One of the most common resolutions people make every year is to take better care of their bodies, either by losing weight, quitting smoking or exercising more. Another resolution that may be easier to stick with is to better take care of your home! When you consider the amount of time your family spends at home, it makes total sense to give your home an annual physical to make sure you are doing what is needed to keep your home and your family healthy. HouseMaster has prepared a list of some basic items to check to help assist you in performing a “physical” on your home.
- Security Alarms/Detectors. Check all safety and security alarms. If tied into a monitoring system ensure all contact information is up to date.
- Smoke/Fire Alarms. These are your family’s first line of defense –warning you in the event of a fire/smoke emergency. Test all fire/smoke alarms regularly. Change the batteries at least annually. Set a regular date to change the batteries in all the units. Replace older units (after five years or as otherwise recommended by the manufacturer).
- CO Monitors. Carbon Monoxide is odorless and colorless. A CO detector is the only way to identify elevated levels of CO in your home before physical injury occurs. If you don’t have CO monitors protecting your home from this toxic gas, you should act immediately and install them in strategic locations near the sleeping areas and other points recommended by the manufacturer or local officials. Check that presently installed units are operational and change batteries annually.
- Moisture and Mold. Mold spores abound in any home, but they need moisture and food to become a health threat. Most molds are toxic; however, any mold – and the cause of the mold – needs to be eliminated. The first step in minimizing the health effects from mold is to remove the moisture. Check major appliances and all plumbing fixtures for leaks. Look closely around and under showers, tubs, and any tilework. Don’t forget roof and exterior wall penetrations. The flashings at these areas often need to be resealed periodically. If mold is found, consider testing it to identify the type of mold and determine remediation options.
- Radon Testing. Radon gas is another odorless, colorless health hazard that could be lurking in your home. Testing is easy and inexpensive. Do it yourself test kits are available at most hardware stores. If elevated levels are found, the good news is a radon mitigation system can be installed to reduce the health threat and give you peace of mind.