On some trips, the clean, elegant, comfortable hotel is the highlight of our travels. The pool, fitness center, lounge, and restaurant create a relaxing experience that makes us want to stay for weeks...if not months!
However, even the cleanest hotels can have lingering issues with air quality. This is a serious concern for both individuals and health organizations like the American Lung Association.
Hotels, as you might guess, suffer from many of the same air-quality issues as homes and commercial offices.
So, how can you protect your lungs while you stay in a hotel? For that matter, what can hotels do to provide cleaner air for guests?
The issue is complex, but the solutions are quite simple...
Air Pollution in Hotels: The Common CulpritsYou should be concerned about air quality and indoor air pollution. If you suffer from respiratory conditions, such as asthma, allergies, or COPD, you need to be particularly concerned about the quality of air that you breathe.
In your home, it can be relatively easy to monitor and control the indoor air quality. An open window here, an air purifier there, maybe a few plants scattered around the home, and you can take control of the air pollution and purify your air.
When visiting hotels, however, you don’t have that control. Unfortunately, you are at the mercy of the hotel itself, and because each room has a different location and different previous guests, the quality of air can vary from room to room.
In hotels, just like in homes and the outdoors, there are many different causes of air pollution. Outside contaminants, such as ozone, dust, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter can seep into indoor areas like hotel rooms.
Primary Indoor Quality SourcesIn hotels, there are often four main contributors to poor air quality.
The first is bacteria, which can cause illness or trigger asthma and allergy symptoms. Bacteria can get into a hotel’s air conditioning system, causing significant problems to numerous guests.
Mold is another common issue with hotels. If not properly cleaned and sanitized, mold can become embedded in the hotel’s walls, releasing spores that create significant breathing problems for hotel guests.
Third, there are dust mites. These microscopic organisms can be found in carpets, pillows, and mattresses, and they prefer areas with lots of human dander. These organisms can trigger allergies and asthma symptoms, and vacuuming with high-powered machines rarely removes all of them.
There are, of course, other causes of poor air quality in hotels, including chemical cleaners and fumes from paint and building materials.
Finally, a big issue in visits to hotels is a lack of ventilation. In some cases you cannot open the windows so the only air you get is from the air conditioning system. If the HVAC system is not blowing clean, fresh air into your room, the air quality will be poor.
Although it’s rare today, you may also have a lingering tobacco smoke smell in your hotel room. This is a form of thirdhand smoke. In addition, depending on the hotel policy, it is possible to have pet dander in the hotel room as well.
The key point is that in hotels, indoor air quality can be. There are certain signs, such as smell or the presence of purifiers, but in most case the air quality in a hotel room is an unknown. That’s why it’s best to take certain measures, especially if you suffer from sensitive respiratory conditions.
Visiting a Hotel? Ask the Right Questions About Air QualityIf you are concerned about the quality of air in your hotel room, you can take specific measures to ensure you stay in a building or a specific room that is easy on your health.
It all starts by asking the right questions before booking.
First, ask about the hotel’s policies related to smoking and pets. Most states prohibit smoking inside businesses, including restaurants and hotels, so it’s likely that there is no smoking in the hotel rooms either. But it never hurts to ask, especially if you don’t know the specific state laws.
If you suffer from pet allergies, you should ask about the hotel’s pet policy and whether any pets could be staying in the room before you. If there is a chance that pets of any kind have stayed in the room, it may be best to choose a different location.
While you’re discussing the air quality, ask about the cleaning process. How thoroughly does the staff clean sheets, linens, pillows, and blankets? What is the process? Is hot water used? Understanding their cleaning process can help you decide whether the hotel is right for your health needs.
You can also ask about the use of air purifiers. Many hotels are implementing air cleaners throughout their facility. If they do have purifiers in the rooms, you are likely to have cleaner, healthier air during your stay.
Personal Air Purifiers for Bringing on Your TripAs an added measure, you can always bring along an air purifier to keep in your room as you travel. This will help clean the air in your hotel room and will give you reassurance that you’re breathing healthier, pollution-free air. This is especially important if you suffer from allergies or asthma.
To get the most from your air purifier in a hotel room, it’s best to set it up early and let it run for at least a couple of hours. This will give the air cleaner a chance to do its magic, filtering air while you are away.
The overall effectiveness of the purifier will depend on the type, the time it has to run, and circulation in the hotel room to clean a large square footage. It should be able to remove a large amount of mold, bacteria, chemicals, and other impurities from the air.
You can also assist the purifier by turning on the room’s A/C fan, which will circular air and create greater flow to the machine.
Options for Travel Purifiers:An effective room air purifier for hotel use will be small, easy to store, and remove a wide range of contaminants.
Here are a couple options for air purifiers that you can use in your hotel rooms:
Finn HEPA UV Air PurifierThin and sleek, the Finn air purifier is designed to easily fit in homes and small offices, hiding beside a desk or table while discreetly cleaning the air. Because it is small, it is also easy to store in a car and take with you on a road trip. Best of all, the purifier cleans dust, allergens, pollen, mold, and light odors, and has a UV light that kills many harmful air pollutants.
OV200 Air PurifierThe OV200 air purifier is also small and effective. It has the strength to clean 98% of airborne allergens and particles and can clean a 400 square-foot area. Despite the power, it is only 13 inches wide, 23 inches tall, and 7 inches deep, allowing you to store it inside your car, truck, or SUV while you travel.
Air Quality and Your Hotel: What You Need to KnowAs a manager or owner of a hotel, you need to be aware of the air quality for your guests. The obvious issue for hotels is, of course, odor, as foul smells will drive away business and keep guests from scheduling a return visit.
Smoke is another concern. As a hotel manager, it’s wise to keep an air purifier for smoke on hand, just in case a guest decides to light up in one of your rooms.
Outside of odors, there is the issue of health and safety as well.
Mold, mildew, bacteria, chemical fumes, and pollen can all impact your guests, so making sure the air is clean, quite frankly, is the right thing to do.
How to Test the Air in Your HotelThe first step is to fully understand the quality of air currently in your hotel, which will require testing. If you want control of the process, you can order inexpensive tests kits that allow you to check for mold and mildew. These tests usually require you to take a sample, then mail the sample for lab testing.
There are also advanced devices that can be used to immediately detect any bacteria or contaminants. These machines are usually easy to use, and can deliver information on volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, and other materials.
To simplify matters, you could hire an air quality testing company. These businesses specialize in generating information on many common pollutants, and they can provide the data you need while making the process fast and convenient.
Steps to Keep Your Hotel’s Air CleanOnce you have information on your hotel’s air quality, you can then take measures to either maintain clean air or remove specific pollutants. There are a wide range of steps you can take to clean the air, and each measure will depend on what you learn during the testing phase.
If you discover that there are numerous chemicals and VOCs lingering in the air, you may consider changing the cleaning products you use. Many chemical cleaners release fumes into the air that could be affecting your air quality, so replacing them is a quick and convenient solution.
There is also the option of using plants to enhance air quality. Plants, especially when combined with air purifiers, can filter out a lot of the impurities that exist in homes, businesses, and hotels. Plants can capture a wide range of particles that air purifiers might miss, making them a perfect way to supplement your air purifications efforts.
As any hotel manager knows, frequent cleaning of the HVAC system and in-room air conditioners is an extremely important measure as well.
Ozone in a Hotel Facility: When is it Appropriate?If you have significantly strong odors or a large amount of airborne contaminants in one or more rooms of your hotel, you may consider using an ozone generator or ionizer to “shock” the room.
Ozone, however, should be used with caution, as it can be harmful to the lungs and skin. In most cases, it’s best to not use an ozone machine yourself, but instead hire a trained professional to conduct ozone treatments.
Because of its molecular composition, ozone is able to attach part of itself to odor molecules, mold spores, and chemicals, instantly destroying them at the cellular level. However, ozone can also destroy the cells in our lungs, respiratory system, and skin.
As an owner or manager of a hotel, it’s best to use ozone generators only when you have extremely powerful smells in a room or if an area has become contaminated with large amounts of mold. And even then, it’s best to leave the task to a trained and knowledgeable professional.
Air Purifiers for Hotels: What is the Right TypeHotels will have many different needs for their air purifiers. Because room sizes are different, and many hotels have large common areas such as banquet halls and fitness centers, the needs of each hotel will change.
However, there are a few options that will likely fit the needs of large common areas and individual rooms.
For Large Areas:If you have a spacious room in your hotel, such as a banquet hall, dining area, or lounge, you’ll need a stronger, larger, more powerful air purifier.
Erik 650A Air PurifierThe Erik 650A air purifier has everything you need to keep the air in your hotel clean. It uses a special gas filter that removes gases, odors, and smoke, and can be used for mold remediation and particle matter removal. With an efficient yet effective motor, it can cover a 1,700 square-foot room at two air changes per hour. The main filter is rated better than a true HEPA filter and can remove all airborne particles.
For Individual Rooms:The air-purification needs for individual rooms are similar to the needs of residential homes. You need a powerful purifier that can continually filter and clean the air with less noise, all while fitting into a small, inconspicuous area.
EJ Air PurifierSmall and quiet, the EJ air purifier can remove 99.99% of airborne allergens and particulates with it’s true HEPA filter. As a bonus, it has an advanced activated carbon filter that is effective for cigarette smoke. The EJ has a light profile that fits comfortably into many different areas, creating better purification without taking up too much space.
Oransi Has the Solution to Your Air-Quality Needs
Whether you’re staying at a hotel or need an air purifiers for your facility, Oransi can help you choose the perfect product.
Contact us today for more information, or browse our complete selection to find the right purifier for clean, healthy air.