Many homeowners are quite aware of some safety and health hazards of years past–things like asbestos, lead paint, radon, PCBs, or, polychlorinated biphenyls. These are very common in homes that were constructed before 1978, but, can still be found in a few homes that were built a few years after that time. Though many laws have been adopted through the years to make homes safer and better constructed, there are still plenty of properties which are sold today that were built in the early part of the twentieth century.
It’s not uncommon to see properties on the market for sale that were built before or around World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. These are generally marketed as “historic” and “charming” but what could very well lurk in unseen places simply isn’t. This is not to say there’s no value or history, but, to make the point that older homes might have hidden dangers if not refurbished by today’s standards.
Easy Aesthetic Fixes You can Do to Improve Your Home
Our homes are a source of pride and comfort, and, we do what we can to make them look great and provide us with plenty of function. However, there are things we just don’t bother with fixing, probably because they are minor annoyances and don’t have any real impact on our day-to-day lives. That being said, even small things can have a negative impact on the value of your home, particularly if you are going to put it on the market for sale.
“Most of us know not to leave burning candles unattended or overload our outlets, but firefighters still respond to about 370,000 home blazes every year, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).” —This Old House
The doorbell is a good example. It’s busted, but, that’s okay because if it worked, it would spook the dog into suddenly barking loudly and frantically every time it was rung. Drip, drip, drip goes the faucet in the bathroom, but a shut door keeps the annoyance to a minimum. Dusty light fixtures are just something that you’ll get around to eventually, since these aren’t a big deal. Door hinges that squeak are yet another example of common annoyances, but these too are left unfixed. For all of these, there is a fix, and, you should be doing exactly that–fixing them. In addition, it’s probably time to refresh the interior and exterior paint, with soft, neutral colors, of course.
Common Home Hazards Hiding in Your House
Though we don’t often think about the things inside and around our home as dangerous, we are nevertheless shocked by events reported on the evening news. These bring sober, somber moments, but are quickly forgotten, in-part because of the digital age. The reality is there are plenty of hazards, and here are the most common:
- Smoke detectors. This ought to be very obvious and many while whistle a warning beep that lets you know the batteries are low, but, we don’t think about type or age. There are two types: ionization and photoelectric. The first are the most common, and, inferior. Your home will be better served by photoelectric, which detect earlier and are best suited for bedrooms and hallways. You can leave ionization detectors in the kitchen, though.
- Tipping objects. Children climb, especially small ones, and, there’s always the moment when you accidentally pull a bit too much. Top heavy furniture and appliances can be very dangerous and these should be replaced or secured.
- Mold. Practically no matter where you live, mold will be a problem. It’s especially present in bathrooms, because it thrives in areas that have moisture, air, and skin oils. When it begins to grow, it spreads, and is a health hazard.
- Water. This one isn’t something we think about because we hear that tap water is just as pure as bottled water. The Clean Water Act is supposed to deliver just that, but, homes with old, lead-based pipes still spout impurities.
- Pipes. Old pipes, particularly the ones just mentioned–lead-based– are dangerous. These present a number of health hazards and should be replaced. This includes gas lines, which can develop problems (read: leaks) that can be not only a health hazard but also a safety hazard.
- Electrical wiring. The electrical wiring that runs behind the walls in your home isn’t something that you see, but it’s still there, and can wear over time.
Other hazards are things like window blinds, which should never be placed near a crib, and pests, which are notorious for causing damage and carrying disease.