Hazards in your home….

6 Most Dangerous Hazards in a Home

 Home owners beware: Several dangers may lurk in a home. If you’re not careful, they could make you sick. A reputable engineer who performs home inspections should review and seek out these dangers in the home.  Many of these issues  can usually be addressed by a contractor with some degree of experience and common sense.


1. Radon: a colorless, radioactive, odorless gas that can seep into the home from the ground. Radon has been called the second most common cause of lung cancer.

             What to look for: Basements or anything with protrusion into the ground offer entry points for radon. The Environmental Protection Agency publishes a map of high prevalence areas for radon (www.epa.gov/radon). A radon test can determine if high levels of radon are present.


2. Asbestos: a fibrous material once popular in building materials because it provides heat insulation and fire resistance. But asbestos was banned in 1985. It may still be found in older home’s insulation materials, floor tiles, roof coverings, and siding. If disturbed or damaged, it can enter the air and cause severe illness.


            What to look for: Homes built prior to 1985 are at risk of having asbestos within construction materials. Home owners should especially be careful when remodeling because disturbing insulation may cause the asbestos to become airborne. Generally, material in good condition will not release asbestos fibers.  THERE IS NO DANGER unless fibers are released and inhaled into the lungs.


3. Lead: a toxic metal used in home products for many years that can contribute to several health problems, especially among children. Exposure can occur from deteriorating lead-based paint, pipes, or lead-contaminated dust or soil.


            What to look for: Homes built prior to 1978 may have lead present. Look for peeling paint and check old pipes. To get a HUD-insured loan, buyers must show a certificate that homes built prior to 1978 are lead-safe.


4. Hazardous products: stockpiles of hazardous household items — such as paint solvents, pesticides, fertilizers, or motor oils — that can create a dangerous situation if not properly stored or disposed. They can cause illness or even death if small amounts are ingested.  Clean out that garage!


            What to look for: Make sure these items aren’t tucked away in corners, crawl spaces, garages, or garden sheds. Home owners often don’t realize these products can pose a danger and may forget they’re storing them. But buyers don’t want it to become their problem — and expense — to dispose of. If these products are found, make sure the buyer requires their removal and gets a disposal certificate prior to closing, which proves the products were disposed of properly, not leaking in various obscure basement corners and not just dumped in the backyard.


5. Groundwater contamination: the result of hazardous chemicals that are illegally disposed of and then seep through the soil and enter water supplies. A leaking underground oil tank or faulty septic system can contribute to this.


            What to look for: Look for any conditions that may be conducive to leakage. Homes near light industrial areas or facilities may be at risk. Also a concern: areas once used for industry that are now residential. You should obtain an environmental report that details any dangers or remedies of environmental incidences and sources of contamination that have occurred at a specified address and within its vicinity.

6. Mold: Mold growth may occur in your home if there is sufficient moisture because mold spores are everywhere. Mold can be a concern in the home and should not be allowed to grow. Extensive mold contamination may cause health problems as well as damage to the home.

            What to look for: Indications of a moisture problem may include discoloration of the ceiling or walls, warping of the floor, or condensation on the walls or windows. The key to preventing mold growth is to control all moisture problems.  Some common moisture areas result from:


-Roof leaks
-Plumbing leaks, drainage problems
-Damp basements and crawl spaces
-Steam from the bathroom or kitchen
-Condensation resulting from poor or improper insulation or ventilation
-Wet clothes drying inside the home or a clothes dryer venting indoors
-Poor or improper ventilation of combustion appliances


adapted from a flyer issued by Phyllis Knight Marcus of Marcus Law Group PLLC

(914) 741-5050 ext 12

E-Mail:  pkmarcus@marcuslawgrp.com

Phyllis is an outstanding attorney and resource for your real estate transactions!