Keeping Your Home Safe: The Dangers You Don’t See

paint cansMany of us spend time safeguarding our homes from obvious dangers, such as trailing wires, faulty sockets and broken furniture, but there are many invisible dangers that are not obviously apparent.

These include chemicals and gases that can be toxic, causing illness and even proving fatal. 

This latest guest post runs through four different hidden dangers that you might find in your home – and how you can tackle them safely and effectively.

Lead-based paint

Lead is a toxic chemical that can damage the brain, nervous system, kidneys and blood cells and can be particularly harmful to babies, children and developing foetuses. Houses that were built before the 1980s often contain lead-based paint and when this peels and flakes it releases harmful but invisible lead particles that can be inhaled. Attempts to remove the paint by scraping or sanding it will release more lead particles, so it is important to have lead-based paint professionally removed. Fences and porches are especially dangerous areas to find lead paint as it can leach into the soil of the garden.

Radon gas

The biggest cause of lung cancer, apart from smoking, is an invisible gas that is present in many houses. Radon is a colourless and odourless natural gas that arises from decaying uranium deep under the earth. This seeps up through the soil and can enter a house through cracks in the foundation and build up inside, especially if a house is well-insulated and offers nowhere for the radon gas to escape. The only way to detect radon is to carry out a radon test with a monitor or test kit. These are inexpensive, and can be easily purchased from specialised companies, such as PropertECO.

Old carpets

No matter how often you hoover your carpet, bacteria, chemicals, mould and dirt can become buried deep in the pile over time. Walking on carpets in shoes that have been outside can tread in dangerous substances from outside the house, such as pesticides and car exhaust particles. Make sure that your vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter, as this will prevent contamination being released into the air when you hoover. You should also try and have the carpets deep-cleaned on a regular basis and take off your shoes when you enter your home!

Carbon monoxide

Like radon, carbon monoxide is a gas that is completely colourless, odourless and tasteless. It is produced when fossil fuels, like gas, oil or wood, are burned in an enclosed space so that oxygen is used up, causing the fuel to release carbon monoxide. This enters the bloodstream and prevents red blood cells carrying oxygen, leading to tissue and cell damage and, ultimately, death. All household appliances should be regularly serviced and maintained and a carbon monoxide alarm should be installed to warn of high carbon monoxide levels.

Armed with this new knowledge, it’s important to be aware of what might be potentially harmful in your home. Sensibly assess any areas of concern and, if you suspect there may be a problem, have it professionally investigated to ensure complete safety.