Are There Hidden Hazards Lurking In Your Home?

Whilst there are some obvious hazards in the home, others can go undetected. Knowing how to spot these hazards is important if you want to keep your home a safe environment. Generally speaking, modern homes tend to be free of most of the hazards listed below – it’s older homes that can often contain the most hidden hazards due to wear and tear and old construction methods which may now be deemed dangerous. Here are some of the biggest hidden hazards that could be lurking in your home as well as how to detect them and how to eradicate them.

Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, highly toxic gas that claims 170 lives every year! This gas commonly escapes through vents in heating systems – usually as the result of a heating system being incorrectly fitted. Older homes that haven’t had their heating updated for a while may be more prone to carbon monoxide leaks (especially if you suspect it may have been DIYed by previous owner).

Humans cannot detect carbon monoxide with any of their senses – it’s called the ‘silent killer’ for a reason. Headaches, unusual drowsiness and nausea can be signs that your home may be poisoned. Your best defence is to get a carbon monoxide monitor fitted that can beep when a leak is detected. Most rented properties have to have these by law, whilst homeowners must take care of this responsibility themselves.

If your monitor starts beeping, you should open all the windows and leave the home immediately. You should then call an emergency gas engineer to take a look. If you can turn the gas off at the mains before leaving your home this could prevent the leak getting worse.

Radon

Radon is another invisible gas to watch out for in your home. It’s the number one cause of lung cancer in the world for non-smokers, often as the result of prolonged years of exposure. Radon is a naturally occurring gas that seeps up through the earth, usually entering homes through damaged foundations. Certain areas are more prone to radon – you can find maps online to determine if your live in a high risk area.

You can buy a radon test kit to check for this gas in your home – like carbon monoxide it cannot be detected by the human senses. If radon is detected in your home, you should take steps to install a radon reduction system in your home with the help of radon mitigation experts. Keeping your home well ventilated until this system is installed could help to lower radon levels by letting some of the gas escape.

Mold is a fungus that grows in wet and damp conditions. Many people assume that it is harmless, however breathing in spores has been linked to the development of asthma as well as more serious respiratory problems such as legionnaires disease. It’s common in older homes that may be less watertight or have less ventilation. Mold has a mossy appearance that makes it easy to detect. Whilst it can be easily cleaned off with a dry sponge, it will reappear unless measures taken to remove the cause.

Keeping your home well ventilated is the best defense against mold. This could include fitting extractor fans in rooms prone to build-ups of steam such as the kitchen and bathroom to help improve ventilation. If you have any leaks, repairing these could also help to reduce mold. A mold remediation contractor may be worth hiring for serious cases. Always wear gloves and be careful of breathing in spores when removing mold yourself.

Poor electrical wiring

In many parts of the world, certain electrical work in the home is banned unless you are licensed electrician. This is due to the many deaths caused by faulty DIY electrical wiring in homes. Just as dangerous is old wiring such as traditional knob and tube wiring, which can degrade over time. The main danger is exposed wires which can lead to fires and electrical shocks.

There are lots of danger signs of wiring problems to look out for including recurring circuit breaker trips, flickering lights, unusual buzzing sounds, burning smells from outlets and hot outlets. If you suspect any of these problems, turn off your home’s electricity at the mains and call and emergency electrician.

54313023 – close up of professional workman hand holding dirty paintroller

Lead paint

Lead was commonly used as an ingredient in old paint. It has long been banned in most parts of the world, however many older homes still have walls containing lead paint. Lead paint itself is not dangerous unless it starts to peel, at which point it’s possible that flecks could be breathed in or ingested (if you have pets or children it can be a serious concern). Lead is very poisonous and can lead to intellectual disability and even death.

You can buy lead test swabs to check if your walls contain lead paint. If you discover lead paint in your home, you’re best off hiring a professional to remove it.

Asbestos

Asbestos is another material that has been banned in construction due to its potential health dangers. At the time of its invention, it was heralded as a miracle material that was fire-proof, insulating and durable. Exposure to asbestos has since been linked to a deadly cancer known as mesothelioma. Asbestos generally isn’t dangerous unless disturbed – like lead paint, breathing in particles will cause poisoning, which may be the result of drilling a hole in a wall containing asbestos.

You can usually spot asbestos by its distinct fur-like appearance – it can come in many colours but is usually grey. If you suspect your home contains asbestos, you should hire an asbestos removal company to get rid of it. Never attempt to remove asbestos yourself.

Sewer gas

Blockages in sewer pipes can sometimes lead to sewer gas. This is largely made of methane and has a pungent smell that you’ll recognise instantly. Breathing in sewer gas generally won’t harm you unless it’s very concentrated levels (at which point you’re unlikely to be able to stand the smell). The main danger of sewer gas is its high flammability, which could lead to a fire.

Removing sewer gas from your home involves unblocking your sewerage pipe. There are DIY remedies to this, however you may prefer to hire a plumber or home sewerage specialist that can do this for you.

Speak Your Mind

*