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When you are remodeling your home, or taking steps to improve its energy efficiency, it is a perfect time to address issues related to indoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution should be considered when purchasing new building materials and furnishings, and also when making decision about disturbing existing materials.
The most effective way to reduce indoor air pollution is to deal with the sources. Eliminate them, control them, or reduce their emissions. Ventilation improvements should also be considered. Mechanical ventilation systems can lower indoor pollutant concentrations by increasing the amount of outside air coming inside. Air cleaning is not a solution by itself, but can complement source control and ventilation.
Test your home for radon. If tests reveal radon levels in excess of 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/l), then you should investigate techniques for preventing high levels of radon.
The most significant source of lead exposure in the United States today is old lead-based paint. If lead-based paint is improperly removed during the remodeling process, harmful exposures can occur. Learn more about proper removal methods, especially if your home was built before 1978.
Excessive moisture in your home can encourage the growth of mold, mildew and other biological organisms. These biological contaminants can cause a variety of health effects ranging from common allergic reactions to death. Fix water leaks, increase ventilation, use vapor barriers in wall construction, and prevent soil moisture from entering through basement floors and crawlspaces.
Your remodeling project should include an assessment and improvement of your home’s ventilation. Adequate ventilation protects your health and your home. It prevents high concentrations of dangerous gases and prevents the growth of biological organisms.
These remodeling tips will go a long way toward helping you incorporate indoor air pollution reduction strategies into your home remodeling project. Part two of Remodeling and Indoor Air Pollution has even more information you can use.