Whenever you are buying a house, you should be on the lookout for interior environmental hazards that may cost you more money to deal with later. Here are some of the common dangers you should be aware of:
Asbestos should only concern you if you are buying an older home, specifically one built before 1975. Though it's mostly common in thermal insulation, it can also be present in other parts of the house such as floor tiles, window caulking, roofing materials, and plaster, among others. Asbestos has been linked to a variety of health effects, including cancer. Repairing a house with asbestos material involves covering the material with a suitable sealant.
Radon is a naturally occurring carcinogen that research has linked to lung cancer. The gas occurs naturally on earth, which means it can enter a house via cracks on walls and foundation, flooring gaps, fireplaces, exterior vents and many other places. You can't eliminate radon completely since it occurs naturally, but you should be wary of elevated levels of the gas.
Radon is both odorless and colorless, so the only way to know is a house has elevated levels of radon is to test for it. Dealing with it involves sealing cracks in the house and installing a radon elimination system beneath the house.
Carbon monoxide, which is also colorless and odorless, is a byproduct of combustion. Every time you fire up your heater (unless it's electric), furnace, or gas stove, it emits some level of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is poisonous and causes circulatory problems; serious exposure is fatal.
Full combustion produces only low levels of carbon monoxide, and the heating systems are designed to channel it away. However, a house may have elevated levels of the gas if there is a malfunction in a combustion appliance. The best way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is to ensure that the appliances are fully functional and efficient and the house is properly vented. The presence of a carbon monoxide detector can warn you when the levels of the gas become dangerous.
Lead is another dangerous chemical that was widely used in the past; you should be concerned about the dangers of lead if you are buying a house constructed before 1978. Lead, which was mainly used in paint, is also poisonous and has been linked to various ailments including headaches, high blood pressure, reproductive problems and others. Covered up lead isn't dangerous; it becomes a problem when it's disturbed. This may happen, for example, when the paint starts to peel, if walls crack, or during a renovation.
Work with your real estate agent to make sure all prospective homes have been checked for these dangers before moving forward with a purchase.Share
13 February 2017
When I started looking for a new house a few years ago, I realized that I had no idea what I really wanted. I knew that I wanted a place that had been updated recently, but apart from that, I was completely in the dark. After evaluating my budget and considering my options, I decided that it would be a good idea to go around with my real estate agent to help me to find a place. My agent was incredibly helpful, and I was able to narrow down my choices within a few hours. This blog is all about making the ever-important decision of becoming a homeowner.