A home is a place of respite, but it can also be an unhealthy place. In fact, your home may actually be making you sick. Here are four things in your home that may be hurting your health.
1. Heating and Cooling System
Your home’s heating and cooling system, or HVAC, may be hurting the indoor air quality in your home. When you turn on the air conditioner in the summer, the unit leaves tiny traces of water in the ducts. This little bit of moisture may not seem like much, but it can quickly turn into a breeding ground for bacteria and mold.
Microbial growth is often the cause of many respiratory issues, like allergies, asthma, headaches and coughs.
It’s important to keep in mind that not all air ducts become contaminated, and even if yours does, you may not necessarily experience any symptoms.
To avoid possible contamination, have your ducts cleaned every few years and have your heating system serviced regularly to make sure it’s operating cleanly and efficiently.
2. Furniture and Beds
The furniture and beds in your home bring you comfort, but they can also be the source of your respiratory issues. The culprit? Dust mites.
These microscopic bugs thrive in warm, humid places, like those provided by our bodies. That’s why our beds and furniture are breeding grounds for these creatures. Before you cringe at the idea of dust mites, you should know that every home has them.
Dust mites are more likely to affect people with asthma and allergies.
There’s a simple solution to this problem: Wash your sheets and blankets weekly in hot water. Make sure they’re dried thoroughly before putting your linens on the bed. Experts recommend encasing your mattress and pillows in covers that keep dust mites at bay.
3. Sewer Line
Most of us take our homes’ sewer lines for granted. It’s only when they stop working properly that we start to appreciate their use. If your sewer line has failed, there’s a good chance that you’ll smell it – literally.
Sewer gas has a foul smell, and it can be downright dangerous. The gas’ pungent odor is hydrogen sulfide, a type of gas that comes from decaying organic matter like sewage.
When a home’s plumbing system is working properly, the smell is diverted up out of the home through a vent system that exits through the roof. But if there’s something wrong with the plumbing system, that smell can creep up into the home.
Overexposure to sewer gas can cause headaches, fatigue, pneumonia, poor memory, irritability and dizziness. In case of extreme exposure, sewer gas can kill you.
If you smell sewer gas, it’s time to call a plumber. Plumbers can now use trenchless pipe repair to fix the problem without having to dig up your yard.
4. The Vacuum Cleaner
We rely on our vacuum cleaners to remove dust, dirt and allergens, but this same machine may actually be spewing these contaminants back into the air.
Ideally, you want to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter that captures all allergens in your home. Most filters trap 99% of the particulates in the air.