Air quality can be a problem anywhere in your home– the basement, family room, kitchen and bedroom. Sandra Rinomato, renowned realtor and host of Property Virgins, and air quality expert Brian Stocks, take you on a room-by-room tour to improve the air in your home.
Link between Healthy Air and Healthy Lungs Female: Up to 90% of our time is spent indoors but most people do not realize the air inside can actually be worse than the air and smog outside. Carole Madeley is an asthma expert from the Ontario Lung Association. Carole: Exposure to indoor pollutants such as dust, mold, tobacco smoke and other strong odors are linked to making asthma worst but there are steps you can take to reduce this exposure in your home. Female: Sandra Rinomato renowned realtor and host of Property Virgins has teamed up with air quality expert Brian Stocks from the Ontario Lung Association to take us on a room by room tour to show where inside pollutants come from and how to reduce them. Sandra: Now Brian, I know when you are selling a house, it is very important to keep it clean and clutter free but how does this affect asthma sufferers? Brian: Well, it is really important to know that the air quality in their homes does a lot to impact lung health so the more we can reduce things like particles, chemicals and dust, the better the air will be. Sandra: Excellent. Well, let us get started. So Brian, what can homeowners do in the basement to keep it a healthier environment? Brian: Well, the people need to check the furnace filter every month and then change at least every three months and sometimes sooner if it gets dirty faster. Basements are also good place for moisture and mold so keep the humidity level down below 50 percent. It will also prevent dust mite from growing and sealing all cracks in the floors and foundation walls also keeps moisture from coming in as well as radon. Now in the living room, we will look at things like flooring, the furniture and fireplace. Carpeting is a sink for pollutants and dust and a good alternative is an area rug like here or hardwood flooring because they are much easier to clean and minimize the dust. With furniture, it is important to know what you are bringing in to the house because often they off gas chemicals so test it out in the store and be sure that what you are bringing into the home is not going to make your breathing worse. Sandra: And that is a good idea. And I know that hardwood flooring is older age and you’ve just given a great reason why but you also mentioned fireplaces so they must be problematic. Brian: It is important to have the fireplace inspected on a regular basis to make sure there are no cracks in the flue but also an airtight appliance such as this will stop the pollutants from coming in to the living space. Sandra: Okay and is there anything else we need to know about the living area like this? Brian: It is a good idea we need to open windows and let fresh air in and then places where that is not easily done, a mechanical ventilation system will do the work for you. Sandra: Now Brian, kitchens are high traffic areas. There is a lot of cooking going on, a lot of cleaning products. I would guess that this is a major contributor to the pollutants in the home. Brian: It is but it is also a very easy thing to clean up. For example, things like baking soda work really well on countertops and stoves and appliances. Vinegar with water will clean windows and glass quite nicely. Lemon juice mixed with cooking oil work very well on wood. If you find small amounts of mold under the sink, you need to clean them up and fix the leak by using something like unscented soap and water, works quite effectively. Sandra: Wow, I did not know it worked. So, is there anything else we need to know about the kitchen? Brian: The cooking stove can be a source of pollution too especially if it is a gas stove because the pollutants from the flames can enter the living spaces. It is really important to know that when you are running any stove, have the ventilation on high at all times not only to take out the cooking pollutants themselves but also the excess moisture. Sandra: Now Brian, typically in a bedroom, you will see a lot of fabrics like we do here, they are collecting dust, dust mites; they must be a major contributor to air pollution? Brian: And certainly for people with asthma, this is the room you want to keep the cleanest so eliminating as much dust as possible by washing the covering in extremely hot water at least once a week removing some of the extra pillows and even the dust muffler around the bed and encasing the mattress and pillows in a elegy good cover can really help reduce exposure. Now, the fewer clothes you hang in the closet the better because they themselves are dust collectors. When you bring them home from the dry cleaners let them hang outside for a few hours or in the garage overnight until those chemicals fade away. And using laundry products, try to pick something unscented because those chemicals can also trigger asthma attacks. Sandra: Well, thank you so much Brian. You have given some wonderful tips on how to keep a home healthier and how to increase value as well. Brian: My pleasure. Female: For more information about indoor air quality and asthma, visit YourHealthyHome.ca or call the Ontario Lung Association’s toll free hotline at 1-888-344-LUNG that is 1-888-344-5864.