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Renovations to Improve Your Home and Your Health

Many homeowners who’ve had a seriously outdated kitchen or bathroom redone can vouch for the fact repairs and renovations can enhance quality of life. But there are some fixes and upgrades that can quite literally improve your life by boosting your health and well-being.

 

Boost Air Quality

 

For instance, some indoor air pollutants can cause or aggravate allergies, respiratory illnesses (such as asthma), heart disease, cancer, and other serious long-term conditions. But there are ways to monitor and improve the air quality in your home. The average cost for indoor air-quality testing in Chicago is $286 to $567 according to HomeAdvisor. However, costs can vary depending on factors including home size and the pollutants you want to test for. For example, if you want to focus exclusively on measuring the levels of radon—a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer—in your home, a test will likely be less expensive than a wide-ranging measure of many possible pollutants.

 

If such a test finds high levels of certain pollutants in your home, such as radon, you’ll need professional help to reduce levels to a safe point, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. If you are having a new home built, you can also ask about having radon-reducing features integrated during construction.

 

When it comes to many other air pollutants, there are easy ways to improve air quality. For instance, handy homeowners with a few power tools, including a drill and a reciprocal saw, can install a bathroom vent fan to cut moisture and reduce the risk of mold. And if you are having new appliances such as furnaces or gas stoves installed, you can make sure installers include an effective vent or flue. Having a mechanical ventilation system added to your home during a renovation or new home construction can also dramatically improve indoor air quality. And removing carpet in favor of flooring like linoleum or hardwood could also reduce allergens including dust mites and pollen.

 

And there are some even quicker fixes that could benefit your health and overall well-being. For instance, you should change or clean your filters according to the manufacturer’s directions to make certain they are effectively trapping dust and other air pollutants. Introducing houseplants to your home can also help clean the air, with studies showing varieties including spider plants, Boston ferns, and aloe vera plants can absorb and eliminate harmful gases indoors.

 

Create a Space Dedicated to Healthy Hobbies

 

While you are introducing plants to your indoor environment, why not devote an extra bedroom or some other underused space for yoga and meditation? Use beautiful potted plants to create a feel of serenity in the space. Add an inspirational focal point, such as a statue or a majestic nature photo. Paint the room in cool, calming colors and stock it with your yoga mat and other props or pillows that you might use during your yoga or meditation sessions.

 

Although the effects of a regular yoga or meditation practice might be harder to measure than the levels of radon in your home, they have been shown to reduce practitioners’ levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, among other benefits. So repurposing a room to encourage regular meditation and yoga sessions will likely boost your health and well-being.

 

And when you’re not using the spare space for yoga, it can serve double duty as a quiet space for reading, which has also been shown to slash stress. Among other benefits, reading can increase connectivity in certain regions of the brain. Mentally challenging activities, such as chess and reading, can help protect people from developing Alzheimer's disease and other forms of cognitive decline.

 

So, with some research, fact-finding, and a few relatively easy renovations, repairs, or regular home maintenance tasks, you can make your home—and all its inhabitants—healthier for years to come.

Guest Blog - Natalie Jones