Design

Clean air in a healthy interior

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How to clean the air of living rooms? The air we breathe inside can also be polluted! To avoid many inconveniences, take good habits quickly ...

Everyday, at home, we are exposed to airborne particles. According to the Observatory of indoor air quality, 1 housing out of 10 even has a "highly polluted" air. To escape, one would have to live in a sterile bubble! Soils, furniture, building materials: all, with a few exceptions, release substances potentially harmful to health and the environment.

Some are easy to identify because they let out smoke and / or odors (tobacco, ammonia, chlorine, rot, etc.). Others creep into our habitat without us being careful. Do not panic. Most of the time, just take some good habits. Starting with this one: look for the source of the problem rather than operating a kitchen hood, fan or, worse, using a deodorizer.

The molds

These tiny fungi release into the air a multitude of very resistant spores, sources of asthma and allergies. They also release toxic volatile compounds that can cause severe eye irritation or chronic cough. They are sometimes (but not always!) Recognized by their bad smell. What promotes their multiplication? Moisture mainly, but also too much heating, lack of ventilation or green plants in large numbers. Not to mention the renovation work giving off dust.

What has to be done; Ventilate wet rooms for a long time and remove water infiltration. Equip yourself with a Controlled Mechanical Ventilation (VMC) system. This is essential, especially if you redo the insulation of your home. In fact, the more isolated a dwelling is, the less air enters it and the more the mold grows. Thus, on average, the air of an old house not renovated is naturally renewed in 30 minutes, that of a modern house poorly insulated in 1 hour and that of a well insulated house in 10 hours. To install a VMC is all the more necessary that, in a house BBC (low consumption) or passive, it is better to open its windows as little as possible).

Never block the air vents. Clean them regularly, as well as VMCs, air conditioners and hoods. Beware of vacuum cleaners for defective filters. Avoid breathing dust when changing the bag or emptying the tank of your bagless device. Open the windows when drying clothes in the open air. Better, if you can, let it dry out.Avoid badly placed coatings that promote the proliferation of mushrooms: carpet in the bathroom, non-washable carpet in the toilet, textile against a poorly insulated wall, etc.

Note, there are upholstery fabrics, paints and antifungal coatings (sometimes even antibacterial). They are often used in community and hospitals. But they will not help much if your home is not perfectly healthy at first. Not to mention that they are expensive ... Wear a mask and safety goggles during work that raises dust.

Photocatalysis, a way forward?

This chemical reaction can degrade bacteria, molds and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) under the action of light, whether natural or artificial. It is not about absorption, but about decomposition. It is used for surface treatments, tiling ("Bio2Clean", porcelain stoneware, La Marbrerie des Yvelines), paints ("Fresh air", Auro "Ecosil ME", Keim), air purifiers etc. Problem: As much ore that enters the process, titanium dioxide, is safe for you, as we do not know how to recycle it safely because it can be toxic once released into the atmosphere.

VOCs

In high doses, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) lead to concentration difficulties, fatigue, irritation of the skin and mucous membranes, nausea, asthma, allergies, headaches, disturbances of balance, etc. They are of three kinds: 1. Aldehydes - first and foremost formaldehyde - are found in particle board, MDF and even raw wood (when treated). But also in upholstery, paints in the solvent phase (fortunately more and more rare), glues, tobacco smoke, etc. Even new books emit! 2. Glycol ethers are present in paints (solvent and acrylic phase), wood treatment products, fungicides, herbicides, etc. 3. Benzene-type hydrocarbons emanate from tobacco smoke, as well as some construction and decoration products.

What to do: ventilate your home every day, morning and evening, at least 15 minutes, even in the middle of winter. Again, this advice is not valid if you live in a BBC or passive house (the indoor air is then renewed via a VMC). Avoid occupying a new home that has just been completed or a newly renovated room without first ventilating for several days. Then, wind up for at least a month. Same reflex if you have just purchased new furniture (including electronic devices such as a TV or computer). Especially if you install them in a room.

To clean, choose white vinegar or products bearing a label (Ecolabel, Ecocert). Otherwise, avoid at least sprayers and powders that spread easily in the air. Bricolage open windows by choosing the least toxic products possible and having certifications or recognized certifications (type NF). Fortunately, there are more and more. When operating your range, always operate the range hood. Pollutants are emitted when cooking food.

VOCs soon labeled

Good news: as of January 1, 2012, new construction and decoration products (flooring, partitions, paints, varnishes, insulation, etc.) will have to indicate the level of their VOC emissions. They will be classified from A + (very low emissions) to C (high emissions). For the moment, this labeling does not concern products already on the market. For these, choose - as far as possible - the words "without formaldehyde".

Neutralize pollutants

Recently developed, these supports (partitions, walls, ceilings) are capable of capturing the VOCs present inside the house. Their effectiveness (between 5 and 50 years) depends on their conditions of application. For example, it is necessary to use microporous finishing paints to let them "breathe". But not only: if you are a heavy smoker, you continue to use toxic products and you never have, they will be quickly saturated! For the moment, none of these materials has an effectiveness validated by Ademe, but some are being tested. Others have been validated by the CSTB, an independent laboratory able to evaluate their stability and recyclability (some depolluting agents can then become toxic).

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