Moving to a new house is a big change, and among the excitement (and paperwork), it’s easy to forget about things such as checking and maintaining the indoor air quality. Whether it’s your first or third home, breathe easier with this household checklist.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon, which enters your home through cracks in floors and walls that have contact with the ground, is the second leading cause of lung cancer*. If you didn’t have a radon test done as part of your home inspection, purchase a kit at a hardware store. Levels should fall below 4 pCi/L, and if they don't, radon mitigation might be necessary**.
Mold testing isn’t necessary if there’s visible growth. Hard surfaces can simply be cleaned up with detergent and water, while porous materials like carpet should be tossed. It is important to determine and fix the source of the mold—most likely a leak—to prevent it from returning.
If your house was built before 1978, chances are the underlying layers of paint contain lead, which can become toxic when chips or dust find their way into the air. If you test for lead and it comes back positive, one simple solution is to first paint over your walls with an encapsulant, which prevents the release of dust and paint chips***.
High humidity is a breeding ground for mold and other pollutants. Ideally, indoor humidity should fall between 30 and 50 percent****. You can purchase a humidity gauge at most hardware stores, then use a humidifier to increase humidity or run the air conditioner to decrease it.
This will ensure the air quality of your home stays in tip-top shape long after you’ve settled in. If you’re not sure when the previous homeowners last completed routine maintenance, it’s also wise to complete these tasks soon after you move in: