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National Home Improvement Month-What is Your Home Hiding?

Completing a home project on your own is always a rewarding feeling. As we get closer to the summer months, homeowners are once again faced with the projects they so delicately placed aside for the winter season. If you’re not careful, tackling home reno projects can come at a great price. It’s important to factor the age of your home into your plans right off the bat. Depending on the year your home was built, there may be certain unwanted hazards associated with it.

Do hidden DIY dangers lurk in your home? Click to see some common dangers and what you should do about them! #DIY #HomeImprovement

Below are just a few dangers that could be lurking in and around your home- these projects might not be as DIY-friendly as you initially thought and may require you to call a professional.

Asbestos

Asbestos is a nasty material that has a long standing history with virtually any home built prior to the 1980s. Before the dangers of asbestos were truly understood, it was regularly used as an ingredient for insulation, tiling, and roofing. This material is slow to burn and assisted in the creation of a more durable foundation. Although the bulk of the homes built from the 1990s to today don’t have to worry about asbestos, many Americans are still living in homes built from the early 20th century.

Dangers of Asbestos and DIY home improvement.

Often times, we live in homes with asbestos without even knowing or understanding the risks associated with the toxicant. Asbestos becomes dangerous when the microscopic fibers are broken or harmed in any way. Knowing this- stop and think- should I perform this project before getting the room tested for asbestos? Causing asbestos to become airborne and ingested is dangerous for anyone in close proximity. The health implications associated with asbestos exposure won’t become present for several years after and may cause an array of health problems including a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs.

Lead Paint

Lead was once a common agent in commercial and residential paints. Varying lead compounds were added to create different shades and colors. The use of metals was also a contributing factor as to why these paints tended to dry at a faster rate, were more durable, and had a longer lifespan than non lead-based paint. However, the negatives of lead quickly outweighed the positives when the EPA deemed the material unsafe, especially for children and banned the use of any lead material in homes in 1978.

Renovating dangers, lead paint.

A study shows that 90 percent of homes built pre-1940s, 80 percent of homes built pre-1960s and 62 percent of properties built pre-1978 still contain lead paint. If you find your home has lead paint, there are a number of guidelines you should follow before getting started on your project. It’s important not to scrape, sand down or pick off any paint from the walls without proper body gear on. If your home was built before 1978, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recommends a number of ways to maintain your home and keep it safe for everyone who lives there. Inviting a professional to come in and test for lead is a great idea if it hasn’t been done yet. Make sure that both the inside of the home as well as the soil on the surrounding property are inspected.


Radon

Due to naturally decaying uranium in the ground and soil, radon can often present itself in and around the home. When present, radon is invisible, leaving no trace of odor, color or taste. Exposure primarily stems from the basement or foundation of the home as this radioactive gas has the ability to seep through any sized crack. As many as one in 15 homes will have a radon problem.

Unfortunately, since radon is organically found in the earth, most people will experience exposure to this gas. Radon in the home presents a plethora of issues since the gas is trapped in confined areas. According to the EPA, prolonged exposure to radon can cause lung cancer in most severe cases. Don’t wait to take care of this issue. Homeowners can buy a radon kit for their home, which includes a test that will take 2-3 days to properly perform or hire a professional.

Plumbing

If you’re living in a house that’s somewhat aged, something commonly overlooked is the skeleton of the plumbing system. Houses built around the 1950s commonly used galvanized piping. These pipes were a cheap option made from steel and covered in a protective coat of zinc to prevent rusting. Over time, these types of pipes become corroded, creating a poor environment for water to travel through. It’s common for old galvanized pipes to be the culprit behind discolored water, low pressure, and uneven water distribution throughout the home.

Discovering that your house has an outdated plumbing system is the first step in correcting it. These days, copper piping is a common alternative, as well as plastic. It’s important to speak to a professional to see if one might be a better fit then the other.

Copper piping:

Copper is a great alternative when making the decision to replace your iron piping. Copper is a healthy, nontoxic substitute that can be more costly, but is non-permeable, meaning that the other substances it comes into contact with won’t seep through or cause it to change. Copper is a great option if you’re looking for a low maintenance pipe.

Plastic piping:

A plastic or PVC piping is an easier and cheaper alternative to the old school galvanized option. Created from low carbon and recycled plastic, PVC pipes naturally require less energy when used and have a lifespan of 50-70 years. Most homeowners could make this change today and never have to worry about their home’s plumbing system again.

Before beginning any major projects on your house, practice proper safety protocol. Be aware of the age of the home and issues that may be associated with it. Hiring a professional to remove issues like asbestos, lead paint, radon, and corroded pipes from your home can help to create a happy and healthy environment.

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