Often overlooked considerations for homebuyers to add to their checklist to ensure that a newly built or existing house is healthy to move into.
The emerging pattern of rolling lockdowns over the past year has spurred many people to move to different parts of the country at unprecedented rates. In addition, those staying in the same location have, in some cases, opted to upsize to single-family homes for more space to accommodate remote work and/or schooling arrangements.
This trend has resulted in a boom in new housing starts that looks to continue for the foreseeable future, particularly in non-lockdown states.
Living in New Home Construction Can Greatly Impact Health
If you have plans to build or buy new home construction, I would like to suggest a few often-overlooked details for your checklist. Most apply to the purchase of an existing home too.
These considerations have the ability to greatly impact your family’s health.
Over the decades, I’ve known at least a dozen people whose health was impacted after moving into a new house. Sometimes the problems began immediately. Symptoms included sudden onset of respiratory issues, depression, weight gain, unexplained fatigue, and even cancer.
Thus, it is very important to consider all aspects of how a new home can impact your health.
Making sure the drywall doesn’t come from China and that the flooring materials are made of nontoxic materials and the furniture isn’t made of particle board isn’t enough.
Avoid Housing Developments
Perhaps the biggest piece of advice I can offer is to avoid housing developments if at all possible.
The community may even operate under a Homeowner’s Association (commonly referred to as HOA) and/or a Community Development District (commonly referred to as CDD).
These types of communities typically have very restrictive rules for how a homeowner must maintain the vegetation and lawn.
The operative word here is MUST.
Buy a piece of land in a community where you don’t have any rules regarding yard maintenance. You don’t want any ruling body forcing you to spray pesticides and herbicides around your yard on a regular basis. You want the freedom to not spray any chemicals on your property and to xeriscape without the use of irrigation if you so choose.
Conventional pesticides are linked to ADHD in children. In adults, these chemicals are linked to dementia and diabetes.
No doubt, exposure can contribute to many other ailments not yet studied.
Another problem with housing developments is that they usually offer only unhealthy asphalt shingle roofs. These types of roofs do not block EMFs and can outgas toxins into the home during periods of high heat.
Opt for Well Water
The February 2021 hacking of the municipal water system in Oldsmar, Florida was widely reported around the world. My husband and I used to live in sleepy, little Oldsmar, so I was particularly shocked!
According to CBS News, the hacker tried to change the amount of sodium hydroxide [liquid drain cleaner] in the water supply from about 100 parts per million to more than 11,100 parts per million.
Fortunately, the water plant operator immediately identified the change before anyone was harmed.
My question was…why was drain cleaner being added to the water in the first place?
The lesson here is that treated municipal water contains so many dangerous chemicals even when there isn’t a hacker involved. Some of these are very tiny and difficult to remove (such as IQ reducing fluoride).
Hence, getting a home that has a deep well is a safer way to go long term. You won’t have the risk of a hack from bad actors either!
If you must buy a home with municipal water, it would be wise to factor in investment in a whole house water system that can completely clean the water. This prevents any nasty surprises later. This brand is excellent.
Check Location of Electrical Lines and Cell Phone Towers
EMF sensitivity is more widespread than people know. Frequent headaches, dizziness, vertigo, and fatigue are common symptoms. The advent of 5G is going to make the situation a lot more challenging for many of us.
Before you buy a house, check the address of the home here to gauge that any nearby cell phone towers and antenna are at least a half-mile away.
You should also drive around the area to ensure that no high voltage power lines are within a half-mile of the home too.
In addition, I recommend using an inexpensive measuring device like the 5G ready Safe and Sound Classic from Safe Living Technologies. This device measures EMFs in and around the home and identifies unsafe levels. You don’t need any professional experience to use it.
Avoid Golf Courses
Whatever you do, avoid buying a home on a golf course! As much as I love golf courses, and I grew up playing almost every day, I would never buy a home on one!
Estimates are that each golf course green requires about $10,000 in chemicals each year to keep it in putt-ready condition.
This doesn’t include the pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers necessary to keep the fairways and tee boxes in acceptable condition.
You don’t want your home anywhere near that amount of poison!
While lovely to look at day after day, the tainted air coming into your home has the potential to be life-altering. For example, there are many golf course communities where I live in Florida. Unfortunately, I know a few folks who had this very problem and had to move somewhere else.
If you have the funds, buy a house on conservation, a lake, pond, or woods instead. It will probably be far less expensive too!
Check Location of Neighboring Smart Meters
Before buying an existing home or building new, check the location of the smart meters in neighboring yards.
The further away the better!
This is important to check even if you won’t have a smart meter yourself. In most places, you can opt-out for a small monthly fee. An AMR meter is not as bad as a smart meter, but if you can opt-out of those too, that would be preferable.
Ideally, you want the bedroom area to be on the opposite side of the house from any neighboring smart meters.
I’ve outlined three potential scenarios in the simple diagram below.
Ensuring Safe Air Quality
With new home construction, even if you choose the building materials carefully, there will be off-gassing of toxins for a period of time. Friends of mine in the home construction business estimate that about 5 years is a safe bet.
Hence, if you buy an existing home that is less than five years old or are building new, plan to budget for a HEPA filter in each bedroom and in each living area to ensure that these toxins don’t affect your health.
Note that these toxins are odorless, so you won’t even know you are breathing them in most cases.
Have you purchased a home recently? What tips might you have to share about ensuring a healthy living environment from the get-go?
When we were looking at a house we were interested in (and eventually purchased!) I made sure to check the antenna site and the closest one is almost three miles away, so good there. We do have a smart meter, but it’s mounted to a pole near our porch, probably about a foot or so from the actual structure. It’s also maybe 30 ft or so from the nearest bedroom. Is that too close? I was thinking of looking into a manual reader because I don’t want to worry about it and I have young children.
Sarah Pope MGA
Hi Isadora, I would opt for an analog meter and pay the few extra bucks per month to have meter reader come read it if you can.
Mold is a very common issue to beware of as well. Keep eyes open when walking through, and ask the home inspector to look for signs as well.
Sarah Pope MGA
Yes, mold and signs of previous water damage are important to watch for when buying an existing home. Thanks for adding!