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Last Updated: February 27, 2019


Home Maintenance: 5 Things to Monitor

Images: UNC CEHS COEC and National Center for Healthy Housing

Big idea: A healthy home should monitor five things.

Talking Points:

  • Smoke – Fires and burns are the #5 cause of injury-related death to children in the US.
  • In NC, 50 home fire fatalities reported between Jan 2017 and Sept 2017.
  • CO – Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas that is responsible for hundreds of deaths each year and thousands of illnesses.
  • Source of CO: Any kind of combustion – Unvented kerosene and gas space heaters; Leaking chimneys and furnaces; Back-drafting from furnaces; Gas water heaters; Wood stoves and fireplaces; Gas stoves; Generators and other gasoline powered equipment; Automobile or bus exhaust from attached garages; Tobacco smoke
  • Indoor Humidity – Reiterate messages from mold and moisture; high humidity causes mold growth, pest problems increase
  • RadonNaturally occurring gas found in soil, rock, and water – uranium decaying to radium and becoming radon
  • The gas seeps through cracks in the foundation, walls, and joints. Any home may have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.
  • Gas cannot be seen and smelled.
  • Exposure for a long time can lead to lung cancer. Among non-smokers and people who never smoked, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in the US (26% of all lung cancer deaths)
  • 20,000+ Americans die every year from lung cancer caused by radon
  • The effects of radon and cigarette smoking are synergistic, so that smokers are at higher risk from radon.
  • FilterClogged filters decrease ventilation and efficiency; respiratory implications

FEMA, Residential Fire Fatalities 
Deaths from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
North Carolina Radon
EPA: Local Radon Zones and State Contact Information
NCHH, Costs for Creating a Healthier Home 

Categories: Monitor/Maintain