Research has shown that up to 90 percent of our time is spent indoors—at home or work—and that indoor air can actually be more polluted than the air outside. In light of this, it's important to carefully assess the quality of air inside the home you hope to own to ensure that it is safe for you and your family. Indoor air pollution is one of the things within your power to control, and being a little proactive can go a long way in keeping you healthy. Below are the most important considerations to make when assessing your potential home or home site.
Is there industrial and related activity around your house?
Emissions from industries or large agricultural sites will definitely find their way into your indoor air. Similarly, proximity to bus depots, industrial plants, main highways or orchards will determine how much you'll have to do to purify your home. You should talk to your local council office to find out whether there are any plans to have these near your home area in future. You can also look up pollutant emissions from the National Pollutant Inventory to find out if there are any listed for your potential home area.
What is the history of the land site?
If the land on which the house is/will be built wasn't always located in a residential area, there could be chemical residues from previous usage e.g. industrial plants or large agricultural endeavours. You can begin your research by interviewing with long-term homeowners in the area. If this is fruitless, visit the local council planning office and ask for advice on how to find out the history of the land on which the house sits.
How much renovations will be done?
This is especially important if you're buying an old house on the cheap to upgrade and live in. Old homes are notorious for using potentially hazardous materials during construction, because they didn't have the information we have now. For instance, lead-based paint or asbestos could have been used, and these are particularly dangerous when breathed in over time.
You can use air quality service providers to test for these and other harmful materials before buying the house. Some of these will need to be removed completely during renovation, while others can be left intact and covered. However, this work must be done by a professional and preferably before you move into the house, and so homes containing them should be avoided if you're in a rush to move in or cannot afford the related expense in addition to purchase cost.
What is the local climate of your region?
The air quality around your home is greatly influenced by climatic factors: wind patterns, proximity to water bodies and trees and local topography. Visit your local council to understand the weather patterns of the area so that these can be factored into the design if you're building a home. If buying, find out whether the house's present design takes advantage of the climatic patterns to keep your house air clean. It should be designed in such a way as to enhance natural ventilation.
Finally, an air quality consulting company can answer any other questions you may have about keeping your air clean.