A new year is the perfect inspiration for a fresh start. Although personal health goals often come to mind when we think of new years resolutions, this year, perhaps think about setting some “home improvement” resolutions, which will help ensure your home is as safe and healthy as it can be.
During the cold months, the windows in your home stay closed for obvious reasons. Yet, stale air circulates viruses, dust, pollen, mold and other household contaminants. Don’t be afraid to open the windows of your home on those warmer winter days. An air exchange can not only freshen up the home, but improves your home’s indoor air quality, replacing stale, often contaminated air with fresh, clean air that is healthier for you and your family to breathe.
It is important to maintain your HVAC system and change your furnace filters regularly. Using the higher quality filters and changing them every three months (or every month during the winter) will help to keep the air you breathe cleaner.
A maintenance inspection of your furnace performed yearly is a good way to ensure that it is working efficiently and effectively.
If your home is cluttered and cramped, it may be time to look at some organizing and streamlining in the new year. A home that is filled to capacity will gather dust and make the area appear smaller than it is. Going from room to room in your home, evaluating what needs to stay and what can go, will be a very freeing experience that will help you feel better about your space.
Getting your house tested for radon levels is a wise decision. Radon is a colourless, odorless gas and elevated levels in a home is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Radon tests are best performed by a professional who is certified by the Canadian-National Radon Proficiency Program (C-NRPP). If radon is detected in your home it is a relatively easy problem to deal with.
Also on the topic of gases, ensure that your home is equipped with a carbon monoxide detector on every bedroom floor, along with fire detectors. Blocked chimneys and furnaces could cause carbon monoxide to back up into your house.
Be Smart With Renos
If you are considering remodeling or renovating your home in the new year, chose your materials wisely. Manufacturers are now making higher quality paints that are durable and are low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The lighter the colour is usually the safest bet, as darker pigments contain more VOCs. The market also now offers drywall that absorbs VOCs.
If your home was built or remodeled before 1978, it is safest to have testing done for lead paint and asbestos flooring.
Consider A Healthy Home Inspection
A healthy home inspection is designed to help homeowners identify problem areas in their home that could affect the health of its occupants. An inspection should include thermal imaging and possibly even air quality testing. These tests, which are performed by professionals, will identify problem areas that could include potential leaks or mold growing in the home. Another purpose for healthy home testing is it will help determine if the home is properly insulated and ventilated. Issues with insulation and ventilation could lead to condensation problems, which can then lead to mold growth.