Your home holds your greatest treasures. Investing in home improvements that make your home healthier and safer place is definitely a worthy endeavor. A safe home environment can go a long way in increasing the quality of your life. Not only will this ensure your well-being but it will also give you peace of mind. Learn the many ways you can create a healthy environment in your home.
Replace your carpeting
Beyond just aggravating allergies, dust may also contain hazardous chemicals, such as pesticides, lead, and fire retardants. As a matter of fact, dust can carry chemicals used many years ago in your home.
One home improvement task you can do to get rid of dust is to replace any wall-to-wall carpeting with tiles, cork, wood, or linoleum. Carpets are effective collectors of dust, and may not be the best flooring option for your home. You should also invest in a vacuum that has a HEPA filter and strong suction. Remember to vacuum your home regularly, and to clean the vacuum bag so the dust is not getting blown back into your home.
Get the house tested
Your home may be contaminated with harmful chemicals like radon and lead paint. Radon is a radioactive gas that causes cancer, and can result in brain damage among children and in a developing fetus.
Lead can come from old paint and the dust that accumulates when the paint erodes. This is usually a problem for homes built before lead paint was banned in 1978. Get a lead test to check if your home is affected. You can ask your local health department for any available lead paint testing. Lab tests for pain chips are often offered at $20 to $50 per sample. Another alternative and a more costly option is to have a certified professional test your home. The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers tips on reducing your exposure to lead, such as covering your walls with a protective gypsum wallboard.
Radon gas, on the other hand, is a result of the natural breakdown of the rock and soil underneath your home. It does not matter whether your home is old or new, drafty or well-sealed, it is still susceptible to a radon gas problem. You can buy a home radon test kit sold at hardware stores for $20. Radon gas is one of the leading causes of cancer, second only to smoking, so it’s simply not something you should take for granted. You can go online for more helpful tips from EPA on dealing with possible radon problems in your home.
Install your own water filter
You may not be aware of it, but filtered tap water is a better option than bottled water. A recent research by the Environmental Working Group revealed that the best-selling brands of bottled water contained 38 contaminants that included industrial chemicals, fertilizer, and bacteria — the levels of which were comparable to that of tap water. Moreover, EPA requires yearly public reports that detail the contaminants found in water sources. Bottled water, on the other hand, is regulated only by the FDA which has less stringent requirements.
Many contaminants get past the filters of your local water company, so investing in your own water filter is still your best bet. Filtering tap water is an easy and inexpensive home improvement that will make your house healthy and safe. You can do away with a simple pitcher-type water filter for your drinking water. You may also use filters attached to your plumbing system or to a faucet. Remember to replace your filters regularly.
Monitor carbon monoxide levels
Low to moderate levels of carbon monoxide (CO) can cause flu-like symptoms, but without the fever. Higher levels can have toxic, even deadly, effects, especially for children. This is because carbon monoxide prevents oxygen from reaching the brain and the heart. You can monitor the CO levels in your home by installing carbon-monoxide alarms, ideally outside the bedrooms.
Carbon monoxide is often a result of the incomplete burning of fuels, such as propane, oil, and kerosene. You can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home by making sure all your appliances that burn fuel are working properly. Your heating system, portable generators, power washers, and other such appliances should be regularly checked.
Make your home fireproof
This extra precaution is especially necessary if you have children at home. Children ages five and below are twice as likely to die in a fire than adults and older children. You should have a smoke alarm installed on every floor, as well as inside every bedroom. You should also do monthly check-ups to ensure they are working.
Your home must have a multipurpose fire extinguisher, ideally one in every 600 square feet of space. Also, make sure you know how to use it. Simply keep the PASS method in mind. This stands for: Pull the pin, Aim at the fire’s base, Squeeze the handle, and Sweep from side to side until the fire is put out.
Install a security system
Security systems and alarm monitoring services do more than just deterring burglars. The right system will also keep you in control of your home even when you are away. You will be informed every time doors are opened and when attempts are made to access restricted areas, such as the liquor and gun cabinets. You will even receive less obvious benefits, such as getting discounts on renters or homeowners’ insurance.
Security systems and monitoring effectively deter break-ins, with 60% of convicted burglars admitting that they refuse to target homes that have a security system. Moreover, you get the option of incorporating your carbon monoxide monitoring, smoke alarm, and remote home automation services into one system. This means more convenience and increased savings. To choose the best security system and monitoring for your home, figure out your security goals and list down your must-haves.
Keep Your Home Safe
There are all kinds of ways to make your house healthy and safe, and they are often much easier than you might think. Do your best to make them happen – you owe it to yourself and your family.