Why Is My Home Making Me Sick?

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante
Credit: Shutterstock / zhang tianle

Nobody should have to feel uncomfortable at home, but houses are often full of allergens that cause sickness. It can be hard to pin down what makes you feel sick at home, especially when you can’t find an obvious source. So, why is my home making me sick?

Your home can make you sick if there are mold spores in the air and allergens in the carpets and curtains. Allergens will also circulate throughout the home if your air ducts haven’t been cleaned in 3-5 years. Excessive pet hair and smoke residue in a house can trigger allergic reactions and prolonged health problems.

You may also want to hire an exterminator if you find rodent droppings in your house, as that can make you sick. Follow along as we explore why your home is making you sick and highlight solutions.

10 Common Reasons Why Your Home Makes You Feel Sick

1. Mold Spores

Countless homeowners have become worried at the sight of mold in their homes. However, mold isn’t always easy to find as the spores can travel undetected through the air. Mold can even stay hidden behind your walls, under your floors, and within your HVAC system.

Prolonged mold exposure can cause uncomfortable health symptoms, such as dizziness, nausea, headaches, and coughing. It’s worth the cost to pay for a mold inspection if you notice these symptoms but can’t find mold.

2. Clogged Air Ducts

Your home’s HVAC system can make you feel sick if it’s dirty and outdated. That’s especially true if you haven’t had the air ducts cleaned in the past 3-5 years. Ducts distributes air throughout your home, but this becomes hard when it’s full of debris, hair, dirt, and dust.

Dirty air ducts spread allergens through the air each time the air conditioner turns on. Unfortunately, you can’t clean air ducts without professional help, as the job requires special tools. You can expect to pay an HVAC service between $300-$500 to clean your air ducts.

3. Dirty Carpets

Much like clogged air ducts, dirty carpets hold onto allergens that can make you sick at home. It isn’t fun to vacuum, but you can keep allergens at bay if you vacuum 1 to 2 times per week. You can also significantly reduce allergens at home if you deep clean your carpets once per year.

It can be expensive to pay for a carpet cleaning service, as they charge up to $400 per carpet. That said, the cost depends on the carpet’s size and the cleaning method you choose. Luckily, you can rent carpet steam cleaners for as little as $40 per day.

4. Excessive Humidity

Nobody wants to live in an overly dry house, and it can make you feel uncomfortable at home. However, excessive humidity makes it easy for mold, mildew, fungi, and harmful bacteria to thrive. You can often avoid many of these problems if you keep the humidity level betweem 30%-50%.

However, that may feel too dry for some, and in that case, 40%-60% may be ideal. Keep in mind that water can condense once the humidity level reaches 60%.

This will make water settle on your walls, tables, floors, and even ceiling. Luckily, you can quickly lower the humidity in your home if you run the air conditioner or a dehumidifier.

5. Pet Hair

Pet hair makes many people feel sick at home, even if they don’t have pets. Unfortunately, pet hair can stick around for a while even after the previous tenant or homeowner leaves. For example, your new home may have leftover cat hair in the air ducts that the previous resident never removed.

In that case, the clogged cat hair may trigger your allergies each time the air conditioner runs. It’s also common for homeowners to adopt pets only to find out later that they’re allergic to them. Keep in mind that you can have allergic reactions to one animal and not another, even within the same species. That’s why it can be tricky at first to self-diagnose.

6. Asbestos

If your house was built between the 1930s and 1970s, there’s a chance it may contain asbestos. The world has known about the dangers of asbestos for decades, but it remains in some old homes. Asbestos is associated with many health risks, such as lung cancer and asbestosis.

It costs up to $400 to hire a service for an asbestos air test. This will tell you if your home contains asbestos particles in the air. Asbestos removal costs an average of $2,000, but it depends on your home’s size and how much asbestos there is.

7. Lead

Much like asbestos, lead paint is banned from being used in modern homes. However, your home may still contain lead-based paint if it’s never been renovated. Lead can cause nerve damage, brain damage, and kidney damage, among other health problems.

You can even sue your landlord if they mislead you about the lead-based paint and you suffer health problems. It’s dangerous to remove lead without professional qualifications, and you can face fines if you aren’t lead-certified. Lead removal costs up to $17 per square foot, but it depends on the service you hire.

8. Smoke Residue

Whether you smoke or your home’s previous resident was a smoker, smoke residue can make you sick at home. Tobacco smoke is full of toxins that settle into walls, floors, and fabric throughout homes. This tarry residue is not only gross, but it’s also carcinogenic.

Smoke residue settles into wallpaper, and it can eventually seep out. That’s why it’s so hard to clean a smoker’s house. It’s often worth the cost to replace your wallpaper or remove it and paint the walls instead.

9. Pests

It’s no secret that all kinds of pests from mice and shrews to skinks and wasps enter homes uninvited. Direct contact with some pests, such as mice, is enough to make you sick at home if they carry harmful bacteria. You can also feel sick and suffer health problems if your home contains lots of rodent droppings.

10. Harmful Gases

Homes are susceptible to many harmful gases, whether it be carbon monoxide, sewer gas, or sulfur dioxide. That’s why you must always change the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide poisoning is sometimes fatal, and it can cause uncomfortable symptoms even in minor cases.

Sewer gas is also toxic, and you must contact a plumbing service right away. They may suggest that you call the municipality, as it may be up to them to fix it.

Summing It Up

Check for mold, mildew, and fungus if you’re unexpectedly sick and expect it’s because of something at home. Excessive moisture, pet hair, and smoke residue can also make you feel sick at home. Harmful materials like lead and asbestos as well as gas leaks can also cause unexpected health problems.

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Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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