Is The Air You’re Breathing At The Cottage Really That Fresh?

Shipton's CleanAir Solutions Explore Ways To Improve Your Cottage Indoor Air Quality.

Your cottage is your escape. Your oasis. Your peaceful home away from home. 

It’s your chance to get back into nature. To explore, play, and breathe fresh air again. 

But what if the air you’re breathing at the cottage isn’t that fresh? 

What if indoor air pollution has taken over – leaving your peaceful oasis full of harmful allergens and contaminants? 

Suddenly, your relaxing getaway isn’t so relaxing. 

Instead, it’s become a vacation home for unwanted guests – including pests, mould, dust mites and other hazardous pollutants.

In other words, your cottage indoor air quality is actually putting your health at risk! 

The opposite of what it’s supposed to do for your mental and physical well-being.

The solution?

First, we have to understand the specific contaminants we’re dealing with. 

Then, we can discover the potential ways in which these contaminants invaded your cottage. 

Once we know what they are and how they got there, we can take effective action to remove these contaminants from your cottage air. 

Ready? Let’s get started!

Common Cottage Pests

Many suburban homeowners in Hamilton spend their summer weekends at their northern Ontario cottages. And who can blame them? Having a peaceful home away from home is the DREAM!

It’s what makes cottages such a hot commodity!

But the thing is, suburban homeowners aren’t the only ones looking for a comfy little retreat. 

If you have a cottage out in the boonies, then you’ve probably dealt with at least a mouse or two. These rodents are one of the most common household pests. And their infestation rate of cottages is no better!

If your cottage isn’t properly sealed, you might unknowingly be sharing it with a few other Canadian critters! Including:

  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Cockroaches
  • Raccoons
  • Bats
  • Squirrels… etc. 

And these guests aren’t the clean and tidy type. 

They’re known to rade food supplies, destroy furniture, chew through wiring and burrow through insulation – all leading to some expensive and time-consuming repairs.

And that’s not even the worst of it! 

Certain pests, like rodents, can even contaminate indoor air quality with their urine and faeces. 

Once dry, this urine and faeces become airborne. Spreading throughout your home and polluting the air you breathe. 

Some of these rodents carry viruses too, such as hantavirus, which can harm your health – causing nausea, fatigue, headaches…etc. 

Cockroach droppings and saliva can also irritate your airways, causing allergy and asthma symptoms.

The Solution:

  1. Seal up any openings in your walls, foundation, soffits, ceiling, flooring… etc. 
  2. Leaving food open and accessible at the cottage is never a good idea. Instead, bring the food home with you, or package it in resealable food containers.
  3. Unless you want your neighbourhood racoons throwing a party while you’re away, you must deal with your garbage. Either dispose of it on your way home or lock it away in a sturdy garbage can. 

Using Plywood Indoors 

Plywood is a manufactured wood panel usually used for walls, roofing, flooring, cabinetry and furniture. 

It’s cheap, sturdy and makes a great makeshift bookshelf at the cottage!

But did you know that plywood, among other building materials, can emit formaldehyde? 

Manufacturers use urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins to adhere pressed wood pieces together. And in certain conditions, the finished plywood panel can actually off-gas this chemical – releasing it into your indoor air. 

Have you read our recent blog about the indoor air quality effects of remodelling? If so, then you already know all about this harmful gas. 

A low concentration of formaldehyde, roughly 0.1 ppm, doesn’t usually affect your health. However, according to the EPA, a higher concentration can cause:

  • Nausea,
  • Watery eyes,
  • Burning sensations in your eyes and airway, and
  • Respiratory difficulties. 

The Solution:

  1. Use exterior-grade pressed wood products with low emissions. 
  2. Maintain a moderate temperature in your cottage at all times. 
  3. Install a whole home ventilation system.
  4. Invest in a whole home dehumidifier. 

Wood Smoke 

Many cottage owners choose to heat their cottages with a wood-burning fireplace. 

It offers a cheaper heating solution during the cold winter months. And, if you own acres of forest, you’ll have an almost endless fuel supply! 

But, if you choose a wood-burning fireplace, be wary of the wood smoke.

Without proper care and maintenance, wood smoke can seep into your home and lower your indoor air quality. 

According to Health Canada, pollutants caused by wood smoke include:

  • Particulate matter (PM)
  • Carbon monoxide (CO)
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

And the health effects of these pollutants are not pleasant. From nausea to dizziness, headaches and eye irritation, wood smoke can affect anyone! 

The Solution:

  1. Properly maintain your wood-burning fireplace. 
  2. Clean your chimney and flues regularly. 
  3. Use your dampers. 

Dust Accumulation

Is your cottage seasonal? Weekend-use only?

Although you might not have pets and people contributing to the dust in your home 24/7, other factors are. 

Potential dust sources at the cottage: 

  • Pollen 
  • Soil 
  • Dust Mites 
  • Food Debris 
  • Insects 
  • Insect Droppings…etc.

So even while you’re away from your cottage, dust and dust mites can still accumulate! Giving you a warm welcome of sneezing fits, watery eyes, runny noses and congestion – not the summer vacation you imagined.

The Solution:

  1. Reduce your humidity. Dust mites thrive in warm, humid areas. Installing a dehumidifier and adjusting your air conditioner can help lower humidity levels. 
  2. Remove all potential dust mite homes – drapes, curtains, upholstered furniture, carpet…etc.
  3. Dust as regularly as possible (using a microfibre cloth for best results).
  4. Schedule a professional duct cleaning.

Purify Your Cottage Indoor Air Quality With Shiptons CleanAir Solutions!

Your cottage should be a breath a fresh air. A place where you can feel refreshed and rejuvenated – not sick and tired (literally). 

Get in touch with our team at Shipton’s CleanAir Solutions! We can help purify your cottage indoor air – ensuring that your vacation home is ACTUALLY a vacation for you and your family. 

You can contact our team at (905) 544-2470 or visit us online! 

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