Could Your Home Be Killing You?

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In a perfect world, your home would always be a safe place you could go to escape the perils of the outside world. The toxins, allergens, and irritants would be left outside, and you would always be able to relax and breathe easy. However, things in your home may prevent that from happening. Appliances, technology, or the materials surrounding you may create an environment that is soiled and unhealthy. Simple home maintenance can be done regularly to prevent your home from making you sick. When things require a more thorough cleaning job than your personal elbow grease can provide, call on professionals for a complete, deep cleaning.

The subject of in-home toxins is somewhat controversial. A lot of people believe their homes are perfectly safe and present no health issues. However, if a person living with you has a compromised immune system or respiratory problem, you may find additional care is needed to keep the environment comfortable for him. Others who are perfectly healthy may still be sensitive to any present toxins.

The best way to find out if you are being affected is to get a thorough cleaning and monitor the health of those in your home over the course of a few weeks. Even with no concrete proof of home toxins, you may find the deep cleaning of your home improves the environment enough to continue the process. Many suggest, at the very least, to ensure a clean home, "Clean air ducts once a year. The homeowner may not realize it, but those in the home may be having breathing issues. Carpet should be cleaned every 6 months."

Toxic Substances

Certain substances in your home may create an unhealthy environment. A variety of appliances, cleaning products, and building materials may expel gasses, chemicals, or toxins. If you have mold or other pollutants in the home, they may be affecting the air quality as much as it is affecting the materials on which they grow. Other offending items include radon, lead, asbestos, dust, and water pollutants.

Modern homes with energy upgrades are nearly airtight. While this is a great way to save on heating costs, it reduces the ventilation of the home, which means not as much fresh air is circulating through the home, dispersing the toxins. When certain toxins become airborne, like asbestos or mold, particles and spores can be inhaled. This is a case where ventilation would not solve the problem. Instead of letting in fresh air, consider a professional abatement service. Aside from asbestos and mold, consider pollutants like lead paint, cigarette smoke, and pet dander. Each of these should be dealt with appropriately.

Other Dangers

In addition to pollutants that can be inhaled, homes may feature a variety of other dangers that can be solved with simple common sense. Be sure electrical cords are out of reach of children and pets. Research what foods and cleaning items are dangerous for pets and be sure to store them out of reach. Also pay special attention to the reactions of your child as he samples new foods. Old toys that are worn out or broken should be disposed of. It is also important to secure garbage indoors and outside. Other items to keep tabs on include chemical cleaners, medications, craft items like needles, and power tools.

Another area to pay special attention to is the dryer vent. Lint buildup in the vent is a serious fire hazard. If you find your dryer is not working efficiently, it could be due to a buildup of lint in the vent. In some cases, animals may have built a nest in or near the vent, preventing it from working properly. When completing a thorough cleaning of your home, include a dryer vent check in the process. Dryer vents should be cleaned annually, at least. It is possible to clean vents yourself, but a professional cleaning can be more thorough and provide you with greater piece of mind. Some communities require proof an annual professional cleaning in order to protect other homes in the area.

The heating system of your home is another important aspect to consider during a household cleaning. You will need to contact professionals for cleaning of ducts, pipes, furnace, and chimney. Even if you are only using the heating system for a portion of the year, it will still need to be cleaned on the regular basis. At the very least, be sure your furnace is in good working order before the cold of winter sets in.

Gary Trevano is a writer for Yodle, a business directory and online advertising company. Find Your Guide to Dealing With Home Emergencies or more Home Care articles at the Yodle Consumer Guide, The Yodler. Also check out Could Your Home Be Killing You?

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