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Better Breathing

Improve Your Home’s Air Quality with Mike Holmes

Mike Holmes in a home
Mike Holmes in a home

The average Canadian spends about 23 hours a day indoors and with so much emphasis on outdoor air, we often overlook the quality of the air we breathe inside. We spoke with HGTV’s Mike Holmes to get his perspective on how to improve indoor air quality.

Mediaplanet: Why is indoor air quality (IAQ) so important to you?

Mike Holmes: Because breathing quality indoor air is critical for good health for my family and me. 

Why can IAQ be more harmful than outdoor air quality?

Builders today are building airtight homes, so there’s no room for fresh air. Without the proper systems in place in the mechanical room, the air in your home can be two to five times more polluted, leading to some serious health issues.

What are some of the signs to look for with poor IAQ?

Poor IAQ can cause symptoms like an increase in headaches, eye and skin irritations, nasal congestion, sore throat, and nausea. In the house, signs include lingering smells, condensation on the windows, and mould formations around windows and washrooms.

Are there long-term solutions or systems available to improve IAQ?

Yes! Most homes nowadays have an HVAC system with a filter. I like to consider it the lungs of a house. Homeowners should make sure it’s serviced regularly and change the filters every two or three months. However, you can do more by adding an HRV (heat recovery ventilator) to your existing furnace (forced-air heating system) or as a separate unit.

What exactly is an HRV and how does it improve IAQ?

The heat recovery ventilator’s primary function is to bring in fresh air from the outside, acclimatizing it to the air in the house and then pushing the air through the furnace. The old air gets exhausted back outside, optimizing IAQ without adding workload to the HVAC system.

What changes will I notice after installing an HRV?

You’ll notice a significant reduction in energy costs and, because of the continuous fresh airflow, you’ll feel obvious improvements in the IAQ of your home. The system will continuously remove indoor pollutants, powerful toxins, chemicals from cleaning products, and bad or lingering odours, and will also reduce humidity to ensure that you and your family live in a healthy environment with plenty of fresh air. An HRV turns a house into a healthy home!

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