Is Your Old Home Safe?

That’s a simple question, but if you’ve lived in your home for more than a couple of years, you probably haven’t thought about it in awhile. This question is especially relevant to people living in older home. I’m writing from a house built in 1901, one my wife and I have been renovating for nearly two years now. Once you start taking down the drywall in these old rooms, the open walls can reveal a lot of hazards. You are probably already familiar with these, but I’ll go over some of the biggest causes of household danger in homes old (and new).

  1. Electrical. Until the last couple of decades, households were wired with aluminum. Aluminum is a fire hazard, as flaws in the workmanship or even just age can create spark hazards. These can catch insulation or other inflammable materials on fire. Even older homes, like mine, were once wired with Knob and Tube electrical systems. These were fine back in the day, but this is not a technology you want powering a modern home. It is even more of a fire hazard than aluminum wiring, and you need to have it out as soon as possible. A quick home inspection can tell you a lot about the state of your house’s electrical system, and it’s worth paying for, even if you find out you don’t need to replace anything. That’s worth the peace of mind, in my book.

  2. Construction Problems in Additions. Lots of houses have secondary construction, often homemade or poorly done. If your home is just as it was the day it was built, then you have nothing to worry about in this regard. But if you have additions built on to your home, there is the chance that the contractor created some problems that have yet to be fixed. This is often due to cost-cutting measures when the renovation was completed. A home inspection will bring this stuff to light as well, and it can include electrical, plumbing, and even more exotic problems. Maybe a pool that has been put outside your old house is a hazard to young children or pets. Arizona pool fencing is a solution for thousands of people, and it can make your home safe for all in this regard.

  3. Aging Water Pipes. Many old homes have old plumbing, often going out to the street. But did you know that most people are liable for plumbing defects that happen just outside their houses? In my community for instance, homeowners are responsible for the water pipes beneath the sidewalk in front of their homes. If the outside line should burst, we would have to pay for it to be repaired. That repair could easily have a pricetag of more than $10,000. That’s why many cities offer insurance on plumbing inside and out of your house. The exterior coverage has already been explained. The interior coverage pays for everything from a clogged toilet to a septic overflow. Very handy, and safe.

There are other ways to make old homes new and safe, but these are three of the ones I have found are very important to look for as a homeowner. If you are buying your first home or learning more about the one you already have, I wish you great luck and safety in the future. 

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