VICTORIA - The decor of homes may vary, but the one thing the interiors have in common is the air — yet most homeowners don't consider the quality of what they're breathing.
Very few people are aware of all the nooks and crannies where mould, one of the most common indoor air pollutants, can build, says Norm Hoessmann, licensed home inspector with Victoria's Aardvark Inspections.
"Older homes often have bits of mould in several places, which means they can be overlooked," says Hoessmann. "But if you gather up all those little spots like windows, toilet tank and the thresholds at front doors, and you put them together, there can be a large area of solid mould."
According to Hoessmann, common places where mould can grow are around sources of moisture and constant water supplies.
Homeowners should be aware of areas under their sinks where leaky pipes might attract mould spores, along with front-loading washing machines, which can be sources of mould if not aired out after use.
While the rooms we use the most, like bathrooms and kitchens, can be sources of indoor air pollutants, Hoessmann says homeowners need to be aware that mould can also grow near their furnace and air conditioners.
"Furnace cabinets can attract mould because they have the cold air from outside being sucked in to feed the furnace, which meets the warm air in the room and creates condensation, which could create mould over time," he says.
Combating possible pollutants in a home, from mould to dust and chemicals, is as easy as finding the source and then controlling it.
"You find the source of the pollutant in question, like for example if you have a pet you are allergic too, you are able to cope with by vacuuming, cleaning and regularly removing pet hair from the home," says Connie Choy, air quality spokesperson for the Canadian Lung Association.
"If there is mould try to remove the source of the mould, and clean up possible mould growth as soon as you see it."
According to Choy, Canadians spend 90 per cent of their time indoors, and they often forget about the things that can affect the air quality in their homes, which in turn affect their health.
"If you are running a humidifier inside and it has led to more moisture buildup it can lead to mould growing," she says. "Ventilation is another way to remove air pollutants from the home whether it is a bathroom fan or over the stove when cooking to make sure moisture doesn't build up."
Homeowners are quick to deal with visible problems such as chipped bathroom tile and faded curtains, but because the air in a home can't be seen it's easy to ignore the care of it.
"Our homes aren't something we think of very often when it comes to air quality," says Choy.
"Generally I think people think of air quality outside that we breathe, and include a big factory with smoke coming out of it, or someone polluting with their vehicles. We spend so much time indoors and are exposed to so many different things, but we are so busy we forget to think about the air we are breathing."