Homes, like cars, need routine tune-ups. The difference is that with a home, your health and safety are at risk, and if you let a small problem go now, you could be paying big bucks down the line after the damage is done. Follow these five quick house maintenance checks for Spring, and breathe easier:
1. Post-Winter Mold Spore Test
If you had a drip, leak, or flood this winter from ice and snow on the roof, or water in the foundation, test your home now for mold. Why? Mold grows where there’s moisture, and can be an allergen (causing allergies or asthma) or toxic (flu-like symptoms). As the temperature rises, mold spores proliferate on drywall and insulation behind walls and ceilings – often in places you can’t see. That’s why now’s the time to test for mold to avoid a full-blown mold infestation and any cross-contamination with clean rooms.
2. Clean Air Filters, Air Conditioners, HVAC Units and Ducts.
If you knew what was in your ducts, you’d likely hold your breath! Dust, debris, and mold often collect on filters and in HVAC units, and can spread quickly throughout your home. Regularly check and change filters to avoid distributing dust and mold spores that exacerbate allergies and asthma. You could be breathing easier before you know it!
3. Have Your Water Tested.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises homeowners to check their water annually. Think about it: Would you bathe in contaminated water? Or cook or brush your teeth with it? Home inspectors warn that well water differs from home to home, and municipal water may not be as healthy as you think. Plus, plumbing fixtures and pipes may contain heavy metals that can leach into your water. Need we say more? Get your water tested!
4. Planting a garden? Test your soil first.
Backyard organic farming is all the rage, but it doesn’t mean your produce is entirely safe. The soil around your house may be hosting a variety of contaminants, including lead (from old paint), pesticides, and heavy metals. The impact on your family’s health from these unseen dangers can be great. Be sure to test your soil before you plant to avoid an unhealthy crop.
5. Inspect your basement and crawl spaces.
Freezing winter temperatures can cause cracks and shifts in the foundation, and that can lead to water seepage. Check your foundation inside and outside for damage, and identify any leaks, cracks, and/or mold in your basement. Crawlspaces should also be inspected for standing water, mold, fungus, humidity, and rodents. If the air has a musty smell in either of these spaces, you may have a mold problem.