As we look towards the coming year we wish you all good health and happy homes. To that end, this month we answer questions relating to improving the health and safety of the environment you live in. While not all of the advice is easy to implement in a commercial setting, you can apply many of the same principles at your place of work as well.
Where would you start with making our home healthier? Assuming there is no active damage, I would look at your heating and cooling systems. Air purification is a big topic, but most HVAC companies can provide significant results quickly by installing a whole home air purifier. Pulling particulates like pollen from the air, as opposed to recirculating them will pay dividends in your quality of life. A home that smells better also will fetch more when you go to sell.
Pro Tip: Changing air filters regularly prolongs the life of your HVAC system, but make sure you follow the manufacturers recommendations. Just because a filter promises to pull more out of the air doesn’t mean you should use it. You can put too much strain on your system with an improperly rated filter.
What are low cost options to help improve indoor air quality? Nature has already figured out how to improve air quality on our behalf. Live plants will exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen and many will scrub other harmful pollutants from the air at the same time. With very little up front cost and not much more than a few minutes of time, those of us with either a green thumb, or friends who can help, can enjoy much improved air quality.
Pro Tip: Keep toxicity in mind. A large percentage of favorite indoor plants are highly dangerous to four-legged friends. Keep current and future pets in mind when making your selections.
If my air is clean, where should I go next? Water filtration is where we would recommend you look next. Hard water can cause premature failure of your appliances as will improper pressure. A qualified plumber can check and correct both issues. Water softeners are not difficult to have installed and then a few bags of salt or potassium is all you need. Salt is the less expensive option; however it is harder on whatever it gets dumped onto, like your lawn.
Pro Tip: When working on water filtration, make sure there is a bypass valve at the softener. You want to water the lawn with your softened water.
Is hard water the biggest issue with water? Not at all. Water damage is a significant concern, but hidden leaks cause an even more insidious issue, mold. Mold can have extremely detrimental effects on your health and far too often it is not fully addressed when moisture is detected. Damp crawl spaces, improperly ventilated bathrooms, wet basements, and even sweaty pipes inside walls are common sources of mold. Always have any issue with mold fully addressed and remediated immediately.
Pro Tip: If you have a bathroom renovation planned, have your contractor budget in mold remediation. Don’t bother waiting on the sure to arrive change order when it’s discovered.
I’m looking to build a house. What form of heating do you recommend? Our personal favorite is radiant heating. It provides wonderful, safe, even heating and can be very efficient. It doesn’t bring the same issues of allergens as forced air, and doesn’t cause the carbon monoxide concerns that other systems often do, especially in older homes. Heated bathroom floors will change your life, that goes double for a heated shower bench.
Pro Tip: Carbon monoxide is extremely dangerous, but luckily easy to detect with a combination smoke/carbon monoxide detector. When you replace your existing smoke detectors, we strongly encourage you to get new units that do both.