Tips to help make your home safer, healthier, and more efficient... Part 2

By
Home Inspector with Larry Inspects TREC #6060

4.    Motion Sensors - Lights left burning are a common waste of electricity. Try using a motion sensor switch for lights in laundry rooms, halls, and closets. These switches will turn off the lights minutes after anyone leaves the area.
5.    Range Hoods (vent-a-hood) - Range hoods are a very important tool in the house. However, for them to be effective, they must be vented to the outside of the building. Range hoods remove moisture, grease, and excessive heat from your cooking area. Recirculating hoods can filter out some of the grease and odors, but do nothing for the heat and moisture. Exhaust hoods that vent to the attic release moisture and grease into the attic. This grease can be a major problem in the event of an attic fire. Also remember that a hood with a blower will outperform a hood with a fan even though they have the same cfm rating.
6.    Fresh Air Combustion - Every gas appliance depletes oxygen from the air and creates carbon monoxide, an odorless and lethal gas. Where possible, add a duct to bring in outside air, or even attic air to the combustion area. This is most effective with gas water heaters and gas furnaces.
7.    HEPA Vacuum - Vacuum cleaners can be sources of air pollution in homes.  Many vacuum cleaners pick up the larger particles of dirt so that the carpet looks clean. But the smaller particles - the ones that are more dangerous to lung tissue because they can penetrate deeper - are not retained by the vacuum cleaner's filter. Instead, they are shot out in the exhaust air, aggravating allergies and redistributing dust, mold spores, lead dust, animal dander, etc., throughout the home. These tiny particulates that are recycled float around for hours before settling down. Anyone in the room is breathing them in.  Many carpets contain years of accumulated recycled particulates. Carpets may contain dust, mold spores, pollen, animal dander, dust mites, pesticides, lead dust, asbestos and fiberglass fibers, and other pollutants.  A HEPA vacuum should be used to contain these particulates. "HEPA" means a filter that removes 99.97% of particulates 0.3 micrometers or larger in size. "HEPA" stands for "high efficiency particulate arrestor."  A conventional vacuum cleaner removes particulates down to about 35 microns or larger in size. From the chart below, you can see that dust mite feces, mold,  pollen, bacteria and asbestos fibers would be spewed out the exhaust of an conventional vacuum cleaner.
                         Human hair 60 - 80 microns
                         Dust mite waste particles 10 - 24 microns
                         Mold 4+ microns
                         Pollen 10 - 40 microns
                         Bacteria 0.3 - 50 microns
                         Asbestos (fibers) 3 - 20 microns

 

More tips to come later.

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