A lot can happen right under our noses that greatly impair our living conditions and health in the long run. Some of the topics we’re about to discuss can grow exponentially more dangerous in your home, but even more concerning, they can do so silently and effectively invisible.
Here’s everything you need to know to keep your home in healthy living conditions!
“There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart. – Jane Austen
Water leaks can cause tremendous damage to your home’s foundation, walls, and floors – let alone making it inviting for mold and mildew to settle in.
A good preventive measure is to have regular home inspections, because although water damage can sometimes be seen, in some cases, it can only be seen when it’s already taking over so much that repairs would be crazy expensive, so it’s better to rely on regular home inspection (or as soon as you have any suspicion) to deal with the problem sooner, rather than later.
Mold and other contaminants
The key component that allows things like bacteria, molds, mildew, mites, cockroaches and others to grow in your home is excessive moisture.
Moisture, however, can be a result of many different things. Weather conditions, poor ventilation, high humidity for extended periods of time, water damage, and so on. Here, regular home inspections will help you find and deal with these problems before they get worse.
Dust and other particles
To properly clean dust and other particles without disturbing and spreading them further, the simple trick of sweeping the floor with damp cloth already helps a lot.
Also keep an eye on your ventilations system. As time goes on, it can accumulate dust, mold and bacteria, and circulate them around your home without you noticing it right away. Regular maintenance and replacement of filters should keep things working well.
But even then, pay attention to your surroundings. If anyone in your home is coughing and suffering with allergic reactions from the respiratory system, it’s worth paying for a more thorough inspection of your ventilation system.
Strong chemical compounds
Certain cleaning products carry low, but still dangerous amounts of semi-volatile organic compounds. These are almost impossible to avoid, since they are present in things like dry-cleaning solvents, stain removers, flame retardants in furniture, and so on.
So what can you do?
One idea is to take embrace more natural cleaning methods. For example, washing items and letting them dry in the sun is a natural way to clean that doesn’t involve strong chemicals.
And if possible, inform yourself on what kinds of chemicals are used in products you generally use, making sure to read labels to get all the information. In most cases you can replace a product for a greener approach.
VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are present in many household products, but are most notable for their presence in PVC materials and paints. High and long-term exposure to VOCs can cause a number of health issues, from mild irritation to nausea, to as far as nervous system damage and cancer.
The key for most cases is good ventilation. Make sure your home is always receiving enough outdoor air, and if possible, make sure the products you use are either low-VOC or non-VOC. A good idea is to read labels of glues, adhesives, and other products as such to look for alternatives.
And if painting your home, be sure to opt for low to non-VOC paints.
The best and easiest way to know if your carbon monoxide levels are reaching dangerous levels is to have a CO detector. Unfortunately, there is no other way to know for sure, since CO is completely odorless and tasteless, and the initial symptoms of dangerous exposure can often be dismissed for other causes (headache, nausea, and dizziness being among the most common).
This is prone to happen more often during the heating season, where homes receive less outdoor air in favour of heating systems and CO levels can rise on a daily basis.
Be especially careful with fuel-burning furnaces, as connections and exhaust vents that are blocked can dramatically increase your CO levels.
Lead poisoning in homes has been less common since acceptable levels of lead have been significantly lowered, especially in the paint. But if you live in a home built before 1978, there’s a good chance it still contains lead paint.
There are several ways of dealing with this: first, keeping your home ventilated is always a good idea. Second, lead paint can be “suppressed by painting over it, so a new coat of paint already goes a long way.
And finally, lead paint can be entirely scraped off so that new paint can set, but that is not something you should do alone, since you would be exposing yourself and your home to lead. This is the most permanent solution, but hiring a professional is highly encouraged to make sure your home is safe – in some cases, professionals will even suggest you leave the property so the work can be done. That’s how dangerous it can be.
Asbestos was, until just a few decades ago, present in thousands of construction products. Until in 1985, it was outlawed by the government because it was the proven cause of lung cancer.
So like lead paint, if you live in a home made before 1985, asbestos is something you should worry about.
Hiring a professional asbestos inspector should be the first step to make sure things are under control. This is particularly important if you plan on doing any major remodeling, since disturbing asbestos materials will release asbestos fibers in the air and that’s no good.
Aside from the basic care to prevent any flammable materials to ever start a fire, the best way to keep your home safe is to install and maintain a working smoke alarm.
Smoke alarms are fairly cheap and easy to install, requiring very little maintenance. In the event of a fire rising, it will let you know ahead of time – enough time for you and your family to evacuate the premisses.
People will sometimes disregard fire alarms as unnecessary with the argument that there’s no way you could “not notice your home being set on fire. But here’s the thing: what if you’re sleeping on the second floor, and the fire starts in the basement because of an electrical malfunction? Behind closed doors and with an AC on, for example, you won’t smell smoke and only notice the fire minutes later than you should.
In this situation, a smoke alarm would trigger way sooner, waking you up and letting you check the situation and leave the house safely with your family.
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