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  • Writer's pictureTeam Pinto

20 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Your Waterloo Region Home

With the series of unprecedented wildfires creating a hazardous outdoor environment, we are all becoming increasingly aware of the importance of indoor air quality!

While you might not have control over the air quality outside, there are numerous ways you can enhance the air quality within your home, the place that experts have been advising us to retreat to stay healthy. But how healthy is the air INSIDE your home?

Here we discuss 20 ways you can reduce pollutants and improve indoor air quality for a healthier and more comfortable living space, whatever the weather (and the air quality) is like outside.

1. Keep Your Floors Clean

Regularly vacuum your home with a cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter. These devices can effectively capture tiny particles, reducing the concentration of potential allergens. Follow up vacuuming with a mop on hard surface floors where possible to catch any dust that escaped the vacuum.

2. Maintain a Healthy Level of Humidity

Moist environments can harbor mold, mildew, and dust mites, which may negatively impact indoor air quality. The Canadian government suggests maintaining indoor humidity levels between 30% and 50%. Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners during humid months to achieve this.

3. No Smoking Indoors

Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, many of which are harmful or potentially carcinogenic. To keep the indoor air quality high, smoking indoors should be completely avoided.

4. Test for Radon

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can seep into homes from the ground. It's colorless, odorless, and can cause lung cancer. Given Canada's geology, many parts of the country have a higher risk for radon. Test your home to ensure it's radon-free.

5. Use Natural Cleaning Products

Many commercial cleaning products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be harmful when inhaled. Opt for natural, non-toxic cleaning products. Here are a few recipes you can make at home using common household items:

All-Purpose Cleaner


1 cup white vinegar

1 cup water

Lemon rind

Rosemary sprigs


Combine the above ingredients in a spray bottle, shake, and let infuse for a week. This solution can be used to clean hard surfaces in your home.

Kitchen Scrub


1/2 cup baking soda

Liquid dish soap


Mix the baking soda with enough dish soap to make a paste. This can be used to scrub kitchen surfaces and remove tough grime.

Glass Cleaner


2 cups water

1/2 cup white or cider vinegar

1/4 cup rubbing alcohol (70% concentration)

1 to 2 drops of orange essential oil (optional, for smell)


Combine all these ingredients and store in a spray bottle. Spray on a paper towel or soft cloth first, then on the glass.

Wood Polish


3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

1 teaspoon lemon juice


Mix the ingredients and apply to wood surfaces using a soft cloth. Wipe off any excess and buff to a shine.

By using these homemade cleaners, not only can you improve your indoor air quality by reducing the use of harmful chemicals, but you can also reduce waste and save money. It's a win-win solution.

6. Ensure Proper Ventilation

Proper ventilation is key to maintaining good indoor air quality, as it reduces indoor air pollutants by replacing a portion of your indoor air with outdoor air. In homes, ventilation usually occurs in one of three ways: natural ventilation, mechanical ventilation, or a combination of both.

Natural Ventilation

Natural ventilation occurs when fresh outdoor air enters the home through opened doors, windows, vents, and other openings. It also occurs through infiltration, a process where air flows into the house through openings, joints, and cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings, and around windows and doors. Natural ventilation is highly dependent on weather conditions and house design. While it's an easy way to improve air quality, it can sometimes let in unwanted outdoor pollutants, especially during times like wildfire seasons.

Mechanical Ventilation

Mechanical ventilation systems use fans and ducts to remove stale air and pump in fresh, filtered air. There are four types of mechanical ventilation systems:

Exhaust ventilation systems: These work by depressurizing the house. The system exhausts air from the house, which lowers the indoor air pressure, and fresh air infiltrates through passive vents and leaks in the building envelope.

Supply ventilation systems: These pressurize the house by introducing fresh air, forcing out the polluted air.

Balanced ventilation systems: These neither pressurize nor depressurize the house, instead, they introduce and exhaust approximately equal quantities of fresh outside air and polluted indoor air, maintaining a balanced air pressure.

Energy recovery ventilation systems: These systems provide controlled ventilation while minimizing energy loss. They achieve this by transferring energy from the conditioned air being exhausted from the house to the incoming fresh air.

Mechanical ventilation systems provide more control than natural ventilation, as they can reduce levels of indoor air pollutants, filter the incoming air, and provide ventilation regardless of weather conditions. In addition, the ventilation rate can be tailored to the size and occupancy of the house, ensuring efficient energy use.

Combination of Natural and Mechanical Ventilation

In many cases, a combination of natural and mechanical ventilation is used to maintain a good balance between air quality, energy efficiency, and comfort. Natural ventilation can be used during suitable weather conditions or times of low outdoor pollutant levels, while mechanical ventilation provides a reliable and controllable ventilation method in other conditions.

Proper maintenance of these systems is essential to ensuring they perform optimally and keep your indoor air fresh and clean. Regularly clean and inspect ventilation systems and replace filters as per the manufacturer's instructions.

When paired with other methods, like keeping your floors clean and using air purifiers, proper ventilation can significantly enhance the quality of your indoor air.

7. Use Air Purifiers

Air purifiers can help remove particles and allergens from the air. This can be especially helpful during times of poor outdoor air quality, such as during episodes such as we'v just ben experiencing, which unfortunately metrological and environmental experts fear will be happening more often in the future.

8. Regular HVAC Maintenance

Regularly clean and replace filters in your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. A well-maintained HVAC system can significantly improve indoor air quality. Ideally you should also schedule a professional checkup for your HVAC systems at least twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.

9. Control Outdoor Sources

Seal doors and windows properly to prevent outdoor air pollutants, especially during wildfire season. Air sealing also helps reduce energy costs.

10. Use Indoor Plants

Plants can absorb pollutants through their roots and leaves, helping to improve indoor air quality. However, overwatering can increase the risk of mold, so be sure to keep your green friends healthy.

11. Avoid Synthetic Fragrances

Many air fresheners and fragranced products emit VOCs. Opt for fragrance-free or naturally scented products.

12. Change Bedding Regularly

Bedding can become a breeding ground for dust mites. Washing sheets and pillowcases weekly in hot water can help control these allergens. Some experts also claim that certain bedding types, primarily high thread count cotton and bamboo are far better at controlling allergens than other fabrics.

13. Keep Pets Groomed

Pets can carry dander and outdoor allergens into your home. Regularly grooming your pets and keeping them out of bedrooms can help improve air quality.

14. Regularly Dust Your Home

Dusting surfaces with a damp cloth, rather than a feather duster, can help reduce allergen particles that have settled.

15. Avoid Carbon Monoxide

Ensure combustion appliances are well-ventilated to prevent carbon monoxide buildup. Installing carbon monoxide detectors can alert you to dangerous levels of this deadly gas.

16. Approach Asbestos Safely

If your home contains asbestos, avoid disturbing it. If it must be removed, hire professionals who can do the job safely and in accordance with Canadian regulations.

17. Minimize Use of Pressed Wood Products

Many pressed wood products, such as particle board, release formaldehyde, a carcinogenic VOC. Opt for solid wood or outdoor-quality pressed wood products, which emit less formaldehyde.

18. Properly Dispose of Hazardous Materials

Materials such as paint, solvents, and cleaning supplies can release harmful fumes. Store these materials outside the living space and dispose of them at hazardous waste disposal sites.

19. Use a Kitchen Exhaust Fan

Cooking can release particulates and gases you may not even be aware of. Using a kitchen exhaust fan can help to remove these pollutants from your home and it will help it smell a lot better too!

20. Install a Carbon Filtration System

If you live in an area with high outdoor pollution, especially during wildfire season, a carbon filtration system can help remove pollutants from the air entering your home.

Taking steps to improve the indoor air quality of your home not only promotes the well-being of your household but also enhances the overall livability of your space. If you're on the hunt for a new home in Waterloo Region where these considerations are already in place, or perhaps you're looking to sell and need advice on improvements to increase your home's appeal, partnering with Team Pinto is a fantastic choice.

As your local real estate experts, Team Pinto has a deep understanding of the market and a firm commitment to helping clients find homes that meet their unique needs, including a healthy and comfortable indoor environment.

With our knowledge and guidance, you can navigate the real estate market confidently and find a home where quality, comfort, and health coexist harmoniously. It's not just about buying a house - it's about investing in a place where you and your loved ones can breathe easy.



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