No home is ever going to be 100% safe. As long as there’s oxygen in the house to help you breathe, there’s going to be a fire hazard. As long as there’s water pumping into the home, there’s a chance of a pipe bursting. As long as you take showers, there’s a small chance you might slip and fall. The purpose of discussing home hazards isn’t to remove them entirely – an impossible feat – but to empower homeowners to take every possible chance to mitigate risk.
By now you are probably familiar with the common household hazards – the loose wiring, oily oven and broken smoke detector, etc. But what about the less obvious dangers, the ones that are too out of sight to be readily apparent, even to the most vigilant homeowner? Let’s take a closer look at some of the less conspicuous household hazards, as well as how to protect against them.
Exposure to Backwater
Backwater is the process of wastewater getting into your home. When the city sewer system is overrun and backed up, usually in the event of a heavy rain, its waste can enter your private plumbing system. The pressure from the backed up sewer system pushes the wastewater through your pipes and into your home. Wastewater is noxious and hazardous when breathed in, and can cause major damage to your basement and foundation.
Luckily, protecting against it is pretty simple: just call a licensed Toronto plumber to come install a backwater valve, the cost of which will be partly reimbursed by the City of Toronto, in accordance with their backwater valve subsidy program.
Your Shower’s Soap Placement
How could something as trivial as soap placement be a hazard? Well, bending over for soap is one of the leading reasons why people slip and fall in the shower; and falls are the top cause of accidental home injury and death. By doing something as simple as mounting a soap dispenser on your wall, in a place you can reach easily, you can remove an inconspicuous yet consequential hazard.
Lead Pipes Leaching
A lot of old homes still have their lead pipes. As these pipes slowly corrode, a process that happens naturally over time, they leach their lead, which ends up in your family’s drinking water. Exposure to lead is harmful for anyone, but children and prenatal infants are at particular risk. If you suspect your house still has its old lead pipes, call a plumber to come replace them with copper or PVC.
Old Aluminum Wiring
When was the last time you paid attention to your wiring? If your answer is “never”, it might be time to contact an electrician. Homes of a certain age (especially those built around the 1970s and 80s) were fitted with aluminum wiring. In the years since those wirings were installed, it has come to light that aluminum degrades over time in such a way that causes it to form poor connections. These poor connections are at a higher risk of overheating and therefore starting fires. To make a long story short, old aluminum wiring poses a greater fire risk, so you should replace it.
Where your and your family’s safety is concerned, it pays to be as informed as possible. You might know all the common hazards, but hopefully this article shed some light on lesser-known ones.