Looking to move to your next dream home? Whether renting or purchasing, make it a clean, healthy start. One that supports your lifestyle and your wellbeing can be complicated. Here are some tips to help you navigate your way through the process.

Everyone wants their own ‘paradise’ but looking for that clean, healthy, comfortable home can be harder than you think. Negotiating inspections can all be time consuming.

Your first step is ensuring you have the most comfortable home, that’s in good condition, dry, has ample natural light, good air flow and clean, is really healthy.

Choosing the right home that meets your lifestyle needs is crucial. Do you need a flat entry level home or apartment on the ground floor? Views from a hilly escarpment or in the gully amongst the beautiful ferns next to a creek?

The fun bit is finding the right home that supports your wellbeing, the health of you and your family. Take your time and choose carefully.

Consider things like the property has good northerly exposure, distanced away from water courses and busy streets, check shading from vegetation and neighbouring homes, adequate drainage of water away from around and under the home. You want to make sure the home stays dry inside, through all seasons.

As for the condition of the property – will you have to make repairs or fix gaps to make this home as comfy and dry as possible? Make sure you arrange building and pest inspections and building biology indoor environmental assessment to be confident your new home will be comfortable, healthy and happy forever.

If you are serious about moving into the property, here’s some things you should look for when inspecting a property, physical signs of repairs and maintenance issues that might not only be expensive to fix in the long term but can affect you and your family’s comfort and health.

  • pooling of water and dampness around and under the home, efflorescence on bricks and concrete, if there is a strong, damp odour, these are signs of potentially high moisture content in the structure of the building and you may want to bring in a professional to assess.
  • trees growing too close to the building? Roots and soil can cause significant structural problems, create high moisture in the foundations, vegetation growth blocks sub floor ventilation, reduces natural light and air flow though out the home.
  • large gaps and cracks in walls could indicate structural problems, decreases thermal comfort, that is, the gaps allow cool, moist air in and warm, heated air out, and can be costly to keep comfortable all year round.
  • cracked walls or sloped floors may indicate subsidence or stumps that might be needing to be replaced, and if there is inadequate water drainage, you will want to get professional help too.
  • units and town houses with a shared north facing common wall are more likely to have condensation problems.
  • the roof may look good from the ground, well worth an inspection on top for cracked or broken roof tiles, sagging roof line might mean a costly new roof is required, and rain and pests can get into the roof cavity, you will want to check the insulation and ceiling inside.
  • flat rooves are often problematic, they tend to ‘collect’ water, particularly a metal roof, eventually rust and leak, and / or condensation will collect and drop onto the ceiling cavity as opposed to ‘dripping’ away to the exterior.
  • check the gutters and down pipes are in good condition to ensure they are not blocked or rusted, vegetation cover over a roof blocks gutters and drains causing back flow into roof cavity and eaves.

When inspecting inside a property, examine things like physical signs of water damage and moisture issues that might be a concern for you and your family’s comfort, belongings and health.

  • mouldy walls, ceilings, corners, lifting tiles, blistering, bubbling and peeling paint could mean problems with drainage in showers and behind toilets, or excessive moisture in bathrooms, laundry and kitchen, or lack of ventilation and air circulation.
  • run the shower, flush the toilet may indicate not only poor water pressure, if there is rusting in the pipes or other plumbing problems, you will want to get a plumber to investigate further.
  • we all love a hot shower- check how long it takes for the hot water to run through the taps and check the age of the hot water system, burst hot water systems are more common when you least expect it.
  • does the bathroom have an exhaust fan? Check for an external vent as the majority of bathroom exhaust fans vent directly into the ceiling cavity creating elevated moisture, and you will need to get in professional help.
  • look under vanities and sinks, check braided water hoses, they too can leak when you least expect it, water flooding can be costly, damaging property and your personal belongings and emotionally unsettling, and if not addressed quickly, unhealthy.

Discreetly, with your mobile phone torch check for mould, unusual water stains on surfaces.

  • the bottom, sides and back of furniture and skirting boards,
  • the backs of blinds, window frames, back of door frames, back corners of wardrobes,
  • sniff for musty smells, feel for cold, dampness,
  • does the linen cupboard or the sink cupboards smell fresh or musty?

These are common places for mould growth due to condensation and poor air flow. If the reason for the mould is unable to be addressed, this room is unhealthy for occupants to sleep and live in.

  • if the rooms have recently been painted or is there new carpet near bathrooms, politely ask if there has been a previous water or mould problems?
  • Exposure to mould can be associated with health problems such as asthma exacerbation, respiratory infections, allergic rhinitis, chronic inflammatory response syndrome and other adverse health effects rarely seen in well maintained buildings. ASHRAE (2012); WHO (2009); Mold Survivor (2001).
  • Water issues need to be fixed within 48 hours, to prevent mould.
  • Mould triggers need to assessed, fixed and cleaned up by professionals which can cost you an arm and leg.

You’ve found your dream home and now it’s time to call Sydney Removalists Service to take the hassle out of packing and moving!

You’d want to make sure that your dream home is comfortable, even when it’s wet and raining outside, that it stays dry, comfy and healthy inside. Live by the Precautionary Principle,  listen to your instincts. If the property does not feel right, you see or smell mould, you may want to give this one a miss.

Towards healthier living Carol Parr ♥

Our passion comes from pure necessity that we can all live natural and healthy lives, we can all contribute to human wellbeing and preservation and determine the future health of our children and their environment tomorrow.

As a result of working with us, families thrive, sensitive occupants heal. They’re healthier, they’re alert, they’re happier, more relaxed, more productive, and enjoying life.

Together we bring about healthy indoor environments and create rooms that provide calmness, healthy sleep, relaxation and restored energy for you and your family.

By maintaining indoor spaces to close as possible more natural conditions, occupants are healthy and happy, it’s nice that it sustains our planet’s ecology, you’d agree.

References

ASHRAE. 2012. ASHRAE Position Document on Limiting Indoor Mold and Dampness in Buildings (Online). Available: https://www.ashrae.org/File%20Library/About/Position%20Documents/ASHRAE—Limiting-Indoor-Mold-and-Dampness-in-Buildings.pdf [September 10, 2015]

WHO Health Organisation. 2009. WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Moud. (Online). Available: http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/43325/E92645.pdf [September 30, 2015]

Mold Survivor, 2001. Human health effects of indoor mycotoxin exposure in fungi – contaminated indoor environments. (Online). Available: http://www.mold-survivor.com/mycotoxinsfungi.html [November 10, 2015]

Carol Parr

Author Carol Parr

Carol Parr is a Building Biologist and Healthy Home Wizard. She has worked with asthma and allergy sufferers in their homes and work places for over twenty years, specialising in mould, dust mites, chemicals, EMFs and WiFi. When she’s not turning unhealthy rooms into healthier, relaxing and productive spaces, she’s most likely frightening her husband and their children with numerous “let’s see what this does when …” projects.

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