There are many potential safety hazards to be aware of during a home renovation. You might deal with power tools, improperly installed wiring, and leftover screws or paints that could be dangerous for parents with small children or pet owners.
But sometimes, the biggest safety hazards are those we can’t see with the naked eye—the very air we breathe. Indoor air quality is often at its lowest during remodel projects. If you want to keep yourself and your family safe, follow these tips for protecting indoor air quality during renovations.
1. Identify Sources of Air Pollution
You can’t stop a danger that you aren’t aware of. Likewise, you can’t protect your indoor air quality during a remodel when you don’t know where the pollution is coming from. That’s why a critical first step is recognizing common sources of pollution, such as:
- Wood stain
One source of air pollution that many people overlook is new carpeting and brand-new furniture. In a process called off-gassing, a material releases chemicals into the air over time. Carpeting and furniture are prevalent sources of off-gassing.
2. Use Eco-Friendly Materials
A simple way to avoid the off-gassing potential during a home remodel is to choose products that do not have significant amounts of chemicals in them. Instead, opt for eco-friendly variations of the same products. For example:
- Water-based paints and stains instead of oil-based paints
- All-natural cleaning solutions instead of chemical-based
- Eco-friendly flooring options like reclaimed wood, bamboo, cork, and vinyl
- Thrifted or reused furniture instead of brand-new
- Eco-friendly insulation materials like sheep’s wool, denim, aerogel, and ThermaCork
3. Keep Home Well-Ventilated
Unfortunately, using eco-friendly materials doesn’t prevent every source of home remodel pollution. Ventilating the space well will typically help manage the rest of the pollutants. Remodelers can accomplish this by keeping windows and doors open and adding a fan to help keep air flowing through the area.
4. Check for Lead-Based Paints
Before 1978, many home remodels featured lead-based paints. While not dangerous on their own, they become a hazard when they chip or peel, sending dust into the air that can cause a wide range of damaging physical and mental health symptoms.
If you are remodeling an older home, check the paint for lead before proceeding. You can do this by either hiring a professional or purchasing a lead-testing kit from your local retailer.