Do you often experience headaches, allergies, fatigue, or physical discomfort in your home?
If you have a lot of health issues, your home may have something to do with it. A home with even tiny cracks, gaps, and holes can lead to drafts, allergens, rodents, bugs, and mold, which can all contribute to poor health.
So, what can you do about it? The answer might surprise you. Air sealing is a small project that can make a big difference in your home’s health and comfort, as well as reduce energy waste. And the good news is, you can easily air seal with just some caulk, spray foam, and weatherstripping.
You’ve heard of avoiding drafts so you don’t catch a cold, right? Although there isn’t any solid evidence that drafts alone make you sick, it’s likely that drafts are associated with illnesses because they are also associated with cold weather. And rhinoviruses, like the common cold or flu, travel on air and best survive in colder temperatures.
So, when you air seal gaps and cracks that cause those drafts, it isn’t for the draft alone—although it will make your home more comfortable. It’s also to keep out the cold air that airborne illnesses love to travel on.
Have you ever seen the huge plumes of pollen that come from trees? There are plenty of videos out there to show this remarkable yellow dust storm, but here’s a great example.
All that pollen floats on the wind and travels through the air. In fact, in the spring, if you keep your windows open, you might even see a light coating of dust on your surfaces, like countertops and tables.
So, just keep your windows closed, right?
While that might stop some of it, pollen particles are super tiny and can find their way into your home through small cracks and gaps. And if you have allergies, you won’t be able to escape them by avoiding the outdoors.
Pollen isn’t the only notable outdoor allergen that makes its way inside. Dust, mold spores, and pollution from traffic or industry can all make their way into an unsealed home. And they can initiate allergy symptoms, irritate sinuses, and cause a range of respiratory issues.
Luckily, caulking around windows or weatherstripping doors can help seal up your home and ultimately improve the quality of your indoor air for better health.
Rodents and Bugs
Rodents and bugs, like cockroaches and flies, can carry a range of diseases and bacteria. Think salmonella, staphylococcus, streptococcus, E. Coli, and listeria. (Yuck!) Bugs and rats scavenge anything from crumbs to spilled food and even fecal matter (double yuck…). Plus, they crawl and climb with seemingly no limitations. They can transfer bacteria through their droppings, which can end up on food or in food preparation areas, like kitchen counters, plates, cutlery, and cutting boards.
Although keeping your home clean is important, sometimes it isn’t enough to keep the bugs and rodents out—they’ll often find their way in when the indoor environment is preferable to the outdoors, due to moisture or temperature. And who can blame them?
That’s why we recommend air sealing gaps and holes so bugs, spiders, and even rodents can’t find their way inside.
Check out this video to see how easy it is!
If your home isn’t air sealed well, there is a great chance that humidity is building in certain places, causing chronic moisture that can lead to mold.
That’s because the difference in air pressure between the inside of your home and outside causes air you don’t want (for instance, moist, unfiltered outdoor air) to move into your home through gaps and cracks. And where warm air meets cold air (which is common near gaps and unsealed spaces), moisture droplets can form. These cling to areas around gaps and holes and struggle to dry out, creating the ideal environment for mold and mildew to grow.
And that’s not ideal for you. Because this mold can cause major respiratory and health issues, such as sneezing, watery or gunky eyes, coughing and wheezing, headaches, fatigue, and bronchial issues.
If you’re experiencing any of these types of symptoms, pay attention to mildew and mold smells, and try to find where they are coming from. Look around your home for cracks, gaps, and holes and air seal them. Air sealing might not be what the doctor prescribes, but it’s a commonly overlooked step toward better health and well-being.