When it comes to building custom homes, people have to consider a lot of things. Everything from picking materials and color choices, to how green to go has to be decided. One thing people tend to overlook though is air quality. Toronto is lucky enough to have low air pollution, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve your indoor air quality. What we breathe can impact our overall health, so good air means a good home and a good life. Here are a few simple ways to improve the air quality in your custom home!
1. Open the Windows
This is the most obvious tip, but opening up the windows to let in fresh air is the easiest way to improve the air in your home. Opening the windows provides natural ventilation, and will reduce pollutants that are indoors. This is especially important in new custom homes where fresh paint, new flooring, and new furniture can have toxic chemicals and smells that linger for a bit.
We recommend opening the windows for five to ten minutes every day to allow the fresh air to naturally ventilate your home. If your family has seasonal allergies it might be smart to limit how often you open the windows until the season has passed.
2. Don’t Smoke Indoors
This is another obvious tip, but smoking indoors can contribute to poor air quality. Cigarettes have over 4,000 different chemicals in them. When you exhale cigarette smoke, those chemicals are now in your home’s air. There is also the risk of second-hand smoke, and a lingering smell, which can have lasting consequences even after the cigarette is out.
Smoking outdoors means that those chemicals won’t be trapped in your home. Ask smokers to take it outside, and don’t smoke near any open windows or doors as the smoke may travel inside. If you have smokers in your family, we recommend building a covered outdoor area on your custom home so they can comfortably go outside no matter the weather.
3. Keep Up On Cleaning
Doing regular cleaning is a simple way to keep the air in your home fresh. Dust and dirt are not only unsightly and unclean; they can also negatively impact the air in your home. Every home will get dust, it’s natural, but regular cleaning prevents it from building up.
Use a doormat to keep dirt from entering the home. Make sure you vacuum and mop regularly, at least once a week. Don’t forget to dust your furniture and regularly wash items that may collect it such as sofas, rugs, and curtains.
4.Have Healthy Humidity Levels
Humidity might not be something you think about often. Toronto is lucky to usually have low humidity, but do you notice how much harder it is to breathe before a storm when the humidity is higher? Dust and mold love moisture, so maintaining healthy levels of humidity in your home can prevent them. Not to mention, wood cabinets and hardwood floors also benefit from stable levels of moisture in the air.
Keeping the humidity around 30%-50% will keep dust, mold, and other allergens under control. Use a dehumidifier to help control moisture levels. Also remember to turn on the exhaust fan when cooking, after you shower, or when your dryer is running.
5. Limit the Use of Synthetic Fragrances
Who wouldn’t love to come home to their beautiful custom house and have it smell like Hawaiian Breeze? These days air fresheners, laundry products, perfumes, and hand soaps are common in homes. But these items use synthetic fragrances that can be harmful. These products contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which can cause respiratory issues. Using natural or green materials can also limit the number of VOCs in your home.
Try limiting the number of synthetic fragrances in your home. Luckily, there are tons of products out there now that are naturally scented. Hit up Pinterest to learn some smart natural hacks for a good smelling home like baking a small amount of vanilla for a yummy warm smell or displaying freshly cut lemon for a light citrusy smell.
6.Clean and Change Filters
Part of owning a home means regular maintenance, and one aspect of that is making sure you regularly clean and change out the air filters on your air conditioning. These air filters are where all of the dust, dirt, and other allergens get collected when they’re sucked through your air vents. If they’re not regularly cleaned out or changed when needed, those elements just get re-circulated back into the air.
Make sure you understand how often your air conditioning needs to be serviced when it goes in. If you’re building a custom home and are concerned about air quality, invest in a high-end one with good air cleaners and filters. If you feel the air isn’t that great, check on your air filters, as they may need to be changed out ahead of schedule.
7. Use Air-Filtering Plants
Including nature in your home is not only good for your mental and physical wellbeing, it also helps with your home’s air quality. Certain houseplants are great at naturally eliminating toxic elements in the air such as benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde. Certain plants can even absorb some VOCs. Plants won’t remove everything, but they can help.
Include plants like English ivy, peace lily, variegated snake plant, and florist’s chrysanthemum which all do well at filtering out toxins. Take a quick visit to a local florist or greenhouse to get some recommendations on which plants would work well in your home and for your lifestyle.
Improving and maintaining the air quality in your custom home doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Usually, a few simple measures such as regularly dusting, changing out air filters, and opening the windows will help. For more severe cases, ask your custom home builder about using green products that emit lower levels of VOCs. If you have any questions feel free to contact us, as we’re one of the top green custom home builders in Toronto.