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Changes to Ontario Building Code Emphasize Indoor Air Quality

Changes to the Ontario Building Code which came into effect January 1, 2012 make this province’s code the most progressive in the country. It’s being hailed by green energy advocates and public health officials alike for the emphasis the changes put onto energy efficiency and moisture control – a vital component in the prevention of mold growth.

Air Barriers
The changes, among other things, include requiring an air barrier to cover the entire building envelope – where in the past, it was only required around thermally insulated portions. Air barriers include elements you’ll find inside the home, like drywall, as well as what is called a “house wrap”. Made of a variety of materials, the house wrap is literally wrapped around the exterior of a home while it’s being constructed, and it serves to restrict air leakage as well as control moisture. Air leaks can cause condensation issues and may also result in wind driven rain coming inside.

The Basement
The new Code also specifies improved levels of insulation, especially in basements. Previously, the Code specified that a basement was to be insulated only two feet down from the sill plate (where the lumber of the wall rests on the foundation), where now it’s required for the full height of the basement. This prevents condensation from forming on the top half of the foundation, where it’s exposed to the air above ground level. More insulation = more protection against condensation and moisture, and therefore potential mold growth. In addition to the current guidelines, many experts recommend that you insulate your basement floor as well for the same reason.

The new Building Code promises to reduce energy bills and improve indoor air quality along with reducing the risk of mold growth – but it only just came into effect. Previous versions of the Code were less stringent, and the Ontario Building Code itself was initiated only in 1975.  If your home was built before that time, it may not have included any insulation at all in the basement, making it a prime location for condensation, moisture and therefore mold. An uninsulated crawl space in particular is an ideal location for mold growth. Mold may be growing in the walls and between the floors of your home without your knowing it.

Toxic Mold Symptoms
Common symptoms of exposure to toxic mold may include eye, nose and throat irritation, respiratory symptoms like breathing difficulties, allergy or flu-like symptoms like such as runny nose and clogged sinus, and even more troubling issues like a depressed immune system and vertigo.

If you smell a stale, moldy odour in your home or you are experiencing any of these symptoms on a recurring basis, do yourself a favour and call the experts at Environmental Services Group for a mold inspection quote.

Environmental Services Group is a cutting edge environmental consulting firm based in Toronto and servicing both the Greater Toronto Area and Ontario. We provide state-of-the-art, industry-leading expertise in remedying environmental hazards such as mold, lead, asbestos and much more. Call 416-575-6111 or visit our website today for a pressure-free initial consultation. You’ll be glad you did!

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