Going Green While Maintaining Indoor Air Quality
Many homeowners want to make green-conscious decisions while maintaining healthy indoor air quality. That sounds simple enough, but it can be quite daunting for the homeowner who is taking on this challenge for the first time. In order to help, we’ll explore a series of helpful and healthy tips for going green.
Remodeling vs. Redecoration
Most homes are anything but green-friendly, so some of our efforts will be major. However that doesn’t mean you have to tear out the kitchen and every bathroom in your home. In fact, you’re being much more environmentally conscious by working with what you have as much as possible. For instance, rather than replace cabinets you can reface them, and rather than replace tubs and sinks, you can re-coat them. They can still look brand new and quite stylish.
Deconstruction vs. Deconstruction
When remodeling makes more sense than redecoration, deconstruct rather than demolish as much as possible. Through deconstruction, you can salvage appliances, cabinets and a wide array of building materials. Deconstruction is friendlier to the environment than demolishing is, and while it’s more expensive too, if price is an issue, you can offset the cost by reusing or selling the salvaged materials. Otherwise, donate them to a good cause.
Know What You Want. Demand It.
A common mistake is entering a remodeling project not fully aware of what you want. Plan, and then carefully heed the advice of architects, contractors, designers and so forth. Discuss being green and maintaining proper air quality at the very start of the process. Heed good advice, but don’t allow others to influence you too much. Design your home for the way you live. For instance, don’t build formal rooms if you don’t actually use them.
Accentuate Energy Efficiency
It is surprising how many “green” remodeling and redecoration projects do not accentuate energy efficiency. Do not make this mistake. Put it at the top of your list. Re-insulate your home, at least below the roof, and ensure that heating and cooling ducts are properly connected and well-sealed. Caulk and weather strip around all doors and windows, and replace old appliances with modern, energy-efficient models.
Paints, Sealers and Adhesives
Whenever possible, avoid using these substances inside the home. And rather than use solvent-based materials, opt for substances that are water-based, solvent-free, low-VOC, zero-VOC, formaldehyde-free and so forth. When you can’t avoid using them indoors, ensure that the home has proper filtration and add additional ventilation to compensate for the airborne pollutants and contaminants that you’re introducing.
Household Cleansers and Air Fresheners
Many people destroy their indoor air quality unknowingly by using abrasive household cleaners and by using toxic air fresheners and the like. In order to prevent this, stop using harsh cleaners, including bleach, and instead opt for all-natural cleaners. Don’t use drain cleaners, and don’t use store-bought air fresheners that have hidden dangers. Natural air fresheners should do the trick, and if they do not, the problem is likely a lack of filtration, ventilation or proper cleaning.
Garages are a problem area because they’re often a connected aspect of the house yet people treat them as if they were separate structures. One problem is that stored paints and similar materials will seep harmful contaminants that will make their way into the home. Similarly, exhaust from automobile and lawnmower engines can seep into your house. A way to lessen this seepage is to install high-quality seals at all garage-to-house connections.
Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew are a leading cause of poor indoor air quality so it is vital that we take the steps to avoid them. Always keep your roof, siding and windows in good repair. Correct leaks immediately, and if there has been water damage, seek professional help. Dry the affected area, and immediately replace any furniture or materials that have been wet for more than 48 hours. If necessary, use a dehumidifier to manage moisture levels in the home.
Proper ventilation is vital to maintaining proper air quality. Ventilation allows fresh air into the home, and it ensures that polluted air from appliances is properly exhausted. Exhaust fans in kitchens and especially bathrooms are extremely important. In addition to drawing out the old air, they remove moisture, which can lead to mold and other problems if left unchecked. Nevertheless, ventilation is not nearly as effective without filtration.
HEPA Air Purification
A HEPA air purifier fitted with a HEPA air filter is the best way to maintain air quality in your home. This is true while redecorating and remodeling and it is true long-term. HEPA filtration removes nearly 100-percent of all particulate matter 0.3 microns and larger. This guarantees that your family breathes clean air, and it makes a big difference for allergy sufferers as well.
A HEPA air purifier can make a big difference in the quality of the air that your family breathes. Don’t put it off any longer. It’s a decision you will be glad you made.
- Administration Staff