We spend a lot of time in our homes, which is why it’s important to ensure that they’re a safe and healthy environment for ourselves and our families. To help you keep a healthy home, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers the following eight tips:
1. Keep It Dry. Prevent water from entering your home through leaks in roofing systems and due to poor drainage. Also, check your interior plumbing for any leaking.
2. Keep It Clean. Control the source of dust and contaminants, creating smooth and cleanable surfaces, reducing clutter and using effective wet-cleaning methods.
3. Keep It Safe. Store poisons out of the reach of children, and properly label the products. Secure loose rugs, and keep children’s play areas free from hard or sharp surfaces. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and keep fire extinguishers on hand.
4. Keep It Well Ventilated. To reduce the concentration of contaminants in the home, ventilate bathrooms and kitchens and use whole house ventilation for supplying fresh air.
5. Keep It Pest-Free. All pests look for food, water and shelter. Seal cracks and openings throughout the home, and store food in pest-resistant containers. If needed, use sticky traps and baits in closed containers, along with least toxic pesticides such as boric acid powder.
6. Keep It Contaminant-Free. Reduce lead-related hazards in pre-1978 homes by fixing deteriorated paint and keeping floors and window areas clean using a wet-cleaning approach. Test your home for radon, a naturally occurring dangerous gas that enters homes through soil, crawlspaces and foundation cracks. Install a radon removal system if levels above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency action level are detected.
7. Keep It Maintained. Inspect, clean and repair your home routinely. Take care of minor repairs and problems before they become major issues.
8. Keep It Thermally Controlled. Houses that don’t maintain adequate temperatures may place the safety of residents at increased risk from exposure to extreme cold or heat.
By following HUD’s eight healthy home principles above, you can help make a better living environment for you and your family.