Is your home safe this winter?

August 20, 2018

Is your home safe this winter?

With the winter chill here to stay, we’ve had a few clients ask us if their home is safe, particularly in terms of air quality. These questions focus on the affect of central heating and wood burner fires, as well as mould – the kind that rears its head after the big wet!

Seeing as this is a common concern, we thought we’d help by creating a guide to keeping your home safe this winter – with a focus on air quality.

So, is your home safe? Before you shrug off this question, ask yourself the following:

  • Do you have an older style heater?
  • Do you have a wood burner fire?
  • Have you had the air quality tested within your home?
  • Do you have areas of dampness in your home?
  • Do items in your wardrobe go mouldy over time?
  • Do you suffer from lethargy, headaches or unexplainable symptoms of unwell and confusion?
  • Do you suffer from asthma or allergies?

 

Let’s talk about air quality

Scare tactics aside, the average Melbourne home scores fairly low in terms of optimum air quality. Why? There are two culprits: heating and mould.

 

Heating

A Melbourne winter demands heating. But there are some heating options which can seriously impact our health.

Now, this is where it gets serious. A number of Australians have actually died due to unsafe carbon monoxide levels within their home. You’ve likely heard these tragic stories, but did you know that carbon monoxide poisoning can happen over time? The symptoms associated with carbon monoxide exposure can seriously affect your health. These symptoms include: nausea, fatigue, headaches and a general feeling of unwell.

“Human senses cannot detect the presence of carbon monoxide. Furthermore, carbon monoxide poisoning can happen without the immediate symptoms being obvious, or the symptoms may be confused with those of simple fatigue or a common cold. If symptoms show up it may be too late to reverse the effects of the poisoning.”Product Safety Gov

These symptoms can be caused by carbon monoxide emissions from older gas heaters and incorrect ventilation from wood burner fires. We recommend always checking that your gas heater is working correctly and to service it using a licenced gas fitter annually. If you notice any unusual smells or sounds associated with your heater cease use immediately and always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. A plumber can also help you if you are experiencing issues with your gas heating – it’s worth getting these things checked each winter.

For those with open fireplaces, it’s extremely important to have your chimney swept annually to avoid build-up and blockages. A blockage can be deadly, so make it a priority each winter.

 

 

Mould

Then there’s mould. If you have carpet in a damp area, it’s likely lurking below as well.

Just recently we read a story about a woman who started to lose brain function due to black mould exposure within her home:

“YES. Mould can make you sicker than you ever thought possible.

And if you’re exposed to it for long enough, it has the ability to shut down your entire immune system and organs one by one….” – Mamamia

Pretty scary! And, after a bit of further investigating we discovered that even minor mould exposure can be dire for adults and especially children. Side effects include respiratory issues, onset of asthma and allergies, asthma attacks, rashes, memory loss and more. Mould that grows within your home goes deeper than just spoiling items in your wardrobe. It’s serious.

 

The Solution

A simple air quality test and professional home safety inspection.

If you would like us to inspect your home please contact us to discuss your particular requirements.

Our inspection packages start at $400 + GST and can be tailored specifically to your needs.

A home safety inspection can assess the carbon monoxide levels within your home as well as the contributing factors to mould such as: humidity, moisture levels, rising and lateral damp, and ventilation.

 

For more information on winter health hazards see below:

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/winter-health-hazards-at-home

https://www.productsafety.gov.au/news/carbon-monoxide-safety 

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