The home is where we go when we want to feel safe and secure. Within the confines of our homes, we feel that nothing bad can get to us. But did you know that there are hidden dangers that lurk within our homes? Yes, as much as we want to believe that the home is the safest place to be, there are many things inside that cause accidents and even deaths. Before you can protect your loved one from the common home hazards, you first need to know what they are. Take time to learn about the 15 common hazards found in most homes.
1. Overloaded Circuits
You shouldn’t plug in appliances that use a lot of power into the same outlet. It is recommended that one appliance should be plugged in per outlet. You should have an electrician check the wiring of your house to find out if you are in danger of having overloaded circuits. This consultation is usually free. You can then have your house rewired according to the professional’s recommendations.
2. Frayed and Exposed Wiring
Another fire hazard is frayed and exposed wiring. Be sure to check the electrical wirings around your home and cover the exposed parts or have the wiring changed.
3. Open Fires
If you have a fireplace at home, it would be best to have a fireguard. This will help contain the fire and prevent it from creating a full-blown inferno.
4. Dirty Chimneys
When wood is burned, it releases a black, tarry substance called creosote. When the creosote accumulates on the walls of the chimney, it can be ignited even by embers. Not only is a dirty chimney a fire hazard, it is also a health hazard. The small particles of dust, soot, and creosote can enter your lungs causing a myriad of physical problems.
5. Dryer Exhaust Ducts
Dryer lint is a big fire hazard. You should have your dyer exhaust system vacuumed regularly by professionals. Or better yet, clean it with your own do-it-yourself dryer duct cleaning kit.
6. Indoor Smoking
Aside from being a fire hazard, indoor smoking can also cause many health problems. Encourage smokers to quit or have them smoke outside, away from the rest of the family and away from flammable materials.
Rodents such as squirrels and rats are dangerous to have in your house. They can gnaw on electrical insulation, causing exposed wires. As previously noted, exposed wiring is a fire hazard. Keep rodents out cutting branches they can use as paths to your home. You should also close off open areas with wire mesh, steel screens, or by putting out humane traps.
8. Unregulated Water Heaters
You should lower the maximum temperature of your water heater to about 120 degrees Celsius. This will prevent accidental scalding or burning. If your heater doesn’t have adjustable controls, consider having adjustable heaters installed.
Certain strains of mold produce toxins that can harm your family’s health. With these organisms, prevention is better than cure. Waterproof your home if needed to prevent moisture from building up. Make sure that you air out and dry the usual damp places in your home such as the bathroom and your kitchen. Don’t forget to check these places for signs of growth. If you have mold growing, it is best to kill them from the roots. Bleaching usually just whitens and kills the surface organisms without affecting the roots. You can use a fungicide or anti-mold cleaning sprays to kill mold from the roots.
10. Lead Paint
Lead paint is a health and environmental hazard. Do not scrape it off in preparation of a new paint job. If you do this, you are releasing toxic dust into the air. Instead, check with your city’s Hazardous Waste office to find out how to safely get rid of lead paint. Do this especially if your house was built before the 1970’s.
11. Animal Droppings
If your house has been unoccupied for quite some time, then it is possible that animals have taken shelter inside. The droppings of certain animals – pigeons, deer mice, etc. – are health hazards. Before cleaning your home, you should wear masks and gloves to prevent contamination.
12. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is extremely poisonous to humans and other animals. A faulty gas furnace or oven, camp stove, or even chimney can leak carbon monoxide into your house. You can install CO alarms to detect any leaks but fixing the problem should be done by professionals.
13. Radon Gas
Radon is a radioactive gas that is found in 1 out of 15 homes in the United States. This gas has been linked to lung cancer. There are home kits that can be used to test for the presence of radon gas. However, you should let professionals correct the problem.
14. Household Chemicals
Household chemicals can be toxic especially when mixed. It is better to use green cleaning products because they are safer for your health and for the environment.
Make sure that you keep all your medicines – prescription or over-the-counter – in labels bottles and away from children’s reach. Make sure that your medicines come with dosing instructions, contraindications, and other necessary warnings. Dispose of expired medicine properly. Don’t just flush them down the drain where they can contaminate the water supply.
These 15 home hazards are just a glimpse of the dangers that lurk inside your home. But before you become paranoid, realize that you are better off knowing that such things exist. This way, you can eliminate or correct the potential hazard, thus making your home truly a safer place. Note that this list is by no means exhaustive. There may be other dangers you need to look out for especially if you have children and elderly living with you. Do you have anything to add to this list? Please share it with us. Oh, and don’t forget to always take care.