We spend around 90% of our time indoors, (especially these days) with 65% of this spent at home, so it makes sense to want our homes to be as comfortable and healthy as possible, which is often why our clients choose to do a home renovation.
When building a brand new home, advanced building science ensures proper air quality, moisture control and physical comfort for occupants. While you can do much to retrofit some of these measures into your current home, there are also many simple ways to improve the health and comfort factors for your whole family.
So, if like many people, “making my home healthier/safer” is a top priority, here are 10 easy measures you can implement.
1 Improve your IAQ with an HRV
The indoor air quality (IAQ) in your home should high, don’t you think? It should be free from allergens and contaminants, but often, this is not the case. In a single year, a six room house collects an average of 40 pounds of dust which can be laced with up to 45 toxic chemicals, according to the EPA. In fact, indoor air pollutants can often be 2-5 times higher than outdoor levels. Wow.
This is where an Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) system can help out, in more ways than one. An HRV is a ventilation device that helps make your home healthier, cleaner, and more comfortable by continuously replacing stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air. New homes built since 1977 are more airtight, which helps save energy but can make the inside air stale. To complement this airtightness, modern homes use HRVs to distribute fresh air throughout the house. Not only does an HRV bring in fresh air, but it will also get rid of many of the pollutants in your home like excess moisture and moulds, household chemicals and bacteria*.
(*content from https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/)
2 Buy an air purifier
Not quite ready for a full HRV system? There are some great smaller purifiers on the market that can help control dust, allergens, odors, chemical vapors, and other pollutants in your home. Make sure you consider a unit with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arresting) filters to remove even microscopic particles.
3. Ditch those drafty windows
Windows gain and lose heat because of three processes: radiation, convection, and conduction. So when our renovations include new windows, we recommend that our clients choose triple pane windows.
These high performance windows offer much better insulation performance and are less likely to fog or freeze up, which means you can sit comfortably next to your windows all year long. No more closing the drapes to keep the cold out, or only sitting on one section of your sofa!
Plus, triple pane windows are naturally soundproof, which is great news if you live near a busy road, or loud neighbours.
4 Invest in indoor plants
Not only do certain houseplants absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, but they remove toxic chemicals from the air! They really do. Ask you local greenhouse which plants to buy (many plants will actually say right on their tags that they are air purifiers) but a few of the top choices are jade, spider, bromeliad, pothos, boston ferns and dracaena.
5 Keep yourself safe with carbon monoxide detectors
If you don’t have one already, please make this first on your list! A carbon monoxide detector will notify you of deadly, odourless gas, and it’s a good idea to install near your bedrooms, so you will hear the alarm during the night. These detectors save lives, so worth the small investment.
6 Filter, filter, filter!
Be sure to change your furnace filter every three months. If you and your family have allergies, you try a HEPA filter or an electrostatically charged pleated filter for improved IAQ.
7 Upgrade your vacuum
Buy a quality vacuum to rid your home of allergens and dust mites. You’ll want a vacuum with an agitator, high suction, high filtration (such as HEPA filters – notice a trend here?), and tools for cleaning furniture, draperies, ceilings, and baseboards. And then, of course, make sure you use it regularly. *Note to self, vacuum the couch!
8 Get healthier with hardwood
More and more our clients are choosing to swap out wall-to-wall carpet for hardwood and washable area rugs, as they know this will help reduce the buildup of dust, pet dander, and other allergens, plus, hardwood floors are just beautiful!
9 Go barefoot!
This might seem like a silly suggestion, but when you wear your shoes through the house, you are not just bringing in dirt from the outside, your shoes pick up bacteria, toxins, lead, animal waste and more. Maybe leave you slippers by the door! Sounds like a better idea.
10 Sanitize your hands, and your handheld devices
We’ve all been learning to wash our hands on the regular, but when was the last time you sanitized you phones, TV remotes, computer keyboards, car keys, credit cards etc? Stop the recontamination by setting up a regular schedule (daily even) for cleaning all those items you handle most frequently.
We hope this list help you improve your home health and comfort!
If you are considering a home renovation, then please talk with us about the ways in which we can help to ensure your home is healthier and more comfortable for the future, along with all your other goals for a home reno. Investing in your health is always money well spent, and we are happy to help you explore the options available.