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IMPROVING INDOOR AIR QUALITY
Our homes harbor more than just our families and possessions. Home is also where pollutants, allergens, and other irritants accumulate and thrive, with possible harmful effects on our health. There are simple steps homeowners can take to improve the air quality in their home and increase their comfort and well-being.
GET A HANDLE ON HUMIDITY
Keep indoor humidity below 50% to help prevent mold and dust mite growth. Once mold gets established it can continue to grow even at lower humidity levels. Use exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms, make sure the dryer is properly vented to the outdoors, and address any leaks or condensation issues. A dehumidifier can help in especially humid locations such as basements.
Dust can contain pollen, mold spores, lint, animal dander, bacteria and more. While it’s impossible to completely rid a home of dust, there are ways to help control it. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter that traps small particulate matter. Change or clean the furnace filter regularly, according to manufacturer’s instructions. High-quality furnace filters are more expensive but do a better job of filtering dust, pet hair and other particles.
Open doors and windows whenever possible to improve air circulation and allow the house to “breathe” fresh air.
Choose cleaning products with environmentally friendly formulations. Many of these products do an equal or better job than their conventional counterparts. Dispose of old paint, pesticides, solvents and other products so they aren’t leaking fumes into the home. Check local requirements on how to properly dispose of such items.
By taking these relatively easy steps, homeowners can truly make their home a breath of fresh air.
CO is an odourless gas produced by the combustion of fuels such as natural gas, oil and propane in devices including furnaces, water heaters and stoves. These appliances are designed to vent the CO to the outside, but incomplete combustion of fuel, improper installation, or blockages, leaks or cracks in the venting systems can cause CO to reach harmful levels inside the home. Dangerously high levels of CO can lead to incapacitation or death, with victims sometimes never having been aware they were being poisoned.
Homeowners can take action against carbon monoxide poisoning by taking the following steps:
- Never use a gas stove or oven to heat the home, even temporarily.
- Have all fuel-burning appliances professionally inspected annually, preferably before the start of the cold weather season when heaters and furnaces are first used.
- These appliances include gas stoves and ovens, furnaces and heaters, water heaters and gas clothes dryers.
- All such devices should be properly installed and vented to the outside.
- Have flues and chimneys for gas fireplaces inspected regularly for cracks, leaks, and blockages that may allow a buildup of CO to occur.
- Don’t start a vehicle in a closed garage or idle the engine in the garage even if the overhead door is open.
- Gasoline-powered generators and charcoal grills must never be used indoors.
- Install a CO detector (either battery operated, hard wired or plug-in) and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper location.
- Learn what to do if the CO alarm activates.
Enjoy the comfort and safety of home this winter and all year long.
Any home can have a radon problem – old or new homes, well-sealed or drafty homes, homes with or without basements. An estimated 1 in 6 homes in the U.S. is affected by radon. Prolonged exposure to unsafe levels of radon can increase the risk of lung cancer; in fact, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. There is real risk in not knowing if a home has a high level of radon.
WHAT IS RADON?
Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless radioactive gas formed by the ongoing decay of uranium in soil, rocks, sediments, and even well or ground water. While radon that escapes into the atmosphere is not harmful, dangerously high concentrations can build up indoors, exposing occupants to possible health risks.
HOW DOES RADON GET INTO A HOME?
Radon can migrate into the home in several ways. Openings or cracks in basement walls, foundations or floors are common avenues. Sumps, basement drains, and spaces between gas or water fittings can also allow radon into the structure. Other entry points can include gaps in suspended floors and cavities within walls.
HOW CAN I MAKE SURE MY CLIENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES AREN’T AT RISK?
Testing is the only way to measure radon levels. Your Pillar To Post Home Inspector will set up monitoring equipment and report on the results. If an elevated level of radon is detected, steps can be taken to reduce the concentration to or below acceptable levels inside virtually any home. Professional mitigation services can provide solutions for a home’s specific conditions.
Request radon testing when you book your next home inspection with Pillar To Post Home Inspectors.
Taking some simple precautions around the home can help keep your clients (and you!) safe during the holidays. Here are our top tips for the season:
- Use non-flammable decorations both indoors and outdoors.
- Check holiday lights for damaged wires and plugs. Enjoy indoor lights only while someone is at home and turn them off before turning in for the night.
- Keep live Christmas trees in a water-filled stand and check daily for dehydration. Dried-out trees are extremely dangerous and should be discarded immediately.
- Children should not have access to or be allowed to use matches, lighters or candles.
- Keep space heaters away from bedding, curtains, paper—anything flammable. Never leave a space heater unattended while in use.
- Busy with holiday cooking and baking? Kitchen fires are leading cause of house fires. Keep a multi-purpose fire extinguisher within easy reach and know how to use it.
We wish you and your clients a happy, healthy and safe holiday season!