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Maybe you have recently moved into a new home, or maybe you’ve lived in your house for years and are looking to renovate. Whether you are a new or established homeowner, you should be aware of the dangers your home may be hiding. Dangerous building materials, for example, may lurk in your home’s flooring, walls, or ceilings, especially if you live in an older house. But even newer homes are subject to hidden hazards like mold from undetected water leaks. We have come up with a list of potential hazards to be aware of when considering remodeling your living space.
Asbestos - Fireproof, Yet Toxic
Asbestos is an inexpensive and highly effective flame retardant that was once widely used in home construction. Found in insulation, vinyl and linoleum floors, and roof shingles, asbestos becomes hazardous to your health when damaged materials break apart and are inhaled. If your home was build between 1950 and 1980, Asbestos may be lurking in your home. Don't take any chances, call a licensed contractor to handle this hazard.
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that commonly enters houses through gaps around pipes, cracks in foundations, or wall joints. Though present in all homes to some degree, at high levels it acts as a dangerous carcinogen. Because the gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, you'll need a radon test kit to detect its presence. If your house tests positive, mitigation can be as easy as adding ventilation or sealing cracks in the foundation.
Deadly Lead Paint
We all know it's dangerous, but lead paint is especially bad for children and pets. Homes built before 1980 may contain this hazardous stuff. If your home was painted before the 1980's, there is a good chance that the existing paint on your walls—or a few coats beneath, contains lead. Test kits can confirm lead's presence in your home, but it's best to hire a certified professional to remove it from your house. Lead paint was banned in the late 1970's due to its toxicity. If you suspect that it's present on your walls, you can use a simple test kit to be sure. Lead removal, however, should always be handled by a trained professional. You should also keep in mind that common D.I.Y. activities, like sanding, can cause airborne particles of lead to infiltrate your house, potentially leading to serious illness.
You can’t see it or smell it, but dangerous carbon monoxide gas is a serious threat. The gas can leak from stoves, water heaters, appliances, or cars. Even at low levels, a carbon monoxide leak can make you very ill; that's why it's vital that every level in your home be equipped with a carbon monoxide alarm
Have you recently installed new carpet? Repainted your walls? What about new furniture? It's likely that your upgrades have unknowingly exposed you to volatile organic compounds, or V.O.C.'s. As these chemicals break down, they release gas into the air that can cause many symptoms such as headaches, a sore throat, and more. Be sure to minimize the effects of off-gassing by ventilating a newly remodeled room for at least one week after installation and always buy no or low, V.O.C. products when possible.
Good indoor air quality reduces the impact of allergies and asthma. One good way to eliminate allergens is by opting for hardwood or laminate flooring instead of carpeting. An air-filtration system or new air conditioner can also help control allergens. Houseplants can also help improve indoor air quality—as well as your mood.
Musty Odors - A Warning Sign.
If your home harbors a musty odor, whether just in the bathroom or basement, chances are you have a mold problem. Mold can grow inside duct-work, behind walls and ceilings, and under floors, where excessive moisture can build up. Although mold is typically detected by smell, you can also check for it by shining a bright light on any suspect areas or using a black light. Fortunately, this home irritant can be easily removed with commercial cleansers. Prevent future buildups of mold by using dehumidifiers and fans to reduce dampness.
Microscopic Dust Mites
Microscopic dust mites can live in your furniture, carpets, or bedding. These tiny critters feed off hair and dead skin cells and can trigger asthma attacks or allergies. While you can’t get rid of them entirely, you can reduce symptoms they may cause by vacuuming carpets and furniture regularly, washing bedding and area rugs in hot water weekly, and purchasing tightly woven, barrier-style pillow protectors and mattress covers to seal your bedding.
Pests in Your Home?
Termites and carpenter ants can wreak havoc on wood floors and walls, while mice and cockroaches can spread disease. Unfortunately, chemical treatments and poisons come with their own set of problems, as many are toxic to children and pets, and give off noxious gases and V.O.C.'s. A qualified home inspector can identify infestations and recommend the proper treatment for any uninvited guests.
At Total Home Center we offer Big-Box Selection with one-on-one customer service and custom results. We also offer complete home remodeling services and new construction. If you are looking to update or take care of potential hazardous threats in your home through our renovation services, give us a call. One of our sales professionals will guide you through the process and estimates are FREE!