Four steps to a healthier home
We spend about 90 percent of our time indoors, according to the Healthy House Institute (healthyhouseinsitute.com). So take a fresh approach to how you spend that inside time with these hints for a cleaner interior environment.
1 When shopping for a fireplace, consider a sealed-combustion gas hearth, which will draw out fumes and toxins from indoor air. Boost your air quality even more by installing a fan on top of your chimney to improve air circulation. If your hearth burns wood, make sure it’s dry and seasoned to minimize creosote buildup.
2 A whole-house humidifier, installed by an HVAC professional, will add moisture in the winter months, which can reduce allergy and asthma symptoms as well as prevent dry skin and static shocks. For those with major allergies, look into a whole-house air purifier, which sucks in stale indoor air through vents, passes it through a HEPA filter and releases the clean air back into the home.
3 In each room, try to incorporate windows on more than one wall to encourage cross-ventilation. Make sure your gutters and downspouts drain away from your home’s foundation to prevent mold and water damage. Also, think about designing a mudroom or utility room, which will isolate any toxins (pesticides, mold, etc.) you may track from inside.
4 Use your existing bathroom fans and kitchen range hoods frequently to improve your home’s air quality and reduce the chance for mold. Also, keep your HVAC unit in good health by getting it inspected annually and by frequently changing the system’s filters. Dirty, clogged air filters hamper air quality and reduce efficiency, making the unit more costly to run.