What does AQI stand for?

The environmental protection agency (EPA) Monitors the air quality index on a daily basis. This daily monitoring of pollutants gives us insight about the pollution levels of a particular place. 

So in this article we will discuss what AQI stands for, why we use Air Quality index and what are the ways to keep ourselves away from harmful pollutants. So read this article till the end.

What does AQI stand for? 

According to the environmental protection agency (EPA) AQI stands for The Air Quality Index. AQI tells you whether the air is clean or polluted. The AQI monitors the six main criteria pollutants. 

What is the Air Quality Index and what is its significance? 

Air Quality Index 

With the pollution levels rising at an alarming rate, the Environmental Protection Agency has established air quality monitoring systems to keep a record of major pollutants. 

The AQI monitors the six main criteria pollutants namely;Ozone, Particulates (PM10 and PM2.5), SO2, NO2, CO and Lead. Depending on the concentrations of each pollutant, the pollutants are assigned a color coded index. This ranges from 0-500. The pollutant having the highest concentration is marked with an AQI value for that day. The Air Quality Index tells you whether the air is clean or polluted. This can help us protect ourselves from the exposure of harmful pollutants.  

Below is the table showing the Air Quality Index: 

Air Quality IndexLevels Color coding 
0-50  Good Green 
51-100 Moderateyellow
101-150 Unhealthy For  Sensitive Groups Orange 
151-200  UnhealthyRed
201-300  Very Unhealthy Purple
301-500  Hazardous Maroon

Significance of AQI

  • AQI allows us to compare the air quality of different places.
  • We can check the improvement and degradation of air quality in a particular place. 
  • AQI alerts the people against the unhealthy pollution levels in the ambient air. 

What are the ways to keep ourselves away from harmful pollutants?

Below are some of the ways to keep harmful pollutants at bay: 

If you plan to go out then you should consider the below mentioned points before stepping out of your house.

Monitor air pollution levels

You can keep a check on the air quality index of your area to get insight about the pollution levels. There are certain websites designed for this purpose such as the Environmental Protection Agency. These sites can be accessed anytime of the day.

Plan any outdoor activities in morning 

During early mornings, the pollutant concentrations; particularly the ground level ozone, are lower as compared to mid afternoon. So you can plan your activities in the mornings. However, If the AQI has reached harmful levels you can schedule your outdoor activities to the next day. 

However the normal physical activities can be performed indoors under controlled conditions like air conditioners and air purifiers when ozone concentrations are high outside. 

Air pollutants are also capable of entering your house. So in order to maintain the air quality of your indoor spaces you can install the below mentioned air cleaning devices.

 

Turn on the HVAC system 

The HVAC system works efficiently towards filtering airborne contaminants. If you have a central heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) at home, set the fan to the “on” position rather than auto, especially when you have visitors. This helps in continuous circulation of air. The filter should be upgraded on a timely basis in order to maintain its efficiency.

Below are the best HVAC systems for improving the air flow in your room:

HVAC Systems Why i recommend it 
Honeywell F300E1019 Electronic Air Cleaner



This can be operated with gas, oil and AC systems. Efficiency for capturing particles is upto 98%.Has a very low pressure drop
DAIKIN 9,000 BTU 17 SEER Wall-Mounted Ductless Mini-Split Inverter Air Conditioner Daikin’s ductless technology offers  greater  energy efficiency; cools and warms up the room fast.Smart inverter technology with integrated inverted variable speed compressorProvides continuous heating and cooling with minimum temperature fluctuations.Quiet operation; with indoor sound levels as low as 37 decibels. 

If you do not have an HVAC system then you can also use high efficiency particulate air or HEPA cleaner. They work efficiently against air borne particles

Nowadays there are many filters available in markets having several features like HEPA filter, Activated carbon filter, and ultraviolet light. 

Use air cleaners and purifiers

The simplest way to improve air quality is to install air purifiers. Air purifiers are devices which circulate the air through a set of filters and capture the contaminants like; microscopic particles such as dust, allergens, molds, spores, bacteria, etc, that are floating around.

Below are the best air purifiers for improving the air flow in your room:

Air purifiers
Why I recommend it
HATHA SPACE air purifier HEPA Air filterParticle efficiency of about 99.97% for particle size 0.3-0.1 micron.Effective against pollen, dust, VOCs, tobacco smoke, odors, pet hair, etc.Medical grade filterGood for extra large roomsAuto mode available for fan speed adjustmentComes with a 5 years warranty
LEVOIT Air Purifiers for HomeYou can access this device from anywhere, fan speeds can be operated through your smartphone. Better purification with its 360 degree design. Suitable for large rooms. It has an ultra fine nylon pre filter and activated carbon filter. Highly efficient against 99.7% contaminants for particles as small as 0.3 microns such as; dust pollen, pet hair, mold, odor etc. Does not make much noiseVoice control feature 
Germ guardian true HEPA filter air purifier with UVlight sanitizerParticle efficiency of about 99.7% for particles as small as 0.3 microns.UV C light sanitizer is effective against viruses like; staph, rhinovirus, influenza, and VOCs.Effective against allergens; pet dander and other large particles. It has a carbon filter and is highly effective against odors like; smoking, pets, odor from cooking, etc. Does not make much noise 
TOPPIN HEPA Air Purifiers for HomeEfficiency of about 95% for particle size of 0.3 microns. It has UV light, carbon filter and nano silver filter coating. Highly efficient against airborne contaminants; dust, pet hair, pollen and also efficient against odors, tobacco smoke etc. Fragrance sponge and aroma diffuser are also present. Purifies a large area of upto 160 sq ftLow noise levelsUV lamps are covered to avoid direct eye contact.

Add an air conditioning system

Apart from cooling, the air conditioners also help in ventilation by the circulation of air inside the room.The air conditioner works on a principle that it draws the warm air of the room and replaces it with cool air, thus ensuring proper air circulation. Air conditioners also help in keeping the dampness at bay.

You can find the links to some air conditioners in the links below:

Air conditioners Why i recommend it 
AmazonBasics Window-Mounted Air Conditioner Remote controlled AC with dehumidifier Built in filter can be washed and reused Comes with an Auto restart and shut off feature 
LG 6,000 BTU 115V Window Air Conditioner Quiet operation: produces  sound as low as 52dComes with three fan speed options and allows customized cooling Auto restart feature Provides a cooling upto 260 sq ft Ideal for medium rooms

 

Use of evaporative coolers 

Evaporative coolers are also known as swamp coolers. They help in increasing the ventilation in the room and also cools down the indoor air. Evaporative coolers are ideal for dry climates. They require water to provide cooling and also enhances the relative humidity of the room.

You can find the links to some evaporative coolers and whole house fans in the links below:

Evaporative coolers and Why i recommend it 
Pro Breeze Evaporative Air Cooler with Remote Control  Offers powerful cooling with its  waterfall cooling technology that propels air through an ice cold honeycomb filter.A portable swamp cooler air conditioner ideal for room, home office or bedroom. This is a 3-in-1 appliance which can operate as an air cooler, a cooling fan and a humidifier.It runs at just 0.0065 kw/h, which is much more energy efficient than an air conditioner hence it is energy efficient & cost-effective 
Air Cooler Sunday Living Portable Air ConditionersThis swamp cooler has a double layer water circulation system which purifies air can also be used as a humidifier or a fanWater tank has a large capacity with visible water level window This cooler does not have compressor and chemical refrigerants and hence its environmental friendly Comes with a bladeless cooling solution Cost effective Compared with your costly AC,Safer to use in the household that has children or pets.

Create ventilation using  portable and ceiling fans.

If opening windows are not feasible consider using bathroom and stove exhaust fans. Try placing the fans close to an open window or a door.

This ensures better air circulation and draws the air borne particles like viruses, bacteria and particulates out of your house.

An exhaust fan works in a reverse motion. It blows air outward and draws fresh air and moisture inwards. This removes contaminants and allows moisture into your house. 

Ceiling fans are also efficient at proper air circulation even if the windows are closed. Use of ceiling fans is a relatively energy efficient, and cost effective way to enhance the airflow of your house. 

You can find the links to some of the fans in the links below:

Types of Fans Why i recommend it 
AC Infinity AIRLIFT T10, Shutter Exhaust FanOffers high airflow; draws out heat, moisture, odor, and dust etc.EC-motor with PWM-control increases and reduces energy consumption and noise levels (67dB)Blades are made of aluminum that are resistant to liquid and dust.
VENTISOL Variable Shutter Exhaust FanProvides superior airflow; ideal for  garages, gardens, attics, barns, greenhouses, basements etc.Easy installation consists of hard wire connection for wiring. Body made of galvanized steel frame, 3 aluminum shutter blades, fully enclosed ball bearing motor, self closing shutter system provides protection to fan when not in useIt’s suitable for ventilating a building to the outside.Powerful & Efficient: 120 volts at 70W, 0.57 amps, with 1680rpm
Hunter Aerodyne Ceiling Fan   High performance fan with ultra powerful airflow which gives high speed cooling Quiet operation Energy-efficient WIFI Compatible; compatible with Alexa, Apple and Google Assistant You can  adjust the brightness of light and speed from anywhere in the room with the included remote controlIdeal for living room, lounge, and bedrooms
Prominence Home Indoor/Outdoor Journal Ceiling FanThe ceiling fan can be used both indoors and outdoors in covered spacesThe fan has a carbon filter on one side.This ceiling fan comes with two blade options Reversible, 3 speed motor. The reverse air flow feature allows the direction change of the fan, for a proper distribution of air.Easy Installation 

Other FAQs about Air Quality that you may be interested in.

What does an Air Quality Index of 159 mean?

What does an Air Quality Index of 154 mean?

What does an Air Quality Index of 153 mean?

Conclusion

So in this article we discussed what AQI stands for, why we use Air Quality index and what are the ways to keep ourselves away from harmful pollutants.

References

https://www.epa.gov/outdoor-air-quality-data/air-data-basic-information
https://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-aqd-AQI-Actions_327479_7.pdf
https://www.weather.gov/wrn/summer-article-clearing-the-air

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