Everybody wants a safe home. Unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as just keeping doors locked and the structure maintained. There are many surprising areas where your home may be exposing you and your family to unsafe conditions, and it’s probably not what you think.
One of the most common problems around homes is the growth of mold. Anywhere there is dampness is a potential breeding ground for mold. From your bathroom to in the walls to the living room carpet, letting moisture sit exposes you and your family to risk. Always clean up any spills or leaks thoroughly and be on the lookout for warning signs like discoloration or musty smells.Use a non-ammonia cleaner or dishwashing soap and water to remove mold.
It may seem counterintuitive, but many cleaning products can contain chemicals which are dangerous, as well. If possible, choose non-toxic cleaning agents, including natural methods like vinegar and baking soda. When using products with harmful chemicals, always wear appropriate safety gear as described on the bottle, such as rubber gloves and ventilate the area you are working as much as possible.
As an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas, radon is undetectable without the appropriate testing elements. Hire a professional or use a radon detector to locate potential problems, most likely in your basement or lower floors. If radon is discovered, it’s important to install a radon ventilation system to allow the harmful gas to be passed safely through your home and away from those inside it.
This flavorless, odorless gas gives no warning before making you very sick (think flu-like symptoms. Each year, more than 400 people die from this “silent” killer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Contamination usually occurs when an organic fuel is burned without proper ventilation. Common sources of carbon monoxide include kerosene and gas space heaters, gas water heaters, wood stoves, fireplaces, automobile exhaust, and tobacco smoke.Have a qualified technician service your heating system, water heater, and other oil or gas appliances every year.Install a carbon monoxide (CO) detector in your home.
Just as the lead in paint and asbestos in the walls were phased out as we learned about the risks they posed, a more modern concern has developed with interior construction materials like drywall and paneling. If your home is not new, it is likely there is formaldehyde involved in the treatment of your materials, which can lead to irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. When undergoing new construction or renovation on your home, opt for formaldehyde-free materials to reduce risk.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)
A new coat of paint transforms a room, but also can expose you to volatile organic compounds, airborne chemicals which can cause harm. This is a particularly large risk with oil-based paints, as well as some of the treatments and solvents used in painting. Whenever possible, choose a low-VOC paint, and keep the room well-ventilated during the panting process as and while the paint dries.