Mike Holmes Jr.

Mike Holmes Jr. wants Toronto to know about the air necessities

Indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than the outdoors

­­­Unfortunately, summer is coming to an end. Before you know it, we will be spending a lot more of our time indoors as temperatures begin to drop.

A recent study dubbed The Indoor Generation, by YouGov, asked Canadians how much time they thought they spent indoors. The study found that Canadians estimate that 68 per cent of our time is spent indoors: in reality, we actually spend 90 per cent of our time inside. And often that means time spent in dark, poorly ventilated and, in some cases, unhealthy buildings.

Here’s a surprising fact: indoor air is usually worse than outdoor air, and can be up to five times more polluted. Seven out of 10 Canadians are completely unaware of this information. And the problem is serious: If too much time is spent in damp, mouldy spaces, the chances of getting asthma increases by about 40 per cent.

All of this may seem unsettling, but don’t worry! There is a lot that can be done to change the indoor air quality in your home. Even if there are no renovation plans on the horizon, you can still improve the air quality.

First, change your furnace filter frequently! Spend a bit more on a quality hypoallergenic air filter, and the air you breathe will already become that much cleaner.

Something as simple as having a fan on or leaving a window open throughout the day can help bring fresh air into your home and get rid of any stale air that you don’t want to breathe in.

Another great idea is to put air purifiers in areas of your home where you spend a lot of time. This will help filter out polluted air, pet dander, etc.

Now, if you do have home renovation plans, there are many things to consider. In my opinion, the most important thing is to leave your home during any major renovation work! Stay elsewhere, whether with a friend, family member, or at a hotel or rental. You definitely do not want to breathe in all of that construction dust.

If the renovation is minor, make sure you’re out of the house during any demolition, and any other time the contractor will be creating a lot of dust. Ensure that your contractor seals off the area being worked in, and keeps the rest of your home clean and dust-free.

Another tip is to renovate your home from the outside in. Think ahead when it comes to different products that you want to incorporate during a renovation. Personally, I think a heat recovery ventilator is very important. Its job is to exchange the stale air inside with fresh air from outside, giving you better-quality air immediately.

Once you start to close up the walls, it is important to think about what kind of drywall and paints you want to use. In any area of your home where there will be moisture (bathrooms, the bottom four feet of basement walls) mould-resistant drywall is a good idea. This will prevent any mould growth elsewhere in the home. Another product I make people aware of is VOC (volatile organic compounds) -absorbing drywall. This drywall absorbs VOC for up to 75 years and 25 coats of paint, contributing to cleaner air.

Last but certainly not least, you should be using a zero VOC paint! I like Fusion Mineral Paint for a lot of my personal projects because it is high-quality, non-toxic and a zero VOC paint.

The quality of the air you breathe is important; these tips  help get your home ready for the extra hours you’ll be spending there during the autumn and winter.