Deep inside the cracks of your walls, in your refrigerator and in the air you breathe, there are hidden not-so-sweet home dangers that, with a little proactive prevention, can be mitigated. However, it’s only with foresight, fortitude, and, in some cases, a little elbow grease that this will prove beneficial. Ready to get to work?
Mold sweet mold
Inhale deeply. Smell something musty? Mold spores are those roommates who never pay their share of rent or household expenses, but linger long in moist spaces, especially the bathroom. And boy does it like to reproduce. Give it a steady diet of dust, wood, paint and paper and it is happy as a pig in a pen.
Using a dehumidifier in moist rooms (e.g., bathrooms, basements) is a good way of lowering humidity. Use a fan in the bathroom to help dry out the room after a shower and fix leaks quickly. If you think you have a moldy house guest but can’t find the source, consider asking a home inspector to come take a look.
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No easy fixes here. Dust is part of life, and the best you can do is decrease your risk of experiencing asthma-like symptoms (or full-blown asthma, if you’re prone to it). What to do? Clean. Often. Vacuum. Probably more often. Breathing problems already? Consider getting protective bedding that seals in mattresses and pillows and prevents dust from accumulating.
While it’s important to keep an eye on this in any home, a house with children is especially a danger zone. Exposure to cleaning agents and household chemicals is often a surefire way of seeing the inside of an ambulance and/or hospital room. Stay healthy by keeping these types of chemicals on high shelves, out of the reach of curious kiddos.
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Odorless, invisible and toxic, this gas is emitted from fuel-burning appliances (e.g., furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, dryers, space heaters and water heaters) and may be in your home without you knowing it.
Before you experience a host of symptoms (e.g., dizzy spells, nausea, fatigue, headaches, confusion, vomiting and impaired vision) buy and install a carbon monoxide detector (don’t forget to test it regularly) and make sure fuel-burning appliances are correctly installed.
Homes built before 1980 may have had lead paint used on walls and in other spots. Most harmful for children, lead can hurt anyone. You’re probably thinking, “My kid doesn’t chew on the walls!” but you don’t have to eat the paint for it to harm your health. Just breathing in the lead paint as it flakes off your walls can do permanent damage. If an inspection reveals lead paint, you’ll need to have it removed as soon as you can.
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Maybe your home isn’t going to creep into your bedroom late at night when you’re sleeping and suffocate you, but it may be exposing you to unnecessary health risks. Stake out these hidden home dangers and breathe a bit easier. Maybe you’ll literally breathe better.