It is encouraging to see so many more people striving to live in eco-friendly homes these days. Experts estimate that there is a 59% increase in the number of homes that are on the path of being totally carbon neutral.
Unfortunately, some of the products that people use to live more sustainable lifestyles might pose certain safety risks. For example, some sustainable homeowners try to light their homes up with candles, but risk burning the house down if they aren’t careful. The good news is that it is entirely possible to live a green lifestyle and be safe at the same time.
Minimizing Safety Concerns as a Sustainable Homeowner
We hope the products we use in our homes every day have gone through enough product testing to demonstrate their safety so we can use them confidently in our home. Unfortunately, no amount of product testing is perfect, and in some cases, it’s straight up negligence on the part of the manufacturer that can cause problems for you and your family.
We talked about some ways to make your home eco-friendly in the past. Now it is time to talk about how to apply these findings in a safe way.
The good news is that product injuries due to negligence are relatively uncommon, but that doesn’t mean all of the things inside your home are safe. There are many products that you may be using incorrectly that could end up damaging your home or your health.
Don’t Store Your Medication in the Bathroom
Where do you store your medication? It makes sense that you would put pills in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, but that’s actually one of the last places you should store medication.
Meds should be stored in a cool, dry place. Although your bathroom may be cool and dry for portions of the day, it is the complete opposite when you take a shower. As you steam up the bathroom, you could be affecting your medication.
Instead, keep your medication in a bedroom drawer or kitchen cabinet. Keeping it cool and dry at all times will ensure it isn’t compromised.
Register Eco-Friendly Products Online
There are a lot of products that you purchase to make your home eco-friendlier. They can make a big difference, but you need to make sure that they are properly registered first.
Sometimes, problems with products aren’t discovered until they are released and many people are able to use them. In this case, companies will recall their products, effectively telling the public that they are unsafe to use.
The question is, how do you know if a product you’re using has been recalled? Instead of looking up separate products online, register every product you can.
Although you may be a bit uncomfortable providing your personal information to a company through the mail, it can actually be helpful because companies that have your information can notify you personally if they recall the product you registered. That way you never have to wonder if a product you’re using is actually safe or not.
Just a few products you should register include:
- Washers and dryers
- Oven, refrigerator, and stand mixer
- Hair dryers and straighteners
- Space heaters and large fans
- Children’s toys
Keep an Eye Open for Food Recalls from Eco-Friendly Vendors
Eco-friendly food vendors are smaller than their less environmentally-friendly counterparts. They may have the same commitment to safety, but they may escape regulatory scrutiny. This means that you need to pay closer attention to regulatory issues surrounding them.
You can register potentially dangerous products, which means discovering a recall is relatively easy, but the same isn’t true of food recalls. Instead, you have to be vigilant in your everyday life.
First, do your best to watch the news regularly. Food that is distributed to an area and recalled in that area will always make the news. If you watch regularly, you are likely to hear of a recall as soon as it is announced.
If you don’t watch the news regularly, you should do some research online. For example, the USDA keeps a list of current recalls and alerts on their website. Bookmark this page and visit it often to make sure something that’s in your cabinet or fridge hasn’t been recalled.
Open Cabinets if It’s Going to Be Really Cold or to Save Electricity in the Winter
We rely on important services like electricity and clean water. However, things with these systems can go wrong, and when they do, it can be devastating.
Also, as an eco-friendly home owner, you are going to want to get by without using electricity if at all possible. You should find ways to try to stay warm and keep your home safe without using more energy than you need.
That’s definitely the case when it comes to your pipes. If they are compromised in any way, they can burst, flooding your home and damaging everything inside it.
Pipes can easily be compromised in the winter when it is really cold, but this is an easy fix. If the temperature is forecasted to be below zero, open cabinets where pipes are located. That way, you can prevent them from freezing, expanding, and bursting.
Have an exposed pipe in the basement or the garage? Consider using a space heater to warm up the area when it’s frigid outside.
Place Candles Out of Reach
Candles are a common home accessory for eco-friendly homes. They consume a lot less energy than incandescent and fluorescent lights. Many homeowners that want to be truly eco-friendly try to use candles so they can avoid electricity altogether.
Unfortunately, they are also a common reason why houses catch on fire. Candles caused two percent of home fires between 2014 and 2018.
An unattended candle or a flame that is knocked to the floor is a frustrating reason to deal with a home fire. Do yourself a favor and place candles out of reach to avoid that possibility.
Place candles on the top shelf of bookshelves or on the stove. That way, they are less likely to get knocked over by a family pet, and if you do forget to blow out your candle, it’s unlikely to cause problems when it’s out of reach.
Make Sure Eco-Friendly Toys Your Child Plays With Are Age-Appropriate
There are a growing number of eco-friendly toys available. However, due to the limited supply, parents tend to be less cautious about doing their due diligence with them.
Your children are the most precious things inside your home. Unfortunately, the toys they play with can cause harm, especially for very young children. That’s why it’s important that you only allow your children to play with age-appropriate toys.
That means looking for age limits on the box, but it also means looking for a few things. For example, look to see if stuffed toys are washable and if art supplies have been evaluated by the American Society for Testing and Materials by looking for the ASTM D-4236 label.
Read Product Manuals
Many of the items we buy seem intuitive. You can figure out the settings on a fan or a blender with the push of a few buttons, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read the product manual.
Product manuals include other important information, like how to clean and store items. They list potential safety issues that you can look out for, and they can tell you who should use the product.
Make sure you read the manual every time you buy something new. Then, file the manual away with other manuals so you can always pull it out if you need it.
Chances are, you aren’t in any immediate danger in your home, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t remain vigilant. From toys for your toddler to kitchen appliances and medication, doing things like registering products and storing them properly can ensure you keep your home and your family safe.
Be Safe with Your Eco-Friendly Home
There are a lot of things that you need to consider when running an eco-friendly home. You need to follow the guidelines listed here, so that you can avoid the safety risks some products entail.