June 1st marks the beginning of National Healthy Homes Month, a time to spread awareness about what can be lurking in the home.
We spend so much time indoors at home, so it’s important to ensure that we are living in a healthy environment. The last thing we want is for our safe space to cause us any harm to our overall health.
Sustainable 9 believes in a similar mission to build green, energy-efficient, and healthy homes. Keep reading to learn how you can ensure your home is healthy and toxin-free.
You may not realize it, but toxins could be lurking in many areas of our homes. Older homes especially may contain a variety of contaminated building materials. Whether you’re building a new home it’s crucial to avoid the following toxins in your household.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty timeline. Was your home built between 1930 and 1980? If the answer is yes, your home might contain toxic fibers called asbestos. Asbestos exposure can lead to many health issues, including rare diseases like mesothelioma cancer. It is difficult to treat asbestos-related diseases because it can take decades before a person shows signs after their initial exposure.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to spot asbestos without being a certified professional, but here are some common places where asbestos could be found in your home:
- Popcorn ceiling
- Vinyl floor tiles
- Ceiling tiles
If your home was built before 1980, it’s a good idea to have it tested for asbestos. While at home asbestos testing kits do exist, consider working with an abatement professional to ensure your safety.
Every once in a while we like to touch up our spaces with a fresh coat of interior or exterior paint. Hopefully, you won’t have to go to too much trouble to cover up existing paint, unless you live in a home built before 1978 that could contain lead paint.
Now banned by the government, lead paint that has begun to crumble and deteriorate can expose you to serious health issues. Children are a high-risk population for exposure to lead as it is common for them to chew on surfaces such as window ledges, and stair railings. Dust residue from lead paint often builds up around window sills or in the soil outside where children play.
Freshening up a home that contains lead paint can cause lead paint dust to circulate in the air. There are other sources of lead in the home besides just paint, including soil, playgrounds, and water. Before your renovation, consult a professional to test the areas of concern and safely remove any signs of lead paint.
A third toxin that’s commonly found in homes is mold. We can’t always see mold, but if it’s present it can do damage to our health. Mold growth occurs in areas with tremendous moisture, such as where there are leaks. Exposure to mold can affect everyone differently, but common symptoms include red or itchy eyes, a stuffy nose, and wheezing.
If you suspect that there could be mold in your home, you can remove it yourself with a bleach mixture and proper safety equipment, or lean on a professional for help. The best way to prevent mold is to control humidity levels in the home, fix leaks, and keep the home ventilated.
Don’t limit yourself to mediocre products
Now that we’ve left toxin-filled, contaminated materials behind, we can focus on how quality materials create safe and healthy homes. There’s so much that goes into choosing building materials such as cost, durability, aesthetics, the list goes on. The process can be overwhelming with the array of options out there. Find a custom home builder you can trust and one that will meet your needs when it comes to the types of materials that will comprise your home.
Better yet, you won’t have to go researching whether or not sustainable materials are safe for your home. You can get that answer straight from us. In fact, many high-quality materials are sourced from repurposed or recycled materials. At Sustainable 9, one of our top priorities is building homes with sustainability in mind, which makes for both a healthy home and a healthy environment.
When sourcing sustainable materials, it’s crucial to find trusted manufacturers whose products are strong, toxin-free, and are in it for the long haul. Eco-friendly products are usually made with durability and quality in mind.
Used materials don’t necessarily mean abused materials. For example, steel is made of recycled materials, but serves as quality material and not to mention, aesthetically pleasing. Eco-friendly materials might be good options depending on the look you’re going for. Vintage trends always come back!
Bring the fresh air in
As EPA Indoor AirPlus certification home builders, Sustainable 9 knows that clean indoor air quality is crucial when creating a healthy home. Let’s start with learning about poor air quality and how to identify signs of it in your home. Poor air quality means that indoor pollutants are permeating the air exposing you to all sorts of health risks. Improving your air quality not only improves long-term health but also prevents existing conditions from worsening.
Who doesn’t love windows? Views and sunlight make for a beautiful home. Natural ventilation does as well. Installing windows that can open allow fresh air to flow in and reduce the number of pollutants trapped inside a home. Unfortunately, sometimes outside air can trigger allergies or asthma. In this case, there are other ways to purify your home’s air.
Building energy-efficient homes has proven to be a financially sound decision. With lower utility bills, can also come improved health for your household without compromising performance.
A low-cost, energy-efficient way to regulate indoor temperature is through insulation. Insulation provides heat resistance during the summer and traps heat inside a home during the winter. Extreme heat or cold can be damaging to your health by triggering allergies, asthma, or other illnesses.
Additionally, without proper temperature regulation or ventilation in your home, pollutants, mold, and dust can accumulate. Although natural ventilation can be beneficial, as we discussed, a high-quality ventilation system will work wonders.
Work With The best
Throughout National Healthy Homes Month, keep these tips in mind while exploring more ways to maintain a healthy home for you and your family.
BUILD YOUR DREAM HOME
A custom-built home means you don’t have to sacrifice the details that make your home one-of-a-kind. View our award-winning work and get inspired.