Monday, April 18, 2011

Basement reno projects and chemical off-gassing

So thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of sweat equity later,
we finally refinished our basement...only to learn that our beautiful new family space was virtually unusable!

The vast amounts of chemical off-gassing leaching from the new drywall, flooring and paint wasn't completely evident at first. It just had a "new" sort of smell - like that new car smell. Surprisingly, that distinctive odor actually means the air is filled with VOC's and other chemicals from the resins, glues and bonding agents in the building materials.

Soon our whole family was experiencing headaches and a variety of other symptoms - our amazing new space was making us sick. For security reasons, we didn't feel comfortable leaving the basement windows open for extended periods of time, but it was clear the air quality needed attention.

When I asked one of our air quality experts how long I'd be living with this off-gassing, I was stunned to hear that it could be YEARS before the materials fully out-gassed...leaving my family exposed to airborne chemicals on a daily basis. 

Armed with that warning, I reluctantly took the AllerAir Air Medic air purifier from my bedroom and moved it to the basement where it remains turned on 24/7. AllerAir is one of the only air purifier manufacturers that uses a significant amount of activated carbon that works like a gas mask to soak up chemicals, gases and odors for at least 2 years in typical home environment. My unit also has a medical-grade HEPA filter for dust and other particles.

After 24 hours we noticed a big difference in the basement, but now I have another problem...I'm sneezing again in my bedroom!

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