Creating a Happy, Healthy Home Environment (Part3)

RISK 3: CARBON MONOXIDE Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas produced when fuels, such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, and charcoal, are burned. Carbon Monoxide is extremely toxic in high doses, so it is important to recognize your early symptoms of overexposure, including headaches, fatigue, confusion, and dizziness.

Keeping your fuel burning appliances maintained and venting properly prevents any harmful excess of Carbon Monoxide in your home. You can even have your fuel burning gas furnaces, water heaters, ovens, cook tops, dryers, and space heaters inspected before each heating season begins. Also, make sure that your chimneys and flues are not blocked before use.  You can install Carbon Monoxide Detectors in your home, but their performance and reliability vary. Maintaining good care and proper use of those fuel burning appliances, as well as ensuring ventilation in your home are the most sure-fire ways of preventing Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

RISK 4: RADON

Radon is a natural radioactive gas that originates from the breakdown of uranium. This gas seeps into soil, rock, and water sources and can enter your home through cracks and openings in your foundation. If you test your home for radon and find that the gas is present, you can first reduce this flow of radon through having any cracks in your foundation sealed. Keeping your home well ventilated also reduces radon by drawing the gas out and bringing fresh outside air in. A more complicated method of radon reduction is to pressurize your home to prevent the natural movement of radon from the high pressure ground soil to the low pressure cavities of your home. Before you have anyone work on your home to reduce radon levels, make sure your contractor is certified in radon mitigation.  Go to the EPA Website for checklists and more information.