At a societal level, we’re constantly bombarded with the message that our actions and our genetics are among the only factors that contribute to our health. In reality, though, our environments are also critically important, often in ways we have very little individual control over. That’s not to say that other people, including landlords and property managers, don’t have some influence over these environmental issues.
Whether you’re looking for a place to live or in the real estate industry, it’s worth keeping these four issues in your sights. With careful attention to these concerns and targeted upgrades, you may find yourself on your way to better health.
Fit Kitchens With Filters
One of the most important things you can do for your health is to drink more water, but many people fall short of getting their 8 cups a day, never mind the 13 cups recommended by the Mayo Clinic. Add to that the poor water quality in many areas and the motivation to gulp down water ends up even lower, which is why one of the best things homeowners and property managers can do, at least from a wellness perspective, is to install a water filter in the kitchen. This keeps people from having to buy bottled water, which they tend to ration due to the expense.
Manage Moldy Matters
One of the most dangerous things you’ll find in any home or apartment is mold – and it’s far more prevalent and invisible than most people think. That’s why it’s important that you ask for a complete mold inspection and, if necessary, remediation, when purchasing a home. As for rentals, if you’re a property manager in charge of maintenance and repairs, not only should you contract out for regular mold inspections, but you should promote the results. There are plenty of people looking for safe housing environments, but the majority of properties are never screened for mold issues, leaving potential tenants in the dark.
Upgrade Your HVAC
Closely linked to the issues associated with mold, HVAC systems aren’t just involved in heating and cooling. No, a poorly maintained HVAC system can house mold and other toxins, leading to serious health issues, which is why it’s important to clean the ducts and filters regularly.
Another reason to be mindful of your HVAC system is that, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people who previously had no interest in the workings of their HVAC system have become very concerned with proper ventilation. If you’re in charge of managing ventilation in multi-family environments in which ductwork is connected, you may want to upgrade ventilation to address airborne illness transmission, as well as filtering out smoke smells and other respiratory irritants.
Vote Out VOCs
VOCs – volatile organic compounds – are a constant premise in modern life, but as with so many other hazards of modernity, they can also present a significant health risk, including negatively impacting your fertility.
Eliminating VOCs from the home environment, however, requires a shared commitment between property managers and tenants, such as avoiding certain kinds of paint and carpeting that are associated with a large amount of off-gassing, as well as choosing home furnishings with care.
There are many potential hazards hiding in all of our homes, but the severity of the risk varies widely and the risks are often hidden – things we breathe in, invisibly, rather than things we can see and avoid. That’s why it’s so important to be informed about potential health risks and how to minimize them, whether you’re a homeowner or a renter.
After all, once the damage is done, it can sometimes be impossible to undo the harm caused by an unhealthy environment.