Post details: 25 Things to Know: Healthy Homes


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25 Things to Know: Healthy Homes

These tips can help you make your home a safer place to live.

Healthy AirHealthy Air

1. Unhealthy air can come from the materials used to build your home. Some types of wood furniture frames, plywood subflooring, and medium-density fiberboard cabinetry contain urea formaldehyde (UF), which releases volatile organic compounds (VOC). Look for products that are solid-wood or are UF-free. Release of VOCs decreases over time, but provide plenty of ventilation if you have new products containing urea formaldehyde in your home.

2. If new carpeting is installed, make sure to air the room out thoroughly for 48 to 72 hours following installation to allow VOC emissions to dissipate.

3. Landscape with native vegetation to reduce the need for pesticides and fertilizers, both of which are easily tracked into the home. If you do use landscaping chemicals, be sure to remove your shoes before stepping inside the house. To be extra safe, shower immediately after applying pesticides, and wash the clothes you were wearing separately from other laundry.

4. Combat dry winter air with a whole house humidifier (about $400). Attached to your heating and cooling system, these units reduce light-switch induced shocks, dry coughs, sinus problems, and dry skin (which flakes off and creates food for dust mites).

5. When painting or sealing, choose products that include limited VOCs or none at all. Low-toxic, water-base adhesives and caulks are the best choices because they emit fewer fumes and quickly stop releasing chemicals. Check labels to learn whether a paint is low-toxic or low-odor.

Cleaner FireplacesCleaner Fireplaces

6. Shopping for a new fireplace? Consider a sealed-combustion gas unit, which draws air from outside and vents it back out so that no fumes or particles pollute indoor air.

7. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, reduce indoor air pollution and creosote formation by using clean, dry, seasoned hardwood.

8. Does your fireplace belch smoke into the room? Break its smoking habit by mounting a fan on top of your chimney. Fans with adjustable motor speeds restore healthy ventilation and can refresh a room's air when the fireplace isn't in use. Fans can be used with wood-burning and gas fireplaces. Find more information from Exhausto at 800-255-2923 or visit

Healthy TipsHealthy Tips

9. Install carbon monoxide detectors, which notify you of the deadly, odorless gas. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends installing detectors near sleeping areas.

10. Prevent mold growth in your basement by installing a dehumidifier. Make sure gutters and drain spouts direct water away from the house.

11. Investigate your home's water quality by calling your local municipality for water-test results. If necessary, rid your drinking water of harmful pollutants, such as asbestos and radium, by installing a water-filtration system.

12. When finishing walls, consider using the new generation of moisture-resistant gypsum panels in lieu of standard drywall. The new wallboard panels feature special coatings that are designed to rebuff moisture and mold from both sides. Plus, they offer added fire protection.

Better Homes and Gardens



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