Jeffreys Environmental Upgrade
has couple
Breathing Easy

by Eppo Maertens

Ottawa Citizen - March 30, 1999
Report on New Homes
Interiors and Lifestyles

When Phil and Jeannette Jeffreys moved in 1992, they hoped that leaving their gas furnace behind would mean an end to the aches and pains, fatigue, asthma and other symptoms of Mrs. Jeffrey's severe environmental sensitivities.

But no sooner had they moved into their new home, built in 1954, than they discovered another problem: mould. "All basements have mold in them and I couldn't live in our house without having something done to the basement," says Mrs. Jeffreys.

They considered several options, including another disruptive move. Then they read about the ECHO system in the paper.

Moisture is a problem in all basements and mould is a problem in most

Pioneered by Doug Walkinshaw, president of Indoor Air Technologies, an Ottawa-based contractor specializing in indoor air quality, ECHO is a basement finishing system made up of ventilated subfloors and perimeter finished walls built on the inside of the foundation.

ECHO System uses ventilated subfloors and small blowers to ensure mould doesn't have a chance to grow

Designed to combat moisture and toxicants originating from beneath the foundation, any moisture or leaks of flow down to the floor where they are exhausted by a small blower. The basement stays dry and mould doesn't have the chance to grow. And since air in the envelop is constantly ventilated, soil gases such as radon don't enter the house.  

Mr. Jeffreys says he and his wife visited the homes of several people who had had the ECHO system installed, including Mr. Walkinshaw's. In each home Mrs. Jeffreys could sense the difference.

Before installing the ECHO system in their basement Mrs. Jeffreys says she was "just debilitated. I couldn't do anything. I was allergic to everything."

Since having the system installed, Mrs. Jeffreys has noticed a marked improvement. "We got the irritants out of the house, so I do feel a lot better," she says. "The only thing people like me can do is stay away from these (irritants). My home is my safe environment now."

The entire project, from gutting the existing basement and installing the ECHO system and a heat recovery ventilation system to finishing the basement with parquet flooring cost in the range of $25,000 to $30,000.

As well as removing mould and other contaminants, Mr. Jeffreys says the basement no longer feels like a basement. "We installed parquet flooring throughout which is something that you couldn't do in regular basement," he says. "It not only looks good, it's very comfortable as well."