When the subject of home safety comes to mind, you likely consider things such as sturdy entrance doors, rugged deadbolts and maybe even a couple of outdoor surveillance cameras. However, there is another aspect of home safety that needs to be considered in order to protect your family in the very place that should be safest of all. Here are four safety issues that could be a problem in your home.
Mitigate Radon Gas
Radon is a radioactive gas that seeps up from the ground. It can vary in concentration, and it is not really an issue outdoors because it gets dispersed in the open air. However, in crawlspaces and basements, it can become concentrated, and it easily passes through low-density plastics, drywall, and other materials. The EPA says that radon likely causes 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year. Special radon mitigation is needed to prevent the gas from building up in your basement and crawlspace areas.
Prevent Rodent-Caused Electrical Fires
You may have heard or read news accounts of local house fires caused by electrical problems. You rarely hear what the actual electrical problem was. It could have been an overloaded outlet or an overheated electrical appliance or incandescent light fixture. However, wires chewed by mice can lead to electrical arcing that sparks a fire. Any sign of rodents attempting to take up residence in your home is a health hazard and puts your family at risk for other dangers including fire. Arc-fault breakers can help prevent arcing of wires inside the walls from sparking a fire.
Stop Damage Caused by Seasonal Humidity Changes
The outdoor air can vary from summer humidity highs of over 90 percent to winter lows hovering around 10 percent relative humidity. Low humidity dries your skin and nasal passages, and high humidity leads to warping of wood structures and the establishment of mold. Your HVAC system can control the humidity levels in your home year round. A properly functioning central air conditioning system removes humidity, and you can add a whole-house humidification system to your forced-air furnace to keep a stable relative humidity year round.
Control Volatile Organic Compounds
Some people like the smell of gasoline, turpentine, and other such chemicals. Some may like the smell of fresh paint while it may literally sicken others. Those with chronic conditions such as COPD or asthma may be particularly sensitive to certain odors. The odors are parts of volatile organic compounds (VOC) that you can detect. A new piece of furniture can off-gas VOCs in the form of formaldehyde and other highly irritating gases. That plug-in air freshener may mimic the scent of pumpkin spice or a floral bouquet, but it is off-gassing VOCs. If someone in your home has nasal allergies, COPD or asthma, VOCs can make these health issues worse. New carpeting, furniture, and even new appliances can emit VOCs. Spray and plug-in air fresheners, candles, detergents, and cleaners and even nail polish remover may all emit VOCs. Limiting exposure is healthier for everyone.
Your home should be a place of refuge and safety while having no negative effects on your health. Keep in mind that nothing is inherently safe, and keeping your home and family safe from hidden dangers relies on you.