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.
- 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
- Radon – Naturally 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.
- Filter – Clogged filters decrease ventilation and efficiency; respiratory implications