The catch phrase “Sick Homes” describes homes with poor, even hazardous, living environments.
There are several sources which can make homes uncomfortable and unhealthy to live in.
And a basic problem is poor air quality, often caused by too little ventilation. Inadequate ventilation may be a combination of things.
New houses are insulated and sealed so well that no fresh air enters in. Moisture builds up but can’t escape and that makes a perfect breeding ground for mold.
Also, some types of building materials emit vapors that are harmful or discomforting to many people. Such conditions eventually make a house “sick.”
Summary of Problems:
“Sick House” symptoms develop because the house literally can’t breathe. As a result, it gets congested with internal pollutants.
Especially in winter, pollutants can be more abundant when airflow is less. Common sources of pollutants in the home are carpets, furnace, fireplace, pressed wood cabinets & cupboards, and excessive moisture.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) consist of a range of chemicals that are released into the air over time. Often described as that pleasant, “new smell,” VOCs can be harmful. Short-term exposure to VOCs can cause headaches, nausea and irritate eyes, throat and nose.
Fact: Older homes, as well as new homes can be “sick homes”. Newer homes are extensively sealed, trapping moisture and pollutants. Older homes, often have poor insulation, allowing moisture to enter and condense in side walls – a breeding ground for mold. A professional assessment will identify what you can do to make your home a Healthy Home.
Fact: Indoor pollutants and mold have been attributed to respiratory problems in children. Adults suffering from fatigue, headaches, irritated eyes and allergies often find relief by addressing their indoor living environment. Ask yourself – Do my symptoms worsen in the fall and winter (when windows are closed) and clear up in the summer months (when windows are opened)?
Summary of Solutions
All those creepy dust mites, molds and organic chemicals make a house unfit to live in. Thankfully, there are some simple, cost-effective solutions to reduce/eliminate many pollutants.
- Change furnace filter once a month.
- Run bathroom vent fan when showering to discourage mold growth
- Open some windows – let fresh air in!!
- Clean humidifier and air conditioning drain pans
- No smoking
- Let new carpet, drapes, furniture “air out” before bringing inside
- Keep gutters clean to avoid moisture penetration
- Repair cracks in basement/foundation
- Regularly clean and tune all fuel-burning appliances/fireplaces
One of the best ways to enhance air quality is to install a whole house Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV).
A HRV extracts harmful moisture and pollutants from the house and delivers a continuous supply of fresh, healthy air.
Your family will benefit from a healthier home environment. Your house will benefit by reducing moisture that can cause structural problems and create building contaminants.