Even though I’ve gone through the process of building two homes over the past 12 years, there is still more to learn. Housing technologies, building materials, and processes are always changing. We are always learning more about the materials that go into building our home and whether or not they are good for us. We are learning how to build a healthy home. Asbestos and lead are two items that are no longer used in home building materials. It is now a known fact that both are very bad for our health.
Not too long ago I was watching a news report on the local news that caught my eye. It was about a husband and wife team that talked about building a healthy home. They did it out of necessity. While checking on one of their building projects the husband became very ill. After some thought, they figured out that something in building materials made him sick. They recently partnered with the American Lung Association to unveil a house that fits the organization’s revised healthy home guidelines. The state of the art house has no microwave, is lined with rock wall instead of foam or fiberglass, and has modified appliances like glass-lined water heaters. That is just the start. That is not a cheap home and may be extreme on the health meter. But, depending on the occupant’s condition, it may be worth it.
You don’t have to go all out and spend over $1,000,000 to build healthy features into your home. You can make just a few changes during the building process that will help. Thankfully, our family does not have any extreme health issues. However, we do have allergies. And we are aware that our surroundings may cause health problems. I am constantly thinking about how the air in our home, particles in our furniture and carpet, and how the thing around us may affect our health.
Here are 5 tips for building a healthy home from the start:
Use Healthier Materials
One of the things that caught my eye on the show mentioned above was that instead of using fiberglass insulation in building the home, they used a material called rock wall. While fiberglass should be safe when tucked away in the walls, it is known to cause breathing problems to those that come in direct contact with it. There have been rumors for years that it can cause other health problems.
Talk to your builder and address your concerns. Ask what alternative materials are available for the insulation. It may cost extra, but your family’s health is worth it.
Install a Whole House Air Purifier
Even in a new home build, your air may not be “clean”. Dust, paint particles, and other building material particles may inhabit your vents and float through the air which can cause breathing problems. Installing a whole house air purifier can clean your air of pollutants such as bacteria, mold, pollen, pet dander, and other allergy triggers. Since getting our Aprilaire system installed I have noticed a huge difference in the quality of our air.
Clean Your Vents
I admit that this is something that I have not done fully yet. Our home was just completed a little over a year ago. I have looked in a few of the vents and I have seen some stuck on paint, and a few screws leftover from construction. Take the hose from your vacuum and clean up with you can in your vents. If you are in an older home you can hire a service to come in and clean your vents.
Install a Whole House Humidifier
When my kids were much younger and we lived in our old house one of my boys was constantly getting nosebleeds. This usually occurred at night. But, on a few occasions, it did happen during the day. I put a portable humidifier in their room, but it only helped a bit. Nosebleeds are caused by dryness in the air which in turn causes membranes in the nasal passage to dry out and crack. Using a humidifier adds moisture to the air which can help.
Skip the Carpet
Carpet used to be very popular in homes for the warm feel. As trends change, more people are opting to get hardwood floors. In my home, we have hardwood throughout the first floor and carpet upstairs. However, if someone in your family is sensitive to dust and allergens, you may want to skip the carpet and opt for a hard floor surface. Why? Carpets hang on to dust, dirt, and particles that cause allergies. And if you do have carpet, you should vacuum often to keep down the issues. Have you ever looked in the waste container after vacuuming? It’s amazing how much stuff can come out of the carpet! Just imagine that getting into your lungs. Ick.
For more tips on creating your healthy home check out the Aprilaire Healthy Home 101 Blueprint site.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Aprilaire. All opinions are my own.