5 Upgrades For A Healthier and Safer Home
Building A Healthy and Safe Home For Your Family
Your custom home should be your sanctuary.
A place of comfort, ease, and safety for you and your family. A place without pollutants and mold.
A healthy and safe home.
But what does building a “healthy home” mean?
All homes must meet specific safety requirements. But older structures or code-built homes often lack the necessary upgrades to stay healthy, especially in harsh climates like in the Pacific Northwest.
Homes built to the minimum standard may suffer from:
- Poor ventilation and air quality
- Moisture issues and mold
- Pests like insects or mice
- Harmful chemicals
As a result of these issues, home occupants can experience allergic reactions, stress, respiratory issues, or other serious health problems. You and your family deserve better!
In contrast, a healthy home is clean, safe, and free from hazardous materials that can harm your physical and mental health.
Whether you’re building a new custom home or upgrading an existing one, your home’s health should be front of mind. This is exactly why we’re sharing our top 5 upgrades for a healthier home with you.
#1 Design and House Orientation
If you’re familiar with us at NZ Builders, then you know how important home design is when it comes to building your custom home.
In fact, design is one of the most important considerations for improving the overall health of your home!
Experienced architects and home-build teams take the time to understand your lifestyle to design and build a home that works for you and your environment. This includes orienting your home in relation to the sun so you get to enjoy natural light, as well as reap the benefits of passive solar design.
Not sure what passive solar design is?
The short version is that it’s a home design that captures sunlight to improve energy efficiency, and keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer while reducing the need for heavy-duty mechanical systems.
If you want to hear more about passive solar design, net-zero homes, and how they’re the future of home-building, then take a peek at our blog post on these sustainable technologies!
#2 Add Insulation and Control Humidity
The goal of insulation is to create a barrier between the interior of your home and the outside environment. When properly installed, you can regulate the temperature inside your home easier and control humidity levels.
By regulating the temperature of your home, you’ll feel more comfortable in your day-to-day and spend less time engaging in battles over the thermostat with your family.
Controlling your humidity levels means you’ll reduce opportunities for mold and mildew growth. Both of which cause serious health issues for occupants.
Finally, properly installed insulation reduces the spread of pollutants which improves the air quality inside your custom home and keeps your family safe.
Insulation also includes selecting and installing high-quality windows. The best windows to minimize air leaks and drafts have a good air tightness rating (don’t worry, we’re talking about that next!) with insulated glazing and thermally broken frames.
#3 Protect Air Tightness
Air tightness works hand in hand with insulation and humidity control.
Right now, picture a 4L milk jug in your mind.
Now picture three of those 4L milk jugs.
That’s roughly how much warm air your ventilation system needs to replace every minute you have a drafty door. Worst of all, you might not even know you’re losing and replacing this much air since most air leaks go undetected unless you’re working with an experienced builder.
Air leaks like this aren’t just energy-wasting. They also cause problems with your home’s air quality and moisture control by creating a breeding ground for mold and mildew, as well as letting noise pollution disrupt your daily life.
By properly sealing and insulating your home, you’ll reduce energy consumption costs, live in a healthy, pollutant-free home, and enjoy your morning cup of coffee without cold drafts, dust, or the sound of your neighbour’s lawn mower.
#4 Improve Ventilation and Air Quality
Imagine breathing in stale, dusty air all day long. Your nose, throat, and lungs won’t be thanking you now or in 15 years.
Proper ventilation in your home is essential for maintaining healthy indoor air quality.
There are a few different ways to keep the air circulating in your home.
The easiest way? Open a window or two.
When building a custom home, talk to your architect about strategically adding windows to increase natural passive airflow throughout your space.
But sometimes, especially in the gusty, wet Pacific Northwest, opening a window isn’t a feasible option or the first thing that comes to mind when it is cold outside. So it’s best to ensure that there are other ways to improve your home’s air quality.
At NZ Builders, we never build without installing a proper Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) system to ensure good air quality on a consistent basis.
An HRV takes the hot stale air from your home and uses it to warm up fresh air entering your home (and the reverse in the summer when your air conditioner is on). This means, your furnace doesn’t need to put in the extra work of heating up incoming air.
An HRV not only saves you money but also acts as an air purifier by replacing stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air.
Ultimately, a home with proper ventilation will provide a comfortable, dry, and fresh space for you and your family.
#5 Use Low VOC Products
Asbestos, lead, volatile organic compounds…let’s face it, there are a lot of dangerous chemicals in building materials and the products we bring into our homes on a daily basis.
While harmful building materials need to be clearly labeled, if you’re upgrading an older building then you need to be aware of them before beginning construction.
Many building materials contain what's known as volatile organic compounds (aka VOCs). VOCs are chemicals found in paints, flooring, glues, and more that emit gasses with negative short-term and long-term health effects.
When upgrading your home, consider choosing building materials with low VOCs to reduce the amount of harmful off gassing in your home. This will protect your health while completing any renovations and maintain your home’s air quality well into the future.
Your Home’s Health Matters
From improving indoor air quality to reducing the risk of harmful chemical emissions, there are several simple yet effective ways to upgrade your home to make it a safer space for your family.
Whether you’re building a custom home from scratch or upgrading your existing home, take the time to assess your environment and make the necessary upgrades for your home’s health.
Remember, your home is a sanctuary, and taking care of its health is crucial to your family’s health as well.
Our team here at NZ Builders doesn’t just care about building innovative houses, we care about building safe, durable, and healthy homes for families like yours.
So, if you’re curious about building a safe and healthy home, contact us today to discuss your plans, goals, and future.