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. Test kits can confirm lead's presence in your home, but hire a certified professional to remove it from your house.
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- 11 Home Hazards to Know and Avoid
11 Home Hazards to Know and Avoid
Indoor Air Quality
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.
This radioactive gas can move into your house through cracks in the foundation. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, so it’s important to mitigate it if it’s found in your home. Sealing cracks in the foundation is one step you can take yourself; other solutions may depend on your home's foundation.
Flooding is one of the most common hazards for homeowners, regardless of where they live. Whether the water rises because of excessive snowmelt or a serious rain—or a damaged pipe in the basement—be prepared. Particularly if your home is in a flood-prone region or an area with a high water table, make certain you have a sump pump in good working order that can deal with excess water.
Most electrical fires result from faulty outlets or old wiring. Protect your home by replacing faulty wiring and outlets, and installing AFCIs—the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that the use of AFCIs could prevent 50 percent of electrical fires.
This toxic gas is the number-one cause of poisoning deaths in the United States, but such tragedies can be prevented by installing a CO detector, which will alert you to carbon monoxide's presence in your home. Never leave cars or grills running in a small space, and properly ventilate fuel-burning appliances like furnaces, water heaters, ovens, and dryers to prevent CO buildup.
Designated a carcinogen in the 1970s and largely banned, asbestos can still be found in older homes. If you discover asbestos-containing materials in your home, don't panic. If it's not damaged or disturbed, asbestos is not likely to pose a health risk. With a little research, you can learn strategies for dealing with its discovery and arranging for professional removal.
Unsightly and hazardous to your health, mold is a problem that should be tackled early, as soon as it's discovered. Prevent both visible and undetectable mold by keeping moisture levels low and quickly drying up any standing water. Once mold spreads, you’ll need to act quickly to remove it completely or hire a professional.
Falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, according to the National Safety Council. Remove tripping hazards from hallways, stairs, and walkways. Avoid standing on a chair, table, or other surface to tackle a quick job. And when you use a ladder, make certain it is secure.
Although natural gas is touted as one of the safest and cleanest-burning fossil fuels, a gas leak can pose serious risk, whether the leak is detected or not. If you suspect a gas leak—usually accompanied by a sulfuric, rotten egg odor—leave the house immediately and contact your gas provider.
For more on home hazards and safety, consider: