By: Curtis Fisher

Everyone wants their family to be as healthy as possible. To that end, you cook homemade meals, get active as a family, and promote healthy lifestyle choices. But have you thought about how your home is affecting your family’s health? We’re not just talking about whether your kids have a backyard to play in or the food that stocks your fridge. Your home itself also has a direct impact on your family’s well-being. Want to learn more? Here are three things that could be hurting your family’s health at home and what you can do to change them.

1. Poor Kitchen Ventilation

Foodies know that gas ranges are better, but if you’re cooking on a gas stove-top without proper ventilation, you could be releasing toxic fumes into your home. Gas appliances produce carbon monoxide that can be fatal at high levels. Cooks with electric stoves aren’t in the clear either. No matter what type of appliance you’re using, the very act of cooking releases fumes and particulate matter into the air.

Keep your air clean while cooking by installing a range hood vent. You can choose between ducted and ductless range hoods, but keep in mind that ductless range hoods only recirculate air, not vent it outdoors. Range hood installation runs $200-$500 plus the cost of your new range hood, but prices increase considerably if you need to install ductwork.

There are a lot of little things you can do to create a healthier home for your family, from opening the windows for a few minutes every day to choosing non-toxic cleaning products. However, it’s important to make sure you’re not getting so caught up in the details that you overlook the big things affecting your family’s health. From what covers your walls and floors to the gases and fumes that enter your home, make sure you’re paying attention to the ways your house helps — or harms — your health.

2. Your Flooring

Everyone has opinions on which type of flooring is best. However, if you’re choosing your flooring based on how it feels underfoot or how easy it is to clean, you may be paying attention to the wrong things.

The truth is, flooring has a big impact on indoor air quality, and some popular flooring options get less-than-stellar scores. Engineered flooring materials like vinyl are made with synthetic materials and adhesives that off-gas volatile organic compounds into your home. Carpet is guilty of this too, in addition to trapping dust mites, dander, pollen, mold, and other pollutants that taint the air you breathe.

When it comes to flooring, the best choices are natural materials like solid hardwood. While hardwood floors are more expensive than other options, their durability means you’ll enjoy your floors for years to come. Hardwood flooring plus installation averages $6-$22 per square foot depending on wood type, although you may pay more if you need sub-floor repairs.

3. Lead Paint

Older homes are filled with history and charm. Unfortunately, they’re sometimes also filled with lead paint. Lead paint was used in some homes built before 1978 and still appears in homes built after lead paint was banned from time to time. It’s possible to encapsulate lead paint that’s in good condition, but lead paint that’s chipping, flaking, or cracking requires abatement to stop it from becoming a health hazard. 

Photo by deborah cortelazzi on Unsplash