Commonly Overlooked Home Hazards
You don’t have to save your cleaning for the spring! With a new year approaching it’s the perfect opportunity to start fresh. Is there a musty smell in your basement? When was the last time you changed your smoke detector batteries? Do you even have a carbon monoxide detector? Zillow researchers narrowed down the top five household hazards and how you can avoid them.
Mold can grow anywhere there is moisture, from your shower curtain to the floor to the walls. Not all mold is toxic, but mold is an allergen that can cause allergic reactions or respiratory issues. Black mold, like stachybotrys, are toxic and can cause a more severe respiratory or pulmonary reaction.
Regularly check for mold in your home’s damp areas, like the bathroom and basement. In some cases, there will be a musty smell, but you may be able to spot the growth before a smell occurs. If you’ve found mold, even black mold, there’s no need to panic. There are at-home treatments or you can hire a professional to clean things up.
To avoid further mold growth, get a dehumidifier or an exhaust fan to run in the damp areas of your home. Find out if there’s anything else you can do to keep the area dry, like repairing a leak or diverting water flow.
- Exposed asbestos
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was commonly used as insulation in houses build between the 1930s and 1950s. It was banned in 1977, but if you live in an older home, there may still be trace amounts in your home. Asbestos can be dangerous when it’s exposed or becomes airborne, it contains a carcinogen that causes mesothelioma.
If you think you have asbestos in your home and need to perform a maintenance or remodeling project, check with a contractor or builder. Handling asbestos can be risky, and you want to leave it to a professional. A do-it-yourself project gone wrong could put everyone in your home at risk.
- Carbon monoxide
You probably have a smoke detector, but do you have a carbon monoxide detector? Does it have batteries? Is it operational? Carbon monoxide can build up because of poor ventilation around your stove, water heater, or other gas appliances. If you have a chimney or wood stove, carbon monoxide may circulate if you don’t keep it clean.
Protect yourself from carbon monoxide by keeping your home ventilated, especially around gas appliances. Also, make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector and change the batteries as needed!
- House fire
The National Fire Prevention Association reports about seven people die every day nationwide due to house fires. House fires may occur because of electrical issues, cooking appliances, and candles. The most common cause of household fires is the dryer. When dryer lint collects, the dryer can become an electrical fire starter.
You can prevent house fires by keeping your appliances clean, checking electrical outlets, and hiring an electrician when you need one. Leaving electrical problems unchecked is a catalyst for house fires.
- Slippery surfaces
Surprisingly, the bathroom is often ranked as the most dangerous room in your house, because of its abundance of wet and slippery surfaces. Slipping when you exit the bathtub or shower can lead to a severe industry. Make sure your tile has accessible bathmats and consider installing a “grab bar” as you get older.
With a new year on the horizon, it’s a great opportunity to audit your home and address any potential hazards. Preventative measures now can save you added stress later.