Exposure to indoor air pollutants can cause respiratory
diseases, including asthma and lung cancer. Pollutants include smoke, pet
radon, mold, cleaning products, and other chemicals.
You can create a healthier home by following the tips below.
Groom pets often to reduce
dander. Don't allow them to sleep in the bedroom with anyone who has
asthma or allergies. If possible, keep them off
carpets and furniture.
Choose window coverings that are easy
to clean, such as wood shades or blinds. Drapes are magnets for dust.
Check houseplants for mold. Repot or move them outside if the
soil contains mold.
Do not allow anyone to smoke in your
Eliminate carpeting and replace it with wood or tile
flooring, if possible.
If the humidity level is more than 50% inside your house, dust
mites and molds can be a problem. To control dust mites, get allergen-resistant
covers for bedding. Wash sheets and blankets in hot water.
Use high-efficiency bags in your vacuum cleaner or
install a central vacuum system in your home.
Don't store firewood
indoors. Drying green firewood can contain mold spores.
and shrubs at least 3 ft (0.9 m) away from your house. Roots can provide an easy path for water into
your basement or crawl space.
Keep bathrooms, kitchen, and
basement—places where allergens are likely to grow—clean and dry.
Fix leaks and other sources of water intrusion,
and remove water-damaged materials.
Make sure your
clothes dryer vents to the outside.
Install and keep
clean hood exhaust fans in your kitchen. Make sure bathroom vents exhaust air outdoors and not into basements, crawl spaces, or inside the
Make sure that exhaust fans don't draw too much air out,
creating a negative-pressure situation in which the pressure inside the house
is lower than outside. Negative pressure can reverse the flow of combustion
gases from furnaces, gas stoves, and water heaters, and draw water vapor and
carbon monoxide or nitrogen dioxide into your home.
Caulk the interior and exterior of your home, especially around
windows and vents.
If you're building a new home, install a
waterproofing system that keeps moisture away from your
Keep gutters and drains clean.
water-damaged carpet. Replace it, if possible, with wood or tile
Avoid heating problems
Make sure fuel-burning furnaces, hot water
heaters, and gas ranges are checked every year to ensure air intake and exhaust
systems are adequate. It is best to have your water heater and furnace outside
of your home—for example, in your garage.
Do not use kerosene space
heaters or unvented gas heaters as your primary source of
Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. Carbon
monoxide is odorless and colorless. You may not notice it until you have
health problems. If you see orange or sputtering flames in your gas furnace or
stove, it may mean that you have a problem with carbon monoxide. Call a
Make sure wood stoves and fireplaces have
tight-fitting doors. Check flues and chimneys for cracks that could allow fumes
into your house.