Is my home environment healthy or not? Your home may be harming you

We like to think of our homes as a sanctuary, a place of safety away from the stresses and strains of modern life, but are we really that safe and secure at home?

Are the b*stards out to get us?

Well maybe not, but there are plenty of everyday things around the home that may actually be causing you more harm than good, and you probably won’t even know until its too late.

Your home has many harmful elements, some caused by nature and some caused by ourselves.

There are factors at play both inside and outside the home, so let’s look outside first.

The elements of sun, wind, frost and rain are no friend to your home and each season, they cause untold damage to not only the outside wall surface, but inside the home too.

If your home has damp walls, for example then you need to know that simply applying masonry paint will NOT stop water ingress into your house, in fact applying paint over anything apart from good condition walls can be a disaster and the job won’t last!

The problem is that many of your so called “decorators” do exactly just that, paint over damp, in fact they often paint straight over the top of cracks, blown pebbledash, flaking bricks, algae, mould, the lot!

Your local painter wrongly thinks that his masonry paint will cover over everything.

Well, in a way it will, but only for a few months, or at worst, a few weeks, before it starts to deteriorate, but he has your money, and never gave a guarantee, so you are left in a tricky situation, and in fact may have to pay to get the house painted properly this time!

Walls have to be prepared before anything is applied to them, no matter what it is, and no matter what type of home you own.

The thing is, your house, if it has damp, needs more than just paint.

So we’ve established that painting your pebbledash or brick walls with normal paint won’t cure the various problems your home has, and to be honest, if you choose nothing at all, it will get worse, and cost you far more money in the longer term.

Paint is mainly made with water and adding it to the walls simply adds a short term colour and nothing much else. Paint will not cure damp or any defects, so what is the solution?

A Never paint again wall coating! But of course I would say that wouldn’t I?!

An NPA Wall coating paint scheme is a complete home repair and paint system whereby specialist teams, fully trained to deal with this, do a full repair of the exterior walls of the property, paying special attention to cracks, hollow render, bald pebbledash, and missing brick pointing.

Of course if rendering is something that needs to be done as well, they we often nip down to your local builders merchants, again keeping business local to you, so the price that you pay to have your home painted, even though we are a national company, some of the money is spent back in your local community.

All this remedial and repair work is the first step in not only curing damp, but making sure it never returns.

dehumidifier in a room with mold

Damp is a horrible thing to happen to your house and no DIY solution will ever cure it.

The special coatings out perform paint many times over and as the film of the coating is 20 times the thickness of paint, it protects your house from the weather, both the rain, the cold, and the hot sun.

In fact if you choose to have one of our coating applied to your home, we guarantee that for over 20 years, you wont have to lift a paint brush or roller again

So reading the above, if a damp home can affect my health, what else do I need to look out for?

Let’s concentrate on the inside of your home.

“All I need is the air that I breathe”….. sang the Hollies many years ago, and fast forward today, and what do we think about air quality in general? Is air really all we need?

The Beatles told us it was love.

Who is right?

So do we give our indoor environment a second thought or do we take it for granted?

Air pollution is the environment is often talked about by various governments across Europe, but what about the quality of the air inside your home.

There are some things in YOUR house you may not realise are very harmful!

There are certain building regulations and codes set down by each member state in Europe, although in some cases, such as the British standards for construction, measures already existed to regulate and enforce certain air quality and ventilation guidelines within the built environment, both at work and at home.

There has also been concern of late at the amount of potentially toxic chemicals inside peoples homes, and these can stem from certain cleaning products, or cheaply built furniture, or even the knock-on effect of the smoking ban, and many more people stay at hone and smoke, instead of doing it down the pub.

Having a badly ventilated house can also cause damp issues and the growth of harmful mould on the walls of rooms inside. Here we show you a few ways to keep your house well ventilated and the quality of air high.

How to have clean air in the house.

Having a clean environment in your home means that you will suffer far less from illness and colds and your general health and well being will be much better as a result.

There are various things that are around your home right now that you may not realise, are causing amounts of pollutions and they include common items such as: Air fresheners, cosmetics, Mattresses, cigarettes, moth balls, carpets, paint, fabrics, household cleaning products and so on.

The heating can also cause pollution, and having an open fireplace is a prime example, although having your central heating turned up too high can also create pollution because it renders the room warm enough for bacteria and other bugs to flourish, fleas being a prime example.

Turn down your heating, clean the carpets and hoover all the fabrics, beds and curtains, regularly.

Ventilation!

It is important to ventilate each room by the simple process of opening the windows!

Just opening one is not enough, you need to create a through draught for the air to circulate.

Obviously if you live next to an industrial area, this may not be so easy.

Double glazed windows

 

It is possible to buy air purifiers although they only have a certain level of effectiveness. If you are lucky to have aircon in your home, then the units will have pollen filters which often collect dust and other airborne pollutants so make sure you check and clean the filters regularly.

This also applies to extractor fans, commonly found in either kitchens or bathrooms and are essential for removing polluted air from inside you home, because if they don’t work, the air stays in the home and you breathe it!

It is also very important that you open the bathroom window, yes even if it is cold outside, after bathing or showering, because if you don’t, all that moist air goes into the carpets, curtain and fabrics, and also settles into the walls, causing mould.

Mould releases toxic spores which are very bad for your health and may actually cause asthma.

Avoid using toxic products

There are many toxic or potentially harmful products in homes that people just do not know how bad they are, and the item simply goes into the shopping cart without a second thought.

Many cleaning products, textiles and also building materials, contain formaldehyde, a very harmful chemical which you may not actually know, is a common additive in clothing and bed sheets that do not require ironing.




This is also found in many MDF and chipboard based cheap furniture and there have been studies apparent that show some people can actually fall ill, based on the furniture they have bought.

Comsetics can also contain this chemical, as can spin-off chemical products used in make up such as diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, quaternium-15, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (most commonly known as bronopol), and sodium hydroxylmethylglycinate.

lipstick can be harmful
lipstick can be harmful

Toxic hazards in older houses.

Old houses can also contain hazards and the biggest and most known about one has to be lead paint.

The use of lead paint was banned at the end of the 1970’s in the USA, but rather bizarrely was NOT banned from use in the UK until about 1992, so many houses built right up into the 1980’s could have traces of lead paint in them.

Even Australia banned the use of lead paint as far back as 1970 and is now controlled as a part of Australian [building] Standard 1716.

Paint on a house in Essex
decorating a listed building in Essex. This photo is copyright GS decorating and used with kind permission of Greg Clark.

Lead paint is very dangerous and can cause blood poisoning and even death. Children are very much at risk too as they run their hands over walls where paint flakes and powders, and then put their fingers in their mouth.

It is also worth noting that if you collect old toys, like Dinky cars or something, the paint on them WILL contain harmful lead so don’t give them to your grand children or kids to play with.

In general, lead paint is only dangerous when removed, so sometimes the best remedy for this is to paint over it and leave it where it is.

Summary

The quality of the air in homes is often either forgotten about or at best misunderstood, but do not underestimate how dangerous some products around the house can be, and do not underestimate the importance of ventilating your home for clean and fresh air.

It’s hard to think about that during winter time, but houses need clean air or what happens is that all the toxic chemicals in your home, and your 2nd hand breath, is constantly recycled and you end up with dirty air, and that is air the you and your family breathe in every day. Don’t smoke in the house either.

Make sure also that the exterior walls of your home are in good condition, maybe with an external wall coating which will stop damp, cold walls and condensation, meaning the damp is not allowed to grow. If you put all this advice together, you should be breathing in clean, or cleaner air in no time at all and your health with benefit as a result.

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