What makes the indoor air toxic during a renovation?
When planning to renovate or remodel your house, your breathing air can be negatively impacted. The release of tiny, microscopic particles from construction dusts, paints, mold spores, fiberglass, and many other toxins like silica can pollute the air. These particles are so tiny that they can bypass your lung’s filtration system and enter the blood stream.
VOCs (Volatile organic compounds) are released from new furniture, fresh paints and primers which are toxic in nature. Children, asthmatics, immune-compromised and the elderly are most vulnerable.
Dangerous chemicals lurk in common construction materials. Asbestos (a known carcinogen!) can be found in floor and ceiling tiles. Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) is used to prevent rotting in lumber designed for outdoor use. Arsenic is another known carcinogen!
Chances are high that you are being exposed to hazardous off-gassing from a wide range of sources including construction materials, flooring, kitchen cabinets, countertops, paint, new furniture and carpeting. That “new house smell” is the off gassing of formaldehyde, a chemical that is toxic in high concentrations and carcinogenic at lower doses. Even at levels that are safe from a cancer standpoint, formaldehyde is an allergy trigger and respiratory system irritant that can result in serious health issues. Formaldehyde is used to manufacture pressed wood products, plywood, particle board and paneling.
Carpets and fabrics can off-gas for up to 3 years, while building materials can off-gas for as long as 5 years.
Measures to combat air quality issues during and after constructions and renovations are:
- Keep the area well contained: Plastic barriers and zipper systems should be used to keep the renovation area well-contained to prevent the release of the toxins in the rest of the area.
- Improve ventilation in the rest of the house: There is no better way to dilute pollutants than by keeping the windows open and letting the toxic air out.
- Control the Dampness: According to some experts estimates, mold exists in close to 60% of homes. Dampness can foster the mold, bacteria growth, and harm your respiratory health. Find the root cause of the dampness and correct it. Look for peeling paint, condensation, discolored spots, dripping water or mold.
- Check for asbestos and lead: The most common way for asbestos fibers to enter the body is through breathing. If an asbestos ceiling tile is drilled or broken, it may release fibers into the air. If the building is built before 1978, hire a lead inspector or get a lead paint test kit from a home store before disturbing it. If lead is present, leave any sanding or scraping to a lead-safe certified contractor. If asbestos is found in the buildings, an expert should be hired to take samples for analysis.
- Clean your house daily: If you and your whole family (kids and pets included) are staying in the house while it is being renovated, ensure high-level disinfection is employed.
- Use an Air purifier: To reduce the harmful pollutants, it is important to use an Air purifier. You may need to change the filters from time to time to unclog dust and other particles. Its important to run air purifiers in your bedroom and other areas where no renovation work is being done. Dust and VOCs can easily travel to different places, so it is imperative to purify air throughout your home.
A good HEPA air purifier with a carbon filter (high carbon content) will help in capturing dust, allergens, pet dander and VOC’s.
- Test the air once the renovation project is complete : To maintain your peace of mind and health, ensure you are checking your indoor air at regular intervals with an air monitor. Also, its important to continue using an air purifier after the project is completed as you and your family are exposed to off-gassing which may continue for as long as 5 years.
Best Air purifier for renovated and newly constructed homes.
An air purifier that provides powerful protection removing thousands of airborne chemicals and VOCs that will significantly improve the quality of your indoor air. The 26lb carbon filter adsorbs wide range of toxic chemicals and pollutants from the indoor air. It is best recommended when there is high levels of VOC’s and chemicals being released while the renovations and post the completion of the project to protect against off-gassing.
F600 DLX - Extra Formaldehyde, VOCs And Particle Abatement : This air purifier will remove Formaldehyde and a wider range of VOCs released from common household products and construction materials. Specially blended carbon blends available to address specific chemicals.
26 lbs of proprietary activated carbon blend with powerful oxidizer that removes *99% of formaldehyde. Excellent for thousands of chemicals.