Planning to renovate your home is an exciting but overwhelming experience. While several things should be considered for a successful renovation project, air quality is commonly forgotten or ignored both during and after the renovation exercise.
Air pollution during the improvement project caused by the release of microscopic particles from dust, sanding, and paints is dangerous.
Homeowners should consider the following tips to maintain healthy indoor air quality levels when planning to renovate their homes.
1. Replace your HVAC Filter
Replacing your HVAC filter after the renovation exercise improves your indoor air quality while ensuring that the conditioner works optimally.
While a quality air filter for AC can better your indoor environment than standard filters, you should consider replacing it after the renovation. You should also opt for filters that trap dust and allergens.
Your house and surrounding environment will have a lot of air contaminants during and after the renovation. To ensure that you are breathing safe air, replace the filter and inspect other crucial components of your air conditioner.
2. Contain the Dust
While this might not be environmentally friendly, it is a much better way of minimizing air contamination.
To contain any dust produced, simply seal off the construction area with plastic sheets to create a physical barrier between the construction zones and other parts of the house.
While this option isn’t foolproof, especially if you intend to renovate most parts of your house, it is overly beneficial.
If you intend to renovate a room with HVAC vents or air ducts, you should also seal them to prevent widespread air contamination. Additionally, you can encourage home renovation experts to use equipment with attached dust collectors.
3. Use Air Scrubbers or Purifiers
While air filters can significantly reduce the number of contaminants in the incoming air, air scrubbers or purifiers can also improve indoor air quality after renovation.
If you are working on the renovation exercise DIY, consider renting an industry-grade air scrubber. However, if you hire a professional renovation company, they understand the importance of setting up these units.
Large-capacity air purifiers can trap and eliminate most dust and other harmful contaminants produced during renovation. Ideally, one purifier should be placed inside the renovated room and the other outside these rooms.
If you can’t find a commercial-grade air scrubber, you might opt for several quality air purifiers. However, unlike air scrubbers, which have a large dust capacity, you must replace the filters in your purifier more frequently.
Air scrubbers and purifiers should be left on every time until the project is complete.
When choosing air purifiers, look for options that come with HEPA filters, as they capture up to 99.7% of air contaminants and microscopic allergens.
These filters effectively remove dust, odors, volatile organic compounds, germs, and bacteria. Quality purifiers also have a sensor and timer feature that continuously monitors indoor air quality.
Use them in your living room, bathrooms, or bedrooms to abate exposure to polluted air.
Ensuring maximum ventilation during and after the renovation also improves indoor air quality. The main goal is to ensure that you drive polluted air away from your home.
Ensure that your windows remain open to allow fresh air into the renovated rooms.
You can also secure a ceiling or portable fan close to the window to ensure continuous airflow in and out of the room.
Exhaust ventilation, which involves blowing out air from the work area, creates a pressure barrier, preventing air contaminants from spreading to other rooms in your house.
Typically, you should ensure maximum renovation during the renovation process and at least 72 hours or more after remodeling.
5. Minimize Off-Gassing
Sealants, paints, engineered wood, carpet, adhesives, varnishes, and many other materials used during renovation off-gas or produce pollutants (volatile organic compounds), which have serious health effects.
Therefore, like dust, proactive prevention is important to avoid exposure to these pollutants.
The best way to prevent exposure is using safe finishes with low or no volatile organic compounds. Unlike before, varnishes, paints, and flooring materials with minimal or no VOCs are currently available.
Similarly, you can allow these materials to off-gas before using them. You should also re-seal the containers and store leftover or unused materials in well-ventilated rooms.
6. Do Not Disturb Lead and Asbestos
Asbestos and lead are dangerous air contaminants that significantly affect your indoor air quality. Before starting your renovation project, start by determining if your home has these contaminants.
If the house was constructed before 1978, use a test kit or hire professional inspectors to check for the presence of lead before breaking into your walls.
If either of these contaminants is present, hire certified contractors to work on your renovation project.
Air pollution caused by home improvement projects is probably the most forgotten concern by homeowners.
Unfortunately, renovation projects release tiny particles that bypass the lungs’ filtration system, causing respiratory issues. The release of volatile organic compounds also affects children, asthmatic occupants, and the elderly.
While the tips mentioned above are effective, relocating during renovation is a sure way of avoiding exposure to these contaminants.