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Protect Your Property: The Signs of Hidden Hazards

Kitchen with large sliding windows

Ben Hosking

Your home might be well-designed, beautiful, and inviting, but it could be riddled with issues that could impact your safety and damage the property.

Some household issues are obvious, such as a ceiling leak, damp, or a broken window. Yet, other problems aren’t always visible to the naked eye, or there could be subtle indications of a dangerous issue lurking behind your walls, on your flooring, or even in the air.

Protect your property and your loved ones by learning about the signs of common hidden hazards in the home. 

Damaged Walls and Décor

When you think of a leak, you might imagine droplets of water coming from your ceiling. However, some leaks hide behind walls and may cause visible damage to your property, such as structural issues or the development of mold and excess moisture.

Common signs of a hidden leak include:

  • Warped walls
  • Blistered paint
  • Loose tiles
  • Damaged wallpaper
  • Cracked or buckling flooring
  • Mold and mildew outside the bathroom

If you’ve noticed one or more of the above signs in your property, contact a plumber right away to pinpoint and fix the leak to protect your property’s structural integrity, your home’s appearance, and your loved ones’ health.

Flickering Lights

Never ignore flickering or blinking lights. It might feel a little spooky when turning your lights on, but it could be due to an overloaded electrical circuit, a bulb with too high a wattage, or insulation being too close to a bulb.

If it’s an overloaded electrical circuit, you might experience other warning signs, such as:

  • Blown fuses
  • Dimming lights
  • Discolored or warm wall plates
  • A buzzing, sizzling, or crackling sound
  • Burning smell
  • A mild electric shock

Whatever the cause or sign, you shouldn’t hesitate to hire a qualified Electricians London service to identify and resolve the problem.

Cracks and Gaps in Your Flooring

You might believe wear and tear or seasonal changes are to blame for cracks and gaps in your hardwood flooring. Also, you might think cracks in the corners of your doors and windows are a common sign of property aging. 

There may be a simple, harmless explanation, but it could be a sign of a much bigger problem. For instance, it could be due to an issue with the foundations, a critical floor beam or joist may have weakened, or termites could be destroying the strength of your hardwood flooring.

It’s essential to monitor minor cracks for changes and reach out to a structural engineer if they exceed 1/8 or a ¼ of an inch. If doors and windows jam, windows crack, or floors appear uneven, it could indicate an issue with your foundations that you must address before it spirals.

Bathroom tiled with plain white ceramics

Health Issues, Condensation, and/or Boiler Issues

A carbon monoxide leak can cause serious health issues and even prove fatal, which is why you can’t afford to ignore its signs. As gas boilers depend on carbon monoxide, leaks can occur, and one or more signs could affect your health and home.

A carbon monoxide leak may cause the following issues:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Breathlessness
  • A loss of consciousness

If you or a loved one develops one or more of the above symptoms and you suspect that it could be due to carbon monoxide poisoning, you must leave the property immediately and seek medical attention. Contact your gas company right away to rectify the problem, and don’t return to the property until it’s been declared safe.

Subtle signs of a carbon monoxide leak may appear across the home, such as a greater amount of window condensation, dark staining on gas appliances, or boiler issues (it may struggle to stay lit or have a yellow or jumpy pilot flame).

Exposed Wiring

Exposed wiring is a serious sign of outdated or improperly installed electrical wires. It’s common for it to fall out of sockets when it’s old or faulty, which could pose a risk to you and your loved ones if it’s not immediately addressed. For instance, it may cause an electric shock or fire. Never just tape down a wire and carry on with your day, call a qualified electrician to fix the issue right away.

A High Electricity Bill

Another sign of an electrical issue is a high electricity bill. If you’ve noticed that your energy bill has skyrocketed, it might indicate a problem with an electrical appliance or the wiring. Again, call an electrician immediately to identify and rectify the issue to protect your home and your finances.

Plants & Flowers That are Toxic to Pets

Many common plants and flowers are toxic to cats and dogs, which you must be mindful of when sprucing up your garden or bringing home a stunning floral arrangement.

For example, cats can’t consume or touch lilies, as every inch of this flower could cause kidney failure. 

The plants below are poisonous to cats and dogs:

  • Autumn crocus
  • Azalea
  • Cordyline
  • Cotoneaster
  • Daffodil
  • Dumbcane
  • Horse chestnut
  • Peace lilies
  • Potato plants
  • Yew

If in doubt, consult a vet about the plants and flowers that are poisonous to your furry friend, and don’t hesitate to seek veterinary care if they encounter one.

Scaly or Chalky Paint

Lead paint has been banned since the late 1970s due to its many health risks. However, if you bought a house built before the 1980s, lead paint may be lurking inside your home. One or more coats of it could be hiding behind wallpaper or covered with new layers of paint, which you might encounter when redecorating. 

Lead paint can cause many symptoms, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • High blood pressure
  • Poor motor skills
  • Memory loss
  • Fatigue

Even breathing in a small amount of lead paint can pose a risk to adults and children. For this reason, you must familiarize yourself with the possible signs of lead paint, such as a chalky residue or reptilian-like scales with wrinkled or cracked paint layers. 

If you find lead paint, it’s recommended to paint over it immediately with modern, safe paint. However, if you need to remove it, use a liquid stripper or solvent, as these won’t create dust or fumes. Of course, you must keep children and pregnant women away from the area during painting or removal. Also, you must wear protective clothing and a mask and thoroughly clean your body, your clothes, and the room when you’re finished.