Indoor Air Quality is One Reason to Live in an Old Home or Old Apartment Building

Apartment Building Built in 1916

Where to Live

Everyone likes living in a beautiful new house or new apartment complex. However, a few years ago I read that the air we breathe inside our homes and our cars is more toxic than the air when outside, standing on the corner of a high traffic intersection, breathing in car fumes. What is it about our houses that is making our air polluted? Here are some answers.

New Home Air Pollution

Here are some of the problems with living in a new home. We breathe chemicals found in products used today in building houses. Wood containing formaldehyde can include cupboards, plywood, and chipboard floors. Wood used in walls could be full of pesticides. Plastic finishes (like window blinds), PVC pipes, and vinyl (polyvinyl chloride: PVC) flooring and roofing leach chemicals used in the making of these synthetic products. Most carpets are made from petroleum and treated with pesticides, bleaches, dyes, and other chemicals as well as anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agents, then made non-flammable with more chemicals.

Popular House Design 1913


Healthy Homes

Houses and apartment buildings built before 1950 were made without the chemical soup we find in today’s building materials and, generally, were more solidly built with heavier materials. Talk with any experienced builder to learn how, today, maximum profit is gotten from a minimalistic strategy for using building materials (fewer nails, wood framing, supports). Most homes, before 1950, were solidly built with stone, real brick, and chemical-free timber.

Buying an Older House

Buy Healthy Paints


Old Building Improvements

One of the concerns you should have when planning to purchase an older house is that improvements, made to the property over the years, may have compromised the health benefits. Be sure to have your home inspected for these possible additions.

  • UFFI (urea-formaldehyde foam insulation) may have been installed in the cavities of the walls.
  • Were chemicals added to treat lumber or for mildew control?
  • What has changed on the house? Has the kitchen been updated with new cupboards or have doors been replaced?
  • Check for asbestos, vinyl tiles, plastic surfaces, and foam-backed synthetic carpets.

PVC pipe is considered safer than lead pipe which was probably used originally. To help with water pollutants have a reverse osmosis water purification system installed under your kitchen sink. Nontoxic paint is now available to put on your walls.

Expenses of Buying Older Homes

Unlike a newly build home, an older house will probably need some work done on it: wiring, furnace, pipes, roof. If you are planning to purchase an older home, you should allow for these added future expenses when determining what you can afford to buy. If, for instance, you can afford a home worth $200,000, you may want to consider looking at older homes worth $180,000 to allow for future, unexpected expenses.

Thrift or Antique Shop


Adding Your Own Home Improvements

To continue to reap the benefits of living in a natural house shop for products made from natural, untreated materials. Antique or thrift shops and antique auctions are good places to shop. Be careful of finding furniture or materials that look old but were produced recently with just that “old look.” There are even stores that offer discounted older building materials like doors and fireplace mantels.


Older Homes and Apartments

Some perks of getting older homes are large pantry areas, spacious rooms, and high ceilings. The high ceilings give the impression of grandness, and if you live in a warm climate, the high ceilings will pull up the warm air, keeping the main living areas cooler.

By buying an existing, older home or moving into and older apartment you are reducing the destruction of natural land and preserving our ecosystem. Developers verbally paint pretty pictures of their new housing communities but fail to mention how much of the natural environment was lost in the building process or how many chemicals are used in the housing materials.

If you have been thinking of moving somewhere newly built, I hope this article will help you to reconsider.

Related Articles

More by this Author

Comments 2 comments

Goyakla profile image

Goyakla 5 years ago from United Kingdom

This is a really informative hub. Our home is over 100 years old and is in need of some improvements. As a result of reading your hub we will endeavour to only use chemical free products. Voted up.

Beverly Stevens profile image

Beverly Stevens 5 years ago from College Station Author

Thank you!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article