9 Health Risk Hazards Hiding In Your Old Home

by - February 19, 2018

Owning an old home has its upsides and its downsides. You will get more character, and can redesign the space. However, old houses are also full of health risks, and require more maintenance than those built in recent years. If you would like to stick with your home, and love high ceilings, unique features, you might want to embark on a renovation project that will get rid of health hazards while updating the decor. Below you will find nine health risks you are more likely to find in your old home.

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  1. Mold and Mildew

Old houses are not insulated the same way as newer ones. Some of the mold and mildew is visible, while others are hidden. The best way to check is to look in your basement, and move your furniture around. You can smell mold and mildew, most of the time. It is most likely to occur in less ventilated areas. If you have a leaking gutter or roof, or your walls are old and not insulated, groundwater might rise and cause the bottom of your walls to get wet. It is possible to get a contractor to dig down to your foundations and insulate your walls from the ground up to get rid of the cause of mold and mildew, which can cause respiratory illnesses.
  1. Lead Paint

Lead paint was used for many decades before scientist discovered that it is dangerous for human health. You can find lead paint in the pipework, on the rails, and even your old furnace. You will need to talk to a safety professional about removing it safely, and reducing the risk of lead poisoning, which can cause headaches, memory loss, and even nervous system problems.  
  1. Plumbing Pipes

Your pipes will need to be checked regularly if you have an old plumbing system in your house. This way, you can reduce the risk of bursts. If your old pipes burst, your upstairs bathroom could easily end up in the kitchen, costing you thousands of dollars in repairs. You will also need to check whether or not your old pipes contain lead. If they do, it is time to get a professional to remove them safely and replace them with copper or other materials.
  1. Asbestos

Buildings constructed before 1989, when Asbestos got banned in the United States are likely to contain this dangerous material. The small particles are gradually released into the air if asbestos is distracted. If you suspect that you have this material in your home, and you are looking to carry out structural work, you need to talk to an asbestos removal expert who is accredited to carry out the removal.
  1. Faulty Wiring

We all want to stay safe and warm in the house. However, if your electrical system is outdated, and you install devices that use a lot of power, you are risking serious injuries. To stay cozy in your house, you might get an electric fireplace, to warm up your living room. As a result the wires that are broken or not properly insulated might overheat and cause an electrical fire. Before you get portable heaters, a new oven, or a power shower, you need to get your electrical system and wiring checked out to make sure it can cope with the additional consumption.
  1. Pests



Old houses provide more hiding places for pests than newly constructed ones. If you have a loft or basement, you need to get it checked out regularly. Old wooden structures attached to your home, and porches can hide nasty surprises, such as mouse nests or even termite colonies. You need to contact Reynolds Pest Management for advice if you see any signs of pest infestation. You might not see the route the ants or other creepy crawlers use to get into your kitchen, but a professional can trace them and help you keep them out for good.
  1. Radon

Some old houses also contain radon. This gas is hard to detect, as it is colorless and odorless. Nonetheless, it is highly radioactive. If the builders who erected your home used any form of uranium, chances are you will have some issues with radon gas, and need to arrange an inspection. If the company finds the source, they can offer radon proofing services, insulating the areas where it is coming from.
  1. Balloon Framing

Balloon framing was a common practice of house builders between the mid-1800-s and around 1930. It is a construction method that is not dangerous itself, but is not providing fireproofing, therefore, you will  need to get added fire blocking features, to make sure you can stay safe in case accidents happen. The engineers need to install fire blocking in your stud beams, and add extra insulation to protect you and your family for the years to come.
  1. Cracks and Foundation Issues

You will need to regularly inspect your house for cracks and foundation issues. If there was land movement in the area in the past few decades, it might have caused the foundations to move. If there are cracks in the wall, you must contact a structural engineer as soon as possible, to find  out how serious the problem is. Today, there are several innovative methods used by construction companies to realign your foundations and strengthen your walls, roof, and beams, so you can stay safe in your home for another few decades.

Old houses are full of charm and character, and we don’t like thinking about the dangers they might be hiding. It is always recommended that you get a structural engineer and a professional building survey company involved before you put down your deposit on a home that was built in the last century. You will also have to look out for the signs of dangerous materials, mold and mildew, condensation, pests, and structural issues. Keeping on top of the condition of your old house is a challenge itself, but if you want to start your DIY project, you’d better check what you are likely to find before you knock the internal walls down.

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