The Healthy Home
By: Danny Lipford
We’re examining how to improve the air you breathe, water you drink, and surfaces you touch for a safe, healthy home environment.
Improving Indoor Air Quality
There are a number of indoor air pollutants which can cause health problems in your home.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas produced as a byproduct of combustion. Sources include:
- Gas appliances, hot water heaters, furnaces, and fireplaces.
- Kerosene heaters and lamps.
- Wood or coal burning fireplaces and stoves.
- Gasoline or propane powered engines.
A build up of poisonous carbon monoxide gas inside your home can result in sickness or death, so it’s important to make sure:
- Appliances and other devices which require combustion are properly vented to the outside.
- Fireplaces are inspected annually and cleaned if needed.
- Range hoods, which are vented to the outside, are used to remove cooking fumes.
- Carbon monoxide detectors are installed throughout your home.
Watch How to Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors to find out more.
Mold and Mildew
To reduce mold and mildew, run bathroom vent fans during and for 20 minutes after baths or showers. Remove the cover and clean bath fans regularly.
Read How to Prevent and Remove Mold to find out more.
Central Vacuum Systems
Installing a central vacuum system—such as those made by Broan-NuTone—can improve the indoor air quality in your home by expelling the dirty air outside, rather than recirculating it.
Watch Installing a Central Vacuum System to find out more.
Replacing the air filter regularly in your heating/cooling system with a quality filter is one of the best ways to improve the indoor air quality. It’s also important to seal leaks in ductwork that can allow conditioned air to escape.
To further improve your indoor air quality, add a whole house air cleaner—such as the Carrier Infinity Air Purifier—to your HVAC system to capture and kill airborne pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and mold.
Read How to Choose Air Filters to find out more.
Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that can seep into your home through the ground, resulting in serious health problems. Kits are available to test for the presence of radon.
If radon is found, a certified radon mitigation contractor can seal cracks in the foundation, and vent contaminated air in basements and crawl spaces away from your home.
Read How to Reduce Radon Levels in Your Home to find out more.
Water and Plumbing Safety
It’s important to make sure the tap water in your home doesn’t contain harmful chemicals or pathogens.
Municipal water supplies are treated and tested regularly, but it’s still a good idea to test the water in your home from time to time, particularly true if you have older pipes that could contain lead.
Home water test kits are available, or you can have your water tested by a laboratory, and water filters can be installed to remove contaminants.
Bathtub and sink drains can become clogged with hair and other organic material, causing mold and bacteria to flourish.
Start by inserting a hair removal tool into the drain to remove any organic matter, then pour diluted bleach or hydrogen peroxide (one or the other, don’t mix the two together) down the drain to kill any bacteria or mold.
Watch Eliminating Sink and Bathtub Drain Odors to find out more.
Older houses often contain lead paint, which can cause lead poisoning if ingested or disturbed. Lead test kits can be used to indicate the presence of lead on painted surfaces.
Watch How to Test for Lead Paint to find out more.
When building or remodeling your home, avoid products that contain VOCs and use safe materials, such as Roxul Safe‘n’Sound stone wool insulation.
Other Tips from This Episode
Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
DIY Houseplant Drip Irrigation
To make homemade drip irrigation for houseplants, drill a 1/8” diameter hole in the lid of a plastic water bottle. Fill the bottle with water, and screw the lid on tightly. Dig a small hole in the soil of the houseplant, and insert the water bottle upside down in the hole. The water will slowly leak out over time, keeping the plant well irrigated. (Watch Video)
Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
SoftSpring carpet has twice the fibers per strand as ordinary carpet and is available in a range of styles and textures. Some SoftSpring carpet is made of Triexta from annually renewable plant-based material. SoftSpring carpet is stain resistant, easy to clean, and available at The Home Depot. (Watch Video)
Ask Danny Lipford:
Sizing a Range Hood
When purchasing a kitchen range hood, make sure it provides enough airflow to remove cooking odors from your home. A range hood for a standard 30” stove should be rated to exhaust at least 250 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air. Find out more at How to Calculate Kitchen Range Hood Fan Size. (Watch Video)
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