Most of us spend at least 12 hours a day at home, so it’s important to keep our homes free of potential hazards. Follow these 7 tips for a safe and healthy home.
1. A Safe and Healthy Home Begins with Air Quality
Allergens like dust, pollen, and pet dander in your HVAC system can cause respiratory problems. Have your ductwork cleaned every 1-2 years and change AC and furnace filters every few months, or as directed by the manufacturer. Don’t let smokers light up inside your home. Second-hand smoke is linked to lung cancer.
2. Eliminate Mold
Mold can cause a variety of health problems from skin and eye irritations to allergies and asthma. The key to mold control is a dry home. Watch out for hidden leaks under sinks and appliances and behind toilets. Check basements and crawl spaces for standing water. Hire a professional to conduct a mold inspection and if there’s a mold problem, have the mold professionally removed.
3. Use Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Install smoke alarms on every floor and inside and outside of each bedroom. They should also be placed in laundry rooms, attics, and basements.
While most homeowners use smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors are often overlooked. Carbon monoxide is an invisible and odorless gas that can be deadly. It comes from gas stoves, fireplaces, charcoal grills, and idling cars in garages. Combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are available.
4. Eliminate Lead For a Safe and Healthy Home
Homes built before 1978 are likely to have lead in the paint underneath the topcoat and in old floor varnish. Lead causes developmental problems in children and other health issues.
When a home is renovated, lead dust can get stirred up, and it can also be released when old paint chips or flakes off of the wall. If you suspect lead is in your home, hire a contractor to inspect and remove it for a safe and healthy home.
5. Treat for Pests Safely
Rodents and other pests are unhealthy and present a threat to your property, but the pesticides used to get rid of them are also a risk to a safe and healthy home. Pesticides contain toxins that can cause neurological problems in children and cancer. Use safer methods to control pests such as sealing cracks, weatherstripping, baits, and traps.
6. Filter Your Tap Water for a Safe and Healthy Home
There might be harmful chemicals, bacteria, and other contaminants in tap water. Have your water tested and then install a filter that removes any impurities from your drinking water.
7. Use Safe Cleaning Products
Conventional cleaning products may contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemicals that pollute the air in your home. They also pollute rivers and lakes when washed down the drain.
Check your cleaners and look for poison and warning labels. Chances are, you’ll find some. Choose products that say “biodegradable,” “petroleum-free,” or “phosphate-free” on the label. You can also make your own with ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and essential oils.