Health extends beyond just your physical well-being. It also includes the space you occupy, especially your home. Many of us assume that since we regularly sweep, vacuum and clean our homes, that we have healthy houses. Risks, however, can linger in the most unexpected places.
We’ve assembled a healthy house checklist to cover the less obvious areas, as well as some tips to ensure the well-being of your house.
Think back to when you bought your mattress. Was it more more than five years ago?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends replacing your mattress every five to seven years, or sooner, if you aren’t sleeping well. Humans can produce as much as 26 gallons of sweat each year, and it has to go somewhere, which means it usually ends up being absorbed into your bed. In addition to everyday sweat and dead skin cells, allergens from pets and airborne fungal spores also settle into your mattress over time.
To refresh your bed, replace your mattress with a new memory foam bed that is naturally antimicrobial and resistant to dust mites. Keep your new bed looking (and feeling) good for longer by investing in a quality mattress cover. And don’t forget your pillows. As many as 17 unique species of fungus can be found in a two-year-old pillow. If you can’t upgrade your pillow regularly, at least throw them in the dryer for a minimum of 30 minutes to kill any lingering dust mites.
Many of us take for granted the clean, dust-free air we breathe. But continually enjoying a healthy home requires some diligence. Depending on the occupants in your home, and whether you have pets, your air filters should be changed every few months.
Here’s a general guide to changing air filters:
- A home without pets – about every 90 days
- A home with a pet – about every 60 days
- A home with more than one pet – about every 45 days
- A home with someone who has allergies – about every month
- A vacation or second home – about every six to 12 months
Set reminders to change the furnace and air filters as needed, and you’ll cut down on the amount of free-floating dust and allergens that invade your home. As an added bonus, regularly replacing your air filters helps your furnace run more efficiently.
Changing filters isn’t just for your furnace. If your fridge dispenses water, don’t forget to replace its water filter according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Additionally, make sure to check the instructions on any water pitcher filters you may use, as they need to be replaced about every two months or after 40 gallons, whichever comes first.
Nearly everyone is familiar with that annoying high-pitched beeping that happens when a smoke or carbon monoxide detector is running low on batteries. As a general rule, you should change the batteries in your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors at least twice a year. And you should conduct monthly tests to ensure everything is in working order.
But the maintenance doesn’t stop there. Did you know that smoke detectors can go bad? According to the U.S. Fire Administration, smoke detectors should be replaced every eight to 10 years, regardless of how often the batteries are being changed. That’s because, over time, smoke alarms lose their sensitivity. The same thing goes for carbon monoxide detectors, which should be replaced every five to seven years. Many of the newer models now include an expiration date on the back of the device that indicates the date it should be replaced. When you purchase or install new smoke detectors, snap a picture of the expiration date with your phone so you know when you’ll need to replace it.
Depending on where you live, the locks may not have been changed after the last tenants left, which means any number of people could have a key to your home. For added peace of mind, hire a locksmith as soon as you move in to change the deadbolts and door locks in your home.
Inspect all existing locking mechanisms on doors and windows to ensure they are functioning properly. In addition to providing security for your family, window and door locks also keep out any unwanted drafts, insects or animals that might find their way in through unsecured entrances. To take your security a step further, consider installing door and window sensors. Relatively inexpensive, these sensors make a chiming sound when the door or window has been opened. Placing sensors in high-traffic areas will keep you alert and apprised of the comings and goings of your household.
Cultivating a healthy home takes work. There’s a lot to cover, even beyond what’s mentioned in this article, but we’ve touched on some important areas and have given to you actionable items to get started. Make a list to prioritize your projects and explore additional ways you can promote a happy and healthy home. What are some areas you’d like to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!
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