Both new and existing home owners sometimes take for granted that their home is safe. Life gets busy, and let’s face it, sometimes we are running around so much that the things that are out of sight (and smell), are literally pushed aside or forgotten. Here we outline aspects of your home itself and things in your home to consider a little more carefully to be sure you have a safe haven for you and your family.
Asbestos – We have all heard of it, but many people do not realize exactly how many products might contact asbestos. Most people associate asbestos with insulation, but it can also be found in roofing shingles and linoleum flooring. It is important to determine if your home has products containing asbestos, especially is you plan on doing any demolition or remodeling, as it becomes airborne when broken up.
Lead – Lead paid was banned in the late 1970s, so if you live in a new home, you do not have to worry about this being a concern. However, if you home was painted prior to when it was banned, chances are you have lead paint on your walls. You can purchase a test kit which will let you know if it is indeed present. If you determine you do have lead paint, removal must be handled by a professional.
VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) – Less heard of, VOCs are present in new carpeting and furniture and also fresh paint. VOCs, which are chemicals in these products that release gas, can cause headaches, nausea and sore throats. It is important to ventilate the house when bringing in new furniture or painting in order to remove the gases as quickly as possible to minimize the effects.
Carbon Monoxide – Most people know that Carbon Monoxide is deemed the silent killer because it is odorless, tasteless and colorless. A carbon monoxide leak can generate from appliances, heaters and cars. If a leak is left undetected, it can lead to sickness, brain damage or death. Always be sure to have carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home, basement and garage.
Mold – Mold can grow in any number of places, but most common areas include anywhere moisture can build up, such as under floors, basements, and even inside ductwork. You can remove mold with commercial cleansers, but to further prevent mold from developing you might want to invest in a dehumidifier and fans.
Termites and Carpenter Ants – Both of these pests can cause extensive and very expensive damage to your home, potentially even damaging the structure of your home. If you believe there is a possibility you might have these pests in your home, call in a professional for an inspection and a plan to get rid of them.
Radon – This is another gas that is tasteless, odorless and colorless, making it a danger to your family if left undetected. Radon is present in very small degrees in all homes as it is a gas that enters through foundation cracks and even the smallest gaps around your pipes. If high levels are present, it acts as a carcinogen which can lead to any number of health issues, including cancer.
While you can certainly take steps to prevent many of the above hazards, such as installing carbon monoxide detectors and running a dehumidifier, if you believe you might have a real problem on your hands, or even if you are not sure but suspect you do, having a professional come out to do an inspection could save you home, and more importantly, your family.