How to avoid carbon monoxide hazards

Carbon monoxide is known by many as the silent killer. It is a highly toxic gas that can kill you in minutes. Having excessive amounts of carbon monoxide in your house is a health hazard. There are many carbon monoxide hazards which can be avoided when you have the right knowledge on how to deal with it.

The first step to dealing with carbon monoxide is identifying its source. There are many areas in your home that this gas can be emitted from and it is important that you keep checking in this areas. They include:

  1. Wood and gas stoves
  2. Generators
  3. Motor vehicles
  4. Gas and wood fireplaces
  5. Water heaters and dryers

Once you have identified the areas that the gas could potentially stem from then you ensure that you take the necessary precautions to keep the gas away from filling up your house. You can do this by:

  • Ensuring your house has enough ventilation

Carbon monoxide fills your house when it has no ventilation to get out. When you have sufficient windows, doors and ventilation systems in your home, you can simply open them to let out the gas and let in oxygen.

  • Only run generators outside

Many people ignore this warning and run their generators in closed spaces like garages and basements. It is important to understand that garages and basements do not have windows. Operating the machines outside ensures that there is sufficient airflow and all the carbon monoxide is blown away.

  • Do not use ovens or gas stoves for warmth

Running your oven or gas stove to warm the house is a sure way of welcoming carbon monoxide into your home. The same case applies to charcoal or barbecue grills, if you use them indoors, you allow for the buildup of the silent killer.

  • Do not run any engines in closed spaces

You may have a garage but it should not be used to run engines. Whether it is a mower, generator, car, truck or any other motor, do not run it unless it is outside. This should especially apply to homes whose garage and main house are attached.

Carbon monoxide can kill you in a matter of minutes, but you can also save yourself through these easy steps:

  1. Open all windows and doors to enable the circulation of air.
  2. Call for help from the fire department or a gas company
  3. Leave the room and go outside for fresh air

The most important thing that you can do is have carbon monoxide detectors installed in the home, where they can easily be heard if you are sleeping. Too many lives are lost each year because carbon monoxide detectors aren’t installed.


Five ways of preventing mold

Mold growing on walls

Mold is a very recurrent problem in many apartment buildings and home. Being an unwelcome visitor, mold can be hard to get rid of completely which is why prevention is better. There are many dangers of mold which extend to your health. Some people only get mold allergies while to others it affects their respiratory system. To stay healthy and safe from mold, you can prevent it from ever forming through this easy steps:

  • Lower the humidity levels in your house

Humidity is the biggest attractor of mold in your house and to keep away mold; you need to ensure that the humidity levels remain at 50% or lower every day, never higher. To effect this step, an air conditioner can help regulate the humidity levels in the house.

Changes in humidity occur throughout the day as the moisture in the air increases or decreases. You will, therefore, have to check on the levels more than once each day to ensure that they do not exceed the recommended levels.

  • Fix all leaks in the house

A leaking roof, faucet, wall or any other part of your home is a gateway to the formation of mold. Any leaks should be immediately fixed to ensure that no part of your house has moisture all the time since it is the essential ingredient for the growth of mold. Your home plumbing system should always be in great shape.

  • Your home needs adequate ventilation

If there is the inadequacy of ventilation in your house, mold will come knocking. It is important to have ventilations and use them accordingly, open the windows to let in fresh air and also use exhaust fans in bathrooms and the kitchen.

  • Use mold inhibitors

Using mold inhibitors is a common way of ensuring that mold never bothers you. It’s an easy solution that works long term, all you need to do is mix the inhibitors in the paint and then paint your home. The inhibitors block the growth of mold, but it is also important that you keep the walls in good shape to avoid leaks.

  • Use mold killing products to clean your bathroom

If not properly cleaned and dried, bathrooms tend to be the first place that you notice mold growing. Ensure that when cleaning the bathroom, you use products that kill mold to kill off any forming mold and prevent the growth of mold in your house.

Electrical safety tips to implement at home

For any home owner, electrical safety is among the list of things that they should check. It is important that before purchasing a home, you ascertain the safety of the home during the inspection. Ensuring that you regularly test the electrical safety of your home is also very important.

Only a certified electrician should handle electricity issues; it is important that you have an expert do it for you. Power wise, some of the things to inspect are:

  • Electrical wiring

If the wiring in your home is done in haste, then it leaves room for mistakes. When it comes to electricity, even the smallest mistake can cost you and your family dearly. Check that the wiring is properly done and no bare wires are running through your house. Ensure that you have safety fuses.

  • Circuit breakers, fuses and outlets

All fuses in your house should be in great working condition; they should never be loose. They should have high rankings and should a fuse blow, you should immediately turn off the lights at the circuit breaker. Regularly check on the condition of the circuit breaker.

When you have a faulty fuse, do not ever replace it with a coin or in the dark. Your circuit interrupter for all sockets should be outside the house and preferably be ground fault circuit breaker. Inspect the condition of your power outlets often and during wiring, check where your power outlets are located. They should not be too close to your gas supply outlet.

  • Electrical appliances

Many people forget to unplug their devices after they are done using them. Unplugging your appliances does not only save you power bills but also ensures your safety. When disconnecting these devices, always ensure that your hands are not wet. Remember to keep all your power tools away from water.

  • Cords and extension plugs

Naked cords, plugs or extension cords are a huge electrical hazard. Always ensure that your cords do not run near a source of water or heat. You should also know when to replace your wires, at the first sign of wear, get a new extension cord.

If you have any issues with electricity, do not try to fix them yourself. Always call an electrician to take care of your power problems and avoid electrical accidents.

If you suspect you may have issues, and want an unbiased opinion from someone who has nothing to gain from selling you numerous repairs, you should contact a professional home inspector, such as

Five things to know about buried oil tanks

Buried oil tank

Having a buried oil tank comes with a myriad of benefits. It is however also accompanied by maintenance and possible things that could go wrong like leakages and contamination of soil and water around your neighborhood. Every home that has an underground oil tank has a list of questions that they would love solved for them. Some of the basic things to know include:

  • There are leak tests, no need to dig the tank up

Many people struggle with this; they hardly check whether their tanks are leaking or might leak because they think the process involves digging out the tank. The process would be quite expensive which is therefore off-putting for many people. What you ought to know is that it is possible to check for leakages without digging up the tank.

There are commercial testers who will do the tanks test, and they can also look at the piping. Waiting to notice oil leaks and contamination is now avoidable.

  • You can leave the empty tank underground

Although the best choice is always to remove the tank even when it is empty, you also have the option of leaving the tank underground. To leave the tank under, there are measures to be implemented for Safety purposes, but they are easy and straightforward.

  • When to replace your oil tank

Out of the many buried oil tank problems, this is perhaps the one that confuses many people. No one knows when they should replace their oil tank. The easy answer to that, however, lies in the age of your oil tank. If the buried tank is between 10-15 years old and does not leak, then consider changing it. Once a tank leaks early on, its lifespan considerably reduces.

  • How to determine a leaking tank

Knowing when your tank is leaking is a tough game. It is possible to find out when there is a leaking tank from observations like contamination. You can determine if the reservoir is leaking by observing if your home’s oil for cooking increases. You can also check for signs of contamination. Any tank that has any defects should be recalled and safer tanks provided for the safety of people and durability.



Chemical treatments for termites and their safety

A termite infestation is something you want to avoid at all costs. Nonchemical treatments for termites are available, but they could take some time and in some cases not work very efficiently. To deal with termites sternly, you need to use pesticides.

Companies that sell pesticides must have the necessary permits to operate. Some of the chemical treatments for termites are:

  1. Wood treatments like Borates
  2. Termiticides applied to the soil
  3. Using termiticides on building materials
  4. Using termite baits

Termite bait traps

The safety of these chemicals

No chemical has 100% guarantee on safety which is why it is important to take safety precautions when dealing with pesticides. Many of the ingredients used to manufacture the termiticides are harmful to human health. Each pesticide comes with a set of instructions on how to use and what to avoid. These instructions are very crucial.

To prevent coming into contact with toxic termiticides while eradicating termites, it is imperative that you:

  • Read the label carefully

When you follow all the instructions given on the label of the termiticide, you will protect yourself and eliminate all the termites from your home. The labels have details on usage and also all the possible risks from potential exposure to the chemical. Do not use any pesticide unless you understand the instructions given. Call the company to ensure that you have all the details right if something is not clear.

  • Buy brand name pesticides

Even when it is chemicals to spray on the ground or wood, it is important that you get a good brand. Ensure that the brand you buy has permits, licenses and is a recognized brand. Choose a company with adequate experience and a spotless record. All this information is easy to find through customer reviews online.

  • Respect the time you should stay away after spraying

Many people believe that ingesting chemicals is the only way they can cause harm to your body. Inhaling these chemicals is equally dangerous which is why you should stay away from the area you spray until it is clear. The instructions on the termiticide indicate how long you should avoid the area.

Addressing radon gas in your home

Every house in the US has been found to contain trace amounts of radon gas. 1 in every 15 homes has dangerous levels of the gas, and it is important that it is addressed immediately. Radon gas is among the most feared gases due to the health risks it poses to humans. The dangers of radon gas include lung cancer, especially in people who smoke. Studies are also trying to figure out the link between the gas and leukemia.
All the dangers of radon gas can be averted by conducting a home test to find out if the levels are very high. Radon gas is both odorless and colorless which makes it impossible to detect without the proper testing tools. There are test kits that offer short term testing capabilities and take between two and seven days to give results. Long term kits take 90 days to give a full report on the levels of the gas all year long.

Radon Enters the House

Radon gas testing is highly recommended anytime you make some significant adjustments to your homes like installing new doors and windows, changing your heating or cooling systems and anything that could change the pressure and ventilation of your house allowing more gas to enter.

Once you have the test kit, place the container in an area of your home that has less traffic. Once the duration of the test is up, seal the container and take it to a lab. When the results come in, check that your levels do not exceed 4.0 pCi/Li. If they do, it is time to call a contractor to help you contain the gas. The gas can be contained through:

  1. The installation of a suction system in the house. The system will remove the gas that is already in your home and significantly lower the levels to working levels that are safe for people.
  2. If there are any cracks in your foundation, they need to be fixed to block the entrance of radon gas into your home.
  3. Change your ventilation choices. In as much as your home requires adequate ventilation, investing in the right kind to prevent radon gas is important. The pressure in your house should also be balanced.

As always, it is highly recommended that you have your home tested for elevated radon levels. Professional radon testers are required to be licensed by the state, and will be able to capably advise you of how to ensure that you have no issues relating to radon exposure.