Healthy Homes: Start with Indoor Air Quality

For most of the population, we spend an average of 90% of our time indoors, and the overwhelming majority of that is inside our own homes.  We think of our homes as a sanctuary so it might come as a shock to know that some of us are living in homes that have a higher indoor air pollution level than even a highly polluted city according to many CSIRO reports.


Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs, are the most common form of indoor air pollutants and include gases emitted from paints, sprays, cleaning products, building materials, printers and more. Most VOCs cause serious health problems and can’t be detected by smell.


Most of this off gassing occurs when products are new such as when your walls are freshly painted however there have been a number of studies to show that unhealthy levels of VOCs and pollutants can remain in indoor air for up to 5 years after use.


So what can we do about it?

Here at FORM Homes, we recommend two ways to ensure you’re living in the healthiest and most comfortable home.

  1. Zero or low-VOC paint
  2. Air Ventilation System


Zero or low-VOC paint

Before trying to remove pollutants from the air, let’s not put them there in the first place!


By avoiding VOCs and other chemicals from the paints you cover your walls with, you can eliminate a huge source of indoor air pollutants.  VOCs are linked to a number of potential health hazards like dizziness, headaches and fatigue in the short-term. They’re linked to kidney, liver or nervous system damage in the long term. Other common paint additives and preservatives can disrupt hormones, cause cancer or trigger asthma.


Many water-based latex paints are now low VOC. Opt for low- or no-VOC paints with less than 50 grams per liter of VOCs for flat paint and no more than 100 grams per liter for non-flat paint. Make sure to also ask for low- or no-VOC pigments when adding color to the paint.


At FORM Homes, we’re always searching for new and innovative paints and products to offer our clients.

One last tip – avoid “antifungal” or “antimicrobial” paints. These paints have pesticide additives.



Air Ventilation Systems

Completely eliminating the source of all pollutants is basically an impossible challenge.  Couple that with building air-tight homes to achieve efficiency, where does that leave you?


The answer is simple.


A ventilation system from our friends at Stiebel Eltron.


Air filters installed inside the ventilation unit will remove any pollen and pollutants from the air, creating a healthy environment for all inside – especially asthma and allergy sufferers.  A ventilation and heat recovery unit flushes out indoor air and replaces it with fresh filtered air from outside, all kept at an even temperature by cross current heat recovery.