Remember the excitement you felt when you moved into your first home? You probably spent a lot of time shopping around, trying to find that perfect dream home. Perhaps you’re currently looking to move to a new place and want to make sure it is picture perfect. You’d probably steer clear of a house with obvious problems, like a leaky roof or a cracked foundation; however, even if a house looks perfect, it may contain some of these hidden dangers.
This fuzzy fungus can be found hiding in damp places like basement walls and carpets, closets and wooden backs and bottoms of furniture that’s been stored in a moist area. Sometimes it can be difficult to see without a bright light, but it can cause numerous health problems such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, sneezing, stuffy or runny nose or itchy and watery eyes. Particularly susceptible are those who are already prone to allergies or asthma. Things to check for are mildew in the bathroom, cracked or peeling paint, leaky pipes and a properly-functioning ventilation system.
2. Air Ducts
You never know what’s in your air ducts that could be spewing out every time the heat or air conditioning comes on. Especially if the house has recently been built or remodeled, the ducts could be housing a chemical known as crystalline silica, which is found in drywall and the joint compound (mud) used in the cracks. This can get into the air and into your airway, potentially causing fibrotic nodules to form in your lungs. Your best bet is to have your vents and ductwork thoroughly cleaned before you move in.
3. Carbon Monoxide
Because carbon monoxide is a gas, its presence can be hard to detect. Just because you can’t see it, though, doesn’t mean it can’t be dangerous. So, when looking for a home, take a look at the furnace, stove, water heater, fireplace and any other fuel-burning appliances to make sure they are well-vented and that there isn’t room for this colorless, odorless gas to escape.
This dangerous element can sometimes be found in old paint or water. You can get a home testing kit and test for lead in your paint or water yourself (though they aren’t always accurate), or you can hire a professional to test for you. If lead is detected, then you will have to have it professionally removed.
Radon Test Kit
Radon is a colorless, odorless gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. Exposure to it can cause cancer. You’ll want to know the radon levels in the house you intend to purchase or rent and make sure that it is safe before you move.
6. Chemicals in carpet
If the house is new or has recently had the carpet replaced, that “new carpet” smell is actually the carpet shedding a chemical called 4-PC which is found in the backing. Though the smell eventually goes away, the chemical could cause temporary problems like headaches and hoarseness for people who are sensitive to chemicals.
The next time you are in the market for a house, keep these dangers in mind, and you’ll be more likely to find that “perfect” house. If you find and eliminate these issues before move-in day, there will be a lesser chance that you will be disappointed in your dream home later.
About the Author
Carrie Thompson writes for A1A Atlantic, a Ft. Lauderdale moving company. When not writing or blogging, Carrie enjoys hiking, biking and traveling to Florida’s relaxing beaches.