Homes can hide dangerous hazards that might harm the owners and their children. Homeowners should be aware of the most common dangers their new home might be hiding so they can avoid harm.
What Are the Most Common Latent Defects?
A latent defect is a problem that is not obvious. It is hidden, and homeowners may not discover the problem for a long time. The most common latent defects are:
· Asbestos. Asbestos is a natural, fibrous material that manufacturers used in insulation and drywall before 1980. Asbestos can cause cancer in anyone who breathes it in or otherwise ingests it. If the material containing asbestos is damaged, the homeowner should hire a professional to remove it safely.
· Lead Paint. Before 1970 manufacturers commonly included lead in household paints. When homeowners attempt to remove the paint by chipping it or sanding it, it can transform into dust or small chips that people might ingest. When ingested at high levels, lead can cause anemia, weakness, and kidney and brain damage. Further, lead can cross the placental barrier. If a mother ingests the paint, it can cause damage to the baby’s nervous system. Homeowners can use a home lead test to determine if their home has lead paint. If it does, they can find online tutorials on how to remove it. The homeowner can also hire professionals.
· Carbon Monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, flammable gas that is poisonous to humans. It is a byproduct of fuel-burning appliances such as gas stoves and furnaces. A faulty stove, furnace, or fireplace can cause a build-up of dangerous gas. Low levels of carbon monoxide cause headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea, and fatigue. High levels can cause impaired vision, vomiting, and even death. Homeowners can avoid carbon monoxide poisoning by installing detectors throughout the house and ensuring that all fuel-burning appliances are installed correctly and are well-ventilated.
· Mold. Mold spores can grow within 24 to 48 hours when moisture is present. They can live on dust, wood, drywall, paint, paper, cotton, and oil. The spores can cause asthma symptoms and allergic reactions. Homeowners can reduce the risk of mold by keeping an eye out for any leaks, keeping rooms well ventilated, and using dehumidifiers to keep rooms under 50% humidity.
· Radon. Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas that comes from uranium. It occurs naturally in soil. Homeowners can purchase a test kit to detect the presence of radon. If they do find radon, they should hire professionals to remediate the problem.
Homeowners can also contact the previous owners to gather more information about the condition of the house. The previous homeowners likely know the property better than anyone else.
What Can Homeowners Do if They Discover Latent Defects?
When homeowners discover latent defects in their newly-purchased house, they should immediately correct the issues and make their home safe. Although they might remedy some defects without a problem, others might create a financial hardship to fix. For example, asbestos removal can be prohibitively expensive. The homeowner can attempt to recover the expenses from the previous owner, builder, or product manufacturer. If a latent defect harms homeowners, they can file an injury claim. Homeowners may not know who is responsible for harm caused by a latent defect. However, an attorney can help them determine who is at fault.