Jul 26 2015

remodeling IAQ

A home remodeling project brings a fresh new look to old spaces. While you are dreaming of your new kitchen, bath or other space, be mindful of harmful toxic substances that you cannot see. These may be lurking behind walls, floors and above the ceiling. Before you break ground, tear down a wall or strip the floors, take the appropriate measures to ensure you maintain indoor air quality while remodeling.

Indoor Air Quality Concerns

The older your home, the more likely it is that building materials containing toxic substances were used during construction; so you never know what you may find in the walls, under the floor and in the attic. Be on the lookout for:

  • Particulates – Apart from existing dust and fibers, particulates also include dust and fibers produced during the remodeling process. Sources of particulates include plaster, drywall, insulation, concrete, wood, masonry, flooring, ducts and soil. They irritate the skin and eyes, and can cause breathing problems, especially for individuals with respiratory ailments.
  • Biological contaminants – Mold, bacteria, fungi and other microbes are biological contaminants that can exacerbate respiratory ailments and cause serious health problems. In our humid region, moisture and biological contaminants can be a problem in any Sugar Land home.
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) Building materials, furnishings, paints, carpeting and other materials, contain VOCs, which are harmful gases and vapors released from these materials. Continued exposure to VOCs has been linked to cancer, liver and kidney damage, as well as several other serious health ailments.

Before Remodeling Begins

You have considered all the design possibilities for your home remodeling project. You have come to an agreement on bids, and blueprints are drawn up. Before any remodeling begins, however, your contractor and indoor air quality specialist should inspect and test your home for existing harmful substances that could leak into the living spaces during remodeling.

Make sure you have considered the following safety measures for maintaining indoor air quality while remodeling:

  • Hire only certified, licensed, bonded and insured professionals and contractors.
  • The professionals you hire should, prior to remodeling, take the appropriate measures to safely remove contaminants that may be disturbed during construction.
  • Cover all vents and grilles to protect the HVAC system from possible contamination. This is also a good time to bring in your HVAC pro to check for leaks in the air ducts, so any disturbed contaminants aren’t sucked into your air supply through duct leaks.
  • Your remodeling contractor should take the appropriate measures to seal off the construction areas from the living spaces.
  • Know the possible pollutants or VOCs in the new materials to be used for construction, furnishings and design.

During Home Remodeling

You have taken the steps to maintain indoor air quality while remodeling. Then your remodeling contractor tells you mold-infested drywall and insulation have been exposed. Your contractor should institute mold remediation best practices to ensure there is no cross contamination to the living spaces.

Your HVAC system may be sealed up during remodeling to prevent contamination to the system and living spaces. This means you may not have your normal heating or cooling available to you. This can be very uncomfortable during the summer months. If remodeling must take place during these periods, standing or desk fans can be helpful, and it is also important to keep hydrated.

Proper ventilation is an important factor during home remodeling. Natural ventilation, such as opening windows and doors, should suffice if the weather is agreeable. Window fans and ceiling fans can also help move air into your home and around the rooms.

Improving Indoor Air Quality

Home remodeling is an excellent opportunity to thoroughly inventory the health of your home and outline steps to improve indoor air quality. Indoor air quality systems such as energy-recovery ventilators, air purification systems and dehumidifiers, are practical investments in long-term health, comfort and home efficiency.

Conditioned Air, Texas is pleased to provide excellent indoor air quality solutions, and other services for your HVAC needs. Contact us at (281) 201-0356 to learn more about how you can optimize your indoor air quality while remodeling your Texas home.

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