When most people think of home improvement projects, they tend to think about improving the aesthetics or the structure of their home. Not many homeowners think about how these projects can have an actual impact on their health. Ignoring regular maintenance of key components in your home can adversely affect your health and that of your loved ones.
Let’s take a look at the most common hazards found in homes and how you can prevent injury or illness.
Mold is a major culprit for illness in the home. Anytime moisture lingers in places that are not protected or sealed, there is potential for mold to develop. A common maintenance issue associated with the development of household mold is a leaky roof. Any time a roof is compromised it has the potential to allow water to damage the interior of your home and cause mold to grow causing a host of health problems.
This is why it’s important to address any issues with your roof as soon as you become aware of a potential problem. If you spot missing shingles or cracked areas of your roof, it’s best to call in a professional roofer to do an inspection and provide guidance on any repairs that should be done. If the damage is extensive enough, they may recommend a roof replacement.
If rain has penetrated the home through the roof, make sure your roofer determines the full scope of the damage so that it can be addressed thoroughly.
Asbestos and Lead
If you live in an older home, especially one built before 1978, you may have lead paint or asbestos in your home. Common places you may find asbestos are in the cement, paint, floor tiles, roof shingles, ceiling tiles, steam pipes and spray-on insulation. Exposure to asbestos can contribute to the development of serious health problems.
Problems usually develop when any type of construction or remodeling is done and exposes the asbestos in old building materials. Something as simple as repairing a pipe or drilling into old drywall can unleash the asbestos in the materials.
Lead is most commonly found in a home’s paint but you may be surprised to find out that it can also be found in the soil surrounding your home. In urban areas, or areas adjacent to a highway or freeway, lead can be found in the ground and soil from the accumulation of leaded gas runoff and seepage. However, the major source of lead in the soil is the chipping, sanding, natural sloughing off of lead-based paint. If you’re concerned about or are not sure what the lead content of your soil is, you can have a test done to determine if your soil has elevated levels of soil.
The most common toxic gas in a home is carbon Monoxide. According to the CDC, carbon monoxide poisoning sends over 50,000 to the emergency room every year and kills over 400.
You may be surprised to find out that your common household appliances can sometimes be the cause of this, if not properly maintained. Basically, carbon monoxide forms anytime natural gas is burned. If your home has improper ventilation or your gas appliances are faulty, this can lead to excessive buildup of this harmful gas.
Because it has no odor, it is difficult to detect without an actual device installed in your home. Some things to consider in guarding your family against the harmful effects are making sure to clean out your chimney on a regular basis. Call a professional chimney sweep to ensure that smoke and gas buildup does not occur while using your fireplace.
Another maintenance tip that can help prevent a dangerous situation is scheduling regular maintenance of your gas burning appliances such as your water heater and stove. Ensuring that they are properly hooked up, that they are clean and in full working order will ward off this hazard.
Cracks, Uneven flooring
Cracks, uneven flooring or buckling of pavement are major hazards in homes as well. As you grow older, cracks in and around your home or uneven floors can present a huge hazard. You may be surprised to know that falls are among the top causes of accidental deaths at home.
This is why it’s important to repair or replace flooring that can cause tripping or falling. On the exterior of the home, it’s important to repair any buckling or cracking pavement. Many times, removing it and replacing it is what is required as there may be an underlying issue causing the uneven pavement.
Inside the home, damage to flooring due to water flooding or water leaks should be replaced immediately. Not only can this cause injury due to tripping but can also lead to mold build-up if not remedied quickly.
Home improvement projects can be more than just about remodeling. They can serve to prevent hazardous conditions from forming in your home. With regular maintenance you can keep yourself and your family safe and healthy.