07 Apr The Ultimate Guide to Home Health
We take our health seriously. We take our homes seriously. But do we take our home health seriously?
According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), environmental hazards throughout our homes harm millions of children every year.
As a result, HUD developed the Healthy Homes Program to address multiple diseases and injuries that occur in the home. The program builds upon HUD’s work to reduce lead within our communities and expands to address the following safety concerns:
- Carbon Monoxide
For more information on each of these concerns, then HUD provides a portal with additional information, including details about grants, such as the Healthy Homes Demonstration Program and Healthy Homes Technical Studies.
These programs aim to develop and deliver education around home health, along with creating low-cost methods of hazard assessment and intervention.
Like so many things, awareness is the best prevention, and home health is definitely one of those things.
What Makes A Healthy Home?
Home health takes a comprehensive look at each room in your home and the possible environmental hazards. A healthy home takes a step further than safety concerns and delves into problems that can be reduced or eliminated in 15 minutes, 15 days, 15 months or 15 years.
If you or anyone in your family seems allergic to your home or has trouble sleeping, then there may be allergens in the air causing these problems. Through assessment, there are immediate and long-term actions you can take to improve your home health…and help your family sleep better!
From chemicals in fabric softener to toxins in non-stick pans there are environmental dangers all over your home. A healthy home means removing hazards from the air and water from all the rooms in your home.
How does a Healthy Home Impact your Health?
Particularly in the greater Atlanta area, air quality can really impact your health. Through some common sense and a few simple home improvements, you can create the foundation for a healthy home and improve your health (along with everyone in your family)!
As the CDC reports many common irritants are preventable.
“Poor indoor air quality (pollution) can bother your eyes, nose, and throat. It can also lead to chronic heart and lung problems and cancer.”
Why is Atlanta at greater risk?
Air pollution, both inside and outside, can be made worse with poor ventilation, high heat and high humidity. As the heat and humidity starts to increase, here are a few approaches to improve your air quality, such as air purifiers.
According to the EPA, indoor air pollution can be up to 5X higher than outdoor air pollution. Air purifiers can control odors and chemical vapors among other home pollutants. High efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) filters remove microscopic particles and some air purifiers pair HEPA filters with a secondary filtration system to remove odors.
For a more natural method to create clean air, then consider adding plants, such as spider plants that filter pollutants from home air.
At Snappy, we have qualified home experts to help examine your home air quality. Also, through April 30, 2016, we are offering a Free Whole House Air Cleaner (with the purchase of a full heating and cooling system) to improve your home’s health.
In addition to air quality, home health helps water quality.
Even though the US has some of the world’s safest drinking water, there are outbreaks of illnesses due to contaminants.
Today, we read stories of poor water quality across the country. The saga in Detroit highlights the dangers of what can go wrong when people do not understand how environmental hazards make a personal impact.
“People should know where their drinking water (tap or bottled) comes from, how it has been treated, and whether it is safe to drink. The quality of drinking water from the tap can vary depending on whether its source is a regulated water system or an unregulated small community system or private well. Home tap water may also be filtered.”
Additionally, we should all note that tap water from any system can be contaminated from things, such as:
- natural chemicals and minerals (such as arsenic).
- viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
- routine use of pesticides.
- failing septic systems and/or sewer overflows.
It is ok to do some quick investigation. Call your local municipality for water-test results. If there are any concerns, then install a water filtration system to remove hazardous pollutants like asbestos or radium.
If you are worried about your home water, then feel free to call Snappy. We offer 24/7 service to have a qualified technician analyze and assess water quality. If there are any issues, then through April 30, 2016, we are offering $200 off a whole house water filtration system.
How to Create a Healthy Home
Now that we know what home health means and how it impacts our families, how can we create a healthy home?
To start, it helps to understand all the nooks and crannies of a home that are possibly at risk. To help, here is a room by room checklist to review.
With many things, simply using some common sense will go a long way to mitigating risks of environmental hazards around the house. Here are a few simple steps to keep pollutants out of your home.
- Add mats to both sides of the door because up to 80% of dirt, along with allergens, bacteria and lawn chemicals can be caught with washable matting.
- Wash your hands to keep germs from spreading.
- Install vents in crawl spaces to keep humidity levels below 50%, which prevents condensation and the spread of odors, mold, mildew that may trigger allergies and asthma.
- Upgrade to energy efficient faucets and fixtures to reduce water and energy.
- Install CFL or LED lights, which will save electricity compared to standard incandescent bulbs.
Additionally, here are a few highlights of things to check in each room in your house. For a comprehensive, 72 point action item list, then This Old House provides the details.
Healthy Kitchen Tips
- Filter Drinking Water.
- Change Refrigerator Filter Before Expiration.
- Stop Using BPA Plastic Containers.
- Routinely Clean Prep Surfaces.
- Remember to Use Range Hood when Cooking.
Healthy Living Room Tips
- Weather Permitting – Open a Window.
- Vacuum with a HEPA Filter.
- Sanitize All Devices.
- Clean Hardwood Floors with Vinegar and Water or Lemon, Oil and Water.
- Use Paint with No (or Low) VOCs.
Healthy Bathroom Tips
- Run Ceiling Fan Following Every Shower.
- Avoid Cleaners that Contain Ammonia and Chlorine that Irritate Skin and Lungs.
- Use Hydrogen Peroxide Solution to Sanitize Faucets.
- Install a Filtered Showerhead.
- Fix or Replace Failing Caulk and Cracked Tiles to Prevent Mold.
Healthy Bedroom Tips
- Install Whole-House Fan.
- Reduce Dust with Hardwood Floors & Washable Area Rugs.
- Replace Mattress with Natural Flame Resistant Material (like wool).
- Avoid Office Equipment in Bedroom.
Healthy Basement Tips
- Check for Radon.
- Check for Lead Paint.
- Check for Asbestos Flakes Around Pipes and/or Boilers.
- Ensure Carbon Monoxide Detectors are Working.
- Clean or Replace Furnace Filter Every 3 Months.
- Install a Dehumidifier.
Ultimately, ventilation is a primary key to a healthy home. Mark LaLiberte, a building consultant with Building Knowledge, Inc. explains:
“homes should include a ventilation system to exhaust stale air and bring in fresh. The system should be based on the home’s size, structural tightness, climate, and number of occupants.”
If this seems like a lot and a little overwhelming, you’re right. It can be a daunting task to examine your entire house.
Fortunately, there are experts that can help.
At Snappy, we are a certified home energy expert.
We want to help our neighbors maintain a healthy home and happy family. If there are any questions about your home health or interested in learning more about an energy checkup, simply call – we’re here 24/7!