8 Essentials of a Healthy Home

The basic 7 essentials come from the National Environmental Health Association and the National Center for Healthy Housing.  #8 comes from my 27 years experience in homes.  Our homes house our most valued - our families.  Keep your home healthy and create a place for you and your family to thrive!  I'm proud to have been a certified healthy home specialist since 2011  

1. Keep it Dry
"IOM (Institute of Medicine) Report Mold & Moisture Related Health Effects: Upper respiratory tract symptoms, coughing, wheezing, asthma symptoms, hypersensitivity pneumonitis." NCHH The optimal Relative Humidity in your home should be between 30-50%
In High Humidity homes, mold and dust mites flourish
Turn on vents while cooking, doing laundry, showers and any other high moisture activity
Keep water away from home with good exterior drainage
Repair leaks ASAP
Dry condensation off walls and windows
Mold and dust mites can be a trigger for asthma attacks and a cause of respiratory illnesses

2. Keep it Well Ventilated
"Pollutants can be found in concentrations of 2-5 times higher indoor than outdoors." NCHH
Spot ventilation: vent to exterior removes contaminates from home
Whole house ventilation: supplies fresh air to home and dilutes contamination
Just like people homes need to breathe
Areas that need ventilation: Kitchens, laundry rms, bathrooms, craft and offices, fireplaces, boilers, gas hot water heaters, any combustible appliance.
A home with stagnate air may use more air freshenersdeodorizerscandles etc to mask odors
" There are rates of respiratory irritation and illness in housing with poor ventilation: Common colds, influenza, pneumonia and bronchitis" NCHH

3. Keep it Clean
The benefits of a home that is clean and easily cleanable: "Reduced exposure to: Chemical contaminates, Allergens, Pest droppings and urine, Pesticides and consumer chemicals, heavy metals such as lead and arsenic. Reduced harborage for pests." NCHHInstall easy to care for and durable surfaces in your home
Install effective entrance mats at all entries of your home
Frequently vacuum using a vacuum with a high efficiency filter
Damp dust weekly
Clean with the mildest, safest means possible
Leave nothing behind in your cleaning:
When cleaning is done correctly, your home will be healthier
A clean home can reduces pests, and biological contaminates

4. Keep it Contaminate Free
"During or immediately after paint stripping activitiesVOC (Volatile Organic Compound) levels can be 1,000 times higher than outdoors." NCHH Be mindful and vigilant of what comes indoors
There are 4 ways toxins get in our bodies:
Contaminates are inhaled, ingested, absorbed and injected
Contaminates getting into your home will usually find their way into your body
Common contaminates: Dust, Cleaners, Remodeling products and materials, Crafts, Fragrances, Smoke, Carbon monoxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Molds, Pesticides, Lead and other heavy metals, Dust mites, Pets, Pollen, Particles floating around, formaldehyde
Install effective filters in furnaces: Keep well maintained and replace at least every 3 months

5. Keep it Well Maintained
"Lead exposure can lead to: Reduced IQ, Learning disabilities, Impaired hearing, Reduced behavior attention, Anemia, kidney damage, Damage to central nervous system..." NCHH An ounce of prevention in maintenance can save you a fortune in repairs and restoration
Test for lead before doing any modeling, painting, window replacement in home 1978 or older.
Maintain all combustible appliances: Gas ranges, water heaters, furnaces, fireplaces etc.....
Minimize Home exposure to Lead, Asbestos, Mercury
Minimize water damage, mold and high humidity with good home maintenance
Increase fresh air and minimize contaminates with effective ventilation and circulation

6. Keep it Pest Free
"Between 1980 and 1994 the prevalence of asthma increased 75% overall" NCHH"
The means we used to remove the pest may be more harmful than the pest!
Remove sources of food, water and access for a pest free home. Living creatures big and small require water and food for life. Remove the source and access and often you will remove the pest.
Before using a pesticide use the IPM (Integrated Pest Management) or contact a professional who uses IPM. Use residue free pest reduction:
Awareness- what is your pest;
Prevention- is there anyway you can prevent the pest ( remove water, food access)
Mildest means- Always start with the mildest and safest means possible
Residue Free- leave nothing behind!

7. Keep it Safe
"The most common causes of home injury deaths: 33% Falls; 27% Poisonings; 18% Fire & Burns" NCHH Install Carbon Monoxide monitors on all levels of home but most importantly by bedrooms
Install Smoke Alarms
Keep Fire Extinguishers in working condition and accessible
Minimize trip and fall surfaces
Keep water thermostat below 120 degrees
Read labels and follow directions before using any product!!!
Approximately 500 carbon Monoxide deaths plus more than 15,000 non-fire related health care visits per year" NCHH

Plus one- #8  Keep it Stress Free 
     I added this essential, because your home is more than a building. It is where you live, love, rest and refresh your mind, body and spirit.  This space has a great impact on your health and well being.  
     If your family is stressed you may not have the time or energy to make good health decisions. A stressed family may get less sleep, eat more processed foods, get less exercise and have less time and energy.
    When we are nourished, happy and healthy we are better friends, sisters and brothers.  We are more creative, prosperous and generous.  Our personal bank accounts flourish from the inside out.  We have an abundance of time and energy.  # 8 is perhaps the most important essential: Space to thrive. 

As always, wishing you and yours a healthy, happy and prosperous home and life.
          Denise Frakes
Personal and Home Coach
Certified Healthy Home Specialist

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