Spring is not here yet, but after enduring yet another long, cold Canadian winter, you can bet spring fever will arrive before the actual season itself!
Spring is a popular season to do home remodels. You’ve been cooped up inside your house all winter with ample opportunity to think up ways to make it roomier, comfier, and more livable.
Doing a remodel also makes spring cleaning much less of a chore. After all, you are simply getting rid of the old in preparation for something brand-new!
If you are thinking about doing a home remodel this spring, don’t forget to factor in these clean air-friendly additions that can safeguard your family’s health and save you money!
Install a Heat Recovery Ventilator
A heat recovery ventilator (also called an air exchanger) ensures that stale outgoing air and fresh incoming air never mix.
This also ensures your home is always well-ventilated in an energy-efficient manner.
Replace Overhead Light Fixtures with Ceiling Fan Lights
If you are eyeing your overhead light fixtures in hopes of replacing them, choose lighting with a ceiling fan wherever possible. This will give each room in your house its own additional source of ventilation to keep the air circulating and make sure it stays fresh.
Adding in ceiling fans can also help lower your household’s annual energy bill, since circulating air in summer makes a room feel cooler, and in winter, using the reverse switch can draw warmer air down into the center of each room.
Wave Goodbye to Your Carpet
Carpet is quite simply a no-no if anyone in your family suffers from allergies or asthma. This is doubly the case if you have family pets who like to laze around on (and deposit pet hair and dander into) the fibers of your carpeting.
Carpet can harbor dust and dust mites, mould and mildew spores, pollen, pet dander, volatile organic compounds, bacteria, fungi, germs, and viruses.
If you simply can’t bear to part with your carpeting, consider upgrading to a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter for your HVAC and your vacuum cleaner.
Add Carbon Monoxide and Radon Detectors
Carbon monoxide is not called “the silent killer” for nothing. It is quite literally colorless, odorless, and undetectable—unless you have installed a carbon monoxide detector to alert you.
Radon is the cause of an estimated 16 percent of fatal lung cancer in Canada (about 3,300 deaths annually). It is currently classified as the number one cause of lung cancer in Canadian non-smoking patients.
Without a radon detector, you might never know you have radon seeping up into your home from the surrounding soil.
Route All Kitchen and Bathroom Vents to the Outside
When you are planning a remodel, this is always a great time to check your home’s vents in the kitchen, bathroom, utility room, and other areas. An improperly routed vent can cause mould, mildew, and home fires as well as exposure to potent airborne toxins.
This is especially important for your stove, since clogged or poorly routed vents are one of the top causes for home fires each year.
Choose Remodeling Supplies & Materials with Care
In past decades, so little was known about the potential toxicity for home supplies, including adhesives, sealants, paint, and building materials. Take, for example, paint. In homes built prior to 1978, paint that included lead, a toxic poison, was still being used!
Today, we know so much more about the dangers involved in using toxic DIY, crafting, or home renovation materials. But this helps you only if you carefully pick the materials you use.
For instance, some mini-blind materials are toxic, while others are not. Most new carpeting will emit formaldehyde and other toxins into your indoor air, but certain carpets made from sustainable materials like hemp or bamboo will not.
Some paints are specifically formulated as “Low VOC,” which means “low volatile organic compounds,” indicating these paints are far less toxic. This is especially important if you have children or pets in the household, as they are inherently more vulnerable to airborne VOCs.
Some paints today are “zero VOC” or “natural,” meaning they are safe for the planet and people too.
The adhesives, paints, sealants, and renovation materials you choose can make a big difference in keeping your indoor air clean and healthy for all.
HINT: Houseplants are great indoor air recyclers and they accept their pay in the form of plant food and water!
Clean Out Those Air Ducts & Dryer Vents
Once your renovation is complete, the first thing you should do is to have your air ducts and dryer vents professionally cleaned.
The reason for this is simple: even the cleanest, greenest renovation effort will release extra dust and debris into the air, which will then get sucked up into your air ducts and stuck inside your dryer vents.
In other words, if you thought your indoor air ducts were clogged already, they are doubly so after a remodel. This is the perfect moment to have them professionally cleaned, deodorized, and sanitized, so you can start fresh with pure, clean indoor air and a beautifully remodeled home.
Caulk, Weather-strip, & Insulate
You can install all the right equipment and do everything to purify and clean your indoor air, but if there is pollinated, smoggy air leaking in from outside, it is all for nothing.
One of the keys to keeping your indoor air free from outside allergens is to prevent unauthorized air exchanges through cracks, holes, and leaks.
By doing an annual spring inspection of your caulking and weather-stripping and taking time to replenish compressed insulation in the attic and walls, you accomplish two important tasks:
- You keep your clean air pure inside your home where it belongs.
- You save money every day on your energy bills.