Your Safe and Healthy Home, LLC

Your Safe and Healthy Home, LLC Indoor air quality testing, inspection, solutions and education. Our mission is to help people have healthier and safer homes and workplaces. Serving Northeast Ohio, Toledo area, Greater Columbus and surrounding areas, Greater Pittsburgh and Western PA.
Helping you improve the health and safety of your home, your workplace, your family, and your associates.
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Indoor air quality testing, inspection, solutions and education. Our mission is to help people have healthier and safer homes and workplaces.

While COVID-19 is the topic of the day, when it comes to what I do, allergies and asthma and chemical sensitivities have...
05/03/2020
Blood Testing for Allergies

While COVID-19 is the topic of the day, when it comes to what I do, allergies and asthma and chemical sensitivities have been effecting my customers for a very long time, and will continue to effect them when COVID-19 is in our rear view mirror (doesn't that sound good...and it will be in our rear view mirror, though probably never forgotten).
Each day around 10 Americans dies from Asthma attacks. Each year 200,000 Americans require Emergency medical care for allergic reactions to food. Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in America according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
When I am doing an inspection/testing for a customer I am always trying to put together a Symptoms Timeline (if there are reported symptoms). "When did you first start experiencing that?"
Unfortunately, for a lot of people it started the day they moved in or shortly after. When you are buying a house, or selecting an apartment/house to buy, or even interviewing for a job, probably the last thing on your mind is "will this place make me sick?" For some people after a bad experience it is the first thing on their mind.
I think that in the perfect world there would be a partnership between the medical community and the building science/healthy homes community to help people avoid problems not by chance, but by making informed choices. Right now that partnership happens when the two communities meet at the intersection inhabited by one customer who has been trying everything to feel better.
I think the two communities have some inherent distrust of each other, and members of both communities have created that atmosphere.
But I think together the medical and building science communities can do much more for our clients/patients than we will ever be able to do separately! Let's do this!

Blood testing for allergies is sometimes performed instead of skin tests. The experts at WebMD tell you why.

04/23/2020
www.epa.gov

I want to help people have Safe and Healthy Homes and workplaces.

I have been thinking about this topic for a lot of years, a lot of my thoughts below are things I've discussed in homes and offices with customers and other professionals.

I started this morning with the idea of writing about helping customers get better results from Mold Remediators. I had this conversation with Ed and Cindi that started last year, and they had met with several salesmen from Waterproofing companies and Mold Remediation companies. And of course everyone they met had THE answer for their home. By the time I met with them, they had been SOLD on a lot of things, but none of the solutions rang true or complete. The other thing you need to know about Ed and Cindi is that they are sharp. They did their research, they passed it through their minds, asked great questions, and evaluated the answers.

I think that one of the things that is lacking in the market for home improvement, indoor air quality in homes and workplaces, new construction, and home remodeling is someone who can be an advocate/advisor/guide for the end user/customer.

Here is an example: Mold testing. To test or not to test, that has become a question, or is it a question that the industry has left to others do decide?

When I began in this business I would get calls from customers who were living in trailers on their own property, or in hotel rooms, while their home was remediated. Sometimes for MONTHS. Back then insurance companies still paid for the whole process. And that was an invitation for abuse, and abuse ensued.

Now most insurance works very hard not to cover mold except in some very narrow circumstances. But interestingly you know who still wants mold testing, who demands it? Insurance companies and banks. Neither entity is know for blowing money unnecessarily. But when mold is suspected, neither wants their customer (the insured or the mortgage holder) to be stuck in a home/building that has an unresolved mold problem that will cause health issues, or expensive repairs. So, in the perfect world these are two entities that are looking out for the end user/customer. They really are looking out for their bottom line, but I am a big believer in "enlightened self interest".

I often say that the reason I am in the indoor air quality and mold business is to protect people from some of the other people in this business. That sounds like I have a "hero complex", and maybe I have a little of that, but I also think I can carve out a living for myself by creating value for others. That is enlightened self interest. I believe that if I do right by customers and potential customers, the rest will take care of itself.

Let me give you a quick example. Back to the topic of "to test or not to test for mold.

If a salesman comes to your home, takes a look at your areas of concern, does no testing, and tells you "yep that is toxic black mold, we can fix that for $5000, $10k, $15k" and talks about the process with a lot of terms and jargon that you don't understand, but 2 things that are missing are their guarantee/warranty and testing to show that what you paid to remove was actually removed, does that sound like a reasonable path forward? That is the typical path.

I tell all my customers and potential customers, including you, to tell them at the very least that you want 3rd party testing and verification after their process is completed. The more they resist, the more you should resist the temptation to sign any paperwork they put in front of you.

This isn't just about me...I would love for you to use me for that testing, but for your own sake use SOMEONE! Go to IAQA.org, and find someone not part of the company who will do the work. Your insurance company, mortgage company, or bank would!

Here is another example. Building your dream home, or renovating/remodeling your existing home into that dream home? I want to urge you to add safe and healthy to the specs!

I think the EPA Indoor airPLUS checklist is a great place to start:
https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-03/documents/indoor_airplus_fillable_verification_checklist.pdf

Another thing for mold remediation, new construction, or remodeling to demand is that whatever they use in the project, you want the Material Safety Sheet. My years in corporate safety drilled this into my head. Shouldn't your home be at least as safe as your job?

On a new home, or newly remodeled, I think testing/inspecting for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), Radon, and CO2 should be demanded.

Do we need a Homeowner Bill of Rights?

What do you think?

02/26/2020
2020 Schedule - Air Vent, Inc.

If you are an indoor air quality or mold pro you need to get into one of these free workshops!

Air Vent provides a complete line of ventilation products that meet the highest standards for quality and performance.

Good stuff here on the not so good stuff we sometimes use to excess (and without the right safety procedures) to make ou...
02/16/2020
15 Cleaners That Can Do the Most Damage

Good stuff here on the not so good stuff we sometimes use to excess (and without the right safety procedures) to make our homes, workplaces, and even cars cleaner and healthier.

Also, how (and where) we store these things makes a difference too. A LOT of effective, but not designed to be inhaled, cleaners can be made a lot safer and healthier with good ventilation.

Ventilation is NOT just blowing a fan on it....ventilation is moving air from inside a structure to outside, and replacing it with outside air. So a fan in the window blowing out of the area you are working on will both remove fumes AND particulate/dust that is generated. Getting in the habit of doing this as we do our daily cleaning chores can make a big difference.

And if you store all your paint, adhesives, hobby stuff, and cleaning products in one area and install a bathroom fan in that area it will make a HUGE difference.

These trusty cleaning products might do a good job getting rid of stains, dirt, and germs, but it's important to know about their damaging effects on your house and health if you use them too much.

This is an EXCELLENT primer on VOC's. I just found it this morning, and I am not sure if they are selling something, but...
01/23/2020
How Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Affect Indoor Air Quality and Health

This is an EXCELLENT primer on VOC's. I just found it this morning, and I am not sure if they are selling something, but if they are selling air purifiers that use activated charcoal, they are selling the right things that really can't do harm (except maybe to your budget).

Did you know that volatile organic compounds are found inside every home? VOCs are one of the worst pollutants affecting indoor air quality and public health. Find out what VOCs are, where they come from and how you can get rid of them.

I urge everyone to get tested and lower your radon levels. Testing is available free in many states, including Ohio, fro...
01/21/2020
National Radon Action Month Information | US EPA

I urge everyone to get tested and lower your radon levels. Testing is available free in many states, including Ohio, from the Health Department. Also, you can check out the EPA Radon map to see what the local levels are usually testing at. Each home can be different, and the more work you have done to make your house "tight" and energy efficient the more likely you are to have higher radon levels.

January is national radon action month. Here you can browse activities in your area and view the results of those activities.

I will be purchasing an ozone tester very soon. I have a number of customers that have symptoms, and nothing else I am s...
01/03/2020
Air Purifiers and Ozone - What are the risks?

I will be purchasing an ozone tester very soon. I have a number of customers that have symptoms, and nothing else I am sampling is coming out significantly high....

Should you consider an air cleaner that produces ozone? Editors do the research and strongly recommend against using an ozone generator.

Very good article!
12/29/2019
7 Health Hazards Lurking in Your Basement

Very good article!

Basements were once used solely as utility rooms that housed furnaces, laundry areas, and overflow storage for seasonal items, tools, and sometimes even root vegetables. Today, with the high cost of above-grade living space, many homeowners choose to finish parts of their basements to serve as livin...

12/22/2019
Object moved

Unfortunately in my contacts with customers, potential customers, and people in general I often hear that they have been mistreated, cheated, or poorly served by other businesses.

In some states there are special processes or agencies for different types of issues when it comes to landlord/tenant issues, healthy housing, public housing, and consumer complaints.

For years I have been recommending in Ohio especially that the Ohio Attorney General is a great place to go if you can't find a good place to seek resolution. I have represented business responses (not at my own company but for previous employers) to Ohio Attorney General letters. The current Ohio Attorney General is doing a LOT of work on behalf of the citizens of Ohio, some of it home improvement contractors, but it really runs the spectrum.

Obviously the best answer is give the person or organization that you feel didn't do right by you a chance to make it right. Document the problem and your attempts to resolve it, and if you don't get satisfaction, your state Attorney General is a resource to consider.

In Ohio:
https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/

Another venue to pursue is the professional associations, licensing or certification providing organizations. Which of course tells you that before you hire someone to do work in your home in particular, you ought to make sure they are members in good standing of organizations that will hold them accountable!

I have been a member of the Indoor Air Quality Association, IAQA.org, for a very long time. I also recently joined NAMRI, the National Association of Mold Remediators and Inspectors.

Hope that helps!

This is an excellent primer on VOC's.  During this season, opening the windows happens infrequently, so whatever we brin...
12/09/2019
VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) lurking in every home and how its affecting our health

This is an excellent primer on VOC's. During this season, opening the windows happens infrequently, so whatever we bring in to our homes, or create in our homes, stays in our homes.

Some of us will react at lower concentrations, but none of us should be breathing in more than necessary. Using bathroom fans, kitchen range fans, or fresh air induction on HVAC systems can help remove or dilute the VOC's with nice fresh air!

Have you ever noticed a strong smell when you enter a building under construction, a newly painted room or a newly furnished room? This pungent smell is a sign of VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds in the air. Extended exposure to some of these VOCs commonly found in our homes and offices can be ver...

Happy Thanksgiving!I want to thank personally everyone who is following this page.  I have a LOT to be thankful for this...
11/28/2019

Happy Thanksgiving!
I want to thank personally everyone who is following this page. I have a LOT to be thankful for this year.

Thanks to partnerships with other companies who have helped introduce me to new customers, and to referrals from past customers, this has been a real breakout year for Your Safe and Healthy Home. We are close to doubling the number of inspections this year that we did last year, I think by year end that will be realized.

Professionally I am very thankful for the customers who each brought unique problems they wanted to solve. Some of the problems were ones I have been helping to solve for nearly 20 years, some caused me to "crack the books" and research new information, new research, and solutions. I am thankful for both. Every new challenge, and new solution increases the help that I can offer to the next customer or reader of this page. THANK YOU! And keep the challenges coming!

11/24/2019

November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month
I was meaning to do another post before the end of the month, and nothing brought it to the forefront of my mind more than this week I was in the homes of two cancer survivors to address their concerns.

Since this week we also observe our National holiday of Thanksgiving, I'd like to combine the two and say how thankful I am that both of these men survived their cancer. I am very thankful that the medical industry has really stepped up their ability to diagnose and treat lung cancer. I have lost a LOT of relatives and loved ones to lung cancer. Many of them probably would still be with us if the tools available now were available then.

But an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (I think Ben Franklin wrote that), and both customers who called me in this week had mold concerns and knew that their immune systems were compromised from treatment.

I am very grateful they found me and I was able to help.

Mold is but one of the hazards in our homes that can be a challenge for compromised immune systems, and some of the other hazards are known or suspected carcinogens.

I will never quit telling you of these big hazards that you need to tackle:
1. If you or any loved ones smoke, PLEASE seek help in quitting.
2. Get your home tested for Radon, use the Ohio free test if you are in Ohio, or contact your own state health department, or go to IAQA.org for a local professional.
3. If you have an attached garage, put a dedicated exhaust fan in the garage.
4. Gather up all the construction adhesives, paints, fertilizers and pesticides and get them out of the home, or in an area that has an exhaust fan.
5. Be mindful of what you bring into the house.

If you have any questions, email or call me!

11/03/2019
Celebrating 30 LUNG FORCE Heroes

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. I want to highlight 3 things:
1. Radon is the number 2 cause of lung cancer in the USA. If you are living in a building that has never been tested, I ask you to please get tested. In Ohio, I would recommend the Ohio department of Health free testing to start with. If you want to have a professional come out and do it in NE Ohio, text me at 330-622-1560, and I will give you the number of a fellow professional.

Here is a link for the free test in Ohio, or to pay for an at home test:
https://getresults.doctorhomeair.com/fmi/webd/Alpha_OhioRequests

2. Of course we all should know what the number 1 cause is, right? Tobacco smoke. Cigarettes affect not only the smoker but everyone around them. Even if you smoke outside, you bring in some of it with you, and carry it with you all day. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor, seek help quitting. The American Lung Association has resources, your employer probably does too. As a person who has lost a lot of loved ones to lung cancer, and one who also is benefitting from having a Mom who is still alive and well because she quit smoking years ago, I want to tell you the best Christmas present you can give your loved ones is taking this big step so they get to have you around for many family get togethers to come.

3. I can't say it enough, how we live and store chemicals in our homes/garages/basements HAS to be a factor in lung cancer. In our workplaces we all go through (I hope) annual safety training on the chemicals/material safety sheets we use in our jobs...we sign off on it, and then we go home to homes with paints, adhesives, cleaning products, fertilizers, pesticides, etc. that are stored in areas that effect our breathing air. I know, because I see it in EVERY building I inspect. It is an easy fix. Remove it, or isolate it and ventilate that area directly to the outside. That goes for basements and attached garages as well. Don't believe me? Have me come out and do the inspection, and the testing, and I will bet you that I can show you how to improve your air quality. If you have done things to prepare for winter like caulking, new windows, and/or insulation then I GUARANTEE you that you will seal in more of the things you don't want to breathe UNLESS you take action to control it.

Check out #30Days30Heroes to see 30 inspirational lung cancer stories during November. We’re challenging everyone to watch each story daily and like/share wi...

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Comments

"Keep it Dry" is one of the original "keep its" of the Healthy Homes concept. It is, to do the natural pun, FOUNDATIONAL... When water gets in your home it encourages mold, and pests (which have their own "keep its"), and can lead to safety issues (yep another "keep it"). Studies show a STRONG correlation between extended exposure to damp environments and the FORMATION of Asthma.
And running your fans longer and more often can do more than just moisture reduction!
A lot of my customers and people I interact with can benefit from this!
A lot of good tips here...particularly "seasonal" right now is humidifiers. I rarely enter a home that has a room humidifier that isnt over humidified (>45%) in some rooms, while still under humidified (
How did your presentation go, Tim Chapin???