

The spread of green roofs should be exciting news for those who live in areas with higher density populations.  Smog and other increases in air pollutants, caused by traffic or industry, can have quite a negative impact on health, from allergy-like symptoms, such as itchy eyes and congestion, to more serious ailments, such as heart or lung disease. It is hoped that widespread use of green roofs could significantly improve air quality, and that could mean a significant improvement in health as well.  In the meantime, for those wanting to breathe better air at home, adding an air purifier with a charcoal based activated carbon filter, like our MinusA2 and BioGS models, can help to filter out the toxins from smog and other airborne chemical pollutants to keep indoor air quality high.

How to Stay Safe and Healthy During the Summer

Summertime is here; when the temperature rises and we long for lazy days spent lounging on the beach.  Here are some tips for staying safe and healthy while you enjoy the season!

mediterranean beach - italy

Limit Your Sun Exposure
It can be hard to resist the relaxing pleasure of lying out in the sun, but too much time spent outside can cause serious sunburns.  Make sure not to doze off by the pool, and limit direct exposure to less than fifteen minutes.  During outdoor activities, make sure to wear a high quality sunscreen, and learn to love wide brimmed hats, long flowing sleeves, and other clothes that provide protection.

Stay Hydrated
Spending time outdoors when the heat is high can leave you feeling dehydrated, sick, and put you at risk for heat stroke. Keep a water bottle with you when you go out, and remember to sip from it often.  Although strenuous activities put you most at risk, even casual strolls can leave you needing water.  You can also make keeping hydrated fun, by making creative fruit infusions that add natural flavor and color to your water.

Hiking BootsKeep Bugs Away
Humans aren’t the only ones that love to come out in the summer – pesky bugs, like mosquitoes and ticks, do too.  These pests can cause irritation when they bite, and can even cause more serious illnesses, so keeping them at bay is a top priority. Wear long sleeves and pants when hiking or camping, and use mosquito repellent or netting to keep a barrier between you and the bugs.

Keep an Eye on Air Quality
The summer sun can cause air quality to worsen by heating up chemical compounds lingering in the air and combining them with nitrogen oxide to create unhealthy levels of smog.  Check local air quality forecasts when planning outdoor activities, and when you are cooling off inside, keep your indoor air clear by running an air purifier that uses a Charcoal Based Activated Carbon filter to absorb harmful chemicals.

Forest Fires and Health

Forest FireForest fires can be more dangerous than you might think. Though the most immediate danger comes from the fire itself, the smoke from a fire can harm people up to hundreds of miles away from the actual blaze. During a forest fire, a number of harmful emissions are released into the air in high concentrations, including small particulate matter, such as carbon monoxide, atmospheric mercury, and volatile organic compounds. As these pollutants are released during a fire, winds can spread them further than one might expect, leaving people unprepared or unaware of the health hazards.  Breathing in these pollutants can exacerbate symptoms for those who have lung or heart disease, and even otherwise healthy people can also be at risk for symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and headaches.  The longer one is exposed to these pollutants, the higher these risks can be.

We can all do our part to stop wildfires before they start. When camping, make sure to never leave camp fires unattended and douse them fully with water when you are ready to put them out.  During dry summer days, make sure to keep a close eye on barbeques, bonfires and even lawnmowers – they can create sparks that can ignite dry grass.  When fires do occur, you can protect yourself by checking local air quality reports and staying inside when air quality dips.  It is also advised not to do any indoor activity that will add to pollutant levels if possible. This includes using wood burning stoves, lighting candles, and even vacuuming, as vacuums can throw particles that have settled on surfaces back into the air.  Using an air purifier is the best way to keep the indoor air clean, and if you live in a fire-prone area, consider adding an air purifier with a true HEPA filter before fire season starts so that you know you are protected even before pollutant levels begin to rise.

New Research on Trees and Air Quality

New TreeResearchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are shedding some light on an air quality mystery that has had scientists stumped for some time.  While we know that plants have a positive effect on air quality by helping to remove carbon dioxide from the air and providing us with oxygen, scientists had long suspected that isoprene, a molecule emitted by trees as a means of protecting their leaves from harm, played a part in creating particulate air pollution; they just were not sure how.   Surprisingly, the study found that when the isoprene molecule was heated by the sun, it reacted with nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere to create tiny particulate matter that became suspended in the air, which has the possibility to cause or exacerbate respiratory ailments, such as asthma.

But wait! Don’t blame the trees for these dangerous particulates – it is the abundance of nitrogen oxide that is the real problem. These polluting chemicals are man-made by-products of cars, factories, and other coal burning sources.  The more that scientists investigate the ways that particulate pollution occurs, the more effective our efforts at improving our air will be.  Over the past decade many major cities in the United States have been able to improve their air quality, but smog and ozone remain in much higher concentrations than what is healthy.  We can help to continue reducing these levels by being mindful about our daily choices – for example, making efforts to carpool or switching from plastic bags to reusable canvas ones. As we work on decreasing the amount of pollutants emitted into the atmosphere, we can protect ourselves from particulate matter by monitoring city air pollution levels before leaving the house, and by filtering particulates out of our indoor air by using an air purifier with a true HEPA filter like our MinusA2.

How to Choose the Right Air Purifier

We know that shopping for an air purifier is tiresome, especially with so many options out there. You may spend hours on end, trying to find the best air purifier for your situation. In fact, you may be reading this at 2:00am because those pesky allergies won’t let you sleep.

Thankfully, our Rabbit Air Team has put together some helpful tips to aide you in your air purifier shopping experience.

Technology
How are you going to clean my air?

HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filtration air purifiers are definitely the way to go. They are the most recognized and reliable air filtration technology with an efficiency of trapping particulates down to 0.3 microns in size, 99.97% of the time. They are also highly recommended by allergists due to their effectiveness.

There are also other technologies that are beneficial at cleaning the air. One of them is activated carbon. Known for its high absorption capability, activated carbon can effectively trap toxins such as VOC’s, smoke and odors. Another recommendation is to select an activated carbon filter that is charcoal-based. Individual charcoal pellets are highly porous and are able to trap all types of gases in its large internal surface area.

Air purifiers to avoid? We do not recommend any type of “filter-less” air purifiers. These include ozone generators and electrostatic precipitators, also known as “ionic” type purifiers. Electrostatic precipitators are not as effective as HEPA-filtration air purifiers and both air purifiers are culprits for emitting ozone, which is a respiratory irritant for allergy and asthma sufferers.

 

Room Coverage
Does room coverage matter?

Room coverage is very important, especially when you suffer from asthma or allergies. When shopping for an air purifier, look past the room size an air purifier covers and look at how many air changes per hour that particular air purifier has.

What is an air change per hour? An air change per hour translates to how many times an air purifier can clean a room in one hour. For example, 2 air changes per hour shows that an air purifier can clean a room once every 30 minutes. An allergy and asthma sufferer needs at least 4 air changes per hour, which means an air purifier can clean a room at least once every 15 minutes.

 

Noise
How loud is too loud?

Noise is measured in decibels. Although sensitivity to sound varies from person to person, there is some agreement over what is comfortable to the ear. Since we recommend that our customers operate the air purifier 24 hours a day, we advise choosing an air purifier that does not go over 55 decibels.

Be sure to check the decibel level of each speed before making a purchase, especially if you are a light sleeper. Once the noise decibel level goes over 60, it is considered to be “loud” according to American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

 

Maintenance and Cost
Do I have the time and the money?

Not only do you need to consider the initial costs of the air purifier, you also have to look into how costly it is to operate.

One big cost is replacement filters. Look into how often you have to replace and how expensive the filters are. Also, choose an air purifier that requires less cleaning maintenance.

Do you think the costs stop there? Definitely look into purchasing products that are Energy Star Certified or at least one that consumes less energy since you will most likely be operating your air purifier 24 hours a day. To put power consumption into perspective, it will cost over $120.00 a year to operate a 100 watt air purifier 24/7 in the state of California.

 

Customer Service
Add great value to your purchase.

Vote for a company that has your best interests in mind. Besides, what’s more enjoyable than dealing with a company that makes everything seems so easy?

We suggest that you choose an air purifier company that offers great customer service, and is easily accessible. Many companies frequently discontinue models, so make sure you are able to find replacement filters when the time comes.

You also want to choose a company that provides a great warranty and return guarantee.  Aim for a company that offers a warranty longer than one year and one that does not charge a restocking fee to return a product.

Last, but not least, consider the reputation of the company. Check consumer reviews online to see if you are dealing with an honest company. It’s not uncommon for a company to go out of business or disappear after a short time, which will leave you out of luck when trying to buy replacement filters or receive customer support.

How Heat Waves Hurt Air Quality

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1397489While everyone loves a little summer sunshine, when temperatures keep rising dangerous conditions may occur.  Heat waves are more than mere annoyances; they can increase the risk of health concerns from mild conditions such as heat rash to more serious problems such as strokes.  Even when limiting one’s exposure to the sun and heat, heat waves can still create health risks in areas one might not expect.  Air quality can worsen during a heat wave, to the point of becoming deadly in extreme circumstances. When the air is heated, chemicals compounds such as the fumes from our cars combine with the already present nitrogen oxide in the air to create thick layers of smog. The risk for this is particularly strong in urban areas, where there is already a greater concentration of chemical compounds in the air due to larger populations and more industry.

Smog is never healthy to breathe in, and during a heat wave when smog is found in higher concentrations it can cause lung tissue to become inflamed which over time can cause more serious complications. The increase in smog during a heat wave is especially dangerous for those who are suffering from respiratory illness, such as asthma, as it can increase or induce symptoms. During a heat wave, keep your lungs as healthy as possible by avoiding spending time outdoors in highly populated areas.  While in your home, keep an air purifier running that can trap the harmful VOCs from smog, such as our MinusA2 with the Toxin Absorber Customized Filter.  Stay cool, breathe clean air, and avoid direct sun exposure to stay as healthy as you can during a heat wave.

UC San Deigo Researching Portable Air Quality Monitor

City SmogIn December 2012, the University of California at San Diego discussed an exciting new advance in Air Quality monitoring. Researchers there had created a small portable device that measured air quality in real time, letting users know in the moment whether they were breathing clean air or if they had wandered into a spot of highly concentrated pollutants. This advanced technology allowed for those concerned with air quality to have more precise information about the environment around them, allowing them to make informed decisions about the air they breathed. Runners and bikers, for example, would be able to avoid areas with higher pollution, protecting their lungs as they exercised. The device could even be useful in indoor areas, as one study participant found when he realized that the air quality in his office was quite poor, prompting his company to take steps to improve the air for its employees.

We hope to see more research into this area, and look forward to the day when personal air quality monitoring is available to all. Until then, there are still steps one can take to be proactive about air quality and protected from pollutants. City-wide daily pollen and pollution counts are easily accessed on websites such as Pollen.com and AirNow.gov. These sites are great tools for learning about air pollution in your city, and can help to plan your outings during times when pollutant levels are low. When you’re in your home, you can be smart about air pollutants as well by using a HEPA air purifier such as our MinusA2 to filter out harmful pollutants and keep the air clean and fresh.

Four Fun Facts About Mold

 

1)       You may know mold as the slimy stuff that can make you sick, but did you know that not all molds are hazardous to humans? In fact, some of them have been used to our great benefit.  Penicillin, one of the most important antibiotics developed, was derived in part from penicillicum mold, and has been of great importance in combating disease.  The discovery and development of penicillin won its inventor, Alexander Fleming, a Nobel Prize.

2)       There are even molds that are used with culinary purposes in mind.  Many delicious cheeses, including Roquefort, Brie, and Camembert are made by using molds like Penicillium candidum and Penicillium roqueforti to provide them with the soft rinds and blue veins that heighten their flavor.

3)       Some molds can solve mazes, like the fungi known as slime mold that have surprised scientists by following food sources laid out in a puzzle and retracting its protoplasmic tubes when they hit dead ends. Scientists working with the mold are hopeful that in the future, learning how slime molds move and cross distances can help humans plan more efficient travel routes.

4)       We know that mold needs a moist environment to grow, so it may come as a surprise that homes in hot, dry environments like the American southwest can also have their share of mold growth as well.  States like Texas, Arizona, and Nevada even made the top ten in the relative hazard mold ranking by American Risk Management Resources.  The major factor for mold growth in these states is not so much the weather, but a result of building conditions; if buildings are sealed too tightly, for example when trying to meet energy requirements, it can create poor ventilation which is a prime environment for mold growth. To help get rid of mold, it is best to use an air purifier, such as the MinusA2 with a true HEPA filter to trap and eliminate mold spores in your home.