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Healthy Home: Why It's Important For Health And Resale

6-Minute Read
Published on June 10, 2021

When we want to be healthier, we take certain actions to improve our diets, fitness and overall lifestyle. But healthy habits aren’t the only things we need to be able to improve our quality of life. A healthy home is just as important.

We’re not just talking about regular cleaning. There’s much more to do around the house to make it a space that promotes well-being. To ensure the health and safety of you, your family and your guests, take these actions to create a healthy home.

Areas To Check If You Want A Healthy Home

Risk can linger in the most unexpected places, so it’s important to routinely check these often-used features and areas of your home and change them out when necessary.

Replace Your Mattress

The National Sleep Foundation recommends replacing your mattress every 5-7 years, or sooner if you aren’t sleeping well. Along with everyday sweat and dead skin cells from humans, 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’s naturally antimicrobial and resistant to dust mites. You should also invest in a quality mattress cover that can be removed and washed. And don’t forget your pillows. As many as 17 unique species of fungus can be found in a 2-year-old pillow. If you can’t upgrade your pillows regularly, at least throw them in the dryer for a minimum of 30 minutes to kill any lingering dust mites.

Change Your Filters And Detectors

The air filter in your HVAC helps clean the air that’s pumped through your home, filtering out dust, allergens, pet dander, smoke and odors. A clean filter doesn’t just ensure the air you breathe is clean, it also keeps your HVAC system running efficiently. That’s why it’s important to change your filter at least once every 3 months. Depending on the occupants in your home and whether you have pets, you may need to change it more frequently.

Here’s a general guide for changing air filters:

  • A home without pets: bout 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 6-12 months

When it comes to carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors, you should change the batteries in both devices twice a year.  The U.S. Fire Administration recommends replacing smoke detectors every 8-10 years and carbon monoxide detectors every 5-7 years, as some devices can lose their sensitivity over time. If you aren’t sure how long you’ve had your detector or when to replace it, check the device for an expiration date or date of manufacture.

Switch The Locks

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 to change the deadbolts and door locks in your home. This is especially important if you’ve just moved in as it’s more recent and the past owners – and their friends or family – may have copies of your keys.

Inspect all existing locking mechanisms on doors and windows to ensure they are functioning properly. If you’re having trouble with locks working properly, it may be because the door has warped or sagged. You may need to fix the door or reposition the strike plate, which is where the bolt is inserted to hold the door closed.

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. 

Catch The Mold

Mold can slowly creep out of nowhere if you don’t catch it in the first place. Routinely inspect places that could harbor mold. Check plumbing fixtures for leaks, look for condensation in windows and inspect your shower, kitchen sink, toilet and refrigerator for beginning signs of mold. To help prevent mold, use proper ventilation when bathing, and run a dehumidifier in rooms where moisture is more common, like your bathroom or basement.

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Daily Deeds To Promote Healthy Living At Home

There are several everyday things you can do to keep your home healthy. You don’t need to clean room-by-room and every inch of the house every day – even small actions can lead to a big impact.

Keep Your Kitchen Clean And Healthy

There are certain areas of the kitchen that you’ll want to keep clean as much as possible. This includes your counters, dining table, fridge and kitchen sink, which is actually one of the dirtiest areas of the kitchen.

Here are a few things to do every day (or at least once per week) to keep these areas clean and healthy:

  • Spot check the fridge and other kitchen appliances for spills, sticky substances, mildew and rotten food. Clean and remove as needed.
  • Wipe the sink dry after cleaning dishes and running the water.
  • Wipe down counters after using them – especially after preparing raw meat – and clean up spills as soon as they happen.
  • Wipe down the dining table after meals and pick up any crumbs.
  • Replace your sponge frequently and clean it by running it through the dishwasher or soaking it in vinegar or a mixture of ¾ cup bleach and one gallon of water for 5 minutes.
  • Use a trash can with a lid and take the trash out daily or weekly to prevent odors and bugs.

Take Your Shoes Off When You Enter

There’s a reason many homeowners want you to “leave your shoes at the door” when you visit. Think of where you walk in an average day and what you may step in. There are several things you can bring into a house just by the shoes you wore outside. That includes dirt, viruses, bacteria, allergens, pet dander and food particles.

Spruce Up Your Home With Indoor Plants

There are several mental and physical health benefits of having indoor plants in your home. Plants absorb carbon dioxide, produce oxygen, add moisture and actually purify the air. They’re also known to reduce stress and anxiety, help you focus and increase feelings of well-being.

Healthy Home = Higher Resale Value

Doing daily maintenance and checking vulnerable areas of the house is important for when it’s time to sell your house, too. Regular cleaning and constant awareness can help you spot and fix small problems before they become big problems, and it helps keep the home and any appliances you’ll leave behind in good condition. This can result in higher resale value and help the home pass inspection with flying colors.

Start With A Healthy Home

As soon as you move into a new home, it’s important to do a deep clean, even if the old homeowners have already done it. They may not have cleaned it to your standards or missed a few spots in their rush to move out. An overall cleaning spree may also help you spot places in need of repair.

After the initial deep clean, you should have another one or two within the year. By performing deep cleans throughout the year, you’re saving yourself from potential disasters down the road.

Keep A Healthy Home

Just because you do deep cleanings throughout the year doesn’t mean your home shouldn’t be cleaned routinely with multiple, smaller cleanings daily. Small things that you can do every day, as mentioned above, will continuously leave your home clean and healthy – and you’ll never have to worry about surprise guests visiting when the house is a mess.

Keeping the home clean while selling will also be beneficial as it will be easier for the buyer to picture themselves in a clean home and not be distracted by dust, dirt and other issues.

The Bottom Line: The Healthier The Home, The Better Value It Will Be

To keep your home clean and healthy, perform daily cleanings, regular spot checks on vulnerable areas and multiple deep cleanings each year. Check appliances, furniture and other home features for safety issues and replace them when needed. Install items that will help, like dehumidifiers, house plants and security features.

Remember, you don’t need to scrub down the home every day, but small cleaning habits can make a lasting impression and will only help you in the long run in terms of comfort, health and even resale value.

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Lauren Nowacki

Lauren Nowacki is a staff writer specializing in personal finance, homeownership and the mortgage industry. She has a B.A. in Communications and has worked as a writer and editor for various publications in Philadelphia, Chicago and Metro Detroit.