8 Steps to a Cleaner Home Environment - On the House

8 Steps to a Cleaner Home Environment

By on March 4, 2014
clean home

You may already know that new energy efficient home building techniques have backfired resulting in some pretty unhealthy air quality issues. Homes have become so well sealed and insulated that fresh air intake – and associated fresh air circulation – have become almost non-existent. Sealing a home may be great for reducing energy consumption, but it’s proving to be pretty bad for the occupants. A sealed environment void of fresh air intensifies the negative impact of off-gassing from newly installed construction products such as cabinets, carpeting, floating flooring and more. Besides corralling toxins, a sealed environment is also conducive to the excessive growth of mold. Today, a home’s air quality can be downright dangerous – literally – especially during winter months when windows and doors are shut tight. Is your home ailing? Is it “sick”? Here are a few illness causing conditions and some “antibiotic” measures you can take:

OFFGASSING

Household Item Pollutant
Carpet, Paint and Fabric Volatile Organic Compounds
Humidifier, Heat Ducting and Steamy Rooms Mold and Mildew
Wood-burning Stoves and Fireplace Smoke Nitrogen Dioxide
Resin-based Particleboard, Fiberboard, Cabinets, Countertops, Carpet, Fabric Formaldehyde
Seeps Through Cracks in Foundation Radon Gas
Carpets, Ducts Airborne Particles

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) consist of a range of chemicals that are released into the air over time. Often described as that pleasant, “new smell,” VOCs can be harmful. Short-term exposure to VOCs can cause headaches, nausea and irritate eyes, throat and nose. Most mold and mildew is harmless, however, an allergic reaction can occur – and no one enjoys the appearance and smell of mold. Love the smell of a winter fire in an open hearth. Keep in mind that the hotter t the fire the less oxygen you will have if the house is tightly sealed. Always open a window just a crack. Formaldehyde can cause a violent reaction in many people. Even though many companies have quit using formaldehyde it is still out there. Radon isn’t deadly if it has a place to escape to. Test for it and if it exists have an exhaust system build to safely redirect its flow. Over time every kind of creepy crawly thing builds up in ducting systems. Have them cleaned every few years.

Here are a few other solutions:

  1. Change furnace filter once a month
  2. Run bathroom vent fan when showering to discourage mold growth
  3. Clean humidifier and air conditioning drain pans
  4. No smoking
  5. Let new carpet, drapes, furniture “air out” before bringing inside
  6. Keep gutters clean to avoid moisture penetration
  7. Repair cracks in basement/foundation
  8. Regularly clean and tune all fuel-burning appliances/fireplace

Another great way to enhance air quality is to install a whole house Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV).

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