Remodeling projects are exciting – you're breathing a new life into your home, increasing resale value, and finally getting the features you've postponed for so long. But did you know that a kitchen remodel can also help you lead a healthier lifestyle? To find out the 3 significant ways a new kitchen can improve your and your family's health, please read our guide below.
1. Reduce Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
VOCs are chemical compounds emitted as gases from various solids and liquids. Often found in construction materials and furnishings, these compounds off-gas at room temperature and permeate the surrounding space. Some substances off-gas longer than others; for example, particleboard can continue to emit VOCs for 20 years after manufacture, whereas most paints stop off-gassing in about 6 months. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), common household sources of VOCs are:
● paints, paint strippers and other solvents
● wood preservatives
● aerosol sprays
● cleaners and disinfectants
● moth repellents and air fresheners
● stored fuels and automotive products
● hobby supplies
● dry-cleaned clothing
Of these, many can be found in the kitchen, particularly an older one. Before 2010, formaldehyde emissions from hardwood plywood (HWPW), medium-density fiberboard (MFD), and particleboard (PB) were not regulated in products sold in California and across the United States. If your kitchen cabinetry predates 2010, chances are that it’s made with VOC-laden materials that may still be off-gassing and poisoning your home environment, in turn affecting your health..
VOCs vary in toxicity, with formaldehyde and benzene presenting by far the most hazard. According to the EPA, exposure to these and other common household VOCs may lead to the following health effects:
● eye, nose, and throat irritation
● loss of coordination
● damage to the liver, kidney, and the central nervous system
● cancer in humans and animals
Several symptoms may develop as a result of your proximity to off-gassing VOCs. If you often feel fatigued, dizziness, have headaches, nausea, or nose and throat discomfort inside your home, there is a chance that VOCs are the culprit.
Remodeling your kitchen gives you a twofold opportunity to curb VOC emissions and reduce the negative impact these compounds have on your health.
First, you have the chance to remove your formaldehyde-laden cabinetry and install new, safe replacements. As of March 2019, federal regulations ensure that most large cabinet manufacturers limit VOCs in their products. This simple update to your furnishings can rid your kitchen of dozens of square feet of off-gassing surfaces.
Further, a remodeling project is an excellent opportunity to install new, efficient HVAC systems to circulate and filter the air inside your home. In addition to new range hoods, you can also upgrade your window design to facilitate natural ventilation inside the kitchen.
You can opt to hire an experienced architect/engineer to perform a thorough study of your current kitchen design and suggest suitable remodeling steps to improve natural ventilation. If you feel that this is the right option for you, Design Everest is here to lend a hand. Call us at (888) 512-3152 for a consultation and a free quote.
2. Get rid of mold
Moisture levels in a typical kitchen are relatively high compared to other spaces of a home. This constant exposure to moisture and humidity creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew, both of which can damage your cabinetry, counters, interior finishes, and drywall.
Aside from damaging a home's interior, mold also presents a potential hazard to human health. While scientific research has so far not singled out a specific illness that relates directly to mold growth, the consensus in the medical community is that exposure to damp environments and mold can lead to an array of respiratory problems. More specifically, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) acknowledges evidence that links mold to upper-respiratory issues such as nose and throat irritations, coughing, wheezing, and asthma, and lower-respiratory symptoms like chest tightness and shortness of breath.
Not sure if your kitchen harbors mold or mildew? Its musky, pungent smell may be your first red flag. Even without the odor, a simple visual investigation may help you uncover a mold infestation. Check behind your cupboards, appliances, and furniture, as well us under your kitchen sink for signs of fuzzy black, red, or green growths. In the process, you may also find mildew, which is typically white, gray, or brown and has a powdery appearance.
As you’re planning your remodel, make sure that all the fungal growths and their spores are gone with the last trash container, and never return to haunt you again.
Mold and mildew require certain conditions to appear, grow, and spread. They need moisture, air, food, and a warm-to-hot ambient temperature; the abundance of these four items is what makes kitchens an ideal breeding ground for these fungi. Unfortunately, it's impossible to get rid of all four elements. Air, cabinetry and drywall (food), and the mold-friendly room temperatures are here to stay.
What you can eliminate is moisture. By installing brand-new plumbing, you minimize the chance of leaks. By protecting your home’s structure with a specialized coating, using moisture-managing insulation and mold-resistant drywall, you will ensure that moisture and mold are kept out of your wall cavities. Using a tile backer will help you minimize the chance of moisture getting trapped between your backsplash tiles and the drywall. Finally, upgrading your windows to the condensation-resistant type can curtail the emergence of moisture in the entire kitchen space.
A remodeling project gives you the chance to perform these mold-banishing modifications and improve your family’s health.
3. Change your lifestyle
Apart from improving indoor air quality and exterminating harmful fungal infestations, a kitchen remodeling project may help you with a variety of lifestyle changes. After spending precious time and resources on the project, you're likely to adopt healthier eating habits by preparing more meals at home and eating out less. According to a recent study by Houzz Inc, these are the top lifestyle changes homeowners attributed to a remodeling project, sorted by popularity:
● more family time - 49%
● more home cooking - 41%
● more entertaining - 40%
● less takeout - 34%
● more working at home - 32%
● more baking - 30%
● more sit-down meals - 29%
● more fruits and vegetables - 26%
Overall, 33% of homeowners reported leading healthier lifestyles after redoing their kitchens.
Has this got you thinking of a remodel? We at Design Everest can help.
How Design Everest can help
Our team of engineers will guide you through every stage of the project and help you get the most out of your budget. Contact us at (888) 512-3152 to discuss your project and receive a quote today.
*Note: The content published above was made in collaboration with members of Design Everest.
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