Remodelling a home will involve adding new fixtures, improving ventilation and energy efficiency, adding a fresh coat of paint, and polishing most of the furniture.
The chances of your health getting affected in the process are obvious, either by materials hidden inside your home, during the renovation process, or both. There is no escaping the fact that home renovations mean turning everything upside down. Dusty boxes, bulky records, books, empty containers, and every other long-forgotten item will get disturbed.
While planning for your home improvement, keep in mind the following most common health concerns:
- Lead– exposure to lead is greatest while removing or adding a coat of paint. Many companies are introducing lead-free paints, but if your home was painted a decade ago, chances are that remodelling will let all that lead-free. When swallowed or inhaled, chips and dust are harmful, especially for children and pregnant women.
- Radon– it can’t be seen or smelled, but radon is the leading cause of lung cancers. Radon can enter inside your home through gaps between walls. Accumulation of radon indoors can be measured using radon detectors.
- Ventilation– good ventilation is essential for your health. It keeps your family safe from unwanted odours, dangerous gases and air pollutants. Ventilation should be taken care of during home renovations as well.
If heat recovery systems were not previously installed in your rooms, make it a point of doing so now.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – adhesives, pressed wood items, and many paints and varnishes contain VOCs. While renovating your home, minimise using products containing formaldehyde or other VOCs.
Combustion Appliances- these burn fuels for cooking, warmth and decoration purposes. Typical fuels are oil, kerosene, petrol and wood. Combustion appliances are generally not harmful, but under certain circumstances, particularly during home improvement, these appliances can release pollutants and large amounts of moisture into the house.
Before you start renovating your home, research more into potential health problems involved in the process. While it is impossible to eliminate these concerns, the effects can be minimised to a great extent.