Thursday, April 12, 2012

Simple steps to a healthier home and less indoor air pollution

A healthy home environment can keep health
problems at bay.
Taking care of your home inside and out is more than just about homeowner’s pride – it could mean the difference between a healthy and unhealthy living space.

A majority of people surveyed in 2009 by the National Center for Healthy Housing said they realized that the condition of their home was important to prevent serious health problems like asthma, allergies, lead poisoning, cancer and injuries.

Still, just how they can make sure that their home is properly maintained remains a mystery to many homeowners.

But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, it is not that difficult to take care of a home.

They have formulated seven principles for a healthy home:

1. Keep the home dry and free from mold
  • Clean and repair gutters and downspouts to avoid water running towards the home’s foundation
  • At regular intervals, check plumbing fixtures and appliances for leaks and fix as needed
  • Repair water damage in walls and ceilings and replace affected materials to control mold
  • Check floor drains

2. Keep the home clean
  • Use mats inside and outside every door that leads outside
  • Use non-toxic cleaning agents like vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice
  • Dust regularly with a wet cloth
  • Clean the dryer vent, range hood screen, refrigerator drip pan and exhaust fans
  • Make sure the furnace, hot water heater, oven and air conditioning coils are cleaned and tuned

3. Banish pests from the home
  • Check for signs of rodents, bats, mice and cockroaches, which can cause asthma episodes and carry diseases
  • Fill cracks and crevices with copper mesh, expanding foam, cement or caulk
  • Be wary of pesticides; remove pests by enlisting the help of professionals practicing integrated pest management (IPM)

4. Create a safe home environment
  • Use nightlights to help prevent falls
  • Place non-slip pads under carpets
  • Make sure you have working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of the home
  • Set the water heater to 120 degrees
  • Install grab bars near baths and showers
  • Repair/replace damaged electrical cords and outlets

5. Improve indoor air quality
  • Keep the home as contaminant-free as possible
  • Ban smoking in the home
  • Avoid particle board (and off-gassing VOCs) by installing wire shelving
  • Test the home for radon
  • Inspect the home for peeling paint, which could be a lead hazard

6. Improve ventilation

  • Install and use exhaust fans in bathrooms and over the range to vent moisture and contaminants outside
  • Open windows regularly, if possible

7. Keep the home well maintained
  • Repair cracks and holes in the foundation promptly to avoid dampness and pests
  • Replace furnace filters every 3-4 months
  • Repair broken and cracked windows
  • Make sure the roof is in good condition
  • Pump out the septic tank every 3-5 years

Source: Helena Independent Record

Improve indoor air quality with air purifiers
Portable air purifiers can remove
a wide range of pollutants.

Many home building materials, furnishings and products contribute to indoor air pollution, which can affect the residents’ health and well-being.

The steps above will help improve IAQ, but many homeowners are turning to portable air purifiers to help keep their indoor air clean and healthy.

AllerAir’s air purifiers with activated carbon and HEPA filters can remove airborne chemicals, gases, odors, VOCs, particles, dust, allergens, bacteria, viruses and molds.

They are designed to work around the clock without using much energy (on the lowest setting) and they can easily be moved around the home according to need.

Contact AllerAir for more information.