We spend at least a quarter of our days at home, so our homes should be as safe and healthy as possible. After all, we spend enough time breathing in contaminated air while outside. Keeping your home liveable is a straightforward process and can start with the elimination of the following agents.
Mould is caused by a number of sources, including leaking water pipes and excess humidity. Apart from its unpleasant smell, mould also causes sinus issues and bronchial irritation in humans. Worse still, it also causes sleeping difficulties and headaches, disrupting our precious rest time at home.
- Monitor humidity levels easily using a hygrometer. When relative humidity is reaching 60%, it’s time to bring out the dehumidifiers.
- Mouldy toilets can be prevented by monitoring your household water pipes and ensuring they don’t leak. Water leak sensors will do the job for you, and you can easily buy these online at affordable prices.
- Airborne bacteria and dust
No one wants to return home to dusty air. Keep your air ducts clean and purified every 3-4 years (but reduce this number if you have a big household or if you have pets at home).
If you stay in a building built before the 1980s, asbestos-containing materials may be present in roofs, ceiling boards or partition walls. Asbestos are a form of hazardous waste, as fibre dust from the material is very toxic and has implications on the lungs.
Fortunately, these are generally harmless on a daily basis, but be careful when doing renovation. Get your home inspected by a licensed home inspector and have any asbestos removed by professionals. Avoid staying at home during the renovation period to minimise exposure to the fibres.
- Lead paint
Similar to asbestos, this is another hazardous building material that has been banned since the 1980s. Lead paint is easily detected by the scale-like irregular cracks they form on walls. Certain paint testing kits can also test for the presence of lead – these turn pink when lead is detected. Once found, lead paint should be removed quickly as inhaling the dust could lead to anaemia to seizures to even death, with children being more vulnerable.
- Carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide is one of the most potentially harmful gases that can be found in the household setting. This gas, found in gas and oil appliances, can reduce our blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity, effectively causing suffocation which may even lead to unconsciousness and even death. Carbon monoxide detectors are a useful equipment to have around. These don’t cost much (some are available for less than $20 on Amazon) and are easily installable.
Healthy homes shouldn’t be taken for granted as most of these issues are easily avoidable as long as careful monitoring is done along the way. Don’t let the problem get out of hand before you start intervening!