There are a number of benefits to owning a home; equity and a relatively permanent sense of both community and stability are beneficial to everyone in a household. However, with those benefits come maintenance responsibilities and concerns far greater than those that come with renting. While many of these concerns are either cosmetic, others are potential health hazards; it is wise to be on the lookout for these types of concerns, especially the following:
Mold can grow in any house, new or old, no matter how clean the house is. Moisture in your basement, moisture in your garage, or moisture in your attic can cause mold. Depending on the type of mold, you and your family can be negatively affected in terms of health—sometimes severely so.
Mold can be identified by two physical characteristics: visual stains and odor. Mold tends to appear as any other fungus does, such as yeast. While there is sometimes a musty odor that accompanies home mold, it is almost always a second characteristic, and is sometimes not even present. Having moisture in your attic can cause mold to grow without you knowing.
Small areas of mold can be removed by yourself, but professional help may be required for large areas.
It is impossible to have a home without having some form of bacteria living in it. Most bacteria are generally harmless to most people and animals, but there are strains that can pose a health hazard. Some, such as fecal coliform or staph, come directly from humans; others, such as salmonella and E. coli can come from food sources.
Most food-based bacteria can be found easiest in food preparation areas, kitchens and general waste areas. Human-based bacteria can be found in bathroom sinks, bathtubs, toilet exteriors, bedrooms and laundry. Towels especially can carry both food-borne and human-born bacteria. In order to keep as germ-free of a household, it is imperative to regularly clean these areas in the home and regularly rotate common household towels in use in any of these areas.
Radon is a noble gas that comes directly from the earth; every home on the planet has some level of radon sitting at least in the lowest level of the home. The main concern about radon is that it is suspected to be a carcinogen, specifically for lung cancer, and the need to curb emissions sitting in the home. There is some debate on the severity of health concerns of radon based on previous testing environments, but both the United States and the European Union have very specific standards regarding acceptable radon emissions.
Fortunately, there is a one-time procedure, known as radon mitigation, which allows for circulating air to minimize the levels of radon in the home; the cost usually varies depending on the size of the home.
While health concerns are all around a home, they are not insurmountable concerns. Routine maintenance and vigilance can keep your home up to your standards, and a well maintained, clean home is a joy to be shared with friends and family alike.
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