Monday, June 11, 2012

5 easy steps to a healthier home renovation

Non-toxic materials and products can help improve
indoor air quality in the home, experts say.
Every home is in need of an update or renovation at some time – and making the right choices can be one of the most important factors for providing a healthier environment for the entire family.

Building materials and finishes are major contributors to indoor air pollution for years after they were put in or applied.

And with so many people spending more than 90 percent of their time indoors, it is important to limit risks as much as possible.

Luckily, there are healthier alternatives out there.

Here are some tips compiled by green experts:

1) Take care when selecting materials
Try to use natural materials whenever possible and educate yourself about possible chemical hazards and precautions when installing them. Use low or zero-VOC materials such as paints, adhesives, glues and floor sealants. Avoid pressed-wood products, if possible, since they emit formaldehyde into the ambient air. Look for materials that have been certified by Greenguard or Green Seal.

2) Pay attention to the ventilation system
Strict energy codes and more airtight homes often fail to address indoor air concerns and can lead to higher indoor air pollution. A HVAC contractor can include a fresh-air ventilation system to improve IAQ in the home. During home renovations, HVAC ductwork can become contaminated with dust and other particles, so sealing them off and cleaning them after the work is done may be a good idea.

3) Control moisture
A good ventilation system will help, but it is important to also monitor the home’s humidity levels to control moisture. High humidity levels can lead to building structure problems and mold growth. Any water infiltration problems need to be fixed immediately and moisture buildup can also be prevented by venting clothes dryers, kitchen range hoods and bathroom fans to the outdoors.

4) Test the air
One of the most important tests in any home is the radon test. A home renovation in the basement can easily accommodate a soil vent system to prevent gases from entering the home. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoke.

5) Replace carpets
New carpets can emit VOCs, and older carpets often trap dirt, dust mites, molds and other contaminants. The best alternative may be natural hardwood flooring finished with a non-toxic low-VOC sealant. Smaller carpets that are made of natural fiber and washable are also good options.

Whether you do the work yourself or hire a contractor, make sure you do your research into the materials, possible hazards and health effects first and ask the right questions.

Source: Healthy Child, Healthy World

Air purifiers for cleaner, healthier air

Before, during and after home renovations, a portable air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA filters can help remove toxic chemicals, fumes and particles from the ambient air.

AllerAir has developed versatile and powerful air purifiers for the home and office that feature the most relevant filter media to address the widest range of indoor air contaminants.

For renovations and heavier concentrations of chemicals and gases, AllerAir recommends a "D" or "DX" air purifier with an extra deep bed of activated carbon. A specific type or blend of carbon may further enhance effectiveness.

While activated carbon filters can typically last between two and five years, those filters used for home renovations involving a lot of fumes and chemicals may have to be replaced earlier.

For more information and options, contact an AllerAir IAQ expert today.

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