Home Hazards That Most Homeowners Don’t Know About
How safe is your home?
Most of us take our safety and security in our own homes for granted. However, there are countless home hazards that can lead to consequential disasters.
If your home hasn’t been inspected in a while or you’re looking to make an offer on a new house, hire a home inspector to examine the property. You need to make sure you’re not inadvertently putting your health and safety at risk, or that of your family’s.
But what exactly is a home inspector looking for?
Not sure where danger can be lurking in your house? Keep reading for a quick guide on hidden home hazards most people don’t know about.
Mold is an incredibly prevalent organism we’re exposed to almost every day. These small forms of fungi thrive in damp, dark places and reproduce by spreading microscopic spores through the air.
However, while most forms of mold are perfectly safe, there are certain species of toxic mold that can cause health complications. Exposure to toxic mold can lead to respiratory issues, infections, and more.
A mold inspection company will look through your house and pay attention to any signs of mold formation. They know where to look and how to find mold if it’s growing in your home.
Wood Burning Fireplaces
It’s impossible to express the importance of having a warm home during cold winters, even in The Gulf Coast. We take having heat in our homes for granted, though our ancestors had to work night and day to keep their houses warm. One of the ways they did this was through wood-burning fireplaces.
This method of heating our homes remains in some modern houses. While it’s generally safe (given the proper fireplace installation), it is also one of the most common home hazards.
There are several dangers of wood-burning fireplaces. A home inspector can ensure your fireplace isn’t putting your whole house at risk.
Even if you don’t see them or know they exist, pests can present a significant danger in the home. If you have a pest infestation, it can lead to substantial damage to your house and various health risks.
For example, a colony of termites can quickly eat through the structural supports of your home, reducing its overall structural integrity. Provided with the right conditions, a home can be totally destroyed in one to two years.
Conversely, a mouse infestation can put your family at risk of contracting Hantavirus. This disease that’s commonly found in mice can spread to humans. Hantavirus causes dizziness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, fever, muscle aches, and more.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with living in or buying a home that’s several decades old. However, you must ensure the home’s electrical system is up to date. Old homes often have electrical systems that are ungrounded and/or unequipped to handle the electrical demands of a modern household.
Ungrounded electrical systems can lead to terrible home hazards like fires, shocks, and electrocution. Inadequate electrical components can cause flickering lights, power failures, and more.
The best home inspectors will test every faucet, spigot, and drain pipe in the house. They should make sure there are no plumbing issues before completing their report. This includes Working faucets, showerheads, and spigots, Proper drainage in sinks, tubs, showers, etc. No leaks in any of the plumbing.
If the home has a septic tank, ensure there are no problems in the septic system. If you’re buying a house that has a septic tank, insist during the negotiations that the current homeowners have the tank emptied and inspected before you take possession of the home.
For more information on what’s included in the plumbing inspection, take a look at a sample home inspection report.
The structural supports of your home are vital for maintaining the home’s physical integrity. If the structural integrity of your home is compromised, it can lead to several home hazards and other issues. These include Shifting walls, Sagging ceilings, Cave-ins, & Doors and windows that don’t line up properly in their frames.
The foundation of your home is even more important than the structural supports. If your foundation is shifting, it will affect the entire alignment of the house.
Over time, your floors will slant, slop, crack, and more. You might also notice cracks in the walls and ceilings. Shifting foundations are exceedingly difficult (and expensive) to repair.
Smaller foundation issues include cracks and negative drainage. Before signing a contract on a house, hire a home inspector to verify the condition of your home, including the foundation.
Finally, there are hidden home hazards that you may not be able to see, smell, or touch. However, this doesn’t make them any less dangerous.
For example, if your home was insulated with asbestos and it was never removed, it can lead to lung cancer. Old homes were also painted with lead paint, which can cause other serious health problems.