Most people don’t consider how their home is affecting their health. Scientific evidence shows that the air inside homes and commercial buildings is more polluted than outdoor air, even in large industrialized cities. When you add the fact that, on average, Americans spend 90 percent of their time inside, it’s easy to understand why it’s important to create a healthy home for yourself and your family. Clients who have had energy upgrade work completed on their homes reported feeling more comfortable and most importantly, healthier.
There are several safety concerns that a poorly operating home can cause, all of which directly affect your health. Some of the biggest environmental health and safety concerns facing homeowners include, mold and allergen issues, asthma, radon exposure, lead, carbon monoxide, and pesticides. We’ll be discussing a few of these issues that most commonly affect our community.
Mold is an issue that affects people in every type of environment. Where there’s moisture, there’s mold. Poorly operating ventilation systems or compromised foundations can allow moisture to creep into the home causing mold or other air pollutants to spread throughout. Being exposed to mold can cause an assortment of health issues, especially for the young, old, and chronically ill. More often than not, there are multiple contaminants in the home, and this is not a “the more the merrier” kind of situation. The more pollutants present, the higher the health risks.
Another major health concern American’s suffer from is asthma. One in eight Americans, or 39 million people, will suffer from asthma during their lifetime. There are a multitude of triggers, including; moisture, mold, pet allergens, pest allergens, environmental and tobacco smoke, and changes in temperature. Making sure your ventilation system is operating correctly and efficiently isn’t your only defense. Upgrading your insulation levels and air sealing your home can have numerous positive effects, including allowing you to better control the temperature of your home. A study of New Zealand households that received energy upgrade work found that insulating their homes created a significantly warmer indoor environment, and allowed them to better control the moisture level, which resulted in improved overall health and fewer asthmatic issues.
So how do you control pest allergens while improving your home at the same time? Purchasing an ultrasonic pest control system only works for a short period of time. This is like putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound. By installing corrosion-proof metal screens along access points, combined with air sealing and foaming (insulating), can eliminate entry points and create a tighter home where less air is exchanged between inside and outside. This then allows you to better control the air quality in your home. Make sure to consult with an expert before performing these upgrades to ensure your home can still “breathe” at the correct rate. The exchanging of inside air and outside air is vital to a healthy home.
Making sure the air you’re allowing into the home is safe, is just as important. Radon is a word that most of us in Colorado have probably heard. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that permeates from the ground. Colorado, and more specifically, higher elevation communities, are some of the highest at-risk areas in the country due to the nature of the ground we build on. Long term exposure to radon has been shown to increase your risk of lung cancer. In many communities, having a radon test done before purchasing a home is becoming as common as a building inspection. There are also several communities now offering free radon tests to their residents to educate and reduce exposure. Contact your local environmental non-profit to see if a free test is available to you.
Once you’ve completed a radon test, how do you know if action is needed? The EPA has designated action levels for when it’s best to install a radon mitigation system. The recommended system includes a fan and stack, or chimney, that exhausts the gas from under the foundation to above the roof, basically capturing and expelling it before it enters your home. Your children will thank you when they’re older for saving them from this exposure.
The home is where the heart is so why not create the healthiest environment for your family, all while saving you money?
Josie Neuzil has worked as the office manager for Deeper Green Consulting since 2015. She comes from a farming background in Iowa and has worked in an assortment of exciting industries since moving to Colorado in 2009. These include being a park ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park and a full-time volunteer promoting hemp education and legislation to allow the agricultural production of hemp in the U.S.
Deeper Green Consulting (970) 471-4298 or visit DeeperGreenConsulting.com