Your home should be a safe haven, but quite often, it is either the source of, or a contributor to many of our ailments. Many persons fail to recognize the dangers lurking in their homes, some of which can be extremely harmful if not addressed. Infants or those with respiratory problems can be especially susceptible. Dangers include poor indoor air quality, and the effects of substances or products used in the home. Being aware of potential hazards and knowing how to address them will help you to keep everyone safe and healthy at home.
Indoor Air Quality
There are many factors that affect your indoor air quality. Leaky ducts, dirty air filters, and chemicals found in products and even furniture, can negatively affect the quality of the air in your home. Volatile organic compounds (VOCS) are gases that are emitted from many everyday items such as carpets, cleaning supplies, paints, markers and adhesives. It is important to look for products with labels that indicate that the contents do not emit VOCS. Air purifiers and air cleaners help to remove harmful allergens and pollutants. Ventilators are also a useful option for bringing in fresh air from outside and expelling stale indoor air.
Other hazardous gases can come from combustion equipment such as furnaces. Carbon monoxide poisoning, for example, results in deaths and many hospitalizations each year. The Consumer Protection Safety Commission recommends that a carbon monoxide alarm should be installed in the hallway near every sleeping area in the home. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for information on testing the alarm and replacing any batteries. Note too, that there are specific requirements for installing carbon monoxide alarms.
Radon is another odorless gas that can cause serious problems. It forms naturally from the decay of certain elements found in the soil, and can seep into the home from the ground. Some experts believe that it is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, and has been discovered to be a real problem for many homeowners. You can purchase radon detection kits or hire a professional to check radon levels in your home. Sealing cracks in floors, and increasing ventilation can help to lower the effects of radon in the home.
Put poisonous products out of reach and make sure they are properly labelled. This is not only beneficial in homes with small children, but adults have also mistakenly consumed poisonous substances. You might choose all-natural cleaning products, but you still want to keep them away from curious little hands. Keeping products out of reach should also extend to mouthwash, perfume, and other personal care items that can also make children sick if they ingest too much.
Busy schedules can impact your ability to clean your home as often as needed. If time is limited, be sure to take care of important tasks such as dusting, vacuuming and disposing of garbage. Dust can be problematic for those with respiratory problems. Be sure to wash bedding weekly in hot water to help get rid of dust mites. You should also change your air filter as soon as it becomes dirty.
Your shoes can track in all sorts of outdoor contaminants, and if those shoes make their way to your carpet, the fibers can trap germs there. Making the house a “no-shoe zone” is not a policy everyone accepts or likes. Regular vacuuming and occasional carpet cleaning are therefore very important, especially too in homes with pets, or pets that shed a lot.
Maryland’s humid summers can encourage mold growth. An AC unit will help to remove some of the moisture from the air, and help to improve your indoor air quality. A whole-home dehumidifier is also another effective option for fighting humidity.
Creating a healthy and safe environment in the home is not something that is difficult to accomplish, and should be made a priority. It only requires the adoption of healthy habits, and remembering to pay attention to the products that you bring into your home. Observing your family’s health often provides clues regarding air quality problems in the home. Do respiratory conditions seem to appear or worsen at home?
If you are concerned about conditions in your home, and would like more information about keeping everyone safe and healthy, call the experts at Coastal Heating & Air Conditioning, Co., Inc. You can reach us at 410-919-0110 to schedule an appointment, or if you would just like more information about our services.
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