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Press Release

Release date: 6/2/2016

Lindsay Moore

Seven principles of healthy homes for National Healthy Homes Month

Washington, DC — As National Healthy Homes Month begins, NeighborWorks America urges people to apply the following seven principles of healthy homes. Incorporating these changes can improve your health and save money.

1. Keep your home dry.

Prevent water from entering your home through leaks in roofing systems or poor drainage, and check your interior plumbing for leaks. And remember, most basement water issues are related to poor gutters, downspouts and foundation grading; correcting these issues will go a long way towards reducing moisture in the home.

2. Keep your home clean.

Control sources of dust and contaminants, creating smooth and cleanable surfaces, reducing clutter, and using effective wet-cleaning methods. Using a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) vacuum helps keep dust contained and reduces the amount of dust you inhale. Also, use safe and effective cleaning products such as those that are unscented, biodegradable, non-toxic and have no or low VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

3. Keep your home safe.

Store poisons out of the reach of children and ensure they are properly labeled. Secure loose rugs and loose blind cords. Keep children's play areas free from hard or sharp surfaces. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and since housing codes vary on whether alarms must be hard-wired, battery powered or both, regularly check the batteries.

4. Keep your home well ventilated.

Good ventilation is vital to your family’s health and comfort. It’s most important to ventilate your bathroom and kitchen to remove hot, moist air and contaminants from those rooms. All vents should circulate air outside of the home.   

5. Keep your home pest-free                                                                                                 

All pests look for food, water and shelter. Using IPM (Integrated Pest Management) techniques helps get rid of pests long term and reduces short- and long-term environmental and health hazards. IPM techniques include actions such as sealing cracks and openings throughout your home; storing food in pest-resistant containers; and removing hiding places and shelter, both inside and outside the home.

6. Keep your home contaminant-free.  

Reduce lead hazards in pre-1978 homes by fixing deteriorated paint. Test your home for radon, a naturally occurring dangerous gas that enters homes through soil, crawlspaces, and foundation crack. Install a radon removal system if levels above the EPA action-level are detected.

7. Keep your home well maintained.

Inspect, clean and repair your home routinely. Make minor repairs before they become big problems. Use lifecycle thinking when doing repairs — this means using longer lasting, high-quality components and finishes, simpler and higher quality equipment and addressing existing toxins with the most permanent solution possible.

“Small actions can make a big difference when it comes to creating a healthier home,” said Sarah Norman, director, healthy homes and communities, NeighborWorks America. “NeighborWorks America helps to build and maintain healthy homes all across the United States, preventing lead poisoning, reducing the burden of asthma and other respiratory illnesses, as well as preventing injuries and falls that might otherwise land someone in the Emergency Room.”

For more information about NeighborWorks America, visit

About NeighborWorks America
For more than 35 years, NeighborWorks America, a national, nonpartisan nonprofit, has created opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $27.2 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation’s leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals.