How to Keep a Healthy Home
You love to clean your home. Well, maybe “love” is too strong a word but you know keeping a clean home helps life run smoothly. When your home is clean, you’re more organized, plus your place is ready for guests at a moment’s notice! Try this new approach on cleaning your home with our guide on deep cleaning the right way.
What Is a Healthy Home?
The healthy home philosophy has been around for years. It's a concept that connects your well-being to the relative health of the home you live in. With a focus on creating a home environment free from pests, injury hazards, contaminants and allergens, the concept puts your health and personal welfare up front. Take a look at our tips for deep cleaning in ways that focus on removing or decreasing local hazards.
Reducing Moisture and Condensation
Whether you live in a brand new or 100-year-old house, every home can contain hidden problems. Take a look at this list and see what simple changes you can make to lower moisture and make your home clean and safe — inside and out.
Keep it dry. Condensation, in any form, can spell big problems for your home’s building. Consider getting a moisture meter to track humidity and pick up a dehumidifier for your basement to reduce the dampness.
Look for leaks. From leaks entering through the roof to pipes dripping water within the walls, moisture can breed mold, bacteria and other harmful germs. That’s in addition to the obvious dangers, as water damage can lead to rot and impair the structural abilities of your home. So, take time to inspect the inside of your home and look for signs of water damage like circular tea-stained spots on your ceiling. That small issue could be telling you your roof is damaged.
Right your runoff. Next, tour the exterior of your home and be sure that your gutters and downspouts are pointing wastewater away from your foundation. If not, water can make its way through the foundation and flood the basement. One great idea to keep water damage to a minimum is to install smart home water sensors by Frontpoint. It’s a powerful home security system with many different sensors, capable of detecting leaks and can notify you of trouble through an app on your smartphone.
Decrease Allergens, Dust and the Risk of Asthma
Allergens in the home can have a lasting impact on your overall health. Here are a few simple ideas that will have you breathing easier.
Keep it clean. Simple advice, right? Tackling dust is an ongoing battle and will need your attention each week to win the war. Your lungs really can benefit from the regular cleaning of surfaces and floors.
Clear the air. Using a HEPA-filtered vacuum can help to reduce the number of dust mites, allergens and contaminants in your home. These are problems that have the potential to impact the health of kid’s developing minds and bodies.
Clean the floors. Wash your hard-surfaced floors thoroughly and often with environmentally-friendly, green-cleaning products to help keep the mess and harmful chemicals to a minimum.
Keep it ventilated. There’s nothing like a little fresh air. If you don’t have a furnace, consider picking up a HEPA air filter to clean the air in your home.
Flip the filters. One of the best and quickest adjustments you can make is to swap out your furnace filters with regularity. Check in on them every few months. Move air through your furnace filters even when you don’t need the heat by placing your thermostat on “fan” mode.
Get granular. Upgrading to HEPA-quality furnace filters can trap small bits of dust and debris that will reduce their concentration in the air of your home.
Crack a window. Whenever possible, remember to open the windows to allow fresh air in. Small reductions in the amount of pet dander and carpet fibers by simply opening a few windows can make a big difference.
Keep it pest-free. Some of the creatures that live rent free in our homes can spell big problems if they go unchecked. Health troubles and asthma risks increase when certain pests take up residence. It’s time to get serious about defending your territory.
Stop the mice. Attracted by a warm place to live, and a consistent food supply, mice and rodents can impact our health in surprising ways. If you find evidence of rodent stool around your home, get to your local hardware store and reduce their presence with store-bought anti-rodent peppermint deterrents, or heavier artillery if necessary.
Get rid of the roaches. Posing similar risks as rodents, roaches should be managed head-on. Remember to use non-volatile insecticides to combat these pests.
A Healthy Home Is a Safe Home
Although hazards may seem to be hiding in every corner of your home, the truth is, they’re easily fixed. A lot can go into creating a healthy home and you know best where the risks are in your house. Take it a step further and look at these tips to see if you’ve missed anything important.
Prevent falls. Look around your home for areas where you could help reduce the risk of an injury resulting from a fall. And remember to work safely on ladders and your roof.
Put out the fire. Keep open flames to a minimum. Upgrade to an electrical stove top, reduce or halt the use of candles and remove any stored items from around your water heater and furnace. Install smart home fire, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that inform the authorities of issues whether you’re home or not. Place fire extinguishers in easily accessible places and have a family plan in place to deal with fire emergencies.
Relocate chemicals. Another easy task is to simply keep harsh chemicals out of the reach of children. Lock them in a steel cabinet, in a shed or garage, and far away from sources of fire.
Prevent choking. Lessen the risk of choking by letting kids play with age appropriate toys. Also, cut or mash foods up that may pose a choking risk to children. Look around your home for other choking hazards and move those out of reach as well.
Store firearms. Be sure guns and rifles are kept unloaded and safely locked away. Remember to store your ammunition separately in another protected location. Read more about keeping your weapons secure at home in our section on gun safety basics.
Prevent drowning. Always keep a close eye on kids in the bath. Likewise, if you’ve got a pool, discuss how to swim safely with your kids and be sure your swimming pool insurance is up to date.
Reducing Lead and Radon in Your Home
Last, but certainly not least, home in on lowering the airborne lead and radon in your home. It's one of the most important things you can do for little minds living under your roof.
Abate the lead. Lead in the home can pose big problems for the health of your family. Harmful toxins like lead dust from paint in homes built before 1978 can do real damage to children if no action is taken. So, take steps to reduce and remove lead problems safely from your home.
Get a water filter. Another quick answer with a big payoff is to pick up a water filter pitcher and use that for drinking and cooking. Good filters can really clean up your water and greatly reduce the amount of harmful chemicals and lead in your drinking water. Replace the filter as necessary, and you’re well on your way to improving the water quality in your home.
Test for radon. Another way to keep your family safe is to reduce exposure to radon in your home. Radon is a dangerous form of natural radiation that can cause lung problems. Pick up a radon test kit at your local hardware store and run a test in your home to learn if you need to install a mitigation system. You’ll have to send the completed test kit in for analysis.
The takeaway here: Keep your home well-maintained and identify and remove risks that are known to cause harm. And as you do, watch your home blossom into a safer, cleaner place to live by simply making a few key adjustments.
Putting into action these small changes over the course of the year is a great way to schedule and manage larger efforts, helping you to set financial goals for larger projects. Keeping your home healthy starts with customized coverage that meets your home’s unique needs. So, after you’ve made these shifts to a healthier home, take a moment and reach out to your American Family Insurance agent and update your homeowners policy.