6 Effective Ways to Maintain the Indoor Air Quality During Renovations

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

One of the reasons people don’t take renovations lightly is the dust, noise, and people marching through their house. While they might like the prospects of a new home extension, they are often put off by the stressful change of their already tight routines. People with dust and mould allergies are the most affected, but anyone can have a problem with the strong chemical presence of paint and solvent vapours, which can trigger headaches, respiratory problems, and skin allergies. Luckily, there are several things you can do to improve the indoor air during your renovation project.

Use renovation tents

The first step to reducing the presence of airborne allergens and other particles is to seal off the work area from the rest of the home. If possible, tent the area which is currently under construction with large sheets of heavy plastic to make sure the dust and fumes don’t spread to the rest of the house. To some extent, even doors to critical areas can be sealed with tape so any accumulated dust settles to the floor. It’s necessary, however, to allow for a work entry and exit so workers can come and go with their tools and materials.

Ventilate work areas

Stripping old paint with solvents, varnishing floors and gluing carpets down causes nauseous fumes and chemical off-gassing throughout the work area, so make sure those rooms are properly ventilated.  Keep windows open and bring fans to these rooms to make sure the toxic particles are blown outside. Avoid spending time in these rooms, and don’t turn on the AC or heating systems unless necessary until all the odours have cleared away.

Install air purifiers

One of the ways you can reduce the concentration of harmful airborne particles during a renovation is through the use of air purifiers. This means having your air purifier inspected and serviced before the renovation, and their filters replaced. People with allergies and environmental sensitivity should have air filters in their home replaced at least once a month. If the fumes from solvents, paints, and varnishes are especially persistent, you might want to replace the air filter every two to three weeks to prevent anything harmful from getting recycled through your home over and over again.

Renovate high moisture areas

The kitchen can be a major source of moisture, carbon monoxide and airborne particles, which only further reduces the air quality as a result of a renovation. Moisture encourages mould growth, which releases spores which can cause respiratory problems or irritation of the eyes. Most kitchens are already equipped with range hoods, however, they are often ductless, which means they use strong fans and filters to process the air. To make the most of your kitchen hood, make sure it vents to the outside. In Australia, where kitchen and bathrooms still top the lists of renovation priorities, people often consult these specialists for kitchen and bathroom renovations in Sydney for the optimal choice of materials, layouts, and fixtures. Professionals like those will make sure your kitchen and bathroom floor is watertight to prevent moisture from seeping into cracks and crevices, as well as suggest an effective air circulation system. 

Reduce exposure to spores and bacteria

Health effects and symptoms related to exposure to mould spores include allergic reaction, asthma, and runny nose or eyes as a result of irritated mucous membranes. Effective mould control depends on successful moisture control, so if any area becomes wet or flooded during the renovation, for example, it’s important to dry it within one or two days to prevent mould growth. For the same reason, you should fix leaky plumbing and other sources of moisture. When removing mould off hard surfaces, use detergent and water and allow to dry completely. If absorbent materials like ceiling tiles or carpets became infested with mould, you may have to replace them. Finally, if your project is likely to expose large areas of your home to microbial growth, consult an environmental professional about effective protection measures.

Don’t disturb asbestos

If your home was built before the 1980s, chances are it was made with asbestos elements. Due to its great insulation and fire-retardant properties, asbestos used to be a go-to material for various fittings, flues, cowls, ductwork, insulation and siding elements, even roof shingles. However, it wasn’t until much later, when those homes were up for renovation, that the adverse health effects of this naturally-occurring mineral were discovered. When its fine fibrous structure is disturbed during demolition, it creates airborne dust which is associated with a variety of respiratory problems, and according to some studies, even lung cancer. If your project requires you to disturb areas that contain asbestos, or you suspect your home has asbestos elements, use asbestos removal professionals to inspect the home and remove it safely. 

One of the biggest problems with home renovations are potential health issues caused by airborne particles as a result of tearing down walls, drilling through the concrete structure, and ripping up carpets and floors. Apart from using barriers to seal off the renovation areas, you should keep your home well-ventilated and if necessary, use air purifiers and ventilators to remove allergens and fumes from the indoor environment.

Leave a Comment