Whether it’s healthier home cooking, improving indoor air quality or reducing clutter and creating a more functional home space, the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have more people focusing on adapting their homes to meet their needs and preferences.
The changes they are making range from the relatively simple like redecorating or adding new furniture to home renovations, according to a recent AHAM survey of U.S. and Canadian homeowners. Some of the changes people are making include:
- Purchasing new electronics (TV, computer, etc.)
- Upgrading major kitchen appliances
- Renovating or upgrading outdoor living space
- Upgrading home laundry appliances
- Renovating or creating a home office
- Purchasing or replacing countertop appliances
- Adding an exercise room/home gym
AHAM’s research found that many expect to continue their new habits after the pandemic, including cooking more meals at home, spending more time cleaning and tidying, shopping online and using major appliances more often.
The pandemic has people thinking about their health as well. A national survey by Parade and The Cleveland Clinic found that 62% of respondents reported adopting a healthy lifestyle change since the start of the pandemic. The percentage (78%) was even higher among 18-34-year-olds. It is one of the positive outcomes of a challenging time, and hopefully, one that continues.
If you are among those who are rethinking their home’s function in light of the events of the past year, why not do it with your health in mind? If you look around your house, you might find that you already have many of the appliances you need to help you cook that healthier meal, ease allergy symptoms, reduce indoor pollutants or give you a few minutes to de-stress. This list might inspire you to try a new feature or add an appliance to your repertoire.
In the Kitchen
Steam oven: Multi-cooking and healthy cooking options are a popular request by those remodeling their homes. Steam cooking is a popular feature of new kitchens, whether as a stand-alone steam oven or as a function on a combination oven.
Air fryer: Despite its name, an air fryer does not fry foods. It is a compact convection cooker that you can use to turn out a steady supply of healthy snacks and sides. You’ll get the satisfying crisp or crunch without the extra calories that come with frying. Try air fryer beef jerky for protein or banana bread for a sweet treat on the healthy side.
Juicer: Whether you are partial to vegetable juices or sweeter fruit-based drinks, a juicer is a fun and interesting way to add more of both to your diet. There are three types of juicers (centrifugal, masticating and triturating), and each works a little differently. Choose your juicer based on the type of juice you prefer.
Water filtration: If your refrigerator has a water dispenser, you probably don’t think much about the filter other than when you have to replace it. But while it might be out of sight, your refrigerator water filter keeps harmful contaminants like lead and harmful microorganisms out of your water. You can make sure your filter is doing its job (and avoid ending up with a counterfeit filter) by purchasing replacements from reputable sources.
In the features
Sanitizing cycles for laundry and dishes: COVID-19 caused many to take their cleaning routine a step further and make sure they’re also disinfecting surfaces and sanitizing items to kill potentially harmful viruses and bacteria. Clothes washers and dishwashers that have earned the NSF Mark have been tested to show that their sanitizing cycles remove 99.9% of microorganisms. This is an important tool for anyone going the extra mile to cut down on the risk of getting sick this winter.
In the Air
Room air cleaner: Physicians often recommend air cleaners to help allergy sufferers reduce their symptoms. More time at home and a desire to reduce the chance of virus transmission are driving interest in improving indoor air quality. While an air cleaner isn’t enough on its own to prevent catching the virus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an air cleaner can be part of your plan to reduce risk.
Central vacuums: Those fortunate enough to live in homes with a central vacuum have a way to remove dust, pollen, animal dander or other allergy triggers. Dirt and contaminants vacuumed away by a central vacuum, through either retractable or detachable hoses, is vented outside the home or to a canister located in the basement, garage or closet. They can be installed in most homes in less than a day.
Vacuums: Whether you prefer upright, canister, stick or robotic, vacuums are an indispensable part of your cleaning toolbox. Models with HEPA filters will offer the greatest benefit for removing allergens and smaller contaminants.
Ventilation hoods: A ventilation hood helps reduce pollutants and particulate matter that is released during cooking. Many models vent outside the home. As a bonus, they can provide a striking visual element for your kitchen.
Dehumidifiers: Allergy sufferers who want to use every tool at their disposal should also consider using a dehumidifier. By drying out the air, they make the environment less hospitable for dust mites, a leading cause of allergies.
Humidifiers: Physicians sometimes recommend humidifiers, which add moisture to the air, to those with chronic congestion or postnasal drip. Set it up in your bedroom or the room in which you spend the most time.
In Your Calm Place
Oil diffusers: How’s your stress level? Recent surveys show that both American and Canadian adults are experiencing increased stress levels. Essential oils are widely used as a mood enhancer or a way to establish a home’s character. Use a diffuser to magnify the aroma and spread the therapeutic benefits. Common oils used to de-stress and improve mood include lavender, peppermint and citrus.