Keeping Your Home Maintained

 

A healthy home is inspected, cleaned, and repaired regularly. Be sure to keep your family safe and healthy by making sure your home repairs are taken care of in a timely manner.

About Mold and Moisture

Molds are living organisms that grow in damp places in your home. They stain or discolor surfaces and smell musty. There are hundreds of thousands of different types of mold.

 Mold can grow almost anywhere: on walls, ceilings, carpets, or furniture. Humidity or wetness, caused by water leaks, spills from bathtubs or showers, or condensation, can cause mold to grow in your home.

Mold spores are tiny particles that float through the air. These can sometimes cause health problems. Mold does not affect everyone, and different people are affected differently when mold is breathed or inhaled.

People with allergies to mold may get:

  • Watery eyes
  • Runny or stuffed noses
  • Itching
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty breathing
Mold can also trigger attacks. Some molds produce toxins (poisons) that may be hazardous if people are exposed to large amounts of these molds. Mold spores and related mycotoxins can also pose a serious health threat to individuals who have compromised immune systems.

What can you do?

To prevent and get rid of mold:

  • Keep your house clean and dry.
  • Fix water problems such as roof leaks, wet basements, and leaking pipes or faucets.
  • Make sure your home is well ventilated and always use ventilation fans in bathrooms and kitchens.
  • If possible, keep humidity in your house below 50% by using an air conditioner or dehumidifier.
  • Avoid using carpeting in areas of the home that may become wet, such as kitchens, bathrooms and basements.
  • Dry floor mats regularly.
To find mold that might be growing in your home:

  • Search for moisture in areas that have a damp or moldy smell, especially in basements, kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Look for water stains or colored, fuzzy growth on and around ceilings, walls, floors, windowsills and pipes.
  • If you smell a musty odor, search behind and underneath materials such as carpeting, furniture or stored items.
  • Inspect kitchens, bathrooms and basements for standing water, water stains and patches of out-of-place color.
To control moisture problems and mold:

  • Fix any water problems immediately and clean or remove wet materials, furnishings or mold.
  • Clean up spills or floods within one day. If practical, take furniture that has been wet outside to dry and clean. Direct sunlight prevents mold growth.
  • Dry all surfaces and fix the problem or leak to prevent further damage.
  • Install a dehumidifier when a moisture problem is evident or when the humidity is high.
About Lead-Based Paint

Lead is a highly toxic metal that may cause a range of health problems, especially in young children. When lead is absorbed into the body, it can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs, like the kidneys, nerves and blood.

Lead may also cause behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures and in extreme cases, death. Some symptoms of lead poisoning may include headaches, stomachaches, nausea, tiredness and irritability. Children who are lead poisoned may show no symptoms.

Both inside and outside the home, deteriorated lead-paint mixes with household dust and soil and becomes tracked in. Children may become lead poisoned by:

  • Putting their hands or other lead-contaminated objects into their mouths,
  • Eating paint chips found in homes with peeling or flaking lead-based paint, or
  • Playing in lead-contaminated soil
Take a moment to look at the brochure “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home” for additional information (available in EnglishSpanishRussianVietnameseSomali and Arabic).

What can you do?

 If your home was built before 1978:

  • Wipe down flat surfaces, like window sills, with a damp paper towel and throw away the paper towel,
  • Mop smooth floors (using a damp mop) weekly to control dust,
  • Take off shoes when entering the house
  • Vacuum carpets and upholstery to remove dust,
  • If possible, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter or a “higher efficiency” collection bag,
  • Pick up loose paint chips carefully with a paper towel and discard in the trash, then wipe the surface clean with a wet paper towel,
  • Take precautions to avoid creating lead dust when remodeling, renovating or maintaining your home,
  • Test for lead hazards by a lead professional. (Have the soil tested too).
For your child:

  • Have your child’s blood lead level tested at age 1 and 2. Children from 3 to 6 years of age should have their blood tested, if they have not been tested before and:
1.    They live in or regularly visit a house built before 1950,

2.    They live in or regularly visit a house built before 1978 with on-going or recent renovations or remodeling

3.    They have a sibling or playmate who has or did have lead poisoning

  • Frequently wash your child’s hands and toys to reduce contact with dust,
  • Use cold tap water for drinking and cooking
  • Avoid using home remedies (such as arzacongretapay-loo-ah, or litargirio) and cosmetics (such as kohl or alkohl) that contain lead
  • Certain candies, such as tamarindo candy jam products from Mexico, may contain high levels of lead in the wrapper or stick. Be cautious when providing imported candies to children
  • Some tableware, particularly folk terra cotta plates and bowls from Latin America, may contain high levels of lead that can leach into food.
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