Healthy Home Principle 1 – “Keep It Dry”

The National Healthy Home Principles are put forth to help all of us create and maintain the best home environment that we can. The principles are important for houses or apartments and can be applied no matter what style or form that your home takes.  We will be discussing the seven principles over the next few weeks. These principles provide the basic framework for the Household Guardians Home Safety Blueprint.

The first principle of a healthy home is to keep it dry. This means checking for leaks around pipes under the kitchen sink, bathroom sinks, washing machines, and dishwashers. If a pipe is leaking, it could easily lead to mold growth in the dampness. So, it is very important to determine the source of the leak and make the repair or call a professional to make the repair. Water damage is insidious if allowed to continue.

If you discover mold, it should be cleaned as soon as possible to minimize allergic symptoms. There are common household solutions to small amounts of mold and mildew contamination such as bleach diluted 90% with water or white vinegar. If the mold is more extensive, there are commercial products that are available at home supply stores. These products have several brand names such as Microban and Shockwave and come as concentrates that also need to be diluted when used. Always wear gloves when cleaning, especially when using these products.

Also, take a good look around your home after a rainstorm for any roof leaks or drainage problems. It is important to keep the gutters and downspouts clear so the water can flow off the roof and away from the house. Water often has a mind of its own and will travel the path of least resistance. So water leaks from the roof can be hard to find if the water travels along rafters and shows up as a ceiling stain across the room from the point of origin. Often professional help is required to make the necessary repairs.

The health benefits of a dry home are fewer allergy triggers from mold and reduced habitats for pests that thrive in a moist environment. If you live in a home built before 1978, that may have been painted with lead based paint, keeping it dry will reduce the likelihood of peeling paint and a lead paint hazard.