Hidden Health Hazards in Your Home: Mold and Carbon Monoxide
Home Sweet Home: Keeping Your Family Safe
We all have a desire to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. Typically, the place that we feel the safest is in our home. It’s important to know about hidden dangers you may find in your home to protect those in it, including your four-legged family members as well.
There are hazards in your home that can make you sick and even be potentially fatal. Let’s talk about them to be sure this does not happen.
Hidden Dangers You May Find in Your Home and What yo Do About Them
In this article, we will discuss the following potential hidden health hazards in your home and what you should do about:
- Toxic Mold
- Carbon Monoxide
Mold can grow extremely quickly wherever there is moisture present in your home. Black mold is dangerous and may cause severe illness similar to symptoms of the flu.
Even if you do not visually see mold, you may smell it. Have you noticed a musty odor in your bathroom, closet, basement, attic or anywhere in your home? It is possible that mold is hidden between the walls, behind tiles and under floor boards in your home. It can even be on furniture that is exposed to humid conditions.
What to Do to Keep Mold Out of Your Home
- Fix any plumbing leaks immediately.
- Use a dehumidifier in areas that are prone to moisture and humidity.
- Use a fan in the bathroom when you are showering.
- Keep all the rooms well ventilated.
- Keep your house gutters clean from dirt, leaves, debris and ice buildup.
- Keep your foundation free of water and moisture.
- Be sure you do not have leaking under roof shingles.
How to Clean Small Outbreaks of Mold
There are commercial products on the market. You can also simply use a mixture of 1 gallon of water and 1 cup of bleach.
If you have a severe mold problem in your home, please consider hiring a professional mold-cleaning expert.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is extremely toxic.
The danger of carbon monoxide is typically found in the form of fuel burning appliances such as furnaces, fireplaces, space heaters, water heaters, stoves and clothes dryers. In addition, exhaust from an automobile, especially in attached garages, can be toxic.
In low levels, this toxic gas can cause:
Higher levels of exposure to carbon monoxide can cause:
- Impaired coordination
- Impaired vision
NOTE: If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, get everyone out of the house immediately and contact your local emergency services.
Do you have at least one CO (carbon monoxide) detector in your home?
How to Keep Your Home Free of Carbon Monoxide (CO) Hazards
- Carbon Monoxide Detector: Be sure your home has a working carbon monoxide detector and that it is installed correctly. Test it regularly to be certain it is working properly.
- Chimney: Be sure that your chimney is clean and free from soot or debris. Use a screen cap on top of your chimney to keep birds from nesting and/or leaves from falling in.
- Fireplace: A fireplace flue damper should always be open when in use. In addition, leave a nearby window open a few inches. This will prevent back drafting and also provide circulation of fresh air.
- Portable Gas Heaters: Be sure that any space heater you use has a built-in sensor that will shut the appliance down if the oxygen level in the room drops to a certain level. Because these are unvented appliances, it’s a good idea to open a nearby window a few inches for the same reasons stated above for a fireplace.
- Gas Stove/Oven: Be sure that the stove-top and oven are kept clean. Always check to see that the burners are not clogged. Older appliances should be tested to be sure they are not emitting excessive carbon monoxide. Also keep in mind that a range-top exhaust fan will not help eliminate carbon monoxide unless it is vented outside.
- Charcoal and Gas Grills: Never use charcoal or gas grills in your home. Even when using outside, they should be far enough away from your home’s windows. Not only is carbon monoxide produced from a gas grill, it also is produced in smoldering charcoal embers.
- Gas Water Heater: If a water heater is not installed or working properly, it can produce carbon monoxide. Always be sure the burner or vents are not blocked. It’s a good idea to have the water heater checked and maintained by a professional.
- Gas Clothes Dryer: The dryer burner or exhaust pipes that may be clogged with lint or damaged by other means such as flooding can cause a carbon monoxide danger. An easy preventative measure is to always clean the lint filter after every use.
- Gas Furnace: If a gas furnace has problems with the flue, burner or pilot light not working properly, or a cracked heat exchanger, carbon monoxide could be released into your home. If the pilot light is a yellow flame, this is an indication that your furnace needs maintenance. Have your furnace inspected annually for regular maintenance to insure it is working safely and efficiently.
- Gas Powered Vehicles: Never let your car run idle in an attached garage. When you pull your car into the garage, leave the garage door open for a few minutes before closing it.
- Over Insulating Your Home: Many people heavily insulate their home to help keep their energy bills down. But please keep in mind that this cuts the fresh air supply that could increase the risk of dangerous carbon monoxide levels.
Keeping Your Family Healthy and Safe in Your Home
You’ve now learned about two of the most dangerous health risks found in our homes: mold and carbon monoxide.
Educating yourself about the risks and how to prevent any dangers is the first step to keeping yourself and your family safe. Thank you so much for stopping by.
This is Sharyn's Slant
Questions & Answers
Do carbon monoxide alarms detect black mold?
Not that I know of, although that would be great.Helpful 2