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Do-It-Yourselfers Have To Be Careful, Too!

2010 August 19

By Lina Younes

In these times, everyone is looking for ways to save money. Whether it’s saving energy, cutting coupons or reusing certain items, we all want to limit our expenses. So, for those who are handy with tools, the do-it-yourself-way might be the most economical option for making repairs at home. While many home improvement stores provide useful kits and information to update the look around the house, one word of caution: make sure that the simple steps you take in your home will not adversely affect your health or your family’s. Let me explain.

For example, if you live in a home that was built before 1978, it is likely that at some point your house had lead-based paint. Why should you be concerned about this? Well, lead paint poisoning affects over a million children in the United States today and it can lead to learning disabilities, hearing loss, and other serious health effects. If you are going to renovate, repair or paint your home, make sure that you use lead-safe practices to contain the work area, minimize dust, and clean up thoroughly after the paint or renovation job is over. Your best bet might be to hire a lead-safe certified contractor.

On another issue, some common home problems like drafty rooms, poorly maintained air-conditioning or heating equipment can all contribute to high energy bills. Simple repairs around the home like sealing air leaks, cleaning air ducts, and properly maintaining cooling equipment and appliances will go a long way to improve your health and save money. Here you will find additional tips to improve energy efficiency and better protect the environment.

During the summer, we see an increase in creepy crawlers inside and around the home. For some, the initial reaction is to grab the closest pesticide and spray it all over regardless of the annoying pest at hand. For others, they prefer to call professional exterminators to do the job. Regardless, the best advice is to prevent pests from invading your household in the first place. If pesticides are still necessary, follow the instructions correctly and safely.

Now, for doing-yourself auto repairs, I guess I’ll leave that for another blog. Your comments are always welcomed. Talk to you next week.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

15 Responses leave one →
  1. Munakwa permalink
    August 19, 2010

    Since I subscribed this is my fisrt time to read through your bloged and I am hypnotysed.
    Please keep them coming

  2. betty permalink
    August 19, 2010

    those bed bead bugs i remember those days in houston my mom fought them bugs every week if you have cotton mattresses get ride of them they love cotton i remember my mom picking the buttons on the mattress all the time them little bugs hurt you would see them crawling on people clothes my got ride of them with sufler she would
    get a tin pan and put a block of sulfer in the pan on the floor light it and leave home for the day.i don’t know if you can even buy raw sulfer
    but that will surely help them bugs love cotton share this piece it might help in this in time i am 77yrs young so you do the math. bj

  3. happyday permalink
    August 19, 2010

    this is my first time to read through your bloged and I am hypnotysed.
    Please keep them coming!

  4. lake travis boat rentals permalink
    August 20, 2010

    One of the best article about health and environment.This thing, about the pollution of lead in the environment should be known by everyone.Saving money is good, but it is temporary.But we should hardly try to keep our environment safe and clean.

  5. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    August 22, 2010

    It is easy and won’t cost much to repair screens and small holes in walls or doors but you do have to be careful and follow manufacturers advice on the label. It is probably best for a screen repair to take it to a place like Home Depot and have their screen repair department do it for you and put new rubber insulator around the perephery of the screen while making the repair. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  6. Lina-EPA permalink
    August 23, 2010

    Bless you for your 77 young years! Glad you’re reading our blog.

  7. Lina-EPA permalink
    August 23, 2010

    Michael,
    As always, thanks for the good advice. Yes, we should always read the label first.

  8. Matildo Maratas permalink
    September 5, 2010

    thanks for the tip mate, I think my fridge makes my electricity sour because its old already

  9. Kevin Megan permalink
    September 9, 2010

    what do you mean sulfur? and does sulfur ignite when lighted? do you mean you will burn your house down? definitely the bugs will all burn up including your house

  10. Kevin Megan permalink
    September 9, 2010

    so why are they selling these harmful chemicals until now?

  11. Robert Wagner permalink
    September 15, 2010

    As a Certified Renovator, I enjoyed this blog. I would like to know if I can place an RSS feed on our site http://epaleadsafetraining.com to help bring awareness to EPA Lead Safe Work Practices. Thanks Robert!

  12. Mary bought Coupons permalink
    October 22, 2010

    Me and my husband do the same thing like buying Coupons hoping we’ll get lucky someday, as for our house we just kept it clean at all times to avoid creepy crawling creatures and use chalk insect repellent instead of spray.

  13. Steve Wright permalink
    October 25, 2010

    Thanks for the tips on helping us avoid a massive health bill in our attempts to save money with DIY! Personally, I combine DIY with coupon shopping for the bits and pieces I need for the project. I search for coupons as well as asking my friends who are in the building, painting, renovating trades for “mates rate” discounts.

  14. Rebecca permalink
    November 4, 2010

    Thank you for this post. Most of us are saving money but we have to put an emphasis to our safety too. I think we can save money by using high quality materials that are not branded. Same results but on a cheaper price. We can also save money by buying on the market that has a lot of promotions or discounted products. We must be costumer wise.Cheers
    Rebecca

  15. Jennifer Susan Barker permalink
    January 12, 2012

    Just to let you know that I am still praying for and with you all the time, and make a blessing around you too.

    Miss. Jennifer Susan Barker

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