4 Steps to a Cleaner, Greener, and Healthier Home
4 Steps to a Cleaner, Greener, and Healthier HomeGuest Editor: Charlotte Meier, HomeSafetyHub.org
As the news becomes more prevalent about our homes possibly being the culprits behind our allergies, headaches, and other health issues, we look for ways to make our homes healthier. But, if you’re not sure where to start, the process of making a cleaner, greener home seems overwhelming. The good news is, you don’t have to toss everything you own and completely start anew. Follow our suggestions to reduce the chances that your home is making your family sick.
Install Programmable Thermostats
Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean that you can’t make your home greener and more eco-friendly. One easy switch you can make is to replace your current thermostats with programmable thermostats. You won’t have the guilt of failing to change your temperature settings when you leave the house or go to bed, and you can enjoy the energy savings you’ll reap when you install one of these devices that regulate your home’s temperatures based on settings for certain times of the day.
Studies are showing that home temperature does impact our health and productivity. For people who have respiratory issues, increasing their home temperature improved their health. For people who have trouble sleeping, cooler temperatures are helpful. Programmable thermostats easily control your home temperature to raise it during the day and lower it during the night so you can optimize your health.
Turn Off Electronic Devices When You’re Not Using Them
Electronic devices seem to be at hand nearly all day. But, they can use a great deal of energy when you are not using them. It’s better to be in the habit of turning off electronic devices like computer monitors, printers, cable boxes, DVD players, and video game consoles, as soon as you finish using them.
To go one step further, unplug your electronic devices when you are not using them or plug them into a power strip and then turn it off when you are not using your devices. That way, no electricity will be flowing to them and you’ll be creating a greener home and reducing your carbon footprint. Don’t forget to unplug your smartphone and tablet chargers when you aren’t using them, too.
Buy House Plants
Studies show that people have less stress when they are in nature. One way to be in nature all the time is to add house plants to your most lived-in rooms. House plants such as orchids and succulents take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen around the clock, so you can increase the oxygen levels in your home if you place these plant varieties around your home. It’s especially helpful to place these plants in your bedroom so you have fresh air throughout the night.
Some house plants also add moisture to your air by releasing a percentage of the water they take in. House plants have been known to help relieve dry skin, colds, sore throats, and dry coughs. House plants also help improve the quality of your home’s air by removing toxins like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from it. Fewer toxins in your home’s air can reduce asthma and allergy symptoms. Finally, house plants have been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce fatigue and anxiety, and decrease colds, headaches, coughs, sore throats, and flu-like symptoms.
Opt for Energy Star Appliances
When the time comes to replace your home’s appliances, you should opt for those labeled Energy Star. Energy Star appliances are energy-efficient, conserve energy, and result in savings in your energy bills. In some cases, Energy Star appliances reduce home appliance energy usage by 10%-50%. The National Resource Defense Council asserts that replacing a refrigerator from the 1980s can save you approximately $100 a year in energy costs, and replacing a washer from 1993 or earlier can save you approximately $100 per year. Energy Star appliances also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and our reliance on fossil fuels and foreign oil.
If you are looking for other ways to improve your home and reduce the health risks it poses to your family, consider scheduling a home inspection. Home inspectors can find other areas of your home that may pose a health or safety risk to you, and they can spot problems or defects that should be corrected.