7 Home Filters You Probably Didn’t Know Should Be Changed

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Home cleaning is a catch-all phrase for the general de-clutter and organizational projects that abound when messiness trumps neatness. But in addition to clearing out the garage, don’t forget to change those oft-neglected filters that can harm your health if left unclean.
“Humidifier filters, for example, are designed to wick the water and make it easier to evaporate in the air to increase humidity. But, if not changed they can become oversaturated and susceptible to mold, mildew, and bacteria growth that can make you sick,” says Alex Hertzog, a water specialist with Filters Fast who is certified by the Water Quality Association.
Most of us eventually remember to change the obvious filters, like those on our stove vents or the PUR filter on our tap. But what about changing filters you don’t even know you have?
According to the experts, there are seven filters you probably don’t know you should be changing.
1. Microwave filter. The filter traps grease and odors from the air, thus protecting the appliance and also preventing odors from recirculating and affecting the taste and smell of your food. The microwave filter should be replaced every 6-12 months.
2. Showerhead filter. The filter reduces harmful chemicals that can dry out your hair and skin, leading to other negative effects on the body. It should be replaced every 3-6 months.
3. Humidifier. Most people know humidifiers have a filter that should be changed, but what they don’t realize is that many humidifiers actually have up to three filters. It’s important to change all three filters.
4. Coffee maker filter. A filter is used in most coffee makers, and it should be replaced approximately every 60 brews.
“They’re designed to remove the disinfection chemicals from tap water. If the filters aren’t changed, they cause more exposure to ingesting chlorine,” says Hertzog.
5. Furnace filter. To reduce allergens like pollen, dust, pet dander, mold spores and dust mites from leaking into the air, it should be changed every 3-6 months.
6. Dryer lint filter screen. The lint filter screen should be replaced as needed, if it has build-up or tears in the screen. Changing the filter can prevent fire hazards, extend the life of your dryer and reduce energy bills.
7. Refrigerator filter. The filter on a fridge keeps ice fresh and cleans the water dispensed from the refrigerator.
Get more filter-related advice at www.filtersfast.com.

Don’t Let Pests Chew Away Your Holidays

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – For those who look forward to dusting off their Christmas decorations and unpacking strand after strand of twinkling lights, discovering a nest of mice or other creatures can be alarming.
“Rodents, spiders and other pests can find their way into homes and nest in boxes of holiday decorations that have been stored in attics, basements and garages since last season,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).
Holiday decorations that sit in boxes, undisturbed for long periods of time in the attic, basement or closet, provide the perfect hiding spots for pests. The usual culprits are beetles, mice, spiders and weevils. Mice will make nests out of cozy stockings, spiders will spin webs into your wreaths and weevils will burrow into your potpourri.
In order to keep your decorations free of pests and prevent nasty surprises this December, NPMA recommends these prevention tips:
* Avoid storing decorations in cardboard boxes. Cardboard boxes can barely keep out dust, let alone hungry pests. Instead, keep wrapping paper and ornaments in large plastic totes and containers. The containers should have tightly sealed lids to keep the contents dry and secure.
* Keep cloth or wool items in sealed plastic bags. All stockings, tree skirts and other cloth decorations should be washed and sealed in plastic bags. Damp or dirty table linens can be a pest haven and also harbor germs and bacteria. Plastic bags will help keep items fresh and safe from insects.
* Inspect decorations each year for mold or damage. Not all decorations are meant to last forever, and some should be thrown out after one season. Remember to go through your collection and check for moldy or damaged articles. Since mold and moisture can attract more pests, it’s best to discard those items.
If you’re faced with a real infestation, consult a pest management professional to figure out the best course of action. To find more preventive tips or locate a pest expert in your area, go to www.pestworld.org.

Is the Air in Your Home Healthy?

When the weather report issues an air-quality warning, some people stay indoors, but there’s no guarantee that the air in the home is any healthier than the air outside. Common indoor air pollutants such as dust mite grime, pet dander, mold, tobacco smoke, and airborne allergens and germs may be lurking about without anyone ever noticing.

To Be Green, Homes Must Be Dry and Mold-Free

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – You often hear the term “green building” as homebuyers seek to purchase homes that are built using recycled materials or that use less energy.

Recycling and energy-efficiency are important goals, but they must be pursued in a way that preserves your home’s ability to manage and repel moisture. Energy-efficient homes often trap unwanted moisture. Some renewable building materials aren’t durable enough to be sustainable. So, how do you build green and dry? According to The Responsible Solutions to Mold Coalition (RSMC), a consortium of building materials companies and associations, including USG Corporation, National Gypsum and American Gypsum, building green homes means designing, building and maintaining them in a way that keeps moisture at bay. Damp homes not only deteriorate more quickly, they also create an unhealthy environment that can become moldy and attract insects and other vermin.

Here are some helpful hints to make sure your home stays dry:

* Avoid complex roof designs that trap rainwater in valleys that do not drain.

* Never install wet building materials — they should be protected from the elements before installation.

* Flashings must be installed around all doors, windows and chimneys to drive moisture outside of the building.

* Only install drywall once the home has been closed in, and give joint compound enough time to dry before it is painted or covered.

* Be sure that there is adequate ventilation in your home. Energy-efficient homes can trap moisture, which leads to mold.

* Bamboo flooring is abundant and renewable, but bamboo’s not highly durable. For a truly green floor, choose more durable materials, like ceramic tile.

* Select the right type of wallboard for high-moisture rooms like kitchens and baths. Generally, cement board or boards that combine fiberglass and cement are best for applying ceramic tile. Tile grout allows water intrusion, which can lead to mold.

For more information on these and other mold-resistant building tips, please visit www.responsiblemoldsolutions.org. Also, a copy of a free brochure on mold-fighting tips is available by e-mailing info@responsiblemoldsolutions.org.

Protecting Your Investment From Mold — Tips for Homeowners

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – In these hard economic times, it has never been more important to protect what for many people is their most significant investment: their home. And one way to do that is to keep mold at bay — because not only does mold present health concerns, but it also can damage your home.

Areas of your home that are continually wet — like the insides of walls or attics and basements, often out of view — will eventually shorten the life of your home and lead to expensive repairs. Research shows that if you keep moisture out of your home, you’ll likely avoid mold. In the presence of moisture, mold will grow on virtually any surface — steel, plastic, even fiberglass.

Fortunately, there’s a new source of information to help avoid such problems. The Responsible Solutions to Mold Coalition, funded by USG Corporation, National Gypsum and American Gypsum is an excellent source of information on how to keep your house dry — from the way it’s designed, to the way it’s built, to the way it’s maintained. RSMC’s members, including academic, government and building industry associations, developed the Guiding Principles for Mold and Moisture Control-50 steps that can be taken to build and maintain a house free of mold.

Here are some helpful hints:

– Run bathroom and kitchen vents for an extra 10 minutes after you finish showering or cooking. Also, make sure your vents go outdoors. If they vent into the attic, you’re not getting rid of the moisture.

– Make sure the grade around your home slopes away from the foundation. Often, houses will settle as they age, creating a drainage problem. If the ground around your home slopes inward, which may or may not be visible, it provides a pathway for moisture to enter your basement.

– Make sure sprinklers are pointed away from the home. Over time, sprinklers that are directed toward your house will allow thousands of gallons of water to penetrate the walls.

– Take a look at the caulking around doors and windows. If it’s cracked or falling apart, water can seep into your walls.

– Replace washing machine hoses every five years. This is the single largest category of water-related claims filed with insurance companies each year.

The Responsible Solutions to Mold Coalition (www.responsiblemoldsolutions.org) provides a wealth of information for homeowners — whether you’re building, remodeling or maintaining your home. Be a “water detective” in your own home. If you see water or dampness, find out where it’s coming from — stop it — and repair or replace any materials that have been damaged.