(BPT) - It’s as crystal clear as the air and water can be in your home: living in a healthier space is a top priority. From small projects to large remodels, homeowners are focused on how these upgrades might impact their health, while having a positive impact on the environment.
“Going green can be affordable when there are eco-friendly choices available no matter your budget,” said Christopher O’Rourke, Mercury Insurance Vice President of Property Claims. “Healthy home choices, especially for large renovations, may bring your homeowners cost down and save you money on insurance too.”
A healthier home starts with evaluating what needs routine maintenance and what products can be replaced with eco-friendly alternatives. Here are some healthy home improvement tips that you can begin with today.
1) Clean, fresh and safe air
According to the EPA, the air inside your home can be two to five times more polluted than the air outside. Air filters in your heating and cooling system work by drawing out pollutants like dust and pet dander. When they get dirty it makes it harder for this system to work efficiently. Routinely check your air filters for accumulated dirt and dust. Depending on what type of filter you need, HEPA filters can be replaced for as little as $25.
A simple project you can do at no cost is checking that all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home work properly. Heating your home during winter increases the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. Checking the detectors around your home should be done routinely, especially during cold weather months.
2) Pure water
Water filters are a popular health-conscious home upgrade that can fit a range of budgets. The most popular types of water filtration are filtered pitchers that can start at $20. There are also under-the-sink, on-the-counter, and faucet-mounted filtration system alternatives depending on how large of an upgrade you want.
Water leak detection devices are another popular home improvement. These systems can notify you when a leak is detected and can shut off the water system if a major problem is found. Mercury Insurance offers a water leak detection discount to qualifying homes that are equipped with these systems. (Discount availability may be limited to certain states. Speak to a Mercury agent to confirm the coverages available in your state.)
3) Home supplies that are great at their jobs and easy on the environment
Over the years many consumers have been concerned about the ingredients found in conventional cleaning products, paints, flooring and building materials. Many have decided to replace them with products that are environmentally friendly. Look for products that are biodegradable and sourced from renewable resources instead of petroleum. Be wary of cleaners that claim to be all natural without clearly identifying their environmental benefits.
Painting: Whether you are doing a light touch up around your home or a large project, toxic paint could negatively impact the air quality of your living space. Look for options that are free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or are Green Seal or GreenGuard certified.
Replacing appliances: Always look for appliances that are LEED certified or STAR rated. These products are more sustainable and reduce energy usage. You may also qualify for a green homeowners discount through your insurance for having these appliances in your home.
Flooring: Look for eco-friendly options such as unfinished hardwood, stone or concrete, and carpets made of natural fibers. Make sure to use toxic-free adhesives to reduce the amount of chemicals in your home.
Building materials: If you are going to be replacing drywall or insulation, look for GreenGuard certified materials to avoid toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde or acetaldehyde that are commonly found in these materials.
Home improvements and routine maintenance can create a healthier living environment. This green trend is also good for your wallet, as Mercury Insurance will apply a 5% green home insurance discount to homeowners who provide proof of certification that their home has been certified as Green by the U.S. Green Building Council LEED for homes rating system or meets the requirements of the National Association of Home Builders Green Building Guidelines (NAHB). (Discount availability may be limited to certain states. Speak to a Mercury agent to confirm the coverages available in your state.)