How to Keep Your Home Environment Healthy as the Climate Changes

There’s little denying the fact that we’ve reached a point of climate crisis. Our society has to prepare for the reality of handling the challenges that will arise in our lives over the years to come. 

One of the immediate concerns you need to consider in this regard is the effect on your home. The environmental alterations resulting from climate change are already starting to creep into communities and impact properties. This is unlikely to stop any time soon. Indeed, it’ll probably only become more challenging. As such, you need to take steps to protect your home and the well-being of your family.

Let’s run down a handful of the key areas you should focus on to keep your home environment healthy as the climate continues to change.

Air Quality

Pollution is a serious issue in respect of climate change. It isn’t just a contributing factor to the cause of environmental damage. The warming of the planet also affects air quality in itself. This is because higher levels of heat can cause or exacerbate the chemical reactions that lead to ground-level ozone. The result of this is a lower level of air quality due to these additional pollutants. It’s also important to note how additional periods of drought can also increase particulates in the air.

Long-term respiratory health issues are usually the main concern surrounding this issue. However, sick building syndrome is also a common effect of chemical and biological contaminants in the air within a property. You or your family members could start to experience symptoms such as frequent headaches, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating as a result. The problems may not be present in your entire home, either. The poor air quality can cause issues in just certain rooms. In either case, it doesn’t make for a pleasant experience for you or your family.

There are some relatively simple steps you can take to reduce the impact poor air quality has on your home. Firstly, make sure you’re regularly changing the filters in your air conditioning system. It’s also important to regularly service your air ducts to make sure contaminants aren’t building up in there. Gather a collection of plants — like aloe vera and bamboo palm — that are known for being efficient natural air purifiers, too.

Mold

Another potential impact of climate change is an increase in the presence of mold. This is because extreme wet weather events occurring in areas that are becoming warmer are likely to result in rising humidity. Indeed, we’re already starting to see more flooding, which can increase the potential for standing water in your property. When left unaddressed, mold and other fungi can spread. 

This could be harmful to both your property and your family’s health. Long-term exposure to mold can result in allergic reactions. Indoor exposure to mold has also been linked to upper respiratory tract issues and can exacerbate asthma. Mold has also been known to deteriorate drywall, floorboards, and other structural materials.

You can best prevent this in your home by controlling the level of humidity in the space. Be vigilant about checking for evidence of standing water. If you notice mold growing in areas, be proactive in cleaning it with bleach. Investing in a dehumidifier for your home can also reduce the moisture in the air that can cause mold to spread.

Dry Rot

Mold isn’t the only potential effect of the rising level of humidity and increased flooding. If your region is becoming warmer and damper, there is potential for dry rot to form on your property. This is where the spores of serpula lacrymans fungus land on moist wood and proceed to germinate. The fungus eats away at the core components of the wood and causes areas of weakness.

When left unaddressed, this can become a costly problem for your home, as you may require structural elements to be repaired or replaced. It’s not usually known to affect your family’s health directly. However, if dry rot gets into wooden flooring or the structure, there is scope for accidents and injuries to occur. 

Preventing dry rot again comes down to reducing moisture in your home. Alongside the steps outlined in the mold section, it’s wise to make sure all your windows and doors are sealed properly. You should also improve ventilation throughout your home to ensure moisture in the air is less inclined to settle. It’s worth also considering upgrading your insulation for materials created to include vapor diffusion retarders, which help mitigate humidity in your home.

Foundational Cracking

Heat can have a negative impact on both natural and manufactured materials. As temperatures start to rise with climate change, this can be problematic for the integrity of buildings. This is because, for the most part, homes are designed to function within certain climate parameters. Your property’s architects may not have considered the potential for change. This is particularly concerning when it comes to your property’s foundations. If your foundations are in clay soil, higher temperatures can cause this to harden and shrink, leading to subsidence cracking over time.  

Again, this is unlikely to have an immediate impact on your family’s physical health. Though there is some potential for injury if your property loses significant integrity. This said, the stress as a result of the financial strain from repairing or replacing these aspects can impact your family’s mental wellness.

There are no real easy prevention answers when it comes to this type of damage. You should certainly mitigate the potential for additional shrinkage and swelling in the clay soil. Avoid planting trees close to your property and maintain your gutters to minimize leakage. It’s also important to remain vigilant of cracks in your basement or the external walls of your property. The sooner you can address such damage, the easier it can be to prevent further issues. 

A Holistically Healthy Home

We each have a responsibility to prevent further damage to the ecosystem. However, it’s also important to make sure your home is safe from the oncoming impact of climate change. Take the time to better understand how the environment is shifting and why issues like humidity, flooding, and rising heat can be problematic. 

There are some relatively simple preventative measures. However, it’s worth also considering what eco-friendly updates you can make to your home that both support the planet and make for a healthier living environment. Installing solar panels can reduce your family’s reliance on non-renewable energy that introduces pollutants into the atmosphere. Introducing living walls to your home can oxygenate the air inside and improve pollination outside. Individual measures to prevent damage can be effective, but acting holistically has a more powerfully positive effect.



Categories: Green Living, Health & Wellness

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