Our homes play an important role in our health. As the place where we spend the majority of our time (especially in the last year!), they are key to our physical and mental wellness.
There are many home improvements you can make to your home that will make it a healthier place for you to live. As a Certified Master Green Professional, T.W. Ellis is trained in the best ways to make your home healthier and more efficient.
Improve indoor air quality
When it comes to home health, indoor air quality is one of the most important factors.
Most people think of air quality as an outdoor issue, but the reality is that the air inside your home can be even more contaminated. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, inside air is, on average, two to five times more contaminated than outside air.
The dust, pet dander, allergens and off-gassing of household chemicals can be a significant health issue, especially for those with asthma or other respiratory issues.
There are several changes you can make in your home to address indoor air quality:
- As air cycles through your home, contaminants are caught in the HVAC filters. Frequent replacement will not only improve indoor air quality, but will also lengthen the life of your HVAC system. How often you need to change them depends on a number of factors, including the usage of your HVAC system and the type and size of the filter used. A good rule of thumb is every three months.
- High humidity creates the perfect conditions for growing mold, mildew and dust mites. A humidity level of 30 to 50 percent in your home is considered optimal depending on the season. Remember to run an exhaust fan in the bathroom. A turnkey whole-house system will automatically monitor and adjust humidity levels.
- If your kitchen doesn’t have a fan or range hood that vents to the exterior, consider that as part of your next kitchen remodel. It will remove potentially hazardous gases and pollutants from cooking, not to mention steam, heat and odors.
- Plants are basically nature’s air purifiers. They help take carbon dioxide and other gases and convert them into healthy oxygen, so add some houseplants.
- Whenever possible, open up the windows or screen doors and left some fresh air in!
Think about materials
If you’re getting ready to remodel or thinking about it, consider choosing materials that are less toxic and have lower amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Select carpets that have a low emission level. Options like tile, bamboo and some hardwoods are low in VOCs, while vinyl floors have higher levels.
Paints are also available in low-VOC or VOC-free options. Many other building materials can off gas toxins. T.W. Ellis can give you the best information for your home and help you find the healthiest options to keep your home’s indoor air safe and healthy.
Use natural light
There are many physical, mental and emotional health benefits to natural light. Natural light boosts the vitamin D in your body, which strengthens the immune system and promotes bone health. Studies show that exposure to natural light during the day helps you sleep better at night.
Lack of natural light during the short days of winter can cause Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which affects millions of American. Exposure to just 15 minutes of natural light releases serotonin, sometimes called the body’s “happy chemical.”
Large windows or indoor/outdoor spaces like sunrooms are a great way to improve your home’s wellness!
Improve the ergonomics of your kitchen
You probably spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so if it’s not properly designed, it can cause a lot of stress. Ergonomics is the science of designing products and environments to optimize them for how they are used.
Rethinking countertop and appliance heights, putting frequently used pots and pans within easy reach and adjusting cabinets will improve the workflow of your kitchen. Look at the places in your kitchen where you need to frequently stretch or bend over, or any place where you are uncomfortable. Those are the areas that need to be fixed!
Create a relaxing space
It’s important to balance the hustle and bustle of life with time to relax. Creating a space in the home for a retreat, even if it’s just a small corner of a room, can help maintain your mental health. It can be an area designed for quiet thought or a relaxing activity like reading or yoga, or a home gym if your relaxation is more active.
This is even more important today with so many of us working and learning at home.
Vacuum and clean regularly
A clean house is a healthier house. Vacuuming carpets and area rugs at least once a week will help remove dust mites, pet hair, mold and other allergens hiding in your home. A vacuum with a HEPA filter will help get rid of other toxins. Don’t forget about furniture, drapes and bedding, which are all magnets for contaminants. Clean the filter on your vacuum regularly.
Ready to make your home healthier? Contact T.W. Ellis today to discuss your remodeling needs!