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How to Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

It may surprise you to learn that the air quality inside your home can, in some cases, be worse than outside. The outdoors gets a steady supply of fresh air. But inside, various toxins can accumulate in enclosed spaces and have detrimental health impacts on the occupants. Here are seven ways you can improve your indoor air quality.

Use exhaust fans
You should turn the bathroom exhaust fan on every time you have a shower or bath. This draws the moist air out of the room, helping prevent mould formation.

If you have a gas stove, you should turn on the exhaust fan every time you use it so that exhaust gases are removed from the house.

Install carbon monoxide detectors
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless, tasteless gas that can seep into the home from combustion appliances such as your furnace or stove. In small concentrations it causes dizziness and headaches – larger concentrations can be lethal. You should install a CO detector (or combination smoke and CO detector) in or near every bedroom in your house. Remember to replace the backup batteries regularly.

Quit smoking
Cigarettes and e-cigarettes release a host of toxic chemicals into the air. Countless non-smokers have developed lung cancer through second-hand smoke. If someone in your family is a smoker, insist that they take their habit outside.

Change your furnace filter
If you have a forced-air furnace, you should regularly change the filter. This not only traps airborne particles but also prolongs the life of the furnace as clogged filters force the motor to work harder.

Avoid bringing in toxic fumes
New carpets, furniture and other products can off-gas toxic chemicals when you bring them into your home. If possible, unpackage and store them in a garage or little used room of the house until the odours dissipate.

Be cautious when painting
If you’re planning on freshening up your house with a new coat of paint, opt for latex instead of oil-based paints. Ideally, hold off on painting until the warmer months when you can open the windows for ventilation. If you can’t wait, consider painting one room at a time and closing the door while it dries.

Test for radon
Radon is an invisible, odourless radioactive gas that is the leading cause of lung cancer in Canada for non-smokers. Radon gas can accumulate to high levels inside a home, posing a significant risk for occupants. But it’s easy to test for – you can find quality test kits online – and it is a quick and affordable fix if you do have an elevated level in your home.

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