Resources are continuously added here.
I do not have any affiliation with any company, organization or product listed below.
Due to the growing size of this page, plans for re-formatting it will be in the works.
“My education is not just for myself, but also for my community.”

Philadelphia residents

  • Resources for tenant rights in Philadelphia – PhillyTenant.org
  • Weatherization Assistance Program for low income households – Check for eligibility | NOTE: be sure to test for radon levels before and after weatherization
  • City of Philadelphia info on protecting children from lead – link | general list
  • “3M lead check” lead testing kit (EPA approved) – link
  • City of Philadelphia’s “Basic Systems Repair Program” – link
  • Water/sewer pipe protection insurance ($9.89/month) – link
  • Basement water back-up protection program – link
  • City of Philadelphia property search (property.phila.gov) – link
  • Philly property history for permits, licenses, violations, and appeals – link
  • Search building permits for Philadelphia – link
  • Anti-mosquito products tested and reviewed – link
  • University City’s “Project Rehab” – link
  • Asbestos testing kits – link
  • Philadelphia air quality check – link
  • Walkscore: walkability, biking and transit ratings for neighborhoods – link
  • Nextdoor.com neighborhood listings – link
  • Philadelphia listings for free stuff – Craigslist  |  Freecycle.org
  • Northeast Philly community watch/outreach – NEPhila.org
  • Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia – link
  • See the Chimney Safety Institute page on protecting a chimney from water – link
  • Find a chimney specialist from the Chimney Safety Institute directory – link
  • EfficientWindows.org “Windows Selection Tool” (replacements + new construction) – link
  • “Everybody Needs a Roof” directory from the National Roofing Contractors Assoc. – link
  • Find an HVAC technician recognized by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s Quality Assured contractor accreditation program – link
  • Philly Reclaim by Philadelphia Community Corps – link
  • “Architectural salvage stores” – North 2nd Street  |  Westmoreland Street
  • Benefits of using brick for housing – link 1 | link 2
  • Philadelphia Rowhouse Manual from the city government – PDF (52 pages)
  • Healthy Rowhouse Project – link
  • Free rain barrel installed from the city to collect rain water that discharges from your roof (rainwater can be used for non-edible plants, mopping, sidewalks, and emergencies) – link | replacement parts
  • Get a free tree planted on your property/sidewalk area – link
  • Online Encyclopedia of Philadelphia – link
  • PhillyHistory.org photo archive – link

General info

  • Healthy Home Guides on energy efficiency, water efficiency, ventilation, air filters, carpet, caulks, tiles, cleaners, decking, drywall , flooring, insulation, kitchen, lights, mattresses, paint, plumbing, furniture, water filters, and more.
  • “10 Important Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector” from the US Dept of Housing and Urban Development – link
  • First-time homebuyer’s guide (Investopedia) – link
  • Homebuyer’s guide (Annuity.org) – link
  • Homebuyer’s guide from the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) – link
  • Learn about home systems from the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) – link
  • Search for houses through Foreclosure.com
  • HomeSnap house search – link
  • Service life mega-list from roofs to counter-tops (from InterNACHI) – link
  • Home insurance info and stats – link
  • Carbon Monoxide Levels & Risks – link | introductory video
  • Why a “low level” carbon monoxide detector (greater sensitivity to lower levels of CO) is supposed to be a better choice than a “high level” one – link
  • Useful carbon monoxide detector info video (12 min) – link
  • CarbonMonoxide.com – link
  • Air conditioning BTU calculator – link
  • Video series about the 6 classes of chemicals that are known to harm human health and the environment. Each video summarizes where one of these classes of chemicals is used, associated health problems, and how to reduce exposure – link
  • Tap Water Database: enter your zip code to discover your city’s water rating – link | Buy a water test kit
  • Top 5 causes of water damage in the home” (according to a property damage company based in the Philadelphia/NJ area)
  • Water Damage Defense – link | learning center
  • Water Quality Association (WQA.org) – link
  • Healthy Home Checklist – link
  • “Home improvement expert checklists” from the American Department of Energy – link
  • C.L.U.E. report (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) and why it’s good for home sellers to obtain and disclose the CLUE report to potential buyers to show the insurance claim history – link | also see 9 steps to home buying
  • Reasons to use a shower water filter – link 1 | link 2
  • Overview of full spectrum lighting for healthier home lighting – link 1 | link 2
  • How dryer fires start – link
  • Find a technician to clean-out your dryer + duct at DryerSafety.org – link
  • Top 5 hidden home hazards to kids from the Consumer Product Safety Commission – link
  • Windows and child safety that you may have never thought of – link
  • Why you should secure your dressers to the wall if you have small children – link
    Related: More than 15,000 people are injured each year in the U.S. when furniture or TVs tip and fall on them, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Locating air leaks in your home – link | graphic of leaks | sealing air leaks | insulating attic stairs | NOTE: The last thing you want to do is air seal a home that’s on the edge of combustion safety – link
  • Explore Rockwool insulation, which is mineral-based + moisture, mold and fire resistant – link
  • Ice dam prevention from the Ice Dam Company in Minnesota – link
  • “How Your House Works” info from Hometips.com – link
  • “Waterbug” water sensor to detect water in home (“water presence and leak detection”) – link
  • Wireless temperature + humidity + moisture meter sensor ($84) – link
  • Beware of stucco over wood (“Rotting from Within” Philadelphia Inquirer feature on suburban homes with stucco) – link
  • Health rankings for 2,500 cleaning products – link
  • Video: microwaves and safety
  • Fireplaces: check out the “creosote sweeping log.”
  • Rebates on heating units, cooling units, appliances and more from Energy Star.
  • Any qualified equipment installed prior to January 1, 2017 is eligible for the Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit
  • Contractor cost estimate comparison from Fixr – link
  • Home repair cost estimates submitted by people to CostHelper.com – link
  • Home repair/renovation cost estimator from HomeAdvisor – link
  • Cost estimate reference for various repair (+more) issues from CostAide.com – link
  • Automated cost estimator for home inspection reports (RepairPricer.com) – link
  • Consumer Reports water heater buying guide – link
  • Check a few answers for determining which water heater you might need (AO Smith “selection tool”) – link
  • Video with reasons to consider purchasing a “heat pump” water heater – link
  • According to the U.S. Depart of Energy, heating and cooling accounts for more than half of the energy use in a typical U.S. home, making it the largest energy expense for most homes. Source
  • Why decks fail/Building a safe deck: “nearly every collapsed deck had been attached with nails, rather than bolts, and that investigators had pinpointed the nails as the cause of collapse” – link | deck overview | info + checklist | stair defects
  • Deck builder directory search from the North American Deck & Railing Association – link
  • Vinyl siding cleaning and maintenance tips – link
  • The many healthier reasons to consider choosing wool carpet instead of synthetic – link
  • Lead: 1,000’s of U.S. locales where lead poisoning is worse than in Flint, Michigan (Dec. 2016)
  • National Lead Information Center phone number 800-424-5323
  • Products with asbestos – link
  • Asbestos education and awareness – link
  • Potential chemicals found in building materials – link
  • 2007 report on air fresheners containing harmful chemicals – link
  • Garage doors: Safety and maintenance guide from the Door and Access Systems manufacturer’s Association (DASMA) – link
  • All about driveways – link
  • Angie’s List house/home improvement section – link
  • National Comfort Institute’s site for homeowners (comfort + health/safety) – link
  • Indoor air: How Well Do House Plants Perform as Indoor Air Cleaners? – link
  • Indoor air: 12 plants for your home to improve your health (?) – link
  • Home appliance costs – link
  • Top 10 materials for counter-tops – link
  • Roof material lifespans – link | importance of flashing
  • U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission – link
  • National Safety Council – link
  • Flood info: Science News article on protecting your home | FirstStreet.org
  • Home improvement forum at Stack Exchange – link
  • Video (22min) “H2 Uh Oh!” with Mark Parlee, water damage expert who claims that “14,000 people experience a water damage emergency everyday” (40% of homeowners) – link
  • “Chemistry in Building Materials” from BuildingWithChemistry.org (variety of info from interior to exterior) – link

Mold info

  • Documentary called “Moldy” (1 hr) about the wide variety of serious health effects of mold in buildings – link
  • Why testing for mold (versus eliminating the source) is probably *not* money well spent (BuildingScience.com) – link
  • HVAC air filter spray called Mold Magnet that claims to enhance standard HVAC filter’s ability to capture molds, bacteria and virus particles by nearly 1000-fold (tested by NIOSH and CDC) – link
  • Top 10 mold facts from a property damage remediation company – link
  • Moldy drywall in new construction – link
  • A good Angie’s List overview on removing mold (don’t use bleach) – link
  • Healthier anti-mold products to consider – link
  • Resources from the Indoor Air Quality Association – link
  • Basic info from the EPA – link
  • “Damp indoor spaces and health” (free PDF book) – link
  • Note: copper is naturally anti-microbial and anti-fungal
  • Mold-resistant construction materials (?) – search results

Pests / Wood destroying pest info

  • Natural pesticide = Essentria IC-3 (rosemary oil, peppermint oil, mineral oil, and more) – link
  • Natural pesticides list from the EPA (PDF) – link
  • Ways to get rid of ants from your home – link
  • Physical termite barriers for new construction – Termimesh  |  Termistops
  • Bora-care WDI treatment (borate-based) – link
  • Banned treatments: Chlodane and organophosphates 
  • Video: Termite gut microbes (7min, PBS) – link
  • National Pest Management Association (PestWorld.org) – link | interactive “pest in the house”
  • Bat Conservation International – link
  • Global damage costs for invasive species – link

Heating, Ventilation + Cooling (HVAC)

  • “In a typical house, about 20-30% of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts.” Source
  • Find an HVAC technician recognized by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s Quality Assured contractor accreditation program – link
  • Consider a MERV-13 air filter for healthier indoor air (link), but buyer beware.
  • Why you might want to renovate your air duct system – link
  • Read this before hiring someone to clean your air ducts – DuctCleaning.org
  • Air duct sealing system for existing air ducts (Aeroseal) – link
  • HVAC recalls – link
  • New construction HVAC contractor quality comparison checklist from ACCA.org – link (PDF)
  • HeatingHelp.com for all things heating (forced-air, hot water, steam, radiant, etc)
  • Overview of indoor air quality – link
  • Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality – link
  • Air filter efficiency ratings chart (MERV ratings) – link

Radon info

Plumbing

  • PEX (plastic) versus Copper plumbing pipes (research results) – link
  • List of links on the anti-microbial properties of copper – link
  • EWG.org healthy home guide to plumbing – link


Electrical

  • If you have yellow-covered steel gas lines called corrugated steel tubing (CSST), they should be electrically bonded to potentially prevent small holes from forming during an electrical storm. For more info see CSSTSafety.com
  • Extension cord safety tips – link
  • Electrical safety using arc fault circuit interrupters inside your main electrical panel – afcisafety.org


Recalls / defective products

  • Schneider Electric (Square-D) Recalls 1.4 Million Electrical Panels – link
  • Over 40 MILLION “Kidde” fire extinguishers recalled from 1973 – 2017 – link
  • Smoke Alarm Recall (Kidde/dual sensor) Due to Risk of Failure to Alert During a Fire – link
  • Kids in Danger website – link
  • Square D (brand) arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) with an aqua-blue button located in electrical panels – link
  • ABS pipes (black/drain/waste): 1998 lawsuit
  • Zonolite Trust Fund (lawsuit) for polybutylene (gray) pipes – link
  • “Atlas Chalet” roof shingleslink
  • “PlexVent” and “UltraVent” (light gray, triple-piped) attached to mid-efficiency furnaces and boilers – link
  • OMEGA sprinkler systems (from the 1980’s) – link
  • “Made in China” drywall installed between 2001-2009 (sulfur smell/corrodes pipes) – link
  • HVAC recalls – link
  • Product recalls (nearly everything) – link

Ultraviolet (UV) light disinfection to neutralize bacteria, viruses, mold, etc.
  • Far-UVC light: A new tool to control the spread of airborne-mediated microbial diseases (2018, Nature.com) – link
  • Do UV lights really make indoor air quality better? – link
  • Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (wikipedia) – link
  • Good overview of UV wavelengths (254 nm, 185nm) used – link
  • Difference between UV wavelengths of 254 and 185 nanometers (Quora) – link
  • Doubts UV can work for HVAC systems (Quora) – link  /  While this company claims positive feedback for treating air systems – link
  • Do-it-yourself UV box – link
 
Books/References
  • The Confident House Hunter: a home inspector’s tips for finding your perfect house by Dylan Chalk – link
  • 101 Things You Don’t Want In Your Home by Welmoed Sisson (buyer beware: the digital version was not legible when I purchased it, and I got a refund, then bought the paperback)
  • How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding and Maintaining Your Home by Charlie Wing – link (chapters, intro)
  • Healthy housing reference manual by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – link
  • How to Prevent Water Damage in Your Home (free PDF from Water Damage Defense) – link
  • Residential Rehabilitation Inspection Guide by The National Institute of Building Sciences – link
  • Essential Building Science: Understanding Energy and Moisture in High Performance House Design (ebook available with a freelibrary.org account/library card number + your PIN number)
  • “Damp indoor spaces and health” (free PDF book) – link
  • The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling by Charlie Wing – link
  • The Visual Handbook of Energy Conservation by Charlie Wing – link
  • Water in Buildings: An Architect’s Guide to Moisture and Mold by William B. Rose – link
  • Builder’s Guide to Mixed-Humid Climates by Joseph Lstiburek – link
  • Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism by Ozzie Zehner – link

Misc. Home/Real Estate

  • Native plant finder – link
  • Soil testing – link
  • The Rust Store (“solutions for rust problems”) – link
  • The Spruce (multi-faceted home site) – link
  • HomeTips.com – link
  • The Build Show Network – link
  • BuildingScience.com – link
  • Journal of Light Construction – link
  • GreenBuildingAdvisor.com – link
  • Energy Vanguard blog – link
  • Fine Home Building – link
  • Construction Instruction! – link | youtube channel
  • Home Performance YouTube channel – link | podcast
  • Bigger Pockets Money Podcast – link
  • BuildingGreen.com (unfortunately, much of the content = paywall) – link
  • The Last Straw (natural, healthier building material designs that are also the safest structures to be used in seismic regions) – link
  • Journal of the International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate (paywall/free samples available) – link
  • Real Estate Economics academic journal (paywall) – link


Misc. Health

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