How much time do you spend in your home? Between sleeping, preparing and eating meals, and relaxing, even those who work outside the home end up spending the majority of their lives at home. And as any good home inspector – or doctor – will tell you, the environment you spend your time in can have a profound impact on your health.
Like your own body, your home is made up of different systems that work together to keep your home functioning properly. The heating and cooling systems, plumbing, and electrical system are just some examples. If any one part of your home isn’t working as it should, problems can arise. Let’s take a look at the most common and worrisome health hazards in Michigan homes.
Did you know that indoor air can be 2-5 times dirtier than outdoor air? Air quality is one of the most important aspects of a healthy home. After all, you’re breathing the stuff. If there are pollutants in the air, they’ll end up in your lungs.
There are a variety of pollutants that can affect air quality, including mold, pet dander, dust, carbon monoxide, and household chemicals. The best way to ensure your home is getting the fresh air it needs is proper ventilation. This will allow fresh outside air in and expel stale indoor air, reducing air pollution so you can breathe easy. We’ve written a full article on air quality which you can read here.
As we mentioned, mold has a major impact on air quality. But how does it get in the air? Typically, mold grows on damp surfaces and doesn’t like light. While this may not be a big concern in dry, sunny climates, here in the U.P. mold can be a real issue. It can grow under carpets where you can’t see it, in bathrooms and basements, and if it’s not dealt with, even inside the walls. We’ve written a couple articles on this topic, including mold in your carpets and the role bathroom fans play in mold prevention.
The good news is there’s an easy way to measure how much mold is in your home. Our standard air quality test measures the number of mold spores, as well as other factors in air quality such as floating dander and plant parts.
The final aspect of air quality we’ll cover is radon gas. Even though this gas is natural and comes from the earth, it’s far from harmless. You can’t see, smell, or taste it, but radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Because houses trap air inside, radon that finds its way in can’t easily get back out where it can dissipate safely. But don’t panic – testing is simple, and if your home does show elevated radon levels, mitigation is usually a simple process that includes ventilation and air circulation. Our blog Radon Risks and How to Deal with It is a great place to start if you’d like to know more.
Keeping a healthy home is about more than just air quality. Electricity is an aspect of home health that many people forget, but it’s important to ensure your electrical system is working as it should. Improperly installed, outdated, or misused electrical systems have the potential to cause shocks and burns, start house fires, and can even result in death. You can learn more about keeping your home safe from electrical dangers in our blog on the topic.
We can’t talk about healthy homes without touching on water quality. If your home gets water from the city supply, it’s almost certainly safe. However, pollutants can still enter your water from the pipes between the city main and your faucet. Old plumbing systems often have lead parts in them, which can leach into the water. Our blog post, Lead in the Water: Cause for Concern? goes into more detail on this subject.
But lead isn’t the only concern when it comes to water quality. If your water comes from a private well, a host of environmental pollutants can cause health and safety problems. E. Coli bacteria, heavy metals, nitrates and nitrites, and excess minerals are all concerns. Read our blog about well water safety to learn more.
Chimneys and fireplaces may look charming and innocent, but proper upkeep is essential if you don’t want them to become fire hazards. And fire isn’t the only risk – old chimneys can be a safety danger even if they aren’t used. Read more about chimney safety here.
Home safety doesn’t stop with the home. Your garage can be a source of health hazards most people don’t think about. If they’re not sealed properly, attached garages can vent fumes from vehicles, paint cans, and any other toxic substances you store there into your house. While detached garages are often considered safer, a garage fire could still spread to the home. Our article Minimizing Fire Risk in Attached Garages has some great tips to make your garage as safe as possible.
We believe that everyone should be informed on the state of their home’s health. That’s why we keep all our services, from air and water quality tests to in depth home inspections, reasonably priced.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an inspection or test, contact us here or call (906) 360-3879 today.