PORTLAND, Ore., Aug. 3, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Record-breaking heat waves, staggering pollen counts, invasive insects and other pests - climate change is all over the news, and we're seeing evidence of it everywhere. But how much is it really affecting us in our day-to-day lives?
You may not know about these three deadly changes happening right now in the basement or crawlspace of your home, and what you can do to prevent them.
Severe Allergen Levels
In the Pacific Northwest we love these warm, sunny days, but we need the cold ones to keep pollen counts at a reasonable level. KGW News recently reported that Portland, Salem, and Eugene currently have the highest pollen counts out of anywhere in the nation. As the heat rises, so do the dust mite populations in our homes. Dust mites prefer temps of 70F or higher, and are clearly enjoying this long, hot summer. Allergic reactions to pollen, dust mites, and other airborne allergens are annoying, but not deadly… or are they? Studies show that those who suffer from respiratory conditions, heart disease, and weakened immune systems are at significantly greater risk for a severe or even deadly reaction during these extreme weather conditions.
What do I do? Vacuum frequently. Air return covers and screens are often missed, so be sure to vacuum those too. Wash bedding in hot, soapy water. The majority of the air in your home comes up from your basement or crawlspace - do you have a vapor barrier? Is it air-tight to prevent allergens like pollen, mold, and dust mites? If your family suffers from allergies, crawlspace encapsulation is one of the best kept secrets to drastically improve air quality and cleanliness throughout your home.
Significant Fire Risk
Drought and extreme dry conditions can lead to fire, and massive wildfires travel quickly and consume homes in a matter of minutes. Don't put yourself at a higher risk - a fire started in your home can spread rapidly.
What do I do? Incorporate firewise landscaping around your home. Limit the amount of flammable vegetation around your home and avoid fire-prone plants that have volatile oils. One way to identify plants in the pyrophytic (flammable) family: Crush their leaves to see if they produce a strong smell such as rosemary or pine trees. Replace mulch with pebbles or gravel - even pavers make a great, fire-safe accent for your home. Some common home building materials are surprisingly extremely flammable such as vapor barriers in crawlspaces. Look for vapor barrier solutions that offer rigid board insulation with a glass-fiber reinforced foam core to reduce fire risk and increase insulation in your home.
Radon and Other Deadly Soil Gasses
You've probably heard of radon - maybe you've seen detectors at your local hardware store. Most people aren't aware that radon is the #2 leading cause of the most deadly form of cancer, lung cancer. As the drought intensifies and soil dries out, pockets of soil gasses including radon, methane, and carbon dioxide make their way up to the surface and into homes by way of your basement or crawlspace.
What do I do? Start with a simple radon detector. If the soil around your foundation is dry and loosening, or if you've detected radon in your home, it's time to seal off your basement or crawlspace to keep you and your family safe.
Building professionals say that up to 50% of the air you breathe on the first floor of your home is air that came directly from your crawlspace. Have you checked out your crawlspace lately? That's the air you're breathing. Crawlspace encapsulation is one of the fastest-growing services in the home building sector, and after seeing the benefits and protections it offers it's easy to see why. This durable liner will transform your crawlspace into usable storage space, while reducing toxic gasses, allergens, and fire risk.
Interested in seeing how crawlspace encapsulation can improve the air quality in your home? TerraFirma Foundation Systems, a sponsor of the annual Street of Dreams luxury home show, has encapsulated a crawlspace in "The Adeline", House #9, built by Cornerstone Construction. Contact the Home Builders Association of Portland or TerraFirma FS for more information.
TerraFirma FS helps homeowners throughout the state protect their families through improved air quality. Give us a call today at 503-443-6866 to ask about a free inspection to see if your home is as safe as possible for your family's health.
Source: TerraFirma Foundation Systems