EDISON – When thinking about the safety of one’s home, initial thoughts turn to smoke detectors or child-proof measures such as safety locks on kitchen cabinets. Rarely do people think about the quality of their indoor air, said Daniel Aller, owner of SERVPRO of Edison.
In recognition of Home Safety Month this June, the local emergency cleanup and restoration business owner is explaining why Edison-area residents should make addressing air quality a top priority and safety measure in their homes. Mold is one potential air quality problem.
“Mold spores are everywhere in our environment and can easily enter homes,” Aller said. “Every year about 40 pounds of dust is generated per 1,500 square feet in a home. Most types of mold grow quickly if they have a water source, an organic food source and temperatures between 60 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has noted that moisture and mold problems in buildings may result in health issues. Families living in those buildings may experience odors and various health problems, such as headaches and allergic reactions. The EPA suggests these health problems could potentially be associated with people being exposed to mold.
Aller recommends residents take the following healthy home checklist regarding indoor air:
* Do you smoke in your home?
* Does your kitchen, bathroom and laundry room have ventilation and exhaust fans?
* Do you change your air filters once a month?
* When cleaning or doing laundry, do you use bleach, ammonia or aerosol spray cans?
* Is your gas fireplace and/or gas stove checked yearly for emissions?
* Was your home built before 1978? If so, has it been checked for lead-based paint?
* Do your bathrooms have carpet where moisture and dust can build up?
If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may want to consider making changes in these areas of your home. According to the EPA, it is impossible to eliminate all molds, but mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture. Aller said to consider taking the following steps:
* Correct any water leaks or standing water.
* Remove standing water under cooling coils or air handling units.
* Replace washing machine hoses with steel mesh lines.
* Move large objects away from the walls to provide good air circulation.
* Use exhaust fans in the bathroom, kitchens and laundry rooms.
* Properly maintain humidifiers, if any.
* Replace wet or visibly moldy insulation and carpet materials.
* Have dirty ducts cleaned by a professional.
“Since the ventilation system is often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality, inspecting the ductwork should be a high priority,” Aller said. “Dirty ducts can circulate odors, contaminants such as mold, and irritating dust throughout your home. So, it’s important to have someone examine the HVAC system and make a clean sweep of the ductwork.”
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