We all want to take good care of our families. We try to eat healthy foods. We go to the doctor for regular checkups. We try to protect our families from accidents and illness. But many of us have hidden dangers in our home that can affect our health.
The seven steps to a healthy home are:
- Control the moisture. Water and excessive humidity support the growth of mold, insects, rodents and dust mites. Repair leaking roofs, walls, doors or windows. Cover windows well if they leak. Make sure the clothes dryer is vented to the outside.
- Keep it clean. A clean house is a healthier house. Dust provides food for insects, rodents and dust mites. Clutter makes it difficult to clean and can also serve as a food source for pests. Keep the clutter down and store your belongings in an enclosed area, such as a chest or plastic box, instead of in piles or stacks.
- Keep it ventilated. Ventilation provides a way to remove pollutants and to control humidity. Windows that open and exhaust fans help control pollutants.
- Keep it free of combustion byproducts. Combustion byproducts such as carbon monoxide and soot should not be in a healthy home. Never use the kitchen stove or oven to heat the house. Install carbon monoxide detectors.
- Keep it pest-free. The presence of pests can lead to allergic reactions and may require the use of pesticides. Food and water attract pests. Seal any points where pests enter the house, check window screens regularly and dispose of pesticides safely.
- Keep it free of chemicals. Select household materials that do not release chemicals and store cleaning compounds, pesticides, paints and solvents in a safe place.
- Keep it comfortable. A comfortable temperature and humidity level in a home allows for the windows to be closed if needed. Do not keep the home too hot or too cold. Keep the thermostat set at a comfortable level.
For additional information on keeping a home safe, call the Texas A&M Texas AgriLife Extension Service.
MAGGIE JOVER is the family and consumer sciences extension agent with Texas AgriLife Extension. She can be reached at 940-349-2882.