Many people are drawn to older homes because of their historical charm. But with this history can come certain dangers that you may not find in a newer home. Here are a few of the common hazards to look out for in an older property.
Old wires and electrical components can become worn over time. In many cases, this has been known to cause house fires. There are a few notable signs that you may have faulty wiring in your home such as flickering lights, buzzing sounds, burning smells and regular power outages. If you suspect that you may have an electrical problem, it’s best to hire an electrician to have a look – they will be able to tell you if your home needs to be rewired or not.
It was common for household paints to contain lead before the 1970s. Lead can be incredibly toxic – any home that has lead paint is likely to give off particulates into the air. You can use a test skit to check your property for lead. There are professionals that you can hire that specialise on lead paint removal.
Older homes are also more susceptible to damp and mold. Such homes tend to be less watertight and have older piping, which can leave them prone to both external and internal leaks. Water damage from these leaks can cause mold to thrive, which in turn can be a danger to your health (mold spores can cause respiratory problems and have been linked to diseases like Legionnaires). There are a number of tell-tale signs that you might have water damage – these are worth looking into if you’ve been getting a lot of mold. A plumber or a leak specialist may be able to help you find the source of the water damage if you are unsure what is causing it.
Radon is a dangerous gas that seeps up through the earth. It can enter homes through cracks in foundations – which can sometimes be more common in older properties. Radon can build up inside a home if not ventilated, which could then put you at high risk of contracting lung cancer. There are radon test kits that you can buy to measure radon levels in the air. If your home does have an issue, you may be able to reduce radon levels by either fixing up your foundations or improving your home’s ventilation.
Asbestos was commonly used in the construction of homes until the 1970s. Once heralded as a miracle material due to its insulating and fire-proof qualities, asbestos is now banned from being used all around the world. studies in the later half of the 20th century revealed that breathing in particles of asbestos can lead to a deadly cancer called mesothelioma. Asbestos is usually easy to identify. You should always hire professionals to remove it.
Another danger to look out for is carbon monoxide. This gas is invisible and odourless, but can be fatal when breathed in over a sustained period. Carbon monoxide often occurs when there is a gas leak, which can be more common in older homes with older gas plumbing. Installing a carbon monoxide monitor will help to detect this gas.