When a lot of people think about problems with houses, condominiums, or apartments, they tend to think about mold, but there are far more problems that you can encounter with your house besides mold. Houses can come with many problems; they can even negatively affect your health immensely. A bad house can even change your physical appearance and age you faster. So, in order to avoid harming your health, you first need to know what problems to look for before you buy or rent any house, apartment, or condo.
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The last two places that I lived before I found my current home had a lot of problems. Unfortunately, these problems seem to be the norm; almost every home you will look at will have at least one of the problems listed here in this health article today. I discovered these issues while looking for a new place to live these last two years (I had to have looked at at least 50-60 different homes), and every rental and house for sale that I saw had something wrong with it. Similar to the homes I saw, the problems I had with my home took down my health drastically. Once I moved from these toxic environments, I lost weight effortlessly while still eating the exact same things. My physical appearance improved drastically as well. I looked and felt healthier than I had in many years.
So today, I will teach you all some of the most common problems that people need to be aware of and check for before buying or renting a home.
Check the water – Is it brown or discolored?
You can generally find out the water quality fairly easily by researching the area you want to move to. Certain places are commonly known for having unsafe drinking water. As a general rule, if an area has unsafe drinking water, then all of the water inside of the home is likely unsafe since all of the water in the home will be coming through the same water pipes. Bathing in this unsafe water can be harmful as well; it can cause you to absorb the toxins into your skin, which can lead to inflammation, redness, and acne. Washing your hair in this kind of water can also cause your hair to look less healthy and start having problems, such as breakage and damage.
I had a friend who was living in a place that had well water. He said that when he washed his clothes in the washer, all of his clothes turned brown from the contaminated well water. So, contaminated water affects you negatively in a variety of ways, even if you do not drink it.
“Every year from 1982 to 2015, between 9 million and 45 million Americans got their drinking water from a source that violated the standards of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While rural areas are the most contaminated, a few major cities have struggled to renovate their aging pipes and enforce safe standards among local jurisdictions” (Bendix, A. (2020, March 17). 12 cities with the worst tap water in the US. Business Insider. Retrieved February 6, 2022).
Here is an article that was written about the top twelve U.S. cities with the worst drinking water: https://www.businessinsider.com/cities-worst-tap-water-us-2019-3
Check the bathtub – Does it need to be refinished?
If you have ever had a new bathtub, then you know what it looks like: the paint is perfect and fully intact. However, over time, as you continue to bathe, the paint and porcelain coating on the bathtub will wear out. When this happens, lead can come through the bathtub where the paint or porcelain has worn out. The tub will need to be refinished to make it look perfect again and to prevent lead poisoning or harm to your health.
It is okay to shower in a bathtub for only a few minutes at a time if it has not been refinished, but you should never bathe and soak in a bathtub that needs to be refinished because you will absorb a lot of lead. If you do not have the money to refinish your bathtub immediately, I recommend limiting yourself to brief showers. Still, the bathtub will still need to be refinished to be safe for you and your family as soon as possible.
Check the pipes in your home
The water pipes going through your home can have harmful chemicals in them, including lead, chromium, and asbestos. These chemicals can enter the water when there is a chemical reaction to the chemicals used to treat our water that comes through the water pipes; this is the case for iron water pipes.
“Rusted iron pipes can react with residual disinfectants in drinking water distribution systems to produce carcinogenic hexavalent chromium in drinking water…that creates cancer-causing genetic mutations in cells…zerovalent chromium that was detected in the rusted iron pipes transformed more quickly to the toxic form” (Technology Networks. (2020, December 4). Common Pipe Material Can Form Harmful Chemicals in Drinking Water. Applied Sciences from Technology Networks).
Harmful chemicals found in the water in your home can also be the result of what the pipes are made of. Asbestos can enter your water from asbestos cement water pipes. Lead water pipes can put lead into the water as the lead corrodes over time, so the issue really becomes, how old is the house? This happens with copper water pipes as well, which will turn the water green over time as the copper wears out.
In general, the rule is that if the house is old, then so is the plumbing, unless someone had it replaced in the entire house, but that would be way too expensive, so it would be best to just sell the house and start fresh. Someone else would then have to deal with this problem, but at least it would no longer harm you and your family. Money is money, and this is just how the housing market operates.
“Over time, with wear and tear, copper pipes tend to take on a discolored greenish color. That green coloration can stain the water that passes through them. Enough copper leakage in water could make the water poisonous to consume. Heavy metal poisoning can cause significant health damage to people that suffer from it” (G. (2021, November 30). Translating What Your Discolored Water is Saying | Ben Franklin Plumbing. Benjamin Franklin Dallas).
A new home will have newer pipes, so you will not have to worry about rusted pipes contaminating your water. However, most people have older homes, so if you are worried about the water coming out of your pipes and you can not afford to have the pipes replaced, then I recommend putting a water filter over the tap and using a shower water filter in the bathroom. Carbon water filters can remove lead, and there is a special water filter (one that does reverse osmosis) that can remove chromium, so you do have options.
What kind of paint was used in your home?
Some of you may be familiar with a common issue found in paint used in older homes: lead. Older homes, especially those built in the 1970s or earlier, were painted with lead-based paint. Initially, the lead may not bother you, but once the home becomes heated, the lead paint can come through. Sometimes, you can even smell the lead paint. If a very old furnace has been painted with lead paint, as the paint starts to wear out, turning on the furnace can create a very nasty chemical metallic smell.
Previously, I lived in a condo. Every time I would turn on the furnace, it would produce the worst metallic smell, almost like chemicals burning. I contacted the Housing Administration and the EPA about the horrible smell coming from the furnace. The smell got so bad that I noticed that I no longer had birds coming anywhere near my home. I used to constantly wake up to birds at 5 am, but they vanished as the smell worsened. I was also seriously feeling unwell in the home and I could only keep the symptoms at bay by leaving the home or refraining from using the AC unit. Unfortunately, there is a lot of corruption among housing inspectors and they are known for taking bribes from landlords. There are numerous articles published online that talk about this issue because it can get very serious with people living in unfit living conditions that can leave them with health problems that last years.
Some housing inspectors will favor your landlord, no matter how bad the property is. When this kind of corruption happens, the housing inspector may try to make you think that you are crazy or that the problem is all in your head. The housing inspector may ignore and disregard your complaints about the home. This is what happened to me when I told the housing inspector and the EPA inspector that I think the smell is caused by lead since the condo I was living in was built about 50 years ago when lead-based paint was still legal and commonly used everywhere. Both inspectors completely ignored my email and never got back to me. So, if you suspect that there is lead in your home, or something is seriously wrong with your home, I recommend testing for it and reporting the issue to the organization in your state that regulates housing, rather than simply trusting the housing or EPA inspectors that come out to the home.
What kind of flooring do you have? Do you have carpeting?
Different types of flooring have different issues. Vinyl flooring is much cheaper than wood flooring, so some landlords, who want to save as much money as possible to get the most profit, will go for vinyl flooring. However, the issue is that vinyl tiles tend to have asbestos.
Wood flooring is considered higher quality flooring because it looks nicer and is made from something natural: real wood. Wood flooring is the better option over vinyl flooring. However, it is important to make sure that the wood has been sealed. In some really old houses, the wood has not been sealed. This means that mites, spiders, and other bugs can come through the wood into the home. You can easily tell when the wood has not been sealed because you will find a lot of bug bites on you, even when you have not gone outside. If your cat can use his or her claws to climb and stay on the wood, then that means that the wood has not likely been sealed because a sealant would create a slippery coating over the wood. Another indicator that the wood has not been sealed is if you can run your finger over the wood and feel the wood stabbing into your skin and you get a splinter.
If the wood in your home has not been sealed, the easiest solution would be to seal it.
“Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to kill. That’s in part because they pick hiding spots around the room, not just in your bedding. That’s why you might find bed bugs in wood flooring. Bed bugs may infest wood floors if they can find a spot to hide from sunlight. Floorboards with cracks in them, especially under the bed, make good bed bug harborages” (Carter, L. (2020, December 15). Can Bed Bugs Live in Wood Floors? Bed Bugs Insider. Bed Bugs Insider).
If the home comes with carpeting, know that the people who lived in that home before you left something behind in the used carpeting. I know people who cleaned their carpeting with different carpet cleaners that they bought at hardware stores, but they said that the carpeting still looked dirty. As a result, they also had the carpeting professionally cleaned, but it still did not feel clean to them. So, I suggested that they create their own carpet cleaning solution with the Natural Herbal Lotion, Citronella, baking soda, and a store-bought carpet cleaner. When they used this solution, they said the water turned completely black, even though they had the carpet professionally cleaned right before using this mixture, as well as used several store-bought carpet cleaners on it. So, with this solution, they felt their carpeting was much cleaner and safer for their families.
So, if you have carpeting, I recommend using more than just common carpet cleaners found in the store to get them clean. Personally, I would prefer all new carpeting that I had professionally put in myself for my next home, but this is expensive, especially for a large house; it is for this reason that I chose my current home. I chose a place that had removed the carpeting and put in new floors for the renovation. Hard floors are easy to clean, and I can easily buy inexpensive rugs and carpet padding to put down on the floors to prevent my knees and legs from being harmed by the hard floors.
When was the ventilation system in your home last cleaned?
The ventilation system is something that can be a problem in both new and old houses. Previously, I wrote a health article about how the ventilation system can help spread COVID-19 through the air, so this is a good reason alone to have the ventilation system cleaned prior to moving into a new home.
In general, the ventilation system should be cleaned anyway because when a home is left vacant for a period of time, rodents, bugs, and even animals can get into the ventilation system and start living there. If animals are living in your ventilation system, they are also peeing and leaving feces in it, which you and your family will inhale every time you turn on your AC and heating unit. These contaminants can also evaporate into the air, so you will be inhaling them all the time; this could make you and your family have very poor health.
Some housing communities also have rat infestations, and these rats can get into the home through the walls and ventilation system. Rats carry many diseases, so you definitely do not want them in your ventilation system. Having the ventilation system cleaned will help discourage rodents from coming back into the ventilation system as quickly because it will leave a chemical residue behind that will bother the rats.
Another issue with the ventilation system concerns bugs. Bugs in the ventilation system can lead to an infestation throughout the entire home, which could then lead to bugs getting into all of your belongings, so it is always a good habit to clean out the ventilation system whenever you move to a new place. If possible, the cleaning should be done before you even unpack your things. When I moved to my new home, I had the whole place professionally cleaned, even the walls and ventilation system.
Was your home freshly painted before you moved in?
It is important to have your home professionally painted before you move in because people touch the walls, so the walls can contain bacteria from all of the people who had contact with it. Furthermore, when people talk, a little bit of spit comes out, which can land on walls. People sometimes cough on the walls as well. Dirt can get on the walls from children drawing on them or playing near them, so walls can harbor a lot of germs, viruses, and bacteria. So, as a general rule, I always recommend that if you are moving into a new place, you should ask the landlord to have it freshly painted. If they say no because the walls are in good condition, then I recommend wiping down the walls yourself with a cleaning solution. When I cleaned my home, I wiped the walls down with a little bit of soap, water, and Clorox (you should only use Clorox if your walls are white). Then, I sprayed the air and walls with the Natural Herbal Lotion.
How is the wiring in your home?
The wiring in your home is something that will not necessarily affect your health, but it could kill you if there is a problem with it. A lot of old homes have wiring issues.
Electrical wiring problems can cause a fire, so you need to be aware of them; you need to look for signs of wiring issues, especially when planning to buy a home. If your home does have a wiring issue, one solution is to have the home rewired, which is sometimes reasonable in the $1000 – $2000 range. However, for a bigger house, rewiring can be really expensive, so if you are renting, you may want to ask your landlord to fix the wiring, or simply move. If you bought a house with a wiring issue, then you could save up for the rewiring and be on the lookout for any red flags in the meantime.
How old is your house? Older homes tend to be moldy and have more problems
An older house, condo, or apartment tends to have a lot of problems, such as mold, old water pipes, electricity that blows easily, and other wiring problems. Since earlier in this article we talked about the issues concerning water pipes and wiring, we will now focus on mold. A lot of you are likely familiar with mold since it is a major health concern that can lead to respiratory problems, extreme tiredness, brain fog, flu-like symptoms, and even death.
Mold is rampant in some areas more than others. Really old cities tend to have mold everywhere, such as Paris, Louisiana, and Tokyo. Many countries have buildings that people live in today that have existed for decades; some of these buildings have remained in their original state, such as in Japan, the Philippines, France, Jordan, parts of the U.S., and throughout the UK, especially England, Ireland, Scotland, and Italy. These old buildings are very beautiful to look at, but they tend to be very moldy and unsafe for us to live in day in and day out. Thus, there is currently a new trend where people renovate old houses; this is called, “flipping houses”.
Renovating a house is the next best thing to having a newly built house. A newly renovated house or building will have more modern appliances and function better overall. A newer home will offer you a healthier living solution because it is less likely to have mold, and it will likely be cleaner. So, when it comes to health, the only house, condo, or apartment that I want to live in going forward is going to be a newly built or newly renovated one because these are the safest to live in; these kinds of homes will help give me the best health possible. After all, without health, we can not live and experience life to the fullest.
Have you, or do you currently, live in an older home? What are some issues that you have had with the places that you have lived in?
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