Top-Ten Ways to Improve the Health of Your Home in 2017
As we set our health resolutions for the new year, we may choose to eat more organic foods, drink more pure water, and get outside more to exercise and breath in clean air. But as we focus on the health of our body, let’s not forget about the health of our home. Here are ten simple ways you can protect your whole family’s health by improving the health of your indoor environment.
1. Check for radon
All of the initial radon tests we have performed for our customers this season have come back over the EPA’s recommended level of 4 pico-Curies per liter (pCu/L). Indoor concentrations tend to be higher in the winter for two reasons. First, frozen ground forces the gas up through the unfrozen ground directly under your house. Second, cold dense air from the basement, crawlspace, or underside of the slab seeps through cracks in the floor to replace rising warm air that escapes though the attic and roof. This phenomenon is known as the stack effect. Getting your levels tested is very important, as radon gas accounts for over 20,000 lung-cancer-related deaths each year, according to the National Cancer Institute. Learn more about E3's strategic multi-system approach to radon mitigation in this video.
2. Use a whole-house filtration system
If you use a water filter to create clean water, why not use an air filter to create clean air? Believe it or not, our indoor air quality can contain more contaminants than outdoor air in a big city! Learn more about whole-house ventilation and air purification systems here.
3. Clean your furnace air filter
Changing air filters can significantly improve indoor air quality. Opt for fine-mesh filters with minimum efficiency reporting values (MERVs) of 12-13 for best performance.
4. Monitor moisture levels
Maintaining proper indoor humidity can protect our health by mitigating mold and mildew, bacteria and viruses, and respiratory conditions. If your home is too dry in the winter and or too damp in the summer, let E3 find a year-round solution that fits your needs.
5. Install CO detectors
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends carbon dioxide (CO) detectors be placed near the sleeping area, where they can easily wake you up from a slumber. Installing sensors on every floor and in every bedroom provides extra protection. Although CO is about the same weight as air, it is usually found mixed with warmer air and thus, will tend to rise. CO is produced from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. Sources in the home could come from natural gas ovens, stoves, furnaces or water heaters, or wood burning stoves.
6. Replace your old carpets with sustainable bamboo, hardwood, or other solid flooring
Old carpets can trap allergens, molds, dust, and other unwanted substances brought in on the soles of shoes. Old carpet pads are usually made with recycled foam and contain fire retardants. Rather than choosing new carpet, which can contain benzene, formaldehyde, and a host of other toxic chemicals, choose sustainable flooring that is easy to clean, longer lasting, and non-toxic.
7. Clean your chimney
Cleaning your chimney not only protects your home, it also assures that the exhaust from the fire has a clear path for exiting the fireplace. This can be a DIY task, but we recommend hiring a professional chimney cleaning service that can inspect important features of the chimney.
8. Check for potential fireplace back-drafts
Performing a back-draft test insures that your kitchen and/or bathroom exhaust fan will not suck unwanted smoke into the house. E3 can help with this task!
9. Seal up your leaky house
Cracks and crevices make great passageways for vermin! Sealing up the gaps in the building envelope can help keep these invaders and their unhealthy waste products out of the house.
10. Use indoor plants to improve indoor air quality
Yes, plants are good for more than just decoration; they actually improve indoor air quality too! Plants are notorious for absorbing carbon dioxide and sunlight in the process of photosynthesis, but researchers at NASA, Penn State, and the University of Georgia have discovered that plants also absorb some volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including benzene (found in some plastics, fabrics, and cigarette smoke) and formaldehyde (found in some building materials, furniture, and detergents). Not only do the plants themselves help clean the air, the microorganisms in the soil play an instrumental role in removing VOCs and other air pollutants. This is also true for microorganisms found in the soil of our gardens and farmland.
E3's team of experts is ready to help you create a healthy, comfortable, and efficient home in 2017. Give us a call and get started today!