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Top 5 Hidden Problems in Old Homes


For years, the housing industry has been marked by highs and lows. Mortgages, high-interest rates, and many other factors are topical. However, one subject that needs to be discussed is the problem with old homes. Indeed, they have character and style, but their problems are almost hidden until you purchase one. Statistics indicate that the US has 3000 homes constructed three centuries ago, while the average age of old homes is 75 years. If you’re considering one, these are some top hidden problems to be aware of if you must update it.

The presence of asbestos

From the 1940s to the 1970s, asbestos was largely used in the construction industry. However, in the early 1980s, the EPA detected high numbers of health complaints eventually linked to asbestos. Finally, on July 12, 1989, the country banned asbestos in the construction industry. Indeed, this was a huge move as the ban was meant to safeguard human and pet health. However, existing homes that contained asbestos still stood. Therefore, this makes it important for buyers to be cautious when buying homes over forty years old.

Asbestos can be found in paint, floor tiles, thermal insulation, roofing, and other common building materials. The only way to detect their presence is to hire the services of a removal company. Due to its highly dangerous nature, the only way to safeguard your health and other house occupants is to contact professionals. It is disturbing to know that this material is present in many old homes, but not much can be done about them. When you report to the right authority to have an old home checked out, the decision is in your hands.

A problematic old plumbing system

Copper pipes were popular from the 1960s through to the early 1990s. Although copper is one of the best materials for plumbing pipes, they have certain disadvantages. One such problem is the presence of lead. It was used to coat copper pipes to increase durability, malleability, and resistance. Lead was the only proven material that showed immense resistance to the stress that plumbing pipes undergo. Unfortunately, lead pipes are problems you don’t want to deal with. They become poisonous when they leak into the water flowing into the home.

Therefore, if you live in an old home where pipelines are made from lead, there is a high chance of poisoning. If such water is ingested, it can harm the kidneys, liver, red blood cells, and other vital internal organs. Therefore, the solution is to opt for modern pipelines that have been proven safer for residential use. Opting for a galvanized pipe is always better because they have extremely strong corrosion resistance. Secondly, they have a longer lifespan and are cost-effective compared to other options on the market. When your old plumbing lines are replaced with galvanized options, you will have peace of mind.

Outdated and defective heating systems

According to reports, 8 in 10 old homes have problematic heating systems. But thanks to continued research, it is easy for manufacturers to make changes to them. The objective is to improve and bring them up to par with health and modern standards. You may need to change outdated heating systems in an old home. Modern heating systems help resolve problems with rust, mold, and condensation, usually noted with old radiators. A home’s heating system is expected to develop some problems after twenty or more years of operation.

In some old homes, it may even be less than twenty years. Living in a house like that means you have an increased risk of high bills at the end of the month. The old heating systems may not function as they should, resulting in problematic temperature regulation in those cold months. A properly installed modern heating system will save you from the problems experienced with older versions. Your decision must be focused on investing in something worth the money spent and the promised performance. 

Old wiring

Wiring in an old home is always a cause for concern. According to reports, electrical fires are common in old homes because of weakened and defective wires. The risk of spontaneous fire in old homes is three times higher than in a new one. Old wiring in your home is not something to ignore or overlook. It is why experts say that after every 25 years, it is advisable to have your home’s wiring checked for signs of deterioration.

While rewiring can be costly, it is nothing compared to the damage incurred if an electrical fire occurs in your home. The average cost of rewiring a house in the US ranges between $4000 - $8000. It can be higher depending on the type of build and the extent of rewiring required. Therefore, if you are interested in purchasing an old house, one of the first things to do is to find a licensed electrician to check its condition. Sometimes, rewiring is needed for only a part of the house. This happens only when an experienced electrician confirms it is the right thing to do.

Cracked or damaged foundation

The foundation of a house takes time to settle, and this occurs in all buildings. For old homes, however, years of settling, coupled with weather conditions, can take a toll on the foundation. This is why you will usually find huge cracks and some damage to the foundation of old homes. The problem with this is the increased risk of water damage. Foundation defects and cracks allow water to find its way into the building to cause further damage.

The least amount you will spend on repairing minor damages to the foundation is $6000. It is important to allow professionals to repair cracks and foundation defects. Old homes work quite differently from new ones. The reason is a lot of care must be taken to avoid causing extensive damage while repairing cracks. Sometimes, the damage runs deeper than what you see on the surface. A professional will know how to secure critical points while repairing cracks and foundation damage.

What do I need to watch out for when renovating an old house? Home, Renovation Tips, Safety, Health, Construction, Cracked Foundation, Electrical Wiring, Outdated Heating Systems, Old Plumbing System, Asbestos


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