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Your Home and Your Health

Becoming energy efficient isn’t just about taking care of the planet – it can impact the health and safety of your whole family. Putting off basic maintenance of your home could become hazardous and literally make someone sick. Here are a few areas to keep an eye on and address with a professional, should the time come.

Clear the Air

One in eight Americans will be diagnosed with asthma during their lifetime and an estimated 50 million Americans suffer from allergies.1 Both of these conditions can be worsened by indoor air contaminants. The simplest way to keep your air clean is to change your air filters monthly. Keep a few extra filters on hand for convenience and skip the monthly home-store run.

Dust Stands For Do U See This?!

If you’re seeing more dust (or dust bunnies) than usual, it may simply be another reminder to change your air filter. But it may also signal a leak or airflow problem with your air ducts. High energy bills in summer can mean air leaks somewhere in your home, too. Windows and air ducts could be the cause, but it may also be an inefficient or incorrectly installed air conditioner.

Keeping Warm Air In

Getting cold doesn’t actually make you sick, but it can prevent you from getting better, as your body has to work harder to keep you warm. This is the best reason to be sure your heating and air conditioning system is running well, and your insulation is doing its job. If you feel drafts or cold spots, check for air leaks around windows and doors. Big icicles and ice dams that form in the winter are also signs of air leaks and improper insulation in your roof. Ice dams can damage your home and icicles can be dangerous when falling, so it’s important to recognize the cause and take the proper actions to prevent them from forming.

Staying Dry

Dampness is associated with a 30-50% increase in the number of respiratory and asthma-related health problems, including upper respiratory tract ailments, coughing and wheezing.2 Often, dampness in a basement is caused by moisture migrating through the foundation. Moisture spots in walls could signal plumbing leaks. And condensation in your windows almost always means inefficient windows. These can all cause one of the worst problems known to homeowners: mold.

Oh No, Mold

Mold is certainly hard on your house. It can lead to wood rot, structural damage, peeling paint, and a variety of other issues. But what it can do to the body is even worse. Infants may develop chronic respiratory problems. Older people and those with chronic illness or weakened immune systems can have a severe respiratory reaction. If you see or suspect mold anywhere in your house, address it immediately with a professional.

Keeping your home energy-efficient and running well is one easy way to keep your family safe and healthy indoors. And the savings you’ll enjoy over the years will be nothing to sneeze at.

Sources

  1. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (www.aafa.org)
  2. (Fisk, Lei-Gomez, and Mendell, 2007) (www.homeenergy.org)