Mediaplanet:  What is the biggest mistake that people make in regards to air quality within their homes?

Bryan Baeumler: Air quality in our homes can be up to 10 times worse than outdoor air quality, which may surprise some people. But if you think about it, we live in fairly airtight boxes, filled with dust, mould spores, and possibly even asbestos fibres.

There are also construction materials, paint, furniture, and floor coverings that are all off-gassing VOCs (volatile organic compounds). We spend a majority of the year with our windows locked up tight, which means all of those airborne pollutants remain trapped in our homes. The vast majority of homes today don’t have an air exchanger or secondary air filtration, and few people stick to a rigid schedule when it comes to replacing their furnace filters.

MP: If someone is looking to improve the indoor air quality, what are a few simple steps that they can take?

BB: If you’re looking to improve the air quality in your home, there are a few simple tricks to get you started.

 Install an HRV/ERV. These recovery ventilators and air exchangers take the stale, contaminated air out of your home and bring in fresh, clean, filtered air. Some also control humidity

  •  Open your windows whenever possible to bring in fresh air
  • Change your furnace filter often, and run the fan to circulate and filter the air
  • Keep your house clean. Solid surfaces are easier to clean, and be sure to use cleaning agents without harsh chemicals
  • If you have pets, dust, and vacuum regularly

MP: When buying a new home, what should buyers look for to ensure they are purchasing a lung friendly home?

BB: If you’re in the market for a new home, you want to make sure that it is equipped with an air exchange system and secondary air filtration. Go through the products and building materials in the home to ensure that low- or no-VOC paints were used, as well as that environmentally and lung-healthy floor coverings, cabinetry, and furnishings were chosen.

If you’re purchasing an older home, have an environmental assessment done, including sampling for mould and asbestos, and an air quality test to determine the amount of airborne particles. Essentially, the less VOCs and dust particles in the air — the better. The dirtier the air, the dirtier your personal air filter (your lungs) will be.

“The dirtier the air, the dirtier your personal air filter (your lungs) will be.”

MP: Is there anything else that you feel is important to address regarding lung health and air quality?

BB: It is essential to do your research when purchasing materials going into your home —  everything off-gasses to some degree. Limiting the release of airborne particles is the key to a clean, happy, and healthy home.