Posts Tagged ‘air’

8 Tips for Household Dust Control

Posted on: September 16th, 2014 | No Comments

Older woman practicing dust control in her home. When you were little, your parents might have warned you to beware of dust bunnies. And as you grew older, you thought that they were exaggerating to inspire you to be tidier and follow their cleaning rules for dust control. But the truth is that dust can be the vehicle for much nastier critters and chemicals than bunnies.

 

Depending on the age and state of your home, dust can carry asbestos, crumbling flecks of lead paint, or dozens of other harmful chemicals that are released from new furniture, cleaners, etc. In addition, dust may include dander, animal fur, and many allergen-causing agents. So allowing dust to just sit around and form “bunnies” that jump back into the air when disturbed can be quite as detrimental to your health as your parents originally suggested.

 

Instead of growing a “fluffle” of dust bunnies, crack down with these 8 tips for household dust control:

 

 

1. Simplify to decrease surface area.
Fewer surfaces means fewer places for dust to accumulate. Minimize knick-knacks, furniture, and other household items that don’t serve a purpose (other than as a home for dust bunnies).

 

2. Rearrange furniture.

Dust mites (and dust in general) cling to upholstered fabrics very easily. Upholstered furniture should be avoided in bedrooms and wherever else possible, so rearranged those pieces into the living room decor. Vacuum them along with your carpets to improve surface dust control.

 

3. Keep floors clear.

If you have kids or keep projects spread out across the floors of your homes (toys, puzzles, blankets, magazines, etc.), those items are gathering the dust that would otherwise be caught in the carpet and sucked up by the vacuum. Keeping your floor clear makes it easier to vacuum for optimal dust control.

 

4. Organize closets/shelves.
Closets, pantries, and shelves are huge dust collectors. Dust migrates and gets caught in corners and lurks behind shelved items waiting to stir up into the air when the items are shifted or removed. Just like the rest of your home, simplify what is displayed and stored in this way so that cleaning is easier and more effective.

 

5. Remove your shoes.
Dust control starts when you enter the door, dragging in debris and chemicals in the dust on your clothes and shoes. One option for preventing the spread of outside dust inside your home is by removing your shoes outside or by the front door.

 

6. Isolate pet toys and beds.
Pet toys and beds are horrible dust magnets. They get tossed around the carpets, forgotten in corners, and dragged through dirt on a daily basis. Eliminate finding dust bunnies where only your pet should be by running these items through a laundry cycle and isolating them when not in use (ie stored in a closed cupboard).

 

7. Wash linens regularly.
Dust falls onto made and disheveled beds and collects on the linens you sleep in each night. Improve your household dust control by washing bedding regularly. Even bedding in guest rooms that aren’t being used should be washed, especially prior to guests arriving.

 

8. Vacuum and clean surfaces weekly.
This tip for dust control seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, it’s tough to remember to clean before the dust gets noticeable or out of control. Mark your calendar with a sticker or note to remind yourself that it’s time to clean! Don’t forget areas like plant leaves and fans/lighting fixtures.
Dust bunnies are an unwanted collection of critters in every household. From mites to harsh chemicals and annoying allergens, dust can be a serious danger to your health. The eight steps listed above for maintaining dust control reduce the risk of health problems from dust and help keep your entire home clean and safe.

 

 

Keeping your home safe doesn’t stop here. There are many simple home maintenance tasks for both the interior and exterior of your house that can be accessed through Inspect-It 1st. The inspection professionals at Inspect-It 1st are dedicated to helping you fix potential home dangers and keeping your home comfortable, whether you are buying, selling, or just maintaining your home.

How to Keep Your House Cool … Without Touching the AC

Posted on: August 26th, 2014 | No Comments

How to Keep Your House Cool… Without Touching the ACThe traditional summer months are coming to an end, but the heat remains. For some this means frizzy hair or rolling down the car windows, but for most it also means cranking up the AC. Turning that dial to try to cool your living quarters can be costly, but perhaps you don’t know how to keep your house cool without that modern convenience. Here we examine a few alternatives on how to keep your house cool without touching the AC.

  1. Close Doors – As much as possible, keep your house closed off from the ambient humid and hot air. This means keeping your external doors closed. But how to keep your house cool goes beyond shutting out the external heat. You should also keep internal doors closed to isolate the cooler air within your home.
  2. Cover Windows – Twenty to thirty percent of unwanted heat comes from sunlight and hot air permeating the windows of your home. Covering your windows, ie closing the blinds or drapes during the daytime, can lower indoor temperature by up to 20 degrees. That can result to saving 7% on your electric bill each month.
  3. Use Vent Exhausts – If you take a warm shower or cook something in the oven, those areas of your house can heat up considerably. Be sure to use vent exhausts in your bathroom and above your stove to allow the hot air to escape and keep the surrounding rooms cool.
  4. Cool from the Inside Out – The tricks for how to keep your house cool won’t make a difference if you yourself are not cool! So while you are making the necessary changes around your house, make them also with yourself. Drink iced beverages that lower your internal temperature. Take colder baths/showers, and cool your skin down with ice packs while sitting around the house.
  5. Adjust Fans -Fans should be adjusted seasonally. In the warm summer months, program your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise.
  6. Let in the Night Air – Even in the summer time, nights are usually cooler. One of the simplest methods of how to keep your house cool without the AC is by opening up the windows at night.
  7. Change Your Sheets – Avoid using flannel and other heavy material sheets during the summer. Cotton breathes more easily and doesn’t retain body heat.
  8. Grill – How to keep your house cool may have more to do with what you do outside. Grilling reduces the build-up of heat your oven and stove would produce in food preparation. In addition, grilling takes people outdoors into cool breezes.
  9. Purchase Better Light Bulbs – Incandescent lights waste almost 90% of the energy they produce in the form of unnecessary heat. Switch to more efficient bulbs that will last longer and put off less heat.
  10. Make Lasting Home Improvements – Shading your house with sunlight-absorbing plants and trees helps the environment and reduces the heat gripping your home. At the same time, your landscaping adds to the curb value of your house; you are making a permanent environmental and financial investment!

As heat waves continue through the end of the summer, cut back on your energy bill by finding alternatives to turning on your AC. How to keep your house cool can be as easy as closing the curtains and planting a few shady trees. But it might also be beneficial to have your house inspected. Getting new windows with better insulation and other home improvements might make a huge difference to your comfort. Call and schedule an appointment with Inspect-It 1st today!

Radon In Homes – What you Need to Know

Posted on: February 25th, 2014 | No Comments

Radon in homes Radon – This is a term many homeowners have likely heard but do not necessarily know what it is or how it can harm their family. According to the EPA, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers in the United States and can be linked to up to 20,000 lung cancer deaths a year. Here’s what you need to know as a homeowner:

 

  • This radioactive particle is found the air and cause lung cancer in those exposed to large amounts. Radon is produced by the natural decay of uranium in the soil but this decay can be fixed and homes made safe from radon.

  • At home tests are available for testing your home’s radon levels. Generally these accumulate in the basement, nearest the ground where decaying uranium resides. The average concentration of radon in a home in the United States is 1.3 pCi/L. Radon concentrations between 2 and 4 pCi/L should consider fixing their home to protect against exposure to radon. For levels above 4 pCi/L the EPA strongly recommends action to be taken.

  • Contractors are available to test and fix your home. These people are experts in mitigating the risks of radon and ensuring your home is safe.

Contractors can be hired to inspect your home, especially rooms below ground level and those directly above ground level, for radon levels deemed unsafe. If your home does have higher than average radon levels there are a number of options.

 

As stated above, the EPA has set a maximum radon level of 4 pCi/L. Many homeowners take this to mean that anything below this level is “safe”. This simply is not true. Any levels between 2 and 4 pCi/L should still be considered dangerous and steps taken to reduce them. Your contractor will be able to explain the best option for dealing with radon in your home but generally there are three different solutions depending on the structure of our home.

 

  • For homes with basements, one of four types of suction can be used to reduce radon. Essentially, this process uses pipes directly in the earth below the basement slab and fans. The fans create suction below the slab and suck the radon up through the pipe. The open end of the pipe generally leads to an attic or outside the home where the radon is quickly diluted to safer levels.

  • Homes with a crawl space generally will use a thick plastic sheet layed over the earth. Underneath this sheet, a pipe and fan, much like that mentioned above, suck the radon out from the space between the ground and the plastic sheet and ventilate it to the outside. In some cases, ventilation of the space without a plastic sheet can also be used to reduce radon.

  • Any home, no matter the footings can benefit from sealing cracks in the foundation but this should be done in conjunction with other solutions to ensure the radon levels are reduced enough.

  • Ventilation of any space that may have excess radon is always a good idea. In lower levels of home be sure to open windows periodically, run fans to move the air up and out and keep track of radon levels.

The health risks associated with radon mean that all steps necessary should be taken to reduce exposure. Any of the above solutions can be used in conjunction with one another to ensure maximum diffusion. If you have radon accumulation in your home, contact a professional to ensure the correct steps are taken to reduce it’s presence and protect your family. For more information about radon visit the EPA website at http://www.epa.gov/radon/index.html. There you will find information about radon levels in your area, where to find testing kits and the more about solutions to radon in your home.

Indoor Air Quality: How to Ensure Your Family is Breathing Easy

Posted on: October 7th, 2013 | No Comments

Indoor air quality is not always the first concern and is often a last consideration. This is harmful because aside from carbon monoxide detectors there are very few a_person_changing_an_in_home_air_filterways to monitor the air in your home. Poor indoor air quality is typically caused by a lack of circulation of air inside with air from the outside. There are many pollutants that can build up in indoor air and will be potentially harmful if they are not diluted by outdoor air. Proper ventilation and circulation is the key to introducing outdoor air into your home to dilute any pollutants that may be building up.

 

So, what are the biggest concerns about air quality and how should you fix them? Here are the top five contributing factors to air quality and how to manage them.

  1. Sources of combustion are one pollutant to watch out for. Gas, kerosene, wood, all of these give off pollutants as they deteriorate.
  2. Asbestos is also a dangerous pollutant that must be dealt with properly. Should your house contain any asbestos, seek professional help to dispose of it safely.
  3. Moisture can cause air pollution problems as well as mold and mildew. The spores released by fungus can cause health problems if the air is not filtered out properly.
  4. Most cleaning products recommend air circulation. The inhalation of harsh cleaning products can cause irritation in the eyes, airway and allergic reactions if not properly circulated out of the area.
  5. Humidification devices can put pollutants back into the air of your home. Make sure to use distilled water in these devices.

Ensuring that your home has proper ventilation and circulation is important to its air quality. The effects of poor air quality can range from irritation to severe respiratory problems. To prevent these, make sure your homes heating, cooling and ventilation systems are clean and in proper working order.

 

Have questions about your home air circulation? Contact your local Inspect-It 1st for a home inspection including your heating, cooling and ventilation systems.

 

Indoor Air Quality: Is Your Home’s Air Safe to Breathe?

Posted on: November 20th, 2012 | No Comments

Did you know that one of the most harmful things in your home could be the air you breathe?  If your home isn’t properly ventilated, you’re risking your home’s property value as well as your family’s health.

 

Watch this brief video that explains what contributes to poor indoor air quality.  Even better, learn what you can do to improve the quality of the indoor air you breathe.

 

Whitepaper: Clearing the Air about Ventilation

Posted on: October 30th, 2012 | No Comments

As Winter rolls in, homeowners change a lot of their habits. Unfortunately, a lot of our wintertime habits affect our home’s air quality – and not in a good way.

 

To save on energy costs, you probably keep your doors and windows closed in the winter. Instead of our summertime screen doors and windows, air is trapped in our houses, recycled over and over.

 

For ambiance or for heating, you may use a wood-burning fireplace. As you can imagine, the smoke and pollutants in the wood are now released into your home – wrecking havoc on your air quality.

 

Even something as innocent as a humidifier can be adding to the problem. Adding too much moisture to your home’s air can make linens, draperies, or even your clothes attractive to mold.

 

Without the proper ventilation, these seemingly innocent wintertime habits can cause your home harm. The fact is that the average American now spends 90% of their time breathing indoor air, which is 2 to 5 more times polluted than outdoor air.

 

So how do you keep your home’s air quality in check? We’ve recently published a white paper on that exact topic. While there are a lot of online myths about home air quality, we’re setting the record straight.

 

Learn what it takes to make your home a safe and healthy environment for you and your family.

 

Indoor Air Quality: How Important is Home Ventilation?

Posted on: October 30th, 2012 | No Comments

Take a deep breath.

 

Do you know what you just breathed in?  If you’re indoors, what you just took into your body could be significantly different than if you were outside.

 

Naturally, you may think that outdoor air has far more pollutants than what we breathe indoors.   With automobile pollution and factories outside, we’ve almost been conditioned to think that our outdoor air is dirty.

 

Unfortunately, the air we breathe indoors is just as bad – if not worse – than the air of the great outdoors.  Why?  Here are several reasons:

 

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