The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 2 million Americans with severe physical problems and another 4.8 million with moderate physical problems occupy homes. Respiratory infections, asthma, lead poisoning, injuries, and poor mental health are some of the health conditions associated with these housing problems.
The condition of a home is as important as its beauty and convenience. Find out five ways your home can impact your health.
Poorly Maintained HVAC Systems Affect Indoor Air Quality
Image via Flickr by DaynaT
A study in the journal Science of Total Environment reveals that indoor air may be deadlier than outdoor air. According to Jeffrey May, author of “My House Is Killing Me!”, HVAC systems are the biggest contributor to poor indoor air quality.
As an air conditioner cools your home, traces of water can be left behind in air conditioning ducts. Over time, the water can stagnate, and the ducts can start to breed bacteria.
To combat the problem, make sure you schedule duct cleaning. Installing whole-home air purifiers can trap particles and bacteria from your home with electrostatic filters, which are electrified to create a static charge that attracts particles to them. Be sure to change the filters often.
Older Vacuum Cleaners Contribute to Air Pollution
When Australian researchers tested 21 vacuum cleaners from 11 manufacturers, they found out that all released some bacteria, dust, and allergens back into the air, but older vacuum cleaner models were more likely to add more pollutants to the air than newer models.
To combat pollution, look for vacuum cleaners equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter and clean it routinely. HEPA filters are made with fiberglass and are designed to trap smaller, fine particles and pollutants.
Your Refrigerator Can Breed Bacteria
The fruit and vegetable drawers of your refrigerator may be housing dangerous microorganisms such as salmonella, listeria, and E. coli. These bacteria could cause food-borne illnesses which sicken 48 million Americans every year, according to USA Today. These illnesses can lead to severe illnesses such as kidney failure.
To avoid contracting bacteria, wash your fruits and vegetables very well before eating them. Clean and sterilize surfaces in your refrigerator regularly.
Commercial Cleaning Products Can Cause Health Issues
The Environmental Working Group recommends avoiding cleaning products with any of the following compounds in them: 2-Butoxyethanol, Alkylphenol Ethoxylates, ethanolamines, artificial fragrances, pine oil (which can react with air and turn into formaldehyde), and quaternary ammonium compounds. These compounds can cause eye irritation, headaches, and breathing problems.
Instead, opt for natural cleaning products using salt, baking soda, cotton balls, and tomato juice.
Your Lighting Can Impact Sleep Quality
Having too much artificial lighting in your home can affect your melatonin levels, hampering your sleep rhythm and depriving you of sleep. Consequently, sleep deprivation can have adverse effects on your health and reduce your productivity levels.
Whenever you can, get your lighting from natural sources such as large windows. If your windows aren’t large, then draw your blinds and let in sunlight as often as you can.
Health isn’t often valued until sickness comes, but don’t wait for sicknesses to happen. Take the steps above to protect your family.