How safe and healthy is your home? The answer may not be as great as you think. Research conducted by the Federal Healthy Homes Work Group discovered that over 30 million residential units in the United States pose serious hazards to their occupants. These hazards ranged from physical dilapidation to potential gas leaks. According to another study, at least 18.4 percent of homes in the US don’t even have adequate kitchen or plumbing features.
You need to find out if your home contains potentially fatal hazards. Aside from identifying these threats, you should also learn how to improve the health and safety of your home.
Common Hazards Around the House
The following are some of the most common hazards in and around your home. Spotting them early and rectifying them are essential in improving its safety.
- Fire Hazards
An average of 350,000 residential fires start in the United States every year. These fires can start from electrical mishaps, kitchen accidents, or errant sparks from the fireplace. If your home is made of highly flammable materials or lacks basic fire prevention equipment, the chances of your home burning down completely increase significantly.
Water can do just as much damage as fire, albeit slowly. Damp from leaking roofs or busted piping can do incalculable damage to your home and create breeding grounds for pests and dangerous fungi. Reliable polycarbonate suppliers and expert plumbing companies can arrest or prevent the damage damp can cause.
- Tripping Hazards
Trips and falls are more dangerous than you might realize. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 17,000 people die in the US because of injuries sustained from slipping, tripping or falling. Removing obstructions and checking the floor for uneven surfaces can help prevent these potentially fatal incidents.
Improving Your Home’s Health and Safety
Below are some tips you can use to reduce the number of hazards around your home. These improvements and tips can mean the world when you’re trying to keep your family happy, healthy and alive.
- Upgrade the Roof
People don’t often pay enough attention to their roofs because they don’t spend a lot of time around them. However, your roof can be a major source of damp, particularly if you leave it unattended and unchecked for a long time. It can develop leaks which can damage your home and breed fungi.
Once a year you should assess the quality of your roof and check if you need to upgrade it with new material or a fresh coat of paint. Hardware, such as roof water diverters and mesh gutter covers, help prevent water from infiltrating through your roof.
- Install Smoke Alarms
Almost all fires can be detected easily through their smoke. However, if you’re in another part of the house you may not be able to smell the smoke until it’s too late. Smoke alarms are essential in every home for this reason. These devices help alert you if there’s a fire anywhere in your home, which could mean surviving a house fire.
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Sometimes there’s smoke but no fire. Smoke inhalation of carbon monoxide is the primary cause of death from house fires rather than immolation. This can come from smoldering flames from a closed fireplace or from a gas leak. Carbon monoxide detectors function similarly to smoke alarms but specifically warns you of the carbon monoxide levels in the air which can rise without smoke.
- Check for Lead
Lead is still one of the most pervasive toxic substances in the United States, despite being banned from use for years. It can be found in the water piping of older homes, as a paint additive in vintage or antique furniture and even leaches into the water supply via mining or dumping. If you live in an older building or home, it’s highly recommended that you hire an inspector to check the property for possible lead contaminants.
- Repair Paving
The pavement outside your home is exposed to elements and thus more prone to developing cracks and potholes. These types of damage are very risky tripping hazards, especially to children, older adults and people with disabilities. Check your pavement for cracks and potholes every quarter, particularly after winter. Repair the pavement as soon as convenient to prevent them from widening. A quick patch of asphalt or cement should do the trick.
Homes are supposed to be happy and safe places. However, shoddy construction and poor installation can turn your haven into a death trap. Inspecting your home and ensuring that every inch and feature is safe and up to code can prevent any untoward incident.