Safe and Healthy Home
By: Danny Lipford
We’re helping homeowners Aubrey and Tom Blizzard improve the indoor air quality and energy efficiency of their home and keep safe from electrical fires.
Central Vacuum System
Replacing the standard filter on your vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter is a good way to reduce the indoor air pollution in your home. An even better solution is to install a central vacuum system, such as those from NuTone, to expel the air outside your home.
Kitchen Range Hood
Cooking in the kitchen not only adds heat and moisture to your home, the fumes can also release some of the same pollutants found in smog. To improve the indoor air quality in your kitchen, it’s important to have a quality range hood that’s vented through the roof to the outside and to use it when cooking.
We removed the old, defective range hood and replaced it with a new Allure III range hood from NuTone. Allure III range hoods exhaust 430 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air and are 50% quieter than most range hoods in their class. They also include a heat detecting sensor that automatically adjusts the fan speed as needed.
Find out more about kitchen range hoods:
Bathroom Vent FansAnother good way to improve the indoor air quality in your home is to install a quality bathroom vent fan, such as those from Broan-NuTone, in each bathroom in your home.
Make sure the fans are vented to the outside through either the roof or a gable wall.
It’s important to run the fan during and for 15 to 20 minutes after bathing or showering to remove excess moisture and humidity that can cause mold or mildew.
Be sure to choose a fan that’s sized correctly for your bathroom and is quiet to use. If you already have bathroom vent fans, remove the cover and clean the fan and housing regularly.
Find out more about bath vent fans:
- Bathroom Vent Fan CFM Calculator
- How to Replace a Bathroom Exhaust Vent Fan
- Maintaining a Bathroom Vent Fan
Heating and Cooling System Maintenance
Inspecting and maintaining the HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning) system in you home is an often overlooked way to improve the indoor air quality in your home.
It’s important to use a quality air filter on the HVAC unit and replace or clean it regularly (every 1-3 months). Also, inspect the ductwork for leaks and seal any that you find.
Find out more about maintaining HVAC systems:
- How to Choose Air Filters for Your Home
- How to Change a HVAC Air Filter
- How to Repair Leaks in Ductwork
Installing a whole house air purification system, such as the Infinity Air Purifier from Carrier, is a great way to clean the air in your home even more.
To keep your heating/cooling system from working overtime, make you have at least 12” to 15” of insulation in your attic to provide an R-value of R-38 to R-49.
If your house needs more insulation, consider using stone wool insulation from Roxul which is fire resistant, water repellent, and easy to install.
Reduce Harmful Chemicals
Some cleaners, adhesives, paints, and other products contain potentially harmful chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can pollute the air in your home.
To reduce VOCs and other harmful chemicals in your home, look for and use no or low VOC products.
Some houseplants—including philodendron, peace lily, snake plant, dracaena, and bamboo palm—have been shown to actually remove VOCs from the air.
Check out our article on Houseplants that Improve Indoor Air Quality to find out more.
Electrical Wiring SafetyGround Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) outlets or circuit breakers are required in many areas of the home to prevent electrical shocks including bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, garages, porches, and outlets located outdoors.
However, if the electrical wiring in your home becomes damaged or develops a short, it can cause a fire, even if the circuit is GFCI protected.
To prevent this from happening, replace standard wall outlets with Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI), such as the SmartlockPro AFCI outlet from Leviton, which detect and trip in the event of an electrical short.
Other Tips from This Episode
Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Masking Tape Adhesive Fix
To rejuvenate the adhesive on old rolls of masking tape so the tape unwinds easily from the roll, place the roll of tape on a paper towel, put it in a microwave oven, and turn the microwave on for 10 seconds or so to warm up the adhesive. (Watch Video)
Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Home Legend Bamboo Flooring
Home Legend bamboo flooring has a seven-layer aluminum oxide finish and carries the GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification. Home Legend bamboo flooring can be nailed or glued down and is available at The Home Depot. (Watch Video)
Ask Danny Lipford:
Lead Paint in Homes
Lead in paint was banned in the U.S. in 1978, so paint after that time should be lead free. Paint from 1960-1978 may have low levels of lead, and paint before 1960 can have high levels of lead. Lead test kits can tell if paint contains lead. (Watch Video)
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