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11 Hidden Dangers Lurking in Your Home

a group of homes sit on a hill in surburbia
(Keith Srakocic/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 29 May 2019 11:46 AM

Our homes are meant to be safe places that provide comfort away from the world but if not taken care of, they can also pose a number of health risks. Most of us are aware of the glaringly obvious hazards that lurk beneath our roofs but there are also a number of hidden dangers in our homes that we should not ignore. From devices that trip electrical circuits to creosote build-up, the Reader's Digest set out to uncover these lurking hazards. We take a look at 11 of those hidden dangers in our homes:

1. Puddles. Random puddles on the floor could be related to mold buildup and poor ventilation, which could exacerbate asthma and allergies. Yoel Pioraut, managing partner at MyHome Design + Remodeling suggested examining pipes for moisture or excessive condensation. "If everything checks out, but you have a lack of ventilation, it's time to call in a contractor to add an exhaust fan," he said.

2. Lights that flicker. An overloaded electrical circuit can cause lights to flicker and dim, breakers to shut off and appliances to cause mild shocks when touched. If this is happening in your house it is time to call in a licensed, qualified electrician.

3. A smoke alarm that beeps. If your smoke alarm is beeping intermittently it might be a sign the battery is dying or the device is malfunctioning. If this is the case it is important to replace the battery and ensure your smoke alarms are working. "Roughly two-thirds of all home fire deaths occur when smoke alarms are not working," noted Keith Pinkerton, owner of Mr. Electric of Huntsville, Alabama.

4. Improper grading. Grading issues can result in structural damage and deterioration of foundation walls so it is important to be aware of improper grading. Robert Boudreau, InterNACHI-Certified Home Inspector, explained the easiest way to spot grading issues is if there is water pooling alongside a home's foundation. His solution? Adding soil to the exterior foundation below the siding.

5. Cracks. Structural deterioration can also be detected inside your home in the form of cracks and gaps in floors, window frames, and doors. Cracks over 1/8 to 1/4 inches need to be checked out by a qualified expert. "Uneven floors and doors that don't shut right can be annoyances, but if that settlement continues, then the structure can become at risk," said Patrick Knight, training, licensing, and inspection support manager of WIN Home Inspection.

6. Leaks in your roof. Homeowners should inspect their roofs at least twice a year, noting any bumps, discoloration, broken shingles, and gutters. Knight said the biggest issue you need to look out for is leaking. "Leaks lead to structural issues as well as moisture-related issues in the home," he said.

7. Leaking ducts. It is important to check your boilers and furnaces on a regular basis for signs of deterioration. Look out for cracks, rusting, or leaking flue pipes, and a yellow or jumpy pilot flame. Carbon monoxide is your main concern here.

8. Termites. These critters can cause serious damage to the structural components that support your house. "Subterranean termites eat the wood and process it into food," Knight explained. It is not always easy to spot an infestation until it is too late. Look out for sagging floors, hollow, or weak wood, or wood that is damaged.

9. Leaky pipes. Chances are that, by the time a leaking pipe behind a wall shows its telltale signs, the damage has already been caused. Knight explained water damage can cause structural issues as well as mold and moisture issues. "Once you have leaks that show up in walls or start causing floor damage, a pro should be called," he said. Pay attention to signs like blistering wall paint, loose tiles, damaged wallpaper, and mold.

10. A gurgling toilet and sink drain. If your toilet, shower, or sink drains are making gurgling noises or overflowing it could be a sign that your sewer system is backed up. Raw sewage can be a serious health hazard, so it is important to call in a plumber.

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Our homes are meant to be safe places that provide comfort away from the world but if not taken care of, they can also pose a number of health risks.
homes, safety, dangers, health, risks
Wednesday, 29 May 2019 11:46 AM
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