When you consider making home improvements, the final decision is often based on cost. Does your budget allow for the improvement you’re thinking about? Will your house be worth more after this improvement is completed? Every once in awhile, though, these decisions need to be considered from a more serious angle. There are parts of your home that can actually secretly pose health risks. Here’s a look at three of the most common (and dangerous), so you know how to prioritize the corresponding home improvements.
Understand Your Home’s Chemistry
As we go about our busy daily lives, we often don’t think something is askew unless there’s a physical sign of it. If we smell something that’s a bit off, we probably pay attention. If we see something that looks a little atypical, we likely will pause to figure out why. But within our homes, there are numerous elements that are neither seen nor smelled. And they can be deadly. In fact, naturally occurring radon gas is the primary cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. And where does this substance lurk? Oftentimes, in our homes.
How do you go about determining if your home is posing a health risk to you through radon gas? Testing methods are surprisingly easy. There are tests that can be performed. If you find that you are vulnerable to radon, the best method for reducing exposure is implementing a vent pipe system and fan. Other proven tactics for lessening radon in your home are discussed in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction, but the vent pipe system and fan are the go-to home improvement you’ll want to start with if radon may be a problem for you.
Banish Mold by Starting on Top
When you think of mold, you probably think of the spores that are visible on food when it’s gone bad or the black grime you see in wet areas, like showers or bathtubs. The truth is that mold is an equal-opportunity fungi. Its existence isn’t limited to bathrooms and kitchens; in fact, it can be anywhere. One of the areas in which mold is likely to grow is in your ceiling tiles. When excessive dampness occurs near your roof for an extended period of time, mold can grow and thrive.
One of the best ways to ensure your health isn’t compromised by this sneaky intruder is by taking care of your roof. Older roofing methods are often especially susceptible to leaks and increased moisture (in other words, mold heaven), so upgrading to a modern roof is an improvement worth making. If you spring for a new roof, go for one that includes Lifetime Shingles with Advanced Protection, like the ones by Champion Home Exteriors. By doing so, you’ll prevent the growth of mold, as well as exposure to other potentially harmful elements that can enter through a less optimally built roof.
Identify What is Unseen & Internalized
Beyond mold and radon, you may also be at risk for contact with carbon monoxide and other gases in your home. Even though you can’t see these fumes, they can be extremely hazardous to your health. The most-likely culprits for releasing these gases are gas stoves, furnaces, gas generators, kerosene and propane heaters. So once again, how do you determine if this problem could be affecting you? Start by installing alarms that detect carbon monoxide on every level of your home, and be sure to swap in new batteries once or twice a year. Many companies make alarms that act as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, so do some research to figure out what the best option is for your home.
Your home is where you and your family live, sleep and play. It’s not enough for it to be comfortable; it also needs to be safe. Start by assessing your home for radon gas, mold and combustible gases. Then be prepared to make the necessary home improvements to prevent exposure to these substances, and keep them at bay. And if you’d like further help on identifying potential health risks, you can always call on a certified health inspector. The time and money spent protecting your health are one of the most worthwhile investments you can make.