5 Upgrades for a Healthier Home
In recent years, Americans have been spending more time in their homes than in past decades. There are many reasons, such as less movie-going and more Netflix, but reasons aside, you may need to consider health factors for where you spend so much time.
It’s a big world out there, and you have no control over the air outside your home. What you can do is to do a better job of cleaning the air that infiltrates into your home from outdoors. A central air conditioning system, cooling and heating your home, circulates air throughout the space to do so.
As homes have become more efficient through better construction methods, insulation, and energy efficient materials, the air in the home can also become unhealthy due to a buildup of any number of toxins from our daily lifestyles and the products we use and consume. Cleaning the air is critical to your health and that of your family.
Whole house air filtration is necessary for a healthy indoor climate. The fastest and simplest partial solution is a drop-in filter to replace your standard system filter. Typically, these are 1-inch filters and they can be higher filtration, and you can also buy HEPA filters for even better efficiency.
In milder climates or seasons, the heating or cooling system may run less, thus recirculating less air. With these filters you can run the fan in continuous mode to keep cleaning your air.
Whole House Water Filtration
The water we consume in our homes, unless from a well we control, is processed by industrial methods employed by municipalities and delivered through at time less than perfect infrastructure and piping. Chemicals are used to clean the water, and these include chlorine.
Since 1904, chlorine has been used by municipalities to clean drinking water because it works. For all the good it does, there are trade-offs, some just recently discovered. What the studies have found is that chlorine itself is not the whole problem; rather it has to do with what happens when the chlorine mixes with any type of organic matter in the water.
There is one study that says you can even have breathing issues from chlorine reacting with organic chemicals in the water and releasing toxins in the steam from a hot shower. Combine this with other undesirable substances in water systems, and you can understand the value of a filtration system that can rid your water of many or all of them.
A whole house water filtration system can be just varying levels of filtration to UV light for virus and living organism destruction. These systems can be easily installed at the point of entry of your main home water supply.
Central Vacuum System
Think of your current home cleaning routine and how you vacuum your floors and carpets. Today’s vacuums are as efficient as you can make them with the size and weight limitations for convenience, but they don’t do a great job of filtering the air that passes through them. You’re sucking dirt and allergens into the vacuum bag, and the filters do their best to stop them as the pair is expelled. However, they can’t get it all, or often not much of it. Do you sneeze or cough when you’re vacuuming? That’s from what gets through.
A central vacuum system has a set of connections throughout your home that allow you to connect a hose and attachment in the room and the central unit provides the suction. It provides a higher suction, getting more dirt and stuff out of carpets and flooring. Not only that, they’re carried to the main unit where the filtration is better, but also where that air is expelled out of the living space.
From Radon.com: A safe level of radon gas is no radon gas. Radon gas is a carcinogen which causes lung cancer. The US EPA has put it plainly, stating, “Any radon exposure has some risk of causing lung cancer. The lower the radon level in your home, the lower your family’s risk of lung cancer.” The average person receives a higher dose of radiation from the radon levels in their home than from their combined exposure to all other radiation sources, natural or man-made. Where is radon a problem? If you use this statement as a guideline, just about anywhere:
Radon remediation isn’t too difficult, but you need to know your exposure, so get a detector.
More Natural Lighting
Humans are healthier when they’re exposed to light that’s more like the spectrum of natural sunlight. There are a couple of ways in which you can reduce the unnatural light sources in your home while replacing them with more natural light.
You can enlarge windows, and that’s fine if you have the budget, but you can also install skylights to bring in more natural light. If there are challenges in attic or roof configuration, tubular skylights can be ideal.
These use flexible light reflecting tubes in the attic space to transport the light from outdoors to where you need it in room ceilings.
Another less expensive approach is to buy LED lighting in the natural light spectrum. These fixtures can be anything from a bulb to strips or self-contained fixtures. They can replace many of the light fixtures in your home with more natural light.
The more time you spend at home, the more you will benefit from these solutions. Consider them individually or as a group to breathe and feel better.