Make your home healthy in the new year
By Tom Phelan, ReminderNews
We all worry at some time about our own health and that of our family members. Part of thinking about our health also means thinking about how healthy our home environment is. When we move into a new home, just getting everything stored and functional is the main concern. We might leave health concerns to a later date, and perhaps even overlook them completely.
The Centers for Disease Control has a checklist for healthy homes that is quite extensive and goes to something of an extreme. Many of the things listed there have been covered in this column at one time or another. Here’s a review of some of the things I think are most important – a “short list” of things you can check pretty quickly.
Keep the air inside of your home healthy by installing carbon monoxide detectors near the bedrooms. Prevent moisture from accumulating anywhere in the home that will foster mold growth. Mold can create respiratory problems, which can be severe to anyone with a sensitive respiratory system. Install fan-driven vents in bathrooms to take moisture outside the home. Safely vent your clothes dryer to the outside, and check it for lint accumulation at least annually.
Use a dehumidifier in the basement and any other areas that hold moisture, especially in the humid months of the year. Conversely, you might need to use a humidifier in living areas during the heating season, when the house is tightly sealed and humidity is low.
Test for radon in your home. The test kit is inexpensive and easy to use. Like carbon monoxide, radon is odorless and colorless. According to the National Cancer Institute, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
Test for the presence of lead in paint. If your home was constructed after 1978, this should not be a concern. If you find the oldest layers of paint contain lead, research ways to address this exposure and fix any peeling or chipped paint. Read More