To follow up on our last article, we’ll show you here how you can try to understand your indoor air quality situation, whether your home is new or not. We will help you review your concerns about the health of your loved ones and any contaminants that may be inside the walls of your home. You will not need very specialized tools for this exercise: your senses with your sense of smell in the lead will suffice to answer our few questions. Read our second article on air quality and see how air quality problems are not waiting for a house to be old to happen.
Although it is not designed to detect allergies or to determine your sensitivity to different chemical substances, our short questionnaire will give you a brief overview of the concerns and health situation of members of your household. You will also have a good idea of whether you are dealing with biological or chemical type contaminants.
Start by closing all windows and go for a walk of about fifteen minutes. So far it’s not so bad, huh? This little moment of relaxation allows you to literally change air and sharpen your sense of smell. When time is up, go back home and open… your nose!
Inhale deeply a few times then ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there a strange smell when entering the house?
- Did you feel better outside your home than inside?
- Do you feel better in other people’s homes than yours?
- Do you ever feel sick at home?
- Can you associate specific symptoms with particular odors?
- Are they more pronounced in some areas of the house?
- Are they more pronounced at a particular time of day or year?
If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, you may have a problem with your indoor air quality. If you answered no to all of these questions, it might be interesting to ask a friend with a sharper sense of smell to play the game for you.
As soon as you get a yes, you can move on to our second set of questions to determine the nature of the sources of contaminants in your home. No matter the age of your home, answer all the questions, because as we explained in the beginning, a new house is not immune to a problem of air quality.
- Is your house new?
- Is there a “new smell” (a chemical smell similar to a new car smell, new wood, gas, paint, fabric, carpet, etc.)?
- Did you use an exterminator to intervene in your home?
- Have you done or had renovations done recently?
- Did you get new furnishing or decoration items recently?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, your indoor air may contain chemical contaminants.
- Is your house old?
- Is there an “old building smell” (smell of stale air, musty or earthy)?
- Does your dwelling include a crawl space or basement?
- Are you worried that your basement is unhealthy (feeling wet, repugnant or uncomfortable, etc.)?
- Do you know if there were any water infiltrations in the basement at certain times?
If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, there may be biological contaminants that affect the air quality of your home.
As a result of this exercise, you have a better idea if you are facing an indoor air quality problem or not, and if so, of its nature, either chemical or biological. Do not miss our next article as we will explain how to evaluate your environment. In the meantime, if you have any doubts or require more information, do not hesitate to contact us.