New house, bad air, help us!
September 7, 2008 5:33 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I are (probably) moving into a newly-built apartment in a month or so. Here in Korea, brand new units tend to reek for a while of chemicals from glue and particle board and so on. Help us minimize the chemical haze!

We're pretty much set on moving in to the building in question, and once the final fit-out is completed, I'd like to start taking steps as quickly as possible to minimize the air problems. The apartment building is somewhat higher-end, so it shouldn't be too bad, but I'd like to do what I can, regardless. Regulation on this stuff is haphazard in Korea, to say the least.

Advice I've read says that much of the problem is formaldehyde, and turning up the heat (underfloor, in this case) for a few hours to maximum, with the windows open, will help dissipate the problem. I've also read recommendations to use activated charcoal or activated aluminum air cleaners. Some people (Korean folks) have even recommended hanging garlic garlands around the place, which I'm skeptical of, but am willing to consider anything: my wife is particularly sensitive to environmental toxins.

Thanks in advance!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Gets lots of houseplants (preferably after you're done blasting the heat with the windows open.)

Philodendrons, Spider plants, and Pothos were found to be the most efficient in the removal of formaldehyde.
posted by hydrophonic at 6:09 PM on September 7, 2008

Best answer: Keeping the windows open is going to be the most effective strategy you can employ to get rid of the pollutants in your home. Put a fan on one side of the apartment sucking air in and one on the other side blowing air out. This should increase the turn over rate of air in the apartment greatly. You may want to do this at night when the outdoor air pollution is lower.

The next most effective method is to use filters to sequester the pollutants which will be in two forms, particulates and gases. The particulates can probably be effectively filtered with a HEPA a filter. In the US these filters would come with a CADR rating and a square footage recommendation (For both the higher the batter). The gases can be filtered with an activated charcoal filter but very few filters are effective for this kind of filtration.

I would stay away from ionizers as they tend to produce ozone and aluminum filters as aluminum dust is toxic itself.
posted by 517 at 6:15 PM on September 7, 2008

Best answer: Hmm...maybe my link above isn't the most convincing source--it's from a site that mainly sells baby blankets. Here's an article that mentions actual research.
posted by hydrophonic at 6:19 PM on September 7, 2008

Response by poster: hydrophobic, your first link got me searching for the Nasa research, so most helpful. Here's a link to the Nasa site mentioning it, and here's an article with some actual numbers and plants that are useful for various air-cleaning purposes. Excellent!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:26 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

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