Healthy Home Living Tips
Living in a dry and warm environment is good for everyone, but for people with a respiratory condition it is vital for them to stay well.
Many houses are damp and cold, leading to more colds and flu which aggravates respiratory conditions. Making your home dry, warm and pollution-free will make it a healthy home and also save you money and energy.
How to stay dry and keep moisture out
- Put lids on pots when cooking
- Dry clothes outside
- Vent your clothes dryer to the outside
- Air your house on fine days
- Air clothes, shoes and wardrobes regularly
- Use extractor fans or open windows in the kitchen and bathroom to remove moisture
- Remove mould or mildew from walls, shower curtains, etc. with a fungicide e.g. very diluted household bleach.
- Check for water leaks from guttering, plumbing etc, and have them repaired
- Ensure that there is adequate drainage around your house
- Black plastic on the ground under the house will keep it drier and easier to heat
- An in-roof ventilation system will reduce condensation
- Consider double glazing if you are building or replacing windows
How to stay warm and keep heat in
- Have well-fitting curtains and pull them at night to keep heat in
- Use draught stops under doors and draught proofing strips around windows and doors
- Use a healthy form of heating such as a flued gas heather, heat pump, pellet or wood burner
- Insulate your ceiling and under the floor to keep heat in and heating costs down**
*Unflued gas heaters release moisture and harmful gases into the home
**40% of heat can be lost through an uninsulated ceiling and 10% through the floor
How to stay pollution-free and keep air clean
- Make your home smokefree. Stop smoking or smoke only outside
- Use an electric or flued gas heater rather than unflued gas heaters
- Air your house on fine days
- Limit the use of strong-smelling cleaners, air fresheners and flysprays
- Keep dust to a minimum – dust with a damp cloth and vacuum regularly
- Consider hard floors and rugs, ideally with underfloor insulation, instead of fitted carpets
Dealing with Condensation
Condensation occurs when water vapour is converted into liquid water. If the air temperature drops, at night for example, some of that moisture will be released when the warm air comes in contact with a cooler surface like a wall, ceiling or window pane and then droplets of water form on the surface. This contributes to mould growth and makes houses feel colder and more difficult to heat. Mould is also a trigger for asthma.
Our daily habits create a cycle of condensation – even morning showers and cooking breakfast produce water. Ventilation is important for reducing and controlling condensation. Fortunately is takes just a little effort to do this. The cheapest and most effective method is to have windows open a small amount over long periods of time. (Security concerns can be addressed through fitting security stays or fitting aluminium windows with passive ventilation and condensation channels.) Externally vented extraction systems in the kitchen (range hood) or bathroom (extraction fans) will reduce moisture levels significantly. Close doors to the bathroom or laundry if large amounts of water vapour are being produced so that it doesn’t spread throughout the house, and open the window in those rooms to allow water vapour to escape