Sent to us courtesy of Cormac Reynolds.
Older homes come with a lot of character, especially when compared to the relatively dull designs of the modern day. However, whether you want a Victorian house in Brighton or a classical abode in Devon, there are a number of issues that continuingly rear their heads with old homes.
However, don’t let the thought of this put you off your dream – just make sure that the house is checked out before you purchase it. So, what are the issues to watch out for?
Piping and Wiring
One of the most common problems found with older homes comes in the shape of the pipes and wires used to bring utilities into the home. Lead pipes are very common in older homes that were built before the 1940s, however in some cases lead was used to join copper pipes until the 1980s. A filtration system is the best way to take care of issues caused by these pipes. A full refit will demand parts of the home to be destroyed and also costs significant amounts of money.
Old wiring can also be a serious issue in older homes and in many cases it is not grounded. This can be seen if the home has two prongs instead of three. Many parts of these older homes also didn’t come with ground fault interrupters in areas with water. This means that the power would not be cut off completely if it comes in touch with water. Building surveys can help with this sort of cable avoidance.
Cesspools and Septic Tanks
Many older homes that now run on the mains originally had wells or septic tanks on the property. This can cause all sorts of problems if a contractor unearths one unknowingly. They may need to be removed if you are intending on extending to a new area and it’s always best to have an underground utility detection survey before building onto any area of an old home.
Considered to be a leading cause of lung cancer, radon gas enters the home through cracks in the floor. In the USA the Environmental Protection Agency estimates around 5 per cent of homes have Radon gas issues and advise a building survey to be done by contractors or home inspectors before moving in.
This material has been used since ancient times as an insulator and causes all sorts of problems. The material is often safe depending on the context it is used in. However, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and get it checked out. Asbestos was used for furnaces and boiler insulation and also for water pipes. If it needs to be removed a professional is required to do so.
Another common problem from days of yore is the use of lead paint in homes, though is not harmful unless it is ingested. However, if you have small children around the home they tend to nibble on things such as work surfaces and this has been known to cause issues. Exterior lead paint is also known to flake and end up becoming airborne and landing in vegetable patches, causing issues for plants and food stuffs.
If you are looking into purchasing an old home ensuring a good survey is done can help prevent any surprises or issues and ensure you home is perfect to live in.
Cormac Reynolds works for Sumo Services a UK company that provides underground survey and services all over the UK.
For those folks who want to do certain repair jobs on their older home, there are all types of home safety PPEthat will be a good investment, such as gloves, goggles, and respirators. In buildings with asbestos, one can never be too careful.