In a world full of visible dangers, the last thing anyone in Illinois wants to think about is the invisible ones. But they’re there and, believe it or not, many of them may be lurking inside your home. According to the CDC, each year, approximately 430 people in the U.S. die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning and more than 50,000 are treated for it. Mold is prevalent in an estimated 70 percent of American homes. And the EPA and Surgeon General attribute more than 21,000 annual deaths from lung cancer in the U.S. to radon exposure.
The good news? All of these dangers can be remedied, or averted altogether, by reviewing a basic checklist of common home hazards and evaluating your risk. A little diligence and attention are all it takes to ensure your family’s health and safety while supporting the longevity of your home as well.
Indoor Air Quality:
The quality of the air in your home is perhaps the most important home health concern and encompasses several of the most common dangers.
- Radon: An odorless, invisible radioactive noble gas, radon can seep into homes through basements and below ground crawl spaces. Determine if you have anti-radon measures in place in your home and, if not, hire a radon mitigation service to perform a professional measurement.
- Carbon monoxide: Another invisible gas, carbon monoxide in the home is most often the result of wood-, coal-, or gas-burning heaters, making it a more common concern during the winter months. Install a carbon monoxide detector near heat sources throughout the home to best protect against poisoning.
- Mold: Fairly common and most often harmless, mold exists in some form or another in most homes in the U.S. While some strains are innocuous, others can be harmful, particularly to people that struggle with asthma or severe allergies. Review damp areas for mold growth on a regular basis, treat small blooms with bleach or another mold-killing product and seek out professional help for severe growth or where it may have breached the walls and structural elements.
- Allergens, particulates, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs): Whether dust and smoke or formaldehyde off-gassing, these sorts of toxins can create a host of respiratory and neurological problems, ranging from mild to severe. Selecting low-or no-VOC products, consistently ventilating your home, and using an air filtration system can all help mitigate negative impacts.
Still a common concern in older homes, lead paint can cause serious injury if ingested, which instigated a 1978 ban on its use. If you have a home built prior to 1978, make sure to review disclosure documentation for any necessary remediation information. Lead pipes are similarly dangerous, contaminating your home’s drinking water. Get water tested if your home’s plumbing was installed prior to 1986.
Common household pests like termites and mice can wreak havoc, both structurally on your home and physically on your health. If you suspect any sort of pest infestation, contact a local exterminator for a professional inspection.
Incorrect or outdated wiring causes nearly 46,000 fires annually according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Predominantly impacting older homes, wiring defects and necessary repairs should be noted on your home inspection report.
For home insurance questions, call or contact Hicks Insurance Agency & Associates, Inc. today.