A Chimney Sweeper's discussion about Home Air Quality
Pay attention because this really affects you and the health of your entire family ! Not too many people are aware that your home's inside air quality is just as important as its physical appearance and condition.....probably even more so ! People are getting sick within their own homes and don't even know it. It's called "Sick House Syndrome" and it's caused by:
- Moldy and Damp Air
- Contaminated Water
- Carbon Monoxide
- Asbestos, Arsenic, or Formaldehyde
- Even your pet and human.......WASTE !
Any one of these conditions can put you in the hospital or kill you over a long period if the conditions are right and it's usually from some type of heart disease.
In my opinion, people don't think about their home indoor environment or air quality. They may notice smells from time to time and buy air fresheners. But they never correct it by finding the real cause. Think of this, did you ever drink water directly from the tap and it tastes like metal ? or have you ever run a bath for your 6 yr old daughter, tell her it's ready and you turn-around and the water looks rusty ?? There are actually studies out there that say OVER 50% of the homes tested for indoor air quality fall below the federal standards for air pollutants that are set for out-door air. Now think about that verses where you actually spend most of your time including sleep, now maybe you'll begin to understand how important this topic is.
Probably the biggest concern is proper air ventilation. This really drives most of the indoor atmosphere and if it's inadequate the house builds up with all kinds or irritants and toxins from almost anything. If the air doesn't flow right, humidity sets in almost faster than any other contaminant and this increases the onset of mold and mildew growth especially in the bath room and kitchen (the only thing that kills mold....believe me is Bleach. I actually carry a few gallons on the truck just to kill mold on the roof, chimney bricks, or in the fireplace as needed when I'm cleaning).
Anything that's been treated with an anti-stain or fire-retardant spray give off vapors into the home months after the first spraying. Good ventilation (....as I open a window in my damp basement) is really the best weapon against poor indoor air quality. It actually prevents the build-up of residues from chemicals, smoke, and odors (which only smell because fungus is present).
Believe it or not ....
"The energy-efficient homes built now-a days with the "prefab" chimneys actually have the draw-back of sealing in - the inside environment so tight that people get sick."
Make sure especially that the bathrooms and kitchen have the best ventilation. Just think about all the water and dirt that gets kicked around from the family in the bath tub, shower, and sink creating the best mold and mildew growing situations I can imagine !
Be sure there are fans. I don't care any thing that moves air like exhaust fans, ceiling fans, and air exchangers - open up more windows ! This is because the more humidity; the more mold, mildew, and growth of air-borne irritants. Many people use dehumidifiers which are great, but use them with open windows in the same room otherwise all you'll be doing is carrying out water.
Allergy sufferers are quick to name cats and dogs as the primary suspects, but what people don't realize is that the symptoms are compounded by smaller creatures such as birds, mice, and even bugs. The droppings from pests (as small as it sounds), grow fungus and causes respiratory disease and asthma. If you to see any of this stuff, don't touch it ! At this point you don't want to create any fecal dust. Clean it with a moist rag and disposable rubber gloves (I've used plastic baggies...like when you see those people picking-up the dog poop !) and never use any kind of vacuum unless it's "HEPA" (High Efficiency Particulate Air) equipped.
In terms of eliminating the rodent waste, don't focus on the removal of the feces unless it's obvious. It's more important to treat the infestation. Do me a favor.... just call a exterminator for about $40 - $50 per treatment (believe me it's worth it !) and you'll be done with it. They use the right gel traps and bait stations, they know the type of bug and where they nest. The chemicals they use are now environmentally friendly and won't contaminate your inside air.
The best way overall to prevent a lot of this is to keep your kitchen, bathrooms, kids rooms as clean as you can. Don't go crazy. But try to do a super quick nightly wipe-down before bed if you spend more than 7 minutes you spent too much time.
Here's how we do it. Time me. Get any spray cleaner and a roll of paper towels........ready go ! Hit the bathroom. Spray the toilet, sink, and tub (1 minute per fixture) done in 3 minutes. Kitchen ready go ! spray the counter top, table, and top of the garbage can done another 3 minutes - that was 6 minutes. One minute left to go get all the kids rooms cleaned. Ready go ! scream at the top of your lungs "HEY KIDS GET UP HERE AND CLEAN YOUR ROOMS !"