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Give Your Home a Checkup

Inspect your house room by room, just like the pros, to look for health and safety threats.

You want your home to be a refuge from the bustle and stress of daily life. But how can you make sure it’s safe and healthy for you and your family?

Use this checklist to identify several common health or safety hazards and to learn simple steps to correct them. 

Overall Home Health

  • Ban smoking indoors. Many people worry about air pollution outside. But the air inside your home matters, too. One easy way to make your home healthier is to set a no-smoking policy indoors. Opening a window or running a fan is not enough to protect inhabitants from secondhand smoke.

  • Check for lead paint. Homes built before 1978 may contain lead paint, which is especially dangerous to young children. If your home was built earlier, have a certified inspector test it. Research the best way to clean up, remove, or seal lead paint or how to remodel a home that has lead paint before you undertake these potentially hazardous projects.

  • Maintain heating systems. Have your furnace, fireplace, and chimney checked yearly by a qualified technician. Furnaces, stoves, water heaters, and fireplaces can all cause a deadly buildup of carbon monoxide (CO) if it doesn’t operate or vent properly.

  • Find and fix water leaks. Moisture can seep into your home from the outside, such as through the roof or basement, or collect indoors, such as from a dripping pipe under a sink. Moisture encourages mold growth.

  • Keep air-handling equipment clean. The filters, coils, and fins of air conditioners need regular maintenance to work efficiently. Routinely replacing or cleaning filters is the most important thing you can do to keep the air in your home clean and to save energy.

Your Kitchen

  • Store chemicals safely. Keep household cleaners and other substances in their original containers with their labels. Never put such products in containers used for food. Keep them in cabinets with child-resistant latches or locks.

  • Get rid of cooking fumes. Open the window or run the exhaust fan if you have one to remove moisture and fumes.

  • Contain food supplies. Seal up food and clean spills promptly to discourage bugs and other pests that may harm your health.

  • Monitor water quality. If you have your own well for drinking water, an annual test can spot contaminants. Call your local or state health department to find out about testing in your area. If you get drinking water from a public water system, your supplier must send you an annual water-quality report. 

Your Bathrooms

  • Use the exhaust fan. Doing so when you shower or bathe reduces moisture and helps prevent growth of molds. If you have no fan, open the window.

  • Store medicine safely. Keep medicines and supplements in the containers they came in. Put them where children can’t see or reach them, and use child-resistant latches to keep kids out.

Your Bedrooms

  • Install smoke alarms. Put one outside sleeping areas, one inside each bedroom, and one on every level of your home. Test alarms monthly and change batteries at least once a year. Replace alarms every 10 years.

  • Add a CO detector. You should have one outside each bedroom area and on each level of your home. Test alarms monthly and replace their batteries every year.

  • Dust and wash often. Clean up surface dust, minimize moisture, and wash bedding (and washable stuffed toys) once a week in water that’s at least 130 degrees to help control dust mites. These microscopic bugs can trigger allergic reactions or asthma attacks.

© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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