Pollution in Home
Problem: Indoor air contains
pollutants that have the potential to affect your health.
Background: Although pollutants such as radon (see
in Home) may
come from outside air or soil, many indoor air pollutants
are generated within the home—sometimes in ex cess of ten
times the concentration of outdoor levels. Besides radon,
potential pollutants include asbestos, formaldehyde,
nitrogen dioxide, car bon dioxide, and carbon monoxide
Monoxide in Home). Typical sources of asbestos include pipe
and duct insulation, shingles, and firewalls. Carbon
dioxide sources include unvented combustion and human
Carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide can come from gas
stoves, furnaces, cigarettes, wood burning stoves,
fireplaces, and unvented space heaters. Formaldehyde can
be emitted from newly installed urea- formaldehyde foam
insulation, or from new manufactured wood products such as
furniture, ply wood, particle board, or paneling.
What to do: Ways of measuring in door air pollution
have been developed, but in many cases they involve
expensive equipment and technical expertise. Some private
laboratories can pinpoint pollutants, but may charge
between $300 and $2,000 to do such tests. Relatively
inexpensive monitors that measure radon, formaldehyde, and
nitrogen dioxide can be installed in your home and later
sent to a lab for analysis. The more air exchanges there
are within the home the more often indoor pollutants are
diluted with outdoor air to lower pollution
concentrations. The more tightly concentrated a home, the
lower its air-change rate will be. However, proper
distribution of outside air within the home must also be
considered because indoor pollution is generated in
different areas of the home.
Eliminate obvious sources of pollutants, such as all unvented combustion appliances, from the living space. A
yellow flame in your gas furnace may indicate insufficient
air supply for combustion, causing an increase in carbon
monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Attaching a combustion air
duct from the outside to the appliance helps ensure safe
combustion and minimizes the use of heated air inside the
home. If the home seems too humid or has excessive
condensation on windows, remove as many sources of
moisture in the house as possible . This may include
firewood stored in the basement, clothes hung inside to
dry, and leaking basements.
Special advice: High levels of car bon dioxide
(C02) may indicate that ventilation systems are not
delivering enough fresh air. Symptoms may include stuffy
air, drowsiness, dizziness, and headaches. First try
running several fans at night to help mix air, leaving
bedroom doors open and setting fans to blow air out into
the hail and living areas. If you have a forced-air
heating system, set the furnace fan to run continuously at
night. If you don’t feel more refreshed in a week or two,
try running the fans, plus leaving a window in each
bedroom open about a quarter of an inch. Also make sure
there is an adequate gap between all interior doors and
Helpful hint: If the
above measures don’t help, consider having a mechanical
ventilation system installed by a contractor. To determine
if a gas furnace is leaking combustion by products, hire a
qualified professional. If you ever smell leaking gas in
the home, contact your gas utility company immediately and
follow their instructions. (also see
Smell in Home)
Handy Tips, Advices and Warnings
To remove old wallpaper, first
pull off as much as you can, then soak the remaining with
Fleecy. It will peel off easily.
After wallpapering or painting,
write the amount under a light-switch plate and you’ll
always know how much wallpaper or paint you need for that
If you have a small hole in your
wall (after moving pictures etc.) take a wax crayon as
near the colour of your wall as possible. Rub the hole
with the crayon, polish with a dry cloth and the hole is
Clean out old nail polish bottles
and fill with “touch up” paint for scuffs and scratches
that may occur on your walls.
When hanging pictures on plaster
walls, put a small piece of adhesive tape where the nail
is to go in. Drive the nail through the tape. This helps
prevent the plaster from cracking.
Before wallpapering a wall, apply
a coat of clear varnish to any grease spots. This will
prevent the grease from soaking through the new paper.
Instead of applying wallpaper
with a sponge, dip a paint roller in the solution, squeeze
slightly to prevent dripping and roll it over 20-30 sq.
feet at a time.
Buy stair carpeting a little
longer than needed. When it shows signs of wear it can be
shifted downward to delay replacement.
To avoid wearing out spots on
heavy traffic areas, use extra pieces of material cut out
of the same material as the rug or linoleum.
If your kitchen cupboards have
worn out or if there are scuff marks around the handles,
remove handles and glue on tiles to cover the scuffs.
Replace handles over the tiles. This adds an interesting
colour accent and saves replacing or refinishing the
When a drain is clogged with
grease, pour a cup of salt and a cup of baking soda into
the drain, followed by a kettle of boiling water.
If your water taps have a
tendency to freeze during a cold spell, leave your taps on
slightly. Running water will not freeze.
Frozen water pipes can safely and
easily be thawed out by using an ordinary hair dryer
nozzle directed at the frozen pipe.
To tighten cane-bottomed chairs,
turn them upside down and liberally apply hot water to the
underside. Dry the chairs in the sun.
When sanding or refinishing,
cover your hand with an old nylon stocking. Glide your
hand over the surface to be redone. Any rough areas will
snag the stocking where more sanding needs to be done.