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.
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
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.