Ask the Experts

Do you have a question about how to make your home safe, healthy and energy efficient? Ask us! 

At GHHI we have leading experts on lead safety, environmental health, family advocacy, tenant's rights, energy efficiency, home safety issues, pest control and more. They have provided several answers to frequently asked questions on this page. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, send us your questions by filling out the form to the right and we’ll find one of our experts to help get it answered!

Do I need a carbon monoxide detector on every floor or just in the basement?

It’s ideal to have a CO detector on every floor of your home. Placement is very important—detectors should be installed near bedrooms so that sleeping occupants will hear the alarm. Do not install detectors near the bathroom or any other areas that produce moisture. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper placement. Test the alarm every six months and replace the batteries or unit as needed. The average life of a CO detector is seven years.

What is carbon monoxide and where does it come from?

Carbon monoxide is (CO) an odorless, poisonous gas produced when fuels like natural gas, propane, oil, kerosene, coal, charcoal and wood do not obtain complete combustion. This could be caused by a malfunctioning appliance, debris or dirt clogging the mechanism or when an appliance does not receive sufficient air. Anything that burns or any appliance that uses these fuels produces CO. It is important to have your appliances inspected and cleaned twice a year to prevent incomplete combustion. To ensure your appliances receive enough air, do not places objects close to appliances like water heaters or furnaces, especially if these appliances are already enclosed in a small closet. 

How much energy does unplugging electronics like televisions and phone chargers really save?

When your electronics are powered off, but still plugged into the electrical out, energy is still being consumed. These “energy vampires” can become expensive, especially for a family with a lot of handheld devices, gaming consoles and multiple televisions. Unplugging items after each use may seem tedious, but the savings can add up. The average home would save $150 a year by doing so. For entertainment centers or other areas where you have a lot of plugs, use a smart power strip. This way you can “unplug” electronics with the flick of a switch.

Is there a certain KWH figure that is considered to be energy efficient?

Every home is different. The size and age of your home, as well as the appliances inside are all contributing factors to the energy you use. To find out how energy efficient your home is, hire a contractor to conduct a home energy audit. They will be able to identify ways to improve energy efficiency in your home, like upgrading to energy efficient appliances, switching to LED light bulbs, investing in insulation, installing a programmable thermostat and simply turning down the temperature on your water heater. 

How can I get fresh air into my home in the winter other than open a window?

As long as you have a good HVAC system, change your air filters regularly, install proper mechanical ventilation in your bathroom and kitchen, do not smoke in or near the home and keep your home clean with a HEPA vacuum and VOC-free cleaners. Keeping all of the interior doors inside your home open will also help the air to flow freely from room to room. Assuming you leave your house once or twice a day, you’d be amazed how much fresh air can flow through an open door, even if only for a few seconds.



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