Test your home (old or new) for mould and levels of carbon monoxide (CO), total volatile organic compounds (tVOCs), and formaldehyde (HCHO). (Credit: Brendon Purdy Photography)
I was beginning to worry about mould in my home — airborne spores can be inhaled and become a health concern.
I wasn’t feeling sick, but we discovered mould during a recent bathroom renovation, my husband had been rather sneezy and we have a child (children and the elderly can be more vulnerable).
Did you know mould comes in all colours — not just black and white?
I called two companies to ask what was involved in a home indoor air quality testAND the cost. Within a day, a professional showed up to walk through my house with hand-held meters to test for levels of carbon monoxide (CO), total volatile organic compounds (tVOCs), and formaldehyde (HCHO). He also took an air sample and sent it for laboratory analysis to compare mould spore concentrations inside my home to concentrations outdoors.
The $500 I spent gave me peace of mind. My home does not have dangerous levels of mould that are allergenic, pathogenic or more serious toxigenic species. Everything else checked out safe, too! Note: get a few quotes.
I also asked about mould prevention. Guess what’s likeliest culprit in my home (and probably yours)? Drying clothing indoors during winter (you know I like to save energy)!
Tip: If you dry clothing inside, run a fan. Luckily my bathroom fan is the next room over and it’s Energy Star rated. Ventilation is key!
Mould prevention tips:
Run a fan (that’s vented to the outside) when cooking or showering
Keep furniture away from exterior walls to allow air to circulate
Don’t store goods in cardboard boxes (use mould-resistant options like plastic bins)
Don’t store firewood inside the home
Own less stuff
See a full list from Health Canada.
If you’re concerned about indoor air quality, contact a professional. You’ll receive an air quality assessment report and prevention or mitigation suggestions.
How have you solved or prevented indoor air quality problems where you live?
Sincerely, Lindsay Coulter
A fellow Queen of Green