There are two important goals to keep in mind about your home’s air during a remodel project: maintain indoor air quality while remodeling and correct any indoor air quality problems your home may have had in the past.
While You’re Remodeling
Remodeling projects often release airborne particulates, biological pollutants, and gases. Particulates occur in the form of dust and fibers, and they’re derived from soil, wood, drywall, concrete, flooring, plaster, ductwork and roofing. Biological pollutants such as mold or rodent and insect droppings can be dispersed during a renovation. Gases in the form of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) may be given off by paints, varnish, cleaning products, fuel, combustion products, carpeting, vinyl flooring, and home furnishings, as well as adhesives, caulk, and sealing. Other substances to look out for include asbestos, lead paint, radon, and formaldehyde, all of which can cause health problems such as cancer and liver and kidney damage.
Plan for containment and minimal exposure to all substances. With biologicals, decontamination may be in order. Workers should wear masks and open windows and run fans for ventilation. Vents and ducts should be sealed off to prevent pollution from getting into the HVAC system.
Addressing Indoor Air Problems
Controlling indoor air problems is always best done at the source by sealing moisture and air leaks, and following a rigorous cleaning strategy. Technology can also help. Installing exhaust ventilation can get rid of excess moisture, as can adding a dehumidifier. A balanced ventilation system will provide fresh air and diminish airborne particulates.
Air cleaners are another means of dealing with indoor air pollution. For instance, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation lights installed in the HVAC system can help get rid of mold and mildew, while carbon-activated filtration can treat VOCs and other gases. Electronic air cleaners use an electrostatic charge to trap particulates.