A Labor of Love – Consider Air Quality When Buying, Building or Remodeling a Home
Whether you’re ready to purchase a home, building your dream home from the ground up, or doing a simple renovation, now is the perfect opportunity to address indoor air quality (IAQ). Since we spend 90% of our time indoors (yes, 90%!), it is important to be aware of indoor air quality issues and try to mitigate the risks.
Buying a Home
When you’re buying a home, you want it to go smoothly and feel good about making such a big investment. You want to make sure that the obvious, and not so obvious, issues are addressed so there will be no surprises after you settle in. A typical home inspection consists of checking the interior and exterior of a home – its foundation, along with its plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems. Instead of just checking general safety concerns, what if your home inspection provided you with a complete picture of the actual air quality of the house you want to buy?
Instead of finding out years from now that your indoor air contains dangerous contaminants, wouldn’t it be helpful to know upfront about any issues?
By adding the yogi indoor air and water quality test to your home inspection, you get a thorough assessment of your prospective home’s indoor environment. The yogi tests your future home for mold, allergens, VOCs, formaldehyde, asbestos, lead and radon in the air, and lead and copper in drinking water.
Air contaminants and toxins can wreak havoc on your health. The yogi kit assesses for these toxins, while delivering valuable data that can potentially be a bargaining chip for your final sale price should remediation be required.
Building or Remodeling a Home
With any construction there is a chance contaminants and pollutants can be released into the air. Perhaps you feel comfortable knowing that the one room you may be doing remodeling on is closed off from the rest of the house? Not so fast. Unfortunately contaminants are easily spread throughout your home through heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems exposing you and your entire home to these pollutants.
Being proactive and involved in your home’s remodel or building process and communicating with contractors is an easy way to ensure that your home is a safe place for builders and your family. Below are a few tips to stay protected during your renovation process when it comes to indoor air quality:
Test for problem areas before construction begins. Investing in a complete home air quality test prior to renovation can make all the difference. Identifying areas that are of concern gives you and your contractor to a clear picture going into the project. Plus, testing for multiple contaminants throughout your home such as radon, VOCs, formaldehyde, asbestos, mold and allergens is beneficial for all parties because of the health risks linked to exposure.
- Communicate with your contractor/workers- builders are just as concerned with the IAQ of their working area as you are. After testing for sources in your home, confer with your contractor on source control and removal/relocation. Keep the lines of communication open!
- Research possible product/material substitution- some products affect your IAQ more than others. Doing some research and consulting with manufacturers/designers can uncover new ways to protect your family. Sometimes a simple change from pressed wood to hardwood, or water-based adhesives from solvent-based can make not only a difference in your overall health but even the price of renovation. The healthier, smarter option doesn’t always come with a higher price tag!
- Totally “encapsulate” the work area- this is easier said than done! It’s difficult to sufficiently close off an entire work area particularly one used on a daily basis such as a kitchen, but isolating the work zone is still ideal. Using barriers such as polyethylene sheeting and blocking off your space from the general ventilation system air grills is helpful. Also, keep any doors closed and sealed for added protection.
- Ventilate and flush out- Possibly the easiest way to alleviate airborne contaminants in your work zone is simply to allow fresh air to flow post-renovation. Ideally there may be some time between the completion of your project and the full use of your new space where you can “flush-out” your space. The suggested “flush out” time is 72 hours before re-entry however, any amount you can allot is beneficial…so open those windows!
- Diligent housekeeping- Some of us are better at it than others, but good housekeeping practices during a reno can go a long way in mitigating the risks associated with poor indoor air quality. Vacuuming up dust, particles and other project debris can help you and your contractors breathe easier. So quickly clean up spilled materials and protect porous materials that are susceptible to moisture and contaminant exposure.
Renovation is a labor of love and an exciting time for homeowners. But your indoor air quality is of utmost importance so be prepared to take steps to protect it. Your lungs, your family and your contractors will thank you for it!