Considering an upgrade to your vintage or historic home? In this ongoing energy retrofit series, master craftsman Daniel Westbrook interviews industry expert Mark LaLiberte, founding partner and president of Construction Instruction. Mark has been educating the building industry on the science and physics of construction for more than 30 years, and, in this series, he’s sharing the benefits of constructing durable, energy-efficient, healthy homes.

In this video, Daniel and Mark chat about how your home’s environment may be reducing your air quality. You’ll learn why it's important to be careful when you're masking smells, and the easiest way to identify an air quality problem. Here are a few key takeaways: 

Be careful with scented products that mask smells

There are a lot of products available to falsify odors in the air and make the house smell like someplace it really isn’t. Be cautious with these products, because some of the aerosols and chemicals in them can actually made the air quality worse. Even candles—if you burn a lot of them, with high frequency—give off enough carbon emissions to hurt air quality. 

Let your nose help identify air quality problems

If you have an odor problem, don't just mask it with scented products; look into it further. Working to identify the source might help you find something in the crawl space that’s a problem, or a mold odor that indicates a problem in the walls. When you find the source, you can remove it permanently and eliminate the need for temporary solutions.  

Ventilate to improve air quality

Bringing fresh air into the house is one of the best ways to improve air quality. Whether simply opening the windows or installing a ventilation system, introducing fresh air will clear out residual odors (e.g., from pets, cooked meals, etc.) that can create and mask problems. 

It's important to be careful about how you contribute to the air quality in your home, from the chemicals you bring in to the steps you take to improve air quality. At the end of the day, what's best is to pay attention to what your nose is telling you. There could be something hanging around you should be aware of, and identifying what it is, is an opportunity to fix the core problem and improve the air quality in a more long-lasting way. 

Watch previous installments of our energy retrofit series on Dunn Solutions, and stay tuned for more from Daniel and Mark as they continue to discuss energy retrofitting over the coming months.