The country is breathing an anticipated but long-awaited sigh of relief as we head into 2022. Most of us spend more than 60 percent of our lives inside our homes on average1.
The following tips for a healthier home in the New Year will help your family stay on a positive trajectory toward good health.
1. Let in fresh air
Florida residents are accustomed to shutting up their homes and turning on the air conditioning to survive the heat. However, whenever possible, letting in fresh air from the great outdoors is a good idea. Cooler weather is sure to arrive along with the New Year, so open the windows to allow fresh air to circulate through the house. If possible, create a cross breeze but take safety precautions. Keep windows closed when you’re away from home and shut them at bedtime.
2. Keep Moisture Out
Moist environments are a breeding ground for dangerous, toxic mold to grow. Ventilate bathrooms and other areas of the house that are susceptible to moisture, such as attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Eliminate standing water around your home when possible, addressing leaks as they occur. For instance, don’t allow wheelbarrows and pots for plants to sit with water inside them. Dump the water into your garden or use it to soak a dry spot on the lawn.
Most importantly, exhaust moisture to the outside.
3. Let in Natural Light
You might have heard that exposure to natural light improves your mood. Well, there’s some scientific support behind that. A U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, on the impact of daylight exposure to your health and sleep quality, indicates that “…light exposure or the lack thereof, during work hours may have effects beyond the workplace, impacting sleep duration and quality, which may then have further effects on other health factors.”
Let the sunshine in. Natural light has a more positive impact on overall health than artificial light. The recommended daily amount of vitamin D, which natural light produces, is 800 international units for people who are more than 70 years old. For little children, a year old or more, it is 400 IU and 700 IUs for the demographic between one and 70 years of age2. Open window blinds to allow light to flood inside to make up for the amount of vitamin D that’s not transferred to us through diet.
4. Choose to Go Au Naturale
Choose all-natural cleaners to lessen exposure to toxins. Green cleaners are better for the environment but are also a safer choice that poses less risk to your health.
5. Eliminate Slip and Fall Hazards
Protect your family from the leading cause of injury deaths at home. Sadly, falling accounts for 6,000 home deaths per year3. Remove obstructions that block traffic patterns inside the house and around the yard, too. Keep the staircase clear of obstacles and test the handrail for sturdiness. Wipe up spills quickly to avoid slips and falls and install grab bars in bathrooms and showers. Add rubber grips to shower and tub floors. Rethink carpeting and rugs if an older adult lives in your home. Flat, even surfaces are safer for anyone with mobility issues.
6. Eliminate Fire Hazards
Fire is the third leading cause of accidental injury deaths occurring at home. Home fires claim more than 3,000 deaths per year. Simply removing the lint from the dryer’s lint trap can help your family to avoid a house fire. Most dryer fires occur during the winter months, peaking in January, so make a New Year’s resolution to keep up with cleaning lint from the dryer.
7. Prepare for the Worst
Bad things happen to good people, so prepare for the worst-case scenario. Install smoke alarms in bedroom areas and on each floor and wing of your home. Change the batteries every six months to ensure they’re in good working order and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to check them periodically. Install carbon monoxide detectors, too. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand and learn how to use it before it’s necessary.
8. Assess Water Quality
Public drinking water from local municipalities must pass rigorous standards before it reaches the tap in your home. However, you’ve probably heard of compromised water, creating a health risk that sadly reaches customers. Install a water filter to avoid impurities that slip through. You can also have the water in your home tested by a professional to ensure it meets quality standards and is free of contaminants that can harm you.
9. Clean Air Filters
Your HVAC system sends particles through the air that are dangerous to breathe, especially for people with allergies. Replace air filters at least once every three months to ensure the particles aren’t distributed through the air. Additionally, use filters that are specifically manufactured for the unit installed in your home.
10. Clean Air Ducts
If you need to replace air filters more often than you think you should or if the outside of vents is dirty and dusty, then the ducts in your home may need cleaning, and dirt isn’t the primary reason. Dirty ducts may harbor toxins and disperse poisons through the house when the air condition or heat is turned on. Mold spores might be present, and other bacteria that compromise your family’s health. Call in a professional to inspect the ducts for excessive dirt and grime that may house dangerous toxins.
FPL Home is an unregulated subsidiary of Florida Power & Light Company (FPL). FPL Home Services is a subsidiary of FPL Home and an unregulated indirect subsidiary of FPL. Contracting services are offered, administered and backed by FPL Home Services, and not FPL Home or FPL. License Nos. CFC1430331, CAC1820030 and EC13007891.