Healthy at Home in Maine
National Healthy Homes Month is an effort coordinated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in June of each year. It is most fitting this year, when most of us are spending much more time at home with our families, to recognize the importance of a healthy home. One of the focuses in this year’s campaign is to raise awareness of the importance of home maintenance and its impact on health. Here are the 8 principles of a healthy home as published by the HUD, with our thoughts on each principle to help you be healthy at home in Maine.
Keep it dry
Running water is one of modern society’s best innovations. But, when your plumbing leaks, the damage to your home and health can be devastating. While major leaks are usually obvious and cause damage quickly, minor leaks can go months before it’s evident that there is a problem. Water can drip under floors and into ceilings below, damaging building materials and growing mold. A leaking roof can wreak havoc on your home as well. The insurance industry has data from 2014-2018 that indicates the average water damage claim is over $10,000.Be sure to fix plumbing leaks and roof wear as soon as you notice them.
Keep it clean
We all know clutter and dirt can accumulate quickly. Keeping clutter under control and keeping a regular cleaning schedule can help keep dust mites and mold at bay and will make your home less attractive to pests such as ants and mice.
Keep it safe
Many injuries, such as burns and falls, happen most often at home. Insurers are strict about handrails on steps and stairs for a reason. Homeowners insurance covers injuries sustained by visitors if you are negligent about safety. It does NOT provide coverage for injuries that happen to you or members of your household, or injuries to others if you are not negligent. So, keep an eye out for dangers that could cause an injury.
Keep it well ventilated
Having a fresh air supply is important for the health of your family. Be sure your heating and cooling vents are clean and air is flowing freely through them. Remember the importance of cleaning your dryer vent to avoid fire. Consider exhaust fans for your range and in your bathroom.
Keep it pest-free
Even clean homes can be subject to a pest infestation. Here in Maine, mice and squirrels will love finding the tiny cracks in your home so they can find a warm place to settle in for the winter. These unwanted visitors can cause damage to your home and reduce the quality of the air. Keep watch for signs of pests and take quick action to rid your home of them.
Keep it contaminant-free
Have your home tested for contaminants such as lead, asbestos, radon, and carbon monoxide. Many toxic and even deadly substances are invisible and odorless. And never smoke inside your home. Second-hand smoke can have lasting negative effects on the health of your family and the quality of your home.
Keep it well maintained
Get into the habit of fixing anything that gets broken, to avoid further damage due to exposure to the elements, and to prevent injuries. Consider updating systems before they break, such as your heating, electricity, plumbing, and roof. Many insurance companies offer a reduction in premiums for updated systems. If you rent, contact your landlord right away whenever something needs repair.
Keep it temperature controlled
In Maine, “temperature control” primarily means “heat.” With six months of winter, heat is not something we tend to overlook. If you go on vacation or leave your home for the winter, it’s important to keep your home heated so that your plumbing doesn’t freeze and cause water damage. If your home gets uncomfortably hot and humid in the summer, an air conditioner will help keep you cool and will prevent moisture build-up.
June is a great month to focus on making your house healthy. It’s also a great time to review your insurance! Contact an agent today.