Occupant handbook - Indoor air quality

The Canadian Forces Housing Agency is committed to providing healthy and safe housing for its occupants and our maintenance program takes this into account. The Canadian Forces Housing Agency’s maintenance program is designed to manage the condition of the housing portfolio through preventative, cyclical and planned maintenance activities. In addition to the preventative maintenance schedule, The Canadian Forces Housing Agency manages indoor air quality issues on a case-by-case basis with individual management plans being established to deal with each occurrence.


Mould is present in varying degrees and forms in all Canadian houses. Moulds can enter the home in many ways, for example through open windows or doors, and on clothing, pets, food and furniture. Moist conditions in a home can foster the growth of mould.

The Canadian Forces Housing Agency encourages Department of National Defence housing occupants to do their part to manage indoor air quality in their home. The following actions are recommended:

  • Keep items stored in the basement off the floor and away from walls to allow for air circulation
  • Use bathroom and kitchen fans regularly, as well as heat recovery ventilators where installed
  • Operate a dehumidifier throughout the spring, summer, and fall
  • Dryers should be properly vented
  • Curtains opened in daytime

For more information regarding indoor air quality and mould, The Canadian Forces Housing Agency occupants are encouraged to refer to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Moisture and Air: Householder’s Guide, which can be found at http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/grho/moaiprre/index.cfm.

Duct cleaning

There is a lot of debate in the public domain over the frequency at which ducts must be cleaned. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation advises that duct cleaning will not usually change the quality of the air you breathe, nor will it significantly affect airflows or reduce heating costs. For more information on duct cleaning, please consult the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation website at www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca.

You may wish to have your ducts cleaned; however, please contact the Housing Services Centre to obtain prior approval. You will be responsible for all costs associated with the cleaning and any related damage caused to the housing unit.

Heat recovery ventilators

A heat recovery ventilator provides controlled fresh air while conserving heat in the colder months for optimum energy efficiency.

During the heating season, the installed heat recovery ventilator recovers heat from the outgoing stale household air and uses it to preheat incoming fresh outdoor air. The heat recovery ventilator then distributes the incoming air throughout the house either through the existing heating ducts or through special ducts installed for this purpose. Contact your Housing Services Centre for more information about the presence and operation of heat recovery ventilators at your location.

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