Is Your Home Causing You To Be Sick?
There is a good chance that you know older homes pose problems to homeowners because of lead-based paint, and that all homes potentially have high levels of radon gas. You may not know about other ways in which our homes make us sick.
If you and your family have asthma, allergies, or irritated eyes that dissipate after being at school or work for a couple of hours, your home may be making you sick.
The best thing to do is identify problems and eliminate them so that you can have a healthier home. Our three tips will help you start on the path to a safer home.
Clean your air ducts
If you have an HVAC system, there is a good chance that your air ducts are causing asthma, allergies, coughing, and headaches. If you are not cleaning your vents and registers, you should be. It is a good idea to vacuum them regularly, but you also should remove them and scrub them in hot water with a mild detergent at least twice a year. You also should change your air filters regularly.
Even if your home has an air filtration system, you should have your air ducts cleaned by professionals every other year. You may not realize that your air-conditioning leaves behind condensation in the air ducts and provides the perfect conditions for mold and bacteria growth. It’s also a good idea to have a professional service your heating system to clean it and help it operate more efficiently.
Clean your refrigerator
People often overlook their refrigerator when they clean their kitchen, especially because it is a hassle to remove all of the food, remove the shelves and drawers to scrub them, and put everything back together.
But, your refrigerator poses a risk of food poisoning and mold growth if you do not clean it properly and frequently. In fact, because it houses raw and cooked foods, fruits and vegetables, and drinks and condiments, refrigerators become a haven for harmful microorganisms and microbes.
When you do clean your refrigerator, be careful to use natural products that do not contain chemicals that could come into contact with your food or leave a residue that could leach into foods. It is a good idea to use your dish-washing liquid or a natural combination of baking soda and water to clean your refrigerator and all of its parts. Never use bleach or other disinfectants that could make you and your family ill.
And, be sure to clean the drip pan if your refrigerator has one or to dust the coils on the back. The drip pan may contain water from condensation, mold from foods that spilled, and dust, and the coils are a magnet for dust, so cleaning them is a must for keeping your home healthy.
Keep Allergens at Bay
Allergies, asthma, and sinus issues may be caused by mold and other allergens in your home. One of the best ways to determine whether your home has unseen mold is to hire a home inspector to check the places mold likes to grow, including behind drywall and above ceilings. Home inspectors also can find previous water damage and determine whether those spots have become home to mold and other bacteria.
As for what you can do yourself to keep allergens at bay, the best action is to keep your home as clean and clutter-free as possible. Regularly dust your home with a microfiber cloth or other product that traps dust and allergens. When you vacuum, be sure that you have emptied the dust cup first and that you have installed a HEPA filter that significantly reduces the amount of dust and allergens the vacuum releases back into the air. Reduce allergens in your bedroom by investing in allergy-proof pillow protectors and mattress protectors and don’t allow your pets to sleep on your bed. If you have children, regularly wash their stuffed animals by tossing them into pillowcases and washing them on the gentle cycle in the washing machine.
First, ensure that you have proper ventilation in your bathrooms and kitchen and run exhaust fans when you bathe, shower, and cook. It’s also important to regularly wash bedding, towels, bathmats, and rugs that get damp. Of course, make sure that family members hang up towels and mats after a shower and bath, too, so they can dry quickly. Run a dehumidifier in your basement if it is damp and musty, and fix all leaks. Any areas of your home that are humid or damp can become moldy, so make sure you keep your home as dry as possible.
Ensuring that your home is as safe and healthy as possible will help you avoid illness.
Most of the steps for ensuring your health at home are simple solutions you can handle on your own, but you also should rely on a professional home inspector to be sure you aren’t missing any potential home hazards.