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July 23, 2018

Home safety issues throughout the decades

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Home safety issues in older houses are an especially important consideration.

When you move into a new home, you want it to be a safe place for you and your family to live and grow together. Modern requirements and regulations mean the vast majority of serious issues are either abated, addressed before they begin or at the very least disclosed to a purchaser before the sale is final. However, there are many problems that were once common in homes built in previous decades.

Let's take a look at some of the most widespread, thanks to information shared by the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance:

1930s: Clay sewer pipes

"There are a variety of issues that affect older homes."

Once popular because of technological limitations, long lifespan, compressive strength and other reasons, clay pipes were commonly used in home construction in the 1930s. They have an especially long history, as their first recorded use came thousands of years ago in ancient Babylon, Mr. Rooter Plumbing pointed out. 

However, clay pipes can also cause significant problems if root systems from trees, shrubs and other large plants grow into them. These pipes are especially susceptible to damage from roots, and the results can include sewage flooding in a home, said. Replacing these pipes is the best way to deal with potential problems, although it can be expensive.

1940s: Asbestos

Asbestos was once widely used in residential, commercial and industrial construction, in everything from insulation and wallpaper to ceiling and floor tiles. Asbestos, while a versatile and useful substance in construction, is also the only known cause of mesothelioma, an especially dangerous cancer that has a low survival rate.

Asbestos abatement and removal efforts have removed this harmful substance from many homes and buildings, but it's important to be sure your new home doesn't contain any. This is by far the most dangerous risk factor contained within older homes, although it's rare to find at this point. With asbestos, homeowners and prospective purchasers can't be too careful.

1950s: Galvanized pipes

Galvanized pipes start with a steel pipe which is then dipped in zinc, in an effort to control corrosion and rust. But decades of use can lead to unintended consequences with these pipes, as they start to slowly disintegrate on the inside. That leads to discolored water, low and uneven water pressure, and leaks.

Galvanized pipes can be replaced to mitigate the issues encountered with them, and potential homeowners need to make sure they are aware if the issue exists at a property in which they're interested.

1960s: Non-grounded outlets

Non-grounded outlets lack the protections offered by the additional hole in an outlet which connects an appliance or other device to a safe path to dissipate excess electricity. Power surges can cause all sorts of serious issues, including electrocution, fire and damage to the device, outlet or entire electrical system.

The National Electric Code now requires three-pronged outlets in all new homes built in the U.S., but it's up to owners of older homes to replace any two-pronged outlets. This can be an expensive process, but it drastically improves safety for those in the home.

No matter the age of your home, proper maintenance can help you prevent costly, time-consuming repairs. Use this information to make informed decisions about purchasing and living in a new home - and don't forget to talk to the professional movers and packers at Atlas about handling the heavy lifting.