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Picking Up the Pieces After a Flood

Dealing with serious flood damage at home is not the end of the world. And most importantly, it does not have to cost you an arm and a leg to get your home back into living condition again. In fact, you may find (like I did) that recovering from a flood gives you an opportunity to improve the look and feel of your home overall, and even to implement design options that increase the value of your property. I spent about a year fixing up my place after a pipe exploded while I was on vacation, and literally ruined everything inside from the flooring and walls, to my photos and important paperwork. So, I figured I could help others "pick up the pieces" and create a bigger ad better lifestyle at home by turning a flood situation into an opportunity, instead of dealing with it like a crisis.

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Picking Up the Pieces After a Flood

Indoor Air Quality: Breath Of Life Or Death?

by Scott Gordon

While many people watch the news each day to determine the status of outdoor air pollution, many would be well-served by being as diligent about the air quality in their homes. The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a number of alerts on this subject, identifying it as a priority health concern. Their analysis shows that many homes, even in heavily industrialized cities, have air pollutants levels that are two to five times as high as outdoor air. Understanding the effects of such pollution, and ways to deal with it, is increasingly important to all homeowners.

Understanding the Sources of Indoor Pollution

While there are many sources of potential pollution in a home, the single greatest reason it has become a major problem today is improved home construction techniques. The energy crisis of the 1970s and higher fuel bills put a premium on making homes free of drafts and as airtight as possible. The success in this effort means many homes suffer from a severe lack of ventilation and a shortage of regularly replaced fresh air.

Within these sealed environments, a host of pollutants can create a breeding ground for other problems and health hazards. The average adult breathes 3,000 gallons of air a day, and even minute pollutants quickly accumulate in the lungs. Several of the primary sources include:

  • Tobacco smoke. If anyone in a home smokes, the level of pollutants is high for all occupants, with a special risk for children.
  • Pollen. Plants, flowers and trees all generate billions of pollen particles, and an open door can allow millions to enter in mere seconds. Especially if the air is not constantly refreshed, these particles accumulate on drapes, furniture, in filters, and in the home's ductwork.
  • Animal dander. All animals (and humans) generate dander flakes that spread throughout a home and create a long-term hazard, especially for people with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory issues.
  • Mildew and Mold. Evidence of these mean that millions of spores are growing and spreading in a home, and they are most likely found in humid, warm spaces.

The effects of this indoor pollution are severe, and can include such health problems as fatigue, infections, lung cancer, nasal problems and chronic lung diseases.

Fighting the Problem

The first way the EPA has chosen to fight this problem is with its alerts and education, raising the level of awareness. Additionally, both this agency and a number of other sources, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission, list a number of steps homeowners can take to improve indoor air quality. These include:

  • Ensuring the home heating and cooling system incorporates a fresh air exchanger
  • Investing in high quality, HEPA air filters, and keeping them clean
  • Regularly vacuuming carpets, drapes, furniture and bedding (with an increased frequency if pets are in the home)
  • Control moisture levels in the home, especially in basements

High-quality air filters and vacuums are central to the effort of controlling pollutants in the home. However, even the best of these appliances need regular maintenance. Turning to a professional at a company like Vacuum of Jacksonville for vacuum repair, as well as other better brands, is an important step in keeping the units effective at removing pollutants.

It is not an overstatement to say that anyone concerned about the health of their families will find attention to the issue of indoor air quality may well be one of life and death.

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