March 18, 2021

Purifying Indoor Air

A house is a haven for more than its residents. It also harbours contaminants that, in conjunction with high humidity, could affect our health and comfort. Here are some of the main contaminants as well as various ventilation options to purify the air in our home in a responsible way.

Tobacco smoke, of course, ranks first among harmful contaminants.Fortunately, more and more smokers are choosing to smoke outside, even at home.Radon is an odourless and colourless gas and therefore not detectable by our senses. It is harmful to our health at high levels and can be found everywhere.You can purchase a radon detector for $45 from the Quebec Lung Association: https://poumonquebec.ca/en/produit/radon-detector/.Carbon monoxide (or CO) emanates from various devices such as boilers, fireplaces, gas or oil-fired water heaters.Mould, as we know, can cause respiratory problems.Where there is dust, there are, of course, mites.Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), detergents and cleaners of all kinds, paints and the dye in fabrics can also cause nausea and affect the respiratory system.  

In fact, a poorly ventilated house actually magnifies the harmful impacts of contaminants naturally found in the home.An adequate ventilation system can help prevent headaches, discomfort and the inconvenience caused by allergies.

The best ways to improve indoor air quality...

In older houses (pre-1960), regularly opening the windows may be sufficient.Range hoods and bathroom fans can help remove contaminants and humidity, but not always satisfactorily.

The installation of a ventilation system is a necessity for almost all homes.The Quebec Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources points out that “in order for the system to be adapted to the particular conditions and needs of each home, it must be installed by a competent ventilation professional under the requirements of the Québec Construction Code.”

(Source: https://transitionenergetique.gouv.qc.ca/en/residential/helpful-advice/ventilation.)

The optimal ventilation solution for Quebec’s climate is to install a heat recovery ventilator (HRV).This system results in more balanced energy bills and is now mandatory in new construction throughout Quebec.Its potential for heat recovery coupled with lower heating costs is certainly one of its advantages.Setting it to run continuously increases its efficiency and promotes better air quality.

Did you know?The Rénoclimat program offers financial assistance for the installation or replacement of a heat/energy recovery ventilator (HRV/ERV):

https://transitionenergetique.gouv.qc.ca/en/residential/programs/renoclimat/financial-assistance/installing-mechanical-systems.

Other tips

  • Limit the use of synthetic room fragrances.Use natural essential oils.
  • Use healthy cleaning products.
  • Plants throughout the house can contribute to a healthier environment.
  • Research the use of materials with no VOCs or urea formaldehyde.
  • Regularly renew the air in the house.
  • Install a range hood and a bathroom fan.

Something to think about...

While some work outdoors all day, most of us spend about 75% of our time indoors (home, office, etc.).It follows that the importance of properly ventilating each room in our home is undeniable.In reality, it’s simply common sense!


See also:

Cleaning Without Chemicals

Gardening with homemade products

Tips for an Eco-Friendly Home and Yard


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