The Weir Properties Orange County Real Estate Blog

Is your home making you sick

Is your home making you ill?

Most of us assume that when we walk into our homes, we slam the door on exhaust, secondhand smoke, and other air-pollution ugliness. In your own house, everything is safe and clean. Oh, if only.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), levels of about a dozen common chemical pollutants are two to five times higher inside homes than outside of them. Part of the problem is that houses are so much better insulated than they used to be: That's a good thing when it comes to conserving energy, but being more airtight also means that 'whatever you emit indoors — whether it's your burnt microwave popcorn, cigarette smoke, or cleaning-product fumes — is going to persist in the indoor environment for longer,' says Lynn Hildemann, an environmental engineer and researcher at Stanford University.

In light of this, scientists are beginning to suspect that it may be these indoor nasties — not just outdoor smog — that are responsible for rising rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases. Indoor pollution can also cause headaches, flu-like symptoms, and, in serious cases, neurological problems.

We know this sounds scary, but don't panic: You can minimize your family's exposure with a few simple steps. None involve buying expensive products (the hulking air purifiers you see in SkyMall catalogs, etc.); in fact, some of the best fixes are the most basic.


Part of keeping the air in your house cleaner is simply not letting certain things into it in the first place. Easy ways to do that:

Kick off your shoes in the front hall. The bottoms of our shoes are covered in a fine layer of chemicals, dirt, bacteria, and mold. That stuff settles onto floors and into carpeting, and regular household activity can stir it up, causing you and your family to breathe it in, Hildemann says. Try stationing a shoe basket or rack in the entryway to keep things more organized.

Wait a few days before picking up your dry cleaning. Freshly dry-cleaned clothes can emit chemicals that have been linked to cancer and neurological problems, according to the EPA — and it's important to make sure the solvents are completely dry before bringing them into your home. You could also switch to a dry cleaner that uses 'wet' or CO2 cleaning, neither of which emit the same kind of dangerous fumes, according to the EPA.

Go fragrance-free. The EPA warns that some air fresheners can release compounds that cause headaches and eye, nose, and throat irritation. Lemon and pine scents concern experts most, Hildemann says: The chemicals that produce those smells react with ozone in the air to form formaldehyde and ultrafine particles that can collect in the lungs. For a safer room freshener, dip cotton balls in a sweet-smelling extract like vanilla and stash them around the house.


Not surprisingly, indoor pollution becomes more of an issue during the winter, when we keep our windows closed for months on end, light cozy (but smoky!) fires, and braise our favorite cold-weather meals in the oven. Not only does cooking produce fumes, but gas stoves release trace amounts of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide into the air. That doesn't mean that roasting one turkey is going to hurt you — just like other chemicals, the exposure is cumulative. To reduce yours:

Turn on your stove's exhaust fan. This will ensure that smoke and other chemicals released during cooking don't stick around, Hildemann says.

If you have an attached garage, open the garage door before starting your car — and keep it open for a few minutes after pulling in when you return home. Otherwise, the carbon monoxide from your exhaust pipe can get into the main house; over time, that may increase your family's risk for asthma and even neurological problems. Overexposure to carbon monoxide happens more than people might think, according to the EPA.

Make sure your fireplace flue is working properly, to keep lung-irritating particles in wood smoke out of your indoor air. The EPA recommends having a fireplace pro inspect and clean your furnace, fireplace, or chimney every year.


Sancerre Newport Coast

Sancerre Newport Coast

By Carter Weir

Introduction to the Enclave: Surrounded by some of the most prestigious communities of Southern California, and within the stunning residential resort of Newport Coast, Newport Ridge creates an unprecedented opportunity to achieve a lifestyle of distinction. The 371-acre Newport Ridge community includes a rare selection of outstanding homes and a generous 38 acres of parks and open space.

Sancerre is a community within the master development of Newport Ridge. Residents pay two separate association dues: one to Sancerre and the other per quarter to the master association of Newport Ridge. Sancerre was built as the least expensive detached homes in Newport Ridge. Although they are not attached, they are considered condos because of the land ownership rights. There are no walls that touch.

Sancerre at Newport Ridge is a gated community of 144 single family homes in the master community of Newport Ridge in Newport Coast. This exclusive community offers a private recreation plaza with a pool, spa and barbecue areas. Surrounded by affluent neighborhoods, sweeping views of the canyons and coast, preserved open space, nature trails, beaches, golf courses, distinguished public and private schools, and world-class shopping and dining, Sancerre is an exceptional community to call home.

Bordered By: Sancerre is bordered by The Summit (condos on the south), open park space on the east, Saint Michelle on the north, and The Pointe on the west

Views: The end unit homes on the east have the privilege of seeing the canyon and parks. There is also a walkway that people use to get from community to community.

History of the Area: Conceived and developed as an exclusive residential enclave, Sancerre shares in the spectrum of advantages offered by Newport Coast. Sancerre, like many of the other communities in Newport Ridge, was built in 1996-1997 by California Pacific Homes. 

Homes: Sancerre was built by California Pacific Homes in 1996-97 when the rest of Newport Ridge was being developed. Sancerre was developed as a single family detached condo. The inspiration for the architecture of Newport Ridge comes from the French villages of Provence, Brittany and Normandy and from the French eclectic tradition in the U.S. This type of architecture dates from the period between World War I and II.

How the Community Has Evolved: Sancerre is currently in the process of changing the color scheme within the community from Mediterranean colors that the homes were initially painted in the 1990s to deeper tones, more consistent with the French theme. The purpose of this is to maintain the community and keep it evolving with the bigger custom multi-million dollar homes that are a stone’s throw away. Most of the early buyers were young professionals buying a starter home for themselves. Over the years. these professionals had families and the community has evolved into a very nice family neighborhood. Parents have the comfort of letting their kids run free without the worry of them escaping the gated entrance.

Community Features/Amenities/Special Events: Within the gates of Sancerre, residents have access to a private recreation plaza with a pool, spa and barbecue area. Sancerre also participates in an annual Spring Clean Up to help maintain the community as a clean kid-friendly neighborhood. The master association of Newport Ridge has two baseball fields, two tennis courts, two basketball courts, a sand volleyball court, two playgrounds, and open space for barbecuing. There is also a community center within walking distance for Newport Beach residents that has an indoor basketball court, yoga and conference rooms. Newport Ridge has several events a year including Movie Night in the Park and Camping in the Park – mostly kid-friendly activities.

Why You Also Love Living Here: One of the main reasons I love living in Sancerre is because my family lives around me. Being on the top of the hill gives me easy access to my parents down in Laguna, and my brothers in Newport and Irvine Terrace. I also have the ability to shoot down to my office to meet clients in Corona del Mar, while taking in breathtaking views of Catalina on a clear day. Sancerre is also close to one of the best shopping centers around. Just inside the Pavilions there is a Jamba Juice, Starbucks, Sushi Bar, Wine tasting with a cellar, and my favorite – a peanut butter bar. I find myself relaxing at the pool reading a book with 50-foot tall pine trees around me and I feel like I am in heaven. I was born down the hill from Newport Coast in the community of Harbor View Homes where my parents lived for 20+ years. I grew up riding my bike, hiking and playing on the dirt that I now call my home. Although at first I despised the Irvine Company for taking away my playground above Spyglass, I have since appreciated the job that they did in maintaining the open space and the natural beauty of the area. My goal was always to own a piece of land in Newport Beach. I was able to do that several years ago when I bought my home in Sancerre. Over the years I joined the community association to bring my thoughts and values based on living in Newport my entire life. I have sold several homes in this community to friends, because I truly feel it is an incredible opportunity to live where we live.

Current Market Activity:

Right now there are no homes listed for sale in Sancerre. There are 3 homes currently in escrow that were listed from $700,000 to $950,000. Homes in this community tend to sell quickly due to the fact that they are the least expensive detached homes (condos) in Newport Beach. This is why Sancerre wasn’t hit as hard as most during the recession. Investors also see the potential in not only the appreciation of the neighborhood, but also in the rents. Rentals range from the Plan 1 (1,350 sq.ft.) at $3,200 to a plan 4 (2,000 sq.ft.) at $4,300. Average price per square foot is $475.

Information provided by Carter Weir. Reach him at Prudential California Realty by calling 949.795.2222 or by email at mailto://