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The Condition of Your Home Could Impact Your Health

This winter, much of the country has been in a deep freeze. With all the snow and ice, many people have spent a great deal of their time in the house. Besides just causing cabin fever, the condition of your home itself has a great effect on the health of you and the members of your family.

Here are some everyday things that could be causing health problems in your home.

  • Smoking inside can cause asthma and respiratory issues, and can even lead to cancer.

  • Radon, a gas which is odorless and tasteless causes lung cancer.

  • The presence of too much moisture or mold (which can come from over-use of humidifiers in the winter) may lead to asthma and respiratory problems.

To prevent these sort of issues, don’t allow smoking in your home, and be sure to install smoke detectors and regularly change their batteries, just in case a fire should occur. Test for radon, and install fan systems that remove radon vapors. Fix water leaks to prevent excess moisture from being present in your home, and keep it well ventilated.

Simple steps like these help ensure your family’s health, especially when mother nature doesn’t allow you to go outside.

For Your Health: Test Your Home for Radon

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and is estimated to be responsible for 15,000-22,000 lung cancer deaths each year. 

You can’t see, smell, or taste radon. It’s a radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown of the elements uranium, thorium, and radium in soil and rock. 

Radon can be present in both outdoor and indoor air, but you’re likely to get most exposure in your own home. 

To help protect your health, you can test your home for radon and take measures to lower radon levels if needed.

Tips for Saving Energy During the Winter

In the winter, when many people turn on their heaters and put up holiday lights, gas and electric bills can be much higher than usual.

According to the Department of Energy (DOE), a family spends more than $1,900 a year on electricity bills and other utilities. A big part of those costs come from wasted energy during those cold months.

However, you can save on winter energy costs if you make some changes in certain areas of your home.

Lighting

Improve the lighting in your home and save energy.

  • Replace traditional light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs, which last between six and 12 times longer. Remember to turn off any lights that aren’t in use.
  • Consider using LED lights for Christmas decorations. These use 90 percent less energy than the standard Christmas lights.

Thermostats and heating

Keep your home warm and comfortable.

  • Install a programmable thermostat for your home’s heating system.
  • Keep the doors and windows closed while the heat is on.
  • Frequently change the filters in your furnace.
  • Set the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

General tips

Be energy efficient throughout your home.

  • Only use the exhaust fan in the kitchen and bathrooms when necessary.
  • Repair any water leaks in the bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room, etc.
  • Use power strips to plug in portable heaters, television and cell phone chargers. That way, you can turn off the power switch when the devices are not in use.
  • If you’re thinking of replacing your appliances, make sure they have an Energy Star logo. Energy Star products are more energy efficient.

Programs for low-income families

During the winter, the government helps low-income families with their energy bills.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP, helps families pay some of their heating costs. To see if you qualify for these benefits, contact your local LIHEAP office for more information.

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VA Home Loans Can Help Servicemembers and Veterans Purchase, Refinance, or Adapt a Home

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a variety of home loan programs for active duty servicemembers, veterans, and National Guard and Reserve members: 

  • Purchase Loans help purchase a home at a competitive interest rate often without requiring a downpayment or private mortgage insurance.
  • Cash Out Refinance Loans take cash out of your home equity to pay off debt, fund school, or make home improvements.
  • Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan can help you obtain a lower interest rate by refinancing an existing VA loan.
  • Native American Direct Loans help eligible Native American veterans finance the purchase, construction, or improvement of homes on Federal Trust Land, or reduce the interest rate on a VA loan.
  • Adapted Housing Grants help veterans with a permanent and total service-connected disability purchase or build an adapted home or to modify an existing home to account for their disability.

These programs are not one-time benefits - they can be reused.

Learn more about home loans for veterans and servicemembers.

VA Home Loans Can Help Servicemembers and Veterans Purchase, Refinance, or Adapt a Home

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a variety of home loan programs for active duty servicemembers, veterans, and National Guard and Reserve members: 

  • Purchase Loans help purchase a home at a competitive interest rate often without requiring a downpayment or private mortgage insurance.
  • Cash Out Refinance Loans take cash out of your home equity to pay off debt, fund school, or make home improvements.
  • Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans can help you obtain a lower interest rate by refinancing an existing VA loan.
  • Native American Direct Loans help eligible Native American veterans finance the purchase, construction, or improvement of homes on Federal Trust Land or reduce the interest rate on a VA loan.
  • Adapted Housing Grants help veterans with a permanent and total service-connected disability purchase or build an adapted home or to modify an existing home to account for their disability.

These programs are not one-time benefits - they can be reused.

Learn more about home loans for veterans and servicemembers.