Home inspection hazards you may not know exist.
Radon is a radioactive gas. If Radon levels are high enough in your home and you are exposed to these high levels over time Radon can cause lung cancer and children may be more sensitive to Radon exposure. There are no safe levels of radon and you could have radon in your home, work place, or at your children schools . Radon is odorless and you cannot taste it.There are no symptoms that will tell you if your being exposed to Radon. In fact it takes years of exposure until you will see the effects. Radon is know to be present in homes in United states in every state. So does your home have Radon? Well that's a good question the only way to know for sure is to have your home tested for Radon gas. Survey information has shown that 1 out 5 homes in the US has elevated levels of Radon gas present. What can you do to protect you and your family from Radon gas. The first thing is to identify if the home has high levels of Radon present. So have your home tested. If there are high levels present there are ways to reduce these high levels. I would recommend hiring a certified Radon mitigation company in your state.
How does Radon come into our homes?
Radon can come through the soil into your home through cracks in the foundation holes in the foundation, through crawlspace foundations, and through basement foundations.The building can actually act like a vacuum and your home will such in soil gases. This is know as the stack effect differences in air pressure between the indoor and outdoor air pressure.When indoor air temperatures are hotter and outdoor temperatures are cooler the greater the stack effect is sucking in soil gases. So when it's cold outside the Radon can increase in the home due to the warm air rising in the home and sucking in the soil gases/Radon. Also vent fans and vents can create a negative pressure in the home increasing soil gases/Radon into the home. You have many vents and fans in your home such as gas water heaters, gas heaters, clothes dryer vents, range hoods and bath fans all can contribute to an increase of Radon gas into the home. Weather can be another factor increasing or decreasing Radon into the home environment. Type of weather conditions that can change Radon levels in homes are high wind, heavy rain, cold weather,
Mold present at the home your buying?
I won't bore you with the long scientific definition of mold all you need to know is it's a fungus. Mold spores are present inside and outside so you can not eliminate mold. Mold needs certain conditions for it to grow. There must be moisture present, oxygen and a food source. Our homes have two conditions present at all times for mold to grow. See our homes are built using wood, drywall,carpet est. so you always have a food source and of coarse you have oxygen and if you don't than you in for some real trouble. Add moisture from a plumbing leak, roof leak, a/c drain pan leaks, leaks around windows, at walls, or poor drainage around your home est. and you have the potential for mold growth. Also very humid air can also provide enough moisture for mold to grow. So your a/c system provides more than just cool air for your home it also removes moisture from the air. If your buying a home and the a/c system has not been working or the home has been sitting vacant without the air running than you have conducive conditions and the potential for mold to grow. If the old owner has been using a humidifier this also can produce enough moisture in the air to allow for mold to grow. Mold likes to grow in dark damp areas and the temperature of in between 40 to 100 degrees F. Mold has to have water to grow. So if you can eliminate leaks and a high humidity level mold can not grow. Having a home inspection at your home or the home you are about to purchase can let you know if you have any conducive conditions present that can allow mold to grow such as moisture intrusion into the structure of your home or other leaks or a/c systems not functioning or fans venting into the attic space est. Our humid climate in Houston Texas can create some conducive and favorable conditions for mold to grow. I personally don't perform mold inspections, but during your Houston home inspection I will point out any conditions that are conducive for mold growth and note any mold like stains.
If your buying an old home you may be at risk.
Basically asbestos is a silicate mineral and was made very popular because of it's fire resistant properties and it's strength it was widely used. As a result asbestos found it's way into many home construction products. It also was used for products in other industries, but we are just concentrating on home products. Asbestos can be found in many products in a home starting with shingles, certain protective paper around wood burning stoves on walls, siding, Concrete Floor covering, Floor glues, Insulation, Insulation around ducts and pipes, and many more.
Health hazards from inhalation of asbestos.
Asbestos has been found to increase the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma by breathing in high levels of Asbestos fibers. Most of these causes where found to be caused from breathing in these high levels of asbestos from there work places such as mining, processing, factories, and ship building that made or used products with asbestos. In the 1950's Asbestos was a popular building material. At those times there were no regulations set to protect the workers. The point is that asbestos can cause long cancer. This is the reason that asbestos was banned in 1977 for use in building construction products. So if you own or are buying an older home built before 1977 than the home may contain asbestos building construction products. There is also a chance that some homes built after 1977 can contain Asbestos. Yes it was banned in 1977 , but manufacturers who made home construction products were allowed to sell the remaining inventory. So there are homes through the 1980's that can contain Asbestos.
What to do if your home has asbestos
The key thing if Asbestos is present in the home you own or are buying is not to disturb it. Asbestos is not a hazard unless the particles are air born. If you are remodeling your home and you have an older home you may want to have your home inspected for Asbestos building products. This is when Asbestos becomes dangerous during repairs to the home or upgrading areas. Removing Products such as insulation, old siding, roofing materials, flooring, and other building products can send the Asbestos particles into the air and you could breath these dangerous cancer causing products into your lungs not knowing any damage until years down the road.