SICK BUILDING SYNDROME

Sick Building Syndrome is the official term used to determine unspecific illnesses that can occur in buildings due to poor indoor air quality, VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) mould problems and defective HVAC systems etc. These problems can usually be overcome by a continuous flow of ambient air exchange to poorly ventilated areas. Ambient air – the air that surrounds – outside air.

WHAT AILMENTS ARE ATTRIBUTED TO SICK BUILDING SYNDROME

Skin and eye irritations and throat irritations, headaches, dizziness, nausea, pneumonia and asthma attacks.

WHEN MOULDS ARE INVOLVED WITH SICK BUILDING SYNDROME ALL THE PREVIOUS MENTIONED AILMENTS AND FOLLOWING RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS ARE ADDED AND/OR INCREASED

Asthma, bronchitis, minor and more serious lung infections that can be potentially fatal as well as aching joints, depression and anxiety. Mould is toxic, unless it is killed it can take hold of your life.

If you are in a rental property and have continual problems with mould, stand your ground have the real estate agent contact the owner to remove the problem or move out. Sometimes mould problems with rental properties can be a real bone of contention however you owe it to yourself and your health to get what you are paying for – a comfortable healthy home.

WHAT ARE VOC’S – VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS

Due to inadequate ventilation contaminants sourced from solvents, upholstery, paints, carpets, varnishes, adhesives, composite wood products and fabrics. Vehicles idling in garages, disinfectants, cleaning chemicals, personal care products – cosmetics, deodorants containing aluminium etc – the list goes on and on. Then there is cooking, showers, heating, wood burning stoves and heating, stored chemicals, etc etc – need we go on.

The gases from all of these products and combination of processes are called VOC’s – volatile organic compounds. Some examples of chemicals within the aforementioned products but not limited to xylene, toluene, formaldehyde, methyl chloride, ethylene glycol, perchlorolethylene, these are some of culprits that contribute to Sick Building Syndrome in the home.

SO WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT YOU CAN DO TO ALLEVIATE SICK BUILDING SYNDROME IN YOUR HOME

Make sure you have adequate ventilation to poorly ventilated areas – number one start at the top have an effective roof ventilation system installed to remove the harmful effects of stagnant roofspace air, building material dusts and condensation – see BLOG on this site “Warning Read Before You Design Your Next Housing Project”.

Secondly always allow for effective airflow within the home, open windows and internal doors, don’t keep locked up 24/7 all winter. Thirdly, subfloor ventilation make sure the underfloor area is effectively ventilated so you don’t incur rising damp. They are the three main areas to watch for and do remedial works to limit the probability of Sick Building Syndrome in the home.

WE NEED TO BE CONSCIOUS OF THE IMMEDIATE INFLUENCES WECAN HAVE FOR OUR HEALTH AND CARRY OUT TO ALLEVIATE THE POSSIBILITIES FOR SICK BUILDING SYNDROME IN THE HOME

Do not idle or warm up cars in an internal garage, pull out of the garage and warm up outside with the garage door closed – this is a big one and it’s so easy to remedy.

Don’t store petrol, lawn mowers, paints and chemicals in an internal garage. Try to use no VOC paints when painting, they are available, more expensive of course, however what price for your health. Keep well clear of wood burning fires for home heating or cooking the smoke from these is 100 times more carcinogenic than cigarette smoking the number one contributor to respiratory ailments in the home. Wood fires look nice, they are warm but they are killers and should be banned. Try to change household cleaning products and personal care products from harmful chemical cleaners to natural organic products again more expensive however what price for your health. Store herbicides, pesticides, insecticides and chemical fertilizers in a back yard shed with the lawn mower, paints and varnishes, preferably locked out of harm’s way. Make sure that all heating and cooking appliances such as reverse cycle air, HVAC systems and evaporative coolers and all types of heating appliances are properly maintained and serviced. Buy good quality used furnishing, if you can buy carpets and fabrics that are not synthetic, new furnishings, carpets and wrappings can give off VOC gases especially if formaldehyde has been used in the process. That nice new smell could be bad for your health.

REMEMBER THE MAJOR REASON FOR SICK BUILDING SYDNROME – POOR INDOOR AIR QUALITY THE LACK OF EFFECTIVE VENTIALTION

Ventilate the subfloor. Ventilate the enclosed area – the inside of the home, do not keep it locked up 24/7 in the winter months. Ventilate the roofspace, this is one of the major areas for the cause of Sick Building Syndrome mainly from condensation problems.

Universal Tile Ventilators have the best systems for the ventilation of roofspaces in the world – Universal Tile Ventilators for tiled roofs and the Smoothline ventilation system for corrugated colorbond roofs.

ANYTHING ELSE IS A COMPROMISE
PREPARE TO BE AMAZED

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