Indoor Air Quality in Homes
Remodeling Your Home? Have You Considered Indoor Air Quality?
More Information on IAQ and Remodeling
Good Work Practices
Regardless of what part of the house your remodeling project takes place in, there are good work practices that you can use to help minimize or prevent indoor air and other indoor environmental problems. Read more about Good Work Practices.
Read about Best Practices
EPA's Indoor Environments Division maintains a complete list EPA publications on indoor air quality, including many available online. Most of these publications are available free to the public. EPA publications and websites of special interest to those considering a home remodeling or renovation project are listed below.
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- EPA Publications and Resources
- Additional Resources
EPA Publications and Resources
The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality This comprehensive publication on the subject of Indoor Air Quality describes sources of air pollution in the home and office, corrective strategies, and specific measures for reducing pollutant levels. This illustrated booklet covers all major sources of pollution such as radon, household chemicals, biological contaminants, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, pesticides, asbestos, and lead. Includes a glossary and a list of sources for additional information. Written in easy-to-understand language for the general consumer.
ENERGY STAR® ENERGY STAR-labeled products use less energy than other products, save you money on utility bills, and help protect the environment. Look for the ENERGY STAR label on quality household appliances, home electronics, office equipment, heating and cooling equipment, windows, residential light fixtures, and more.
The ENERGY STAR Homes Program promotes partnerships with home builders to construct highly energy-efficient new homes. An energy efficient, ENERGY STAR Home significantly lowers your utility bills, reduces air pollution, and increases resale value.
Clear Your Home of Asthma Triggers [En Espaņol] Asthma is a serious lung disease, affecting about 15 million Americans. Asthma may be triggered by allergens and irritants that are common in homes. To help your child breathe easier: consult a doctor and reduce asthma triggers in your home. See also www.epa.gov/asthma/index.html
Should You Have the Air Ducts In Your Home Cleaned?. This publication is intended to help consumers answer this often confusing question. The guide explains what air duct cleaning is, provides guidance to help consumers decide whether to have the service performed in their home, and provides helpful information for choosing a duct cleaner, determining if duct cleaning was done properly, and how to prevent contamination of air ducts.
Ozone Generators That Are Sold As Air Cleaners The purpose of this document (which is only available via this website) is to provide accurate information regarding the use of ozone-generating devices in indoor occupied spaces. This information is based on the most credible scientific evidence currently available. Whether in its pure form or mixed with other chemicals, ozone can be harmful to health. Some studies show that ozone concentrations produced by ozone generators can exceed health standards even when one follows manufacturer’s instructions. Available scientific evidence shows that, at concentrations that do not exceed public health standards, ozone is generally ineffective in controlling indoor air pollution. The public is advised to use proven methods of controlling indoor air pollution.
Fact Sheet: Flood Cleanup: Avoiding Indoor Air Quality Problem. Discusses steps to take when cleaning and repairing a home after flooding. Excess moisture in the home is cause for concern about indoor air quality primarily because it provides breeding conditions for microorganisms. This fact sheet provides tips to avoid creating indoor air quality problems during cleanup.
Asbestos in Your Home (EPA-400-K-90-100), 1990. This document discusses health effects of asbestos exposure, identifies common products and building materials from the past that might contain asbestos, and describes conditions which may cause release of asbestos fibers. Describes how to identify materials that contain asbestos and how to control an asbestos problem. Explains role of asbestos professionals and use of asbestos inspectors and removal contractors. This brochure was prepared by the American Lung Association, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the EPA.
Biological Pollutants in Your Home. This document explains indoor biological pollution, health effects of biological pollutants, and how to control their growth and buildup. One third to one half of all structures have damp conditions that may encourage development of pollutants such as molds and bacteria, which can cause allergic reactions — including asthma — and spread infectious diseases. Describes corrective measures for achieving moisture control and cleanliness. This brochure was prepared by the American Lung Association and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/425.html [EPA 402-F-90-102, January 1990]
Healthy Indoor Painting Practices (EPA 744-F-00-011), May 2000. This brochure by EPA and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission discusses safety practices for residents, property managers, and painters. English Version (via the CPSC website) in PDF - www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/456.pdf Spanish Version - www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/spanish/456s.pdf
What You Should Know About Using Paint Strippers (CPSC-F-747-F-95-002), February 1995. Paint strippers contain chemicals that loosen paint from surfaces. These chemicals can harm you if not used properly. Some paint stripping chemicals can irritate the skin and eyes, or cause headaches, drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, or loss of coordination. Some may cause cancer, reproductive problems, or damage of the liver, kidney, or brain. Others catch fire easily. Proper handling and use of paint strippers will reduce your exposure to these chemicals and lessen your health risk.
An Update on Formaldehyde: 1997 Revision (CPSC publication #725) The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, with assistance of EPA, developed this brochure to provide information about formaldehyde in indoor air. The brochure tells consumers where they may come in contact with formaldehyde, how it may affect their health, and how their exposure to formaldehyde might be reduced. www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/725.html [EPA 402-F-04-026]
Lead and Your Drinking Water (EPA-810-F-93-001) A question and answer discussion on lead in drinking water. See EPA's Lead in Paint, Dust and Soil page - www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/leadinfo.htm. See also, EPA's website - www.epa.gov/lead
Lead in Your Home: A Parent's Reference Guide (EPA 747-B-98-002) A colorful and comprehensive guide to educate parents and homeowners about lead hazards and lead poisoning prevention in the home. This new guide book is intended for people who already know that lead is a potential problem and who want to learn more about what they can do to help prevent lead poisoning and reduce lead hazards. See EPA's Lead in Paint, Dust and Soil page - www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/leadinfo.htm See also, EPA's website - www.epa.gov/lead
Reducing Lead Hazards When Remodeling Your Home (EPA-747-K-97-001) This pamphlet is for anyone involved in a home improvement project - whether you are actually doing the work yourself or overseeing the work of renovation and remodeling professionals. EPA's Lead in Paint, Dust and Soil page - www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/leadinfo.htm. See also, EPA's website - www.epa.gov/lead
Citizens Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety Teaches consumers how to control pests in and around the home, alternatives to chemical pesticides, how to choose pesticides, and how to use, store, and dispose of them safely. It also discusses how to reduce exposure when others use pesticides, how to prevent pesticide poisoning and how to handle an emergency, how to choose a pest control company, and what to do if someone is poisoned by a pesticide.
Citizens Guide to Radon You can't see radon. And you can't smell it or taste it. But it may be a problem in your home. Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. That's because when you breathe air containing radon, you can get lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths.
Consumer's Guide to Radon Reduction Consumer Federation of America strongly urges consumers to have elevated radon levels in their homes reduced. This publication will assist those individuals and offers very good advice for selecting and working with a qualified radon contractor.
In addition to information available from EPA, there are a variety of other resources available which may be of interest to those considering a home remodeling project. Note that, since the following documents are not published nor maintained by EPA, there may be some differences EPA's recommendations.
- Builder's Guide - Mixed Climate; Builder's Guide - Cold Climate; Builder's Guide - Hot-Dry & Mixed Dry Climates. By Joseph Lstiburek. 1998.
Energy Efficient Building Association
Guides are well-illustrated and contain recommendations for foundations, framing, heating and cooling, insulation, drywall, plumbing, electrical systems, painting, sheathings, and windows all with respect to moisture control, energy efficiency and ventilation.
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control - HUD
- Understanding Ventilation: How to design, select, and install residential ventilation systems. By John Bower. 1995. The Healthy House Institute. Broad and extensive overview of ventilation with illustrations.
- U.S. Dept. of Energy, Energy, Efficiency & Renewable Energy's "Guide to Home Ventilation" (PDF). www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/openhouse/pdfs/ventilation_factsheet16.pdf
- Moisture Control Handbook: Principles and Practices for Residential and Small Commercial Buildings. By Joseph Lstiburek and John Carmody. 1995. John Wiley & Sons. Extensively addresses moisture and water management, including moisture movement, wall construction in various climates, moisture control practices in various climates, and case studies/moisture problems that create mold, odor, roof decay and condensation, peeling paint.
- Residential Windows: A Guide to New Technologies and Energy Performance by John Carmody, Stephen Selkowitz, Lisa Heschong. 1996. W.W. Norton & Company. A comprehensive look at windows, window technology, and window selection for homes.
- Combustion Gases in Your Home by the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation (CHMC). This online publication provides a good, easy- to-understand discussion of combustion spillage. The site also contains other publication from the CHMC's "About Your House" series.
- American Lung Association. The ALA site has a variety of information on indoor air quality issues related to respiratory problems.
- Regional, State and Local Health Departments often have a great deal of information and experience with issues in the local housing stock.