Show Notes: Time to Clean Your Inside Air
Cooler weather means closing all your windows and patio doors. Do you know if the air in your home is dirty? Don’t make your family sick with polluted indoor air. Today’s tips can give you a head start to a healthier happier home.
Switch Plates Aim To Reinvent Light Switches
These photoluminescent plates will illuminate light switches in the home for safety and convenience, with no extra wiring or electricity required.
Light switches, and switch plates, are often overlooked in homes and offices, and as long as they serve the function of covering up the hole in the wall and the wiring and they turn the light on and off, they’re acceptable. They might come in different shades and shapes and materials, but they’re all basically the same in style and function, and pretty much none of them help you find the light switch in the dark. There are a few glow-in-the-dark options out there, but not very effective ones, in my experience, and there are ones which require electricity, and yet what better service, other than controlling the lights, could a light switch perform other than to help me find it after dark, when I need it.
A new, upgraded, light switch plate is on the market, with two distinct selling features going for it. It’s made from “state-of-the-art” photoluminescent plastic, so it glows all night long powered by the light it absorbs during the day, and it effectively acts as a nightlight for your light switches, making it safer and more convenient after dark.
The second benefit is said to be its accompanying foam gasket, which serves to both cut off any air flow from the wall behind the light switch junction and to reflect back some of the light to the switch plate in front of it, in order to optimize its photoluminescence. (N.B. You can also find add-in foam light switch gaskets to install on existing switch and outlet plates at hardware stores, and many stick-built homes can benefit from this addition.)
Clean The Air Inside Your Home
With fall comes allergies, itchy eyes and runny noses. Fun! But experts stress, not all of these symptoms are caused by pollen. In fact, it could be the air quality indoors that’s causing these annoying ailments. Did you know that the EPA says indoor air is generally more polluted than outdoor air?
Thankfully, cleaning the air isn’t complicated. Here with the answers are environmental scientist Dr. Ted Myatt and indoor air quality expert Dr. Elliott Horner, who’s with UL, an independent safety science company.
Before you run out and buy an air purifier, Dr. Horner explains that “In order for a room air cleaner to have a chance of reducing the levels of particulate matter (PM) in a room, all sources of PM that can be removed should be removed.”
- Remove carpets, drapes and plush toys or anything with a fuzzy surface.
- Dust frequently and minimize dust-gathering clutter.
- Vacuum floors and carpets often, using a vac with a HEPA filter.
- Vacuum mattresses every two weeks, use allergy-proof mattress covers, and wash all bedding in hot water every week.
- If pet dander bothers you, keep pets out of the bedroom.
- Limit the amount of burning candles and wood fires in the home.
- The top air polluter in the home is cooking with natural gas or at high temperatures in the oven or range, says Dr. Horner, so always use exhaust fans that vent to the outside in the kitchen (also in the bath and laundry areas). No exhaust fan? Open a window and use a small fan to move air outdoors.
- Don’t smoke indoors.
- Run the fan in the ‘auto’ mode when using the AC. Continuous ‘on’ operation of the fan will raise the humidity and may lead to mold growth.
- Don’t store chemicals, solvents, glues or pesticides near your living quarters.
- Provide good ventilation by opening windows occasionally in rooms with electronic gadgets (TV, toaster, computer, etc.) According to Dr. Horner, the heat they generate reacts with adhesives and plastics inside the product and can release toxic chemicals.
- Allow new foam pillows, mattresses or mattress toppers to off-gas in a well-ventilated room per manufacturer’s instructions. Upholstered furniture and carpet/rugs that are treated with a flame retardant also require extra ventilation.
- Depending on one’s sensitivity to cleaning products, consider switching to certified low-emitting cleaners or make your own using non-toxic ingredients like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and lemon juice. Another option is using steam vapor cleaners. They clean and disinfect using only water. (Make sure cleaned items are promptly and adequately dried.)
10-Minute House Repair And Home Maintenance Tips
Lube a Sticking Vinyl Window or Door
When vinyl windows and doors don’t operate smoothly, it’s usually because gunk has built up in the channels. But sometimes even clean windows and doors can bind. Try spraying dry PTFE spray lubricant on the contact points and wiping it off with a rag. Don’t use oil lubricants; they can attract dirt, and some can damage the vinyl.
Foam a Loose Showerhead
Fix a wobbly showerhead, or any wobbly pipe, with a few squirts of expanding foam. The foam encases the pipe in the wall and locks it into place, eliminating the wobble.
Hide a Hole With a Smoke Detector
Short on time and money? Instead of patching a hole in the ceiling—which usually means repainting the whole ceiling—just cover it with a smoke detector. No more hole, and added safety to boot!
Keep Cabinet Doors Closed
Here’s a 10-minute fix for a cabinet door that won’t stay closed. Just install a magnetic door catch. Roller-style ones also work, but it’s easier to line up a magnetic catch with the strike.
Restore Free Flow to a Faucet
When a kitchen or bathroom faucet loses pressure or starts spraying to the side, it’s usually due to a dirty aerator screen. Luckily, cleaning a screen is an easy job. Start by closing the drain plug (so you don’t drop parts down the drain). Then remove the aerator using a rag or masking tape so you don’t mar the finish with your pliers.
To remove the sand and other deposits, soak the aerator in vinegar, then scrub it with a toothbrush. This usually solves the problem. If you have to disassemble the aerator to clean it, lay out the parts in the order you removed them so you can reassemble them correctly.
Reinforce a Drawer Front
Here’s a quick fix for a drawer front that’s pulling off. Cut a couple of lengths of quarter-round the same height as the drawer sides. Hold them in place while you drill a couple of holes through the sides and front of the drawer box. Dab some polyurethane glue (wood glue doesn’t stick well to finished surfaces) on the pieces of quarter-round before screwing them into place.
The Warning Firefighters Want You To Hear About Bathroom And Laundry Room Exhaust Fans
Over time, bathroom and laundry exhaust fans, build up lint that insulates the motor, exacerbating the heat build-up; the lint provides an easy-to-ignite fuel source which in turn ignites nearby combustible building materials. The buildup of lint within these fans, and on the fan motor, can create a potential fire hazard.
So what can you do to stay safe? Here are a few simple tips:
All bathroom and laundry exhaust fans should be inspected and cleaned regularly
- Fans are not easily accessible for regular cleaning, appear to have heat damage or do not turn freely should be replaced with thermally protected units
- If a program replacement schedule is utilized for large numbers of fans, maintenance and housekeeping should be increased in the interim
- Avoid prolong use and ensure the fan is turned off prior to leaving home
Whether you are a homeowner or a residential or commercial building manager, you should inspect and clean, as necessary, any and all bathroom and laundry ceiling exhaust fans.
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