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What about the Indoor air quality of your home?
Indoor air pollutants have increased over the past few decades for variety of reasons. Contributing to indoor air quality issues in homes are construction of more tightly sealed buildings, reduced ventilation rates to save energy, the use of synthetic building materials and furnishings, and increased use of chemical products such as pesticides, housekeeping supplies, and personal care products. The four basic factors affecting indoor air quality (IAQ) are indoor air pollutant sources; the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system; pollutant pathways; and occupants.
Moisture and Biologicals:
Moisture problems in homes can result in the growth or amplification of biological and microbial organisms like mold, mildew, dust mites and pet dander. Exposure to these organisms can increase the risk of allergic illness, trigger asthma, cause respiratory infections, or have other health effects. Common sources of moisture include high indoor humidity, plumbing leaks, and water leaks. Poorly maintained heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems can also contribute to moisture problems. To remedy the problem, the source of excess moisture must be found and fixed, and contaminated materials must be removed and discarded if they cannot be thoroughly cleaned.
Combustion Products, including Carbon Monoxide:
Adverse health effects from combustion products range from mild effects to death. Carbon monoxide, a deadly gas, kills over 200 people year in the United States. Other pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides, can cause breathing problems, particularly in sensitive individuals, and can trigger asthma attacks. Sources of combustion products include unvented fossil-fuel (oil, kerosene) heaters, unvented gas stoves and ovens, and back-drafting and malfunctioning furnaces and water heaters. During power outages, the indoor use of charcoal or gas grills or of gas-powered generators can cause serious carbon monoxide poisoning and possible death to people in the home. To ensure that combustion pollutants do not create IAQ problems, take the following steps:
All potential sources should be vented to the outside of the building.
Make sure all systems are regularly maintained and inspected.
Install carbon monoxide monitors in homes where there are fossil-fuel burning appliances.
NEVER USE a charcoal or gas grills indoors for cooking or heating.
NEVER USE a gasoline-powered generator indoors. Gas-powered generators MUST be used outdoors, in a well-ventilated area away from windows, doors and Home air-intakes.
Sources of formaldehyde include durable-press drapes and other textiles, particleboard products such as cabinets and furniture, tobacco smoke and adhesives. Formaldehyde is an irritant to the eyes, nose and throat, and can cause tearing of the eyes, coughing and bronchial spasms. Formaldehyde is also a suspected human carcinogen. Careful selection of products and increased ventilation can help reduce health effects.
Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless gas that comes from natural deposits of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Radon is harmlessly dispersed in outdoor air, but when trapped in buildings, it can be harmful, especially at elevated levels. There are no immediate symptoms from radon exposure. However, long-term radon exposure has been linked to between 7,000 and 30,000 lung cancer deaths each year. Lung cancers usually occur 5 – 25 years after exposure.
Granite countertops have also been linked to radon. While experts agree that most granite countertops emit some radon, the question is whether they do so at levels that can cause cancer. Testing is easy, inexpensive, and takes only a few minutes. If you discover a radon problem, there are simple ways to reduce levels of the gas that are not too costly. Even high radon levels can be reduced to acceptable levels. The Environmental Protection Agency offers a “Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction.”
Household Products and Furnishings: Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) come from paints, solvents, pesticides, air fresheners, hobby supplies, dry-cleaned clothing, aerosol sprays, adhesives and fabric additives and wood treated with arsenic (CCA). Some of these VOCs can cause eye, nose and throat irritation; headaches; loss of coordination; nausea; or damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system.
Fireplaces, wood stoves kerosene heaters and unvented gas space heaters can produce air-borne particles (particulates). Dust and pollen are also considered particulates. Health effects from exposure to tiny particles that can be breathed into the lungs depend on the types and concentrations of the particles, the frequency and duration of exposure, and individual sensitivity. Health effects can range from irritation of the eyes and/or respiratory tissues to more serious effects, such as cancer and decreased lung function. Biological particles, such as animal and insect allergens, viruses, bacteria, and molds, can cause allergic reactions or infectious diseases.
If your home was built prior to 1978, there’s a good chance that lead paint still exists on your walls. But even in a newer home, you may face lead exposure — from lead dust tracked in from outside. Lead dust can raise the risk of exposure for young children — a serious problem that can damage the brain, central nervous system, and kidneys. Pesticides are also linked with brain damage in young children. Kids are vulnerable to higher exposures because they tend to get dust on their fingers and then put their fingers in their mouths home. If you have concerns about lead-based paint, please refer to the NC DHHS web site.
On any construction on homes built before 1978 testing must be done to determine if lead exists in the paint and if it does specific abatement procedures must be followed or the contractor is subject to very stiff fines!
In the US, any home built after 1978 is very likely asbestos free. And though an asbestos professional may be able to recognize asbestos, you probably can’t. Sure, if your home if 50 years old and there is a solid whitish jacket over your furnace or heating pipes, you can bet it is probably asbestos. But to know for sure, especially with manufactured materials like floor tiles, wallboard or siding, you need to have testing done.
On any construction on homes built before 1978 testing must be done to determine if asbestos exists in the plaster or any other suspected areas and if it does specific abatement procedures must be followed or the contractor is subject to very stiff fines!
Kaufman Homes has all the qualifications to do asbestos and lead testing and abatement all to conform to very strict OSHA standards and codes.
In any construction done by Kaufman Homes, indoor air quality is very important as we are always aware of using low VOC paints, hiring HVAC companies that are always air quality conscious when design heating systems. Before a new home is to be occupied all furnace ducting is cleaned to keep normal construction dust from continuing to pollute the air.
Proper construction flashing is of utmost importance to keep moisture from penetrating the exterior surfaces and causing dry rot and mold from collecting between the walls and inside the home. these problems are not usually discovered until there has already been major damage to the home and the air quality is greatly compromised which may also result in health issues.
Call Kaufman Homes at 503-370-8390 and we can help you with improving or abating the air quality of your home. The best thing is to have Kaufman Homes do annual or semi-annual checks of your home to check your home for any potential developing problems.[/vc_column_text][dt_gap height=”10″][/vc_column][/vc_row]