Homeowners uncertain of major health hazards in their homes; Nearly 50% of homeowners remodel to prevent potential health problems
While 60 percent of homeowners rate their homes as “healthy,” more than one in four are uncertain of major health hazards both indoors and outside of their homes, according to the first Healthy Home Trends study of Houzz users in the U.S. Houzz, www.houzz.com, the world’s leading platform for home remodeling and design, also found that the majority of homes lack both health-promoting and safety systems, including basic devices like carbon monoxide detectors. Homeowners recognize the need to address these gaps and nearly 50 percent say preventing health problems and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are motivating factors for home renovation.
Homeowners that rated their homes as “healthy” tend to have newer homes, report better natural and artificial lighting, as well as lower levels of noise, allergens, mold and fewer encounters with pests than homeowners who rated their homes as “unhealthy.” On average, however, over one in four of all homeowners say they are uncertain about many risk factors inside their home, including contaminants in drinking water, formaldehyde, lead and exhaust from gas-burning appliances or furnaces. A fifth (21 percent) of owners of “healthy” homes and over a third (34 percent) of owners of “non-healthy” homes said they weren’t sure about the presence of asbestos in their homes. One in five homeowners perceives their home as having a negative impact on health, with Baby Boomers and Gen X’rs being the most critical of their homes’ environment.
“The data reveal that there is a large gap between how healthy homeowners perceive their homes to be and their awareness of real health hazards in their homes,” said Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz. “Houzz recognizes that health in the home is an important topic for our community. We will continue to empower people to make the best decisions for their home projects by providing actionable insights, guides and advice.”
The prevalence of health-promoting systems is low in all homes, irrespective of health perceptions. Whole house ventilation systems and even inexpensive stand-alone fans are absent from over half of “healthy” homes and over two-thirds of “non-healthy” homes. Only half of homes have (de)humidification systems or devices, and less than a third have air purification systems or devices. Nearly a third of all homes lack windows or skylights in every room.
Despite the low prevalence of health-promoting systems in all homes, homeowners who rated their homes as healthy were more likely to have made upgrades in the past 12 months, with interior painting (41 percent), lighting (28 percent), flooring (27 percent), windows (21 percent) and insulation (20 percent) topping the list of improvements. One in five owners of “healthy” homes also upgraded their HVAC system in the past 12 months. Those who rated their homes as less healthy are more likely to renovate these systems in the next 12 months.
“There’s an emerging recognition among consumers that homes can have a significant impact on their health but less awareness of the systems and products they can put in place to create a healthy home,” said Tom Kelly, owner, Neil Kelly Company. “Remodelers have a critical role to play in helping people to make changes—large and small—to improve their home environments. We believe that the healthy home is the next frontier in home renovation.”
You can download the full Houzz Healthy Home Trends Study at Info.houzz.com/rs/houzz/images/HouzzHealthyHomeStudy.pdf and access relevant guides and articles on Houzz at http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/healthy-home.