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Tips for Reducing Indoor Pollutants in Your Home

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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 heat.
  • 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 technician immediately.
  • Make sure wood stoves and fireplaces have tight-fitting doors. Check flues and chimneys for cracks that could allow fumes into your house.

Check household furnishings

  • Many furnishings contain formaldehyde and other organic compounds. When shopping for new furniture or cabinets, try to buy those that are made of solid hardwood, not particleboard, which usually has a wood-veneer finish. The wood veneer may be attached with glue that contains formaldehyde.
  • If someone living in your home has asthma, replace carpet with tile or wood flooring. If carpeting is necessary, use a product with a short nap, or use area rugs that can be cleaned regularly.
  • If you are remodeling, use gypsum board, plaster, or real wood for walls. Plastic or wood-fiber paneling may emit formaldehyde.
  • If your house was built before 1978, the woodwork or other surfaces may be covered with lead paint. You can have the paint tested for lead. Do not sand or strip off the lead paint. But you can cover surfaces with wallpaper or other building material. Call an expert if you have to remove lead paint.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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