Are you living in a healthy, hazard-free home? If you can’t answer that question with a confident “yes,” it might be time to inspect your home for potential issues.
If you’re not sure where to start, read this guide and consult your doctor and other professionals. Click through to see 10 potential threats and home safety tips every homeowner should know.
(Note: Although this list is a great place to start, it is not comprehensive. Please be sure to consult a professional who can conduct a thorough inspection).
Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that may be found in various building materials. If the materials in your home have asbestos and you’re undertaking a demolition or home improvement project, these fibers could be released into the air. When inhaled or ingested, the fibers can increase the risk of certain health issues, most notably lung disease.
Whenever in doubt, you can hire a professional to inspect and test your home for asbestos prior to starting a home improvement project and disturbing the materials. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that if your building materials “won’t be disturbed, you do not need to have your home tested for asbestos. Material that is in good condition and will not be disturbed (by remodeling, for example) should be left alone.”
For more information on asbestos, visit the EPA website.
Related: How much does asbestos removal cost?
Allergens and pests in your home may trigger asthma attacks. Some common triggers include dust mites, mold and even pet hair or dander.
Avoid and prevent allergies and asthma attacks by learning what causes them. Be sure to keep your home clean and avoid the things that can trigger your allergies or asthma. For example, the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) recommends washing your bedding every week and using a vacuum with a HEPA filter on your floors and carpet to get rid of dust mites.
For more information on asthma triggers and how to prevent them, visit the CDC website.
According to the CDC, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning every year. Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced when fuel is burned in cars, lanterns, fireplaces, stoves, grills and more. One way to prevent CO poisoning is by installing a battery-operated CO detector in your home. A digital readout detector can even tell you where the highest level of CO concentration is located.
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that has been named as the second leading cause of lung cancer based on a report from the EPA. It can enter through cracks and holes located in the foundation of your home. Because this colorless, odorless gas exists naturally on earth, people are constantly exposed to it.
Be sure to determine the amount of radon in your home by getting a professional to conduct a test. If the levels are high, then hire a professional to resolve the issue.
No matter what kind of electrical issue you face (damaged wires, poorly installed wiring, etc.), please don’t take it lightly. Be on constant alert for circuit breaker issues and frayed or chewed wiring. Limit your use of extension cords, and be careful when using electrical outlets that are located close to water sources.
If you think you may need electrical or wiring repairs, please don’t attempt any electrical work yourself — leave it to an electrician. It’s also beneficial to have an electrician inspect your home so that they can identify potential hazards and recommend solutions.
Cooking, heating, electrical issues, smoking and candles are some of the most common causes of house fires, according to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). House fires can also be started by faulty wires, extension cords or items placed too close to a heater.
Protect your home from these safety hazards by installing smoke alarms throughout your home. The NFPA recommends installing alarms on every level in your home, in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Be sure to test your smoke alarm once a month, and change the batteries regularly.
If you have a chimney, then it’s important to get it inspected and cleaned regularly. Otherwise, your chimney could start accumulating creosote, which could lead to a chimney fire.
In order to prevent this from happening, the EPA recommends getting your chimney, wood stove, and vents inspected and cleaned yearly. If you believe that you may be overdue, set up an appointment with a chimney sweeper and inspector.
If you start to notice discolored pipes, foul odors, slow draining, spiking water bills or bubbling wall paint, you could have leaks or other plumbing issues in your home. An undetected leak could cause water damage within your home, along with mold growth. Furthermore, the puddles from a leak are also slipping hazards.
Please be sure to have your plumbing and pipes checked and repaired by professional plumbers. Insulate your pipes during the winter, and always keep your eyes (and nose) open so that you can detect the signs of a possible leak in your home.
Related:Plumbing maintenance tips.
Mold grows in locations where there’s a lot of moisture. If there’s a leak near your roof, window or pipes, then you may start to experience mold growth. Mold can also grow on paper products, insulation, drywall, tile, carpets and more.
While some people may remain unaffected by mold, it can trigger symptoms in others. Known health issues caused by mold include stuffy noses, wheezing and itchy eyes. You need to control the dampness and humidity levels in your home if you want to prevent mold growth. In order to do so, please be sure to fix leaks quickly. Additionally, please be sure to thoroughly clean and dry your floors, walls and areas that have been affected by indoor flooding. Make sure your shower, laundry and cooking areas are well-ventilated.
If you suspect that you may have a mold problem, then consider hiring a professional to remove it. Visit the CDC website for more information on mold.
The presence of pests and rodents in your home can be overwhelming. From termites, cockroaches and flies to mice, rats and bats, these household pests can damage your home and sometimes your health. For instance, rats and mice can spread diseases through their feces, urine, saliva and bites, while cockroaches can trigger asthma, according to the CDC.
Pest-proof your home by attaching screen doors, keeping your food in well-sealed containers and changing your bedding regularly. Check for holes or gaps around your home’s exterior. If there are animal droppings inside or outside your home, please use gloves when cleaning them up. If you experience a pest infestation, then hire an exterminator.
Related content:How much does an exterminator cost?
While tripping may seem trivial, it can cause serious injuries. There are fortunately simple things you can do around your home to reduce potential tripping hazards:
Lighting: Make sure every room in your home has good lighting, especially if you have family members who might have vision problems. It’s also a good idea to install outdoor lighting around your home’s exterior stairs.
Clutter: Clear the floor of clutter, such as electric cords and throw rugs.
Stairs: If you have small children, then install safety gates at the top and bottom of your staircase.
Wet floors: Place rubber mats or towels on your bathroom floor, especially if you have tile floors.
Bathtub and shower: If you live with an elderly person, install hoists or seats that make showering safer. You can also install grab bars that are located outside the bathtub or next to the toilet.
Lastly, please have your home inspected for damage that could cause tripping. For example, if you have uneven floors inside or uneven concrete outside, talk to a professional about how you might repair these surfaces.