Living in an old home can be a good idea, as long as you have the time, money and patience to make the right investments to remodel it. Unlike new houses, which are often criticized for their lack of aesthetic appeal and sometimes questionable build quality, older properties do have unique architectural styles and tend to be more durable. Supporters say that they don’t make houses like they used to and that moving into a period home is better in the long run, if you also make some improvements. While this may be true, benefits only go to a certain extent, because old houses can be dangerous for your health. In the past, health and safety regulations weren’t that strict and people would build houses from materials that weren’t always safe. Needless to say, technology at the beginning of the 20th century wasn’t as advanced as it is today and builders simply didn’t know that some materials are toxic. Most health and safety measures were introduced after the 1970s, so if your home dates before this year, you should have it checked, because you could be exposed to harmful substances. The damage might not always be obvious at first, but signs and symptoms appear after prolonged exposure and you shouldn’t wait until it’s too late. Research clearly shows that old houses can be dangerous and that some improvements are essential if you want to live healthily, safely, and comfortably. Look out for these signs:
Leaks and high humidity
These are the most obvious problems in old homes and they are the most annoying during colder seasons. Leaks are usually caused by a poorly insulated roof. If the roof is not airtight and rain and snow get enter the attic, the ceiling may become damp and the damage can even infiltrate the walls, weakening their structure. If you live in a country with heavy rain or snowfall, this can become a real danger and it’s not uncommon for entire roofs to collapse because of the water. And if this were not enough, leaks can lead to other problems too, the most obvious one being high humidity. This makes the air damp and difficult to breathe, causing allergies and discomfort. Humidity can also appear if the areas around windows and doors are not insulated properly. The experts at Great Northern Insulation recommend that people who own old homes insulate their homes, or reinsulate them, if the existing work was done more than two decades ago. Insulation plays an essential part of keeping your home dry and healthy. Humidity encourages the formation of mould, fungi and mildew, so it would be wise to get rid of them. Complete home insulation doesn’t take a long time, it’s affordable and will also save you money in the long run, so you should definitely invest in it.
Asbestos used to be a popular mineral in the construction industry thanks to its price and availability. However, it was banned in 1989 because studies found it increases the risk of cancer. If your home was build before this year, then asbestos was probably used for insulation, tiles, pipes and almost everything else. The good news is that once asbestos settles, it’s not dangerous, so you should be fine if you leave it undisturbed. However, if it breaks or crumbles and asbestos particles are released into the air, then you’re at risk and you should contact a professional company immediately to assess the situation.
Before 1986, the use of lead was paint was commonly used to paint pipes, tiles, door frames and faucets. But, as soon as it was discovered that lead exposure is extremely dangerous, its use was banned. Lead is particularly dangerous for babies and children and should be avoided. In most cases, lead fixtures and pipes were repainted, but, if they haven’t, you should call a contractor right away, especially if you have children. Lead is toxic and continuous exposure can have negative effects on a child’s development.
Old wiring system
If you haven’t replaced the electrical wiring after moving into an old house, you are probably used to random blackouts and appliances going on and off randomly. This happens because the wiring was installed in a time when homes didn’t have so many things plugged in. Now, it’s almost impossible for it to resist all the appliances in a modern household, which on average consist of: several computers, an electric oven, microwaves, washing machine, one or more TVs, irons and a central heating system. To prevent your appliances from malfunctioning, and to reduce the risk of a short-circuit, you should call an electrician to check the wiring and replace it if necessary.