Property damage can occur at any time and can cause an immense amount of harm. Homeowners are left to face not only a damaged home and belongings, but also the possibility of unhealthy living conditions. A damaged structure can expose hidden health risks, such as unsafe conditions, mold, asbestos, lead-based paint, polluted water, sewage and other contaminants. Making matters worse, the repair process itself can cause problems. Tearing up flooring or knocking down damaged walls, may release and greatly increase your exposure to indoor pollutants. Homeowners commonly forget about the dangers they can’t see and that’s exactly why it’s so important to understand the risks we face when our property becomes damaged and why we should rely on Professional Restoration Specialists like Xtreme Home Improvement to fix these problems.
No matter how small a fire that occurs in your home, the toxins that will exist once the fire is extinguished can impact your health. Depending on the structure and contents that burned in your home, the possibility of the presence of dioxins is high. Dioxins are a group of chemically related compounds that are linked to causing cancer and developmental issues. When melted, PVC piping, which was commonly used in older homes, releases dioxins into the air which can be detrimental to one’s health. Tests can be done after a fire occurs to make sure the air quality is safe and you should plan on staying elsewhere until the air in your home is deemed breathable.
Flood water may contain agricultural and industrial waste materials, harmful bacteria, fecal matter from sewage systems and septic tanks, and various other contaminants that can affect your and your family members’ health. If your home is flooded, the first concern is removing any excess water from inside the home. However, there are residual effects that occur due to flood damage. For example, if your basement flooded and the water ended up soaking the carpet, this could lead to poor air quality and toxic mold growth.
Mold is a type of fungus that has the ability to grow both indoors and outdoors. It can trigger a variety of different symptoms within the body, often mimicking common symptoms of the flu, such as fever, chills, and throat irritation. Lung infections may occur if the amount of mold is abundant and has existed for a prolonged period of time. It is especially important to stay away from spaces containing mold if you have asthma as this can cause difficulty breathing.
Following a flood, carpets and anything else compromised should be professionally removed within 48 hours. Hiring a professional will make sure that the job gets done correctly and helps ensure your family’s safety.
Foundation damage can occur due to soil expansion, excessive moisture, weather changes or drainage issues. If cracks develop in the foundation and allow water into the basement, it is only a matter of time before mold grows on the walls and other surfaces. Most of the air you breathe inside the house originates from the lower levels. This means mold spores will eventually find a way to the main house leading to health problems. By sealing foundation cracks early enough, you will eliminate this health risk.
Many sewer lines are rapidly aging, with some more than 100 years old. As more homes have been connected to these out-of-date lines, sewage backups have followed. Other sources of backups include pipelines that handle both storm water and raw sewage and become overwhelmed in rainstorms and blockages from tree roots that work their way into sewer-line cracks. Sewage can spread illness, disease and even death. The National Resources Defense Council reports that nearly 2 million cases of illnesses are caused by sewage contamination each year. Sewage is full of contaminants, viruses and bacteria that pose a serious threat to people and their pets. In addition, sewage may contain other toxic substances like pesticides, residuals from pharmaceutical drugs, fungi and protozoan.
Wear and Tear
There is a possibility that your home is going to have some type of damage occur over its lifespan. However, structural damage can raise red flags, especially if you live in an older home. Homes built prior to 1980 have a high likelihood of containing asbestos, a deadly carcinogenic mineral used primarily in insulation. Friable asbestos is the most common form used in insulation and is known for its ability to reduce to a powder. If your home contains this insulation and it becomes disturbed, asbestos fibers can be released into the air and could enter your body. These fibers lodge in the lining of the internal organs and may cause cancer.
Roofing leaks can develop because of wind or storm damage, or lack of maintenance. Keep in mind that most roofs are only meant to last 20 to 30 years. Most homeowners think a leaky roof is just a structural problem, but it can actually pose many more safety and even health risks. Constant water intrusion will eventually work down from the attic area to the very foundation of the house, causing plenty of costly damage on the way.
Expect the Unexpected and Take Action
Avoiding potential health hazards after a property loss and during restoration can be difficult and a nuisance. There are risks associated with what lies behind damp walls and beneath damaged carpets. Bacterial infection and lead poisoning are not to be taken lightly. Your safety is the most important thing. If your home experiences property damage, call Xtreme Home Improvement immediately to assess the damage and restore your home properly, quickly, and safely.