How to manage the air quality at home

Since March 17th, France is facing a health crisis and an exceptional context. The population being confined, many workers then practice teleworking from home.

In this context, PHOSPHORIS wanted to share with you the right actions to adopt to manage the air quality in your home.

Aeration and ventilation

1. Air the accommodation twice a day : in the morning and in the evening for 10 min.

Indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air. The ventilation allows the pollutants present indoor to be evacuated or to be degraded. Indeed, some pollutants, such as formaldehyde, are emitted by construction materials, furniture and certain household products, and degrade very quickly outdoors. Without ventilation, they accumulate and can irritate the respiratory tract, cause headaches, etc.

2. Air more when you cook, clean, or take a shower/bath.

During these activities, pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particles or simply water are emitted into the air. For example, drying clothes emits 200g of water per hour for about 5 hours. To limit the impact of these activities on the air quality of the home, aeration is essential.

3. Do not interfere with the operation of the ventilation systems and maintain them regularly.

Ventilation must operate continuously in a housing to be effective. If it is blocked, air will not circulate properly through the rooms. Pollutants and humidity can accumulate and cause serious damage.

4. Clean the air inlet grilles on the windows every 6 months and dust the CMV with a rag and white vinegar.

The exhaust vents and air inlets have to be cleaned every 6 months. The operation is quite simple since they usually have a clip-on cover. After having disassembled it, clean it with a damp cloth, then dust the fixed part, possibly using a vacuum cleaner. Then replace the cover.

Household products and room fragrances

1. Avoid indoor fragrances, incense sticks, scented candles, sprays that contain harmful chemicals.

2. Store household products in their original packaging, out of the reach of children and, if possible, in a ventilated area.

3. Carefully read the instructions for use of each product and use the dosage indicated on the bottle.

4. Use unscented products if possible. Perfumes emit VOCs into the air and can cause respiratory tract irritation.

5.  Do not mix household products and take special care when emptying the water bucket so that there is no other product in the pipes (bleach tablet for example).

6. Limit the use of bleach to the strict minimum: disinfecting mold on walls or surfaces.

7. Do not use the products in spray form.

8. Use few different products : 3 or 4 are enough. Favor labeled products (Ecolabel, ECO CERT etc.)

9. Pay attention to the presence of danger pictograms on the products and limit them as much as possible.

Building materials

1. During the works, ventilate well throughout the works and leave the room regularly to take breaks.

2. Wear suitable protection (masks, gloves, glasses) when handling chemicals or sanding.

3. Close the containers to prevent them from evaporating and always store them out of the reach of children in a ventilated place.

4. Some furniture releases chemicals for several days or even weeks after opening the packaging.

To avoid degrading the air in the home, ventilate widely by opening the windows the first few days after installing new furniture. Since 2013, building materials have been compulsorily labeled on their potential for VOC emissions into ambient air. Give preference to products whose label indicates A +.

5.When handling glass wool, rock wool, slag, fiber emissions should be reduced by working “wet” if there is no electrical hazard.

After the work, clean the part with water and detergent. Vacuum regularly to remove dust during and after work. Protect yourself by wearing a mask, glasses and gloves. Call a professional if possible.

6. If the home contains asbestos (with a building permit date prior to July 1, 1997), avoid any abrasive activity such as sanding or drilling in materials that may contain asbestos fibers. Call in a professional to carry out the work.

7. If the housing paints contain lead (housing prior to 1949), check the Statement of Risk of Exposure to Lead if there is a risk of the presence of lead. This document must be provided to you when buying or renting accommodation. Make sure to remove the dust generated by this work by vacuuming. Keep children away to prevent them from swallowing dust when playing on the ground. They often put their hands in their mouths and can thus ingest lead dust.


Allergens are microscopic agents that can trigger a reaction in people with allergies. The most common symptoms are rhinitis, difficulty in breathing or irritation of the mucous membranes.

1. During pollination, ventilate the house well early in the morning and late at night, once the pollens have settled on the ground. In case of rain, take the opportunity to ventilate the accommodation well.

2. Properly clean the air vents with a damp cloth to remove any pollens that may accumulate there.

3. Vacuum every 2 days and wet clean surfaces to remove pollens that stick to them. Vacuum cleaners with a HEPA filter(High Efficiency for Airborne Particles) are more effective against allergens.

4. Dust weekly and change sheets regularly. Allergens build up in the hair and stick to the sheets.

5. Limit the movement of animals, especially in bedrooms.

Moisture and mold

Mold thrives when there is excessive moisture in an area. This humidity can be due to a ventilation fault, a thermal bridge or the presence of a leak. Mold grows everywhere and is not always visible to the eye.

1. Look for and identify the sources of humidity in the home: water damage, infiltration, thermal bridges (areas of high heat loss where humidity can condense).

2. After a shower or a bath, during or after cooking, while the laundry is drying, ventilate the accommodation well by opening the windows.

3. Put a lid on the pots to limit evaporation and activate the extractor hood.

4. If there is visible mold, find the source of the moisture before cleaning.

Once the source has been repaired, dry the area for several weeks, disinfect with water containing a few drops of bleach before proceeding with any work.

5. In case of insulation work, integrate an efficient ventilation system to allow air circulation. A building professional can help you find the most suitable solution for your home.

Avoid insulating small areas, housing insulation is designed as a whole. If you install very insulating windows without considering the home as a whole, this can encourage the development of what are called “thermal bridges“. The cold can no longer pass through the windows, so it finds other paths such as the edges of the walls to escape. Moisture collects there.

6. In case of observation of infiltration or rising damp from the ground, the only solution is to have the source identified by a building professional. He will then be able to advise you on the work to be undertaken to resolve the problem. Humidity problems should be resolved quickly to avoid any aggravation.