The home is a safe haven that is often impenetrable from the troubles and dangers of the outside world. We don’t often think about the unseen risks that could be lurking in homes, although there are a few gases that can be potentially hazardous to your health. All three of these gases are colorless and two are odorless, so you may not be aware that you could be in danger.
Hidden home dangers in Washington:
- Radon: Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that can seep into a home through cracks in the walls or foundation and through other gaps in the structure of the home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency radon “comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils…and…nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels.” Radon can contribute to the development of lung cancer if one is exposed for long periods of time. Fortunately, testing for radon in the home is relatively easy and cheap. If it is found that you do have radon in your home, repairs can be done either by you or a contractor. Check out the EPA’s Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction for more information about radon testing and repair. It is important to note that if you do find radon in your home and you plan on selling it, you will need to disclose this information to the buyers and may be asked to take care of the issue prior to the close of the sale.
- Carbon Monoxide: We have all heard about the dangers of carbon monoxide in the garage, but it can get into your house through various sources. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can make you feel dizzy, nauseated and sleepy. If exposed for too long, CO can cause suffocation. Sources that can leak CO include gas space heaters, chimneys, furnaces and gas generators. Most new homes and apartments have CO detectors installed, however if your home does not have one, they are relatively inexpensive. To help keep CO levels in your home down, make sure that all gas appliances are in proper working order. Ensure your chimney flues are open and the chimney is clear when lighting a fire and never use a generator in an enclosed space. If you suspect that you have a CO leak or CO poisoning call 911.
- Natural Gas: You know the smell of natural gas, while colorless, smells like rotten eggs. Natural gas leaks can occur when pilot lights for stoves or furnaces go out. The can also occur when there is a leak or puncture in the line. Natural gas is a highly combustible material, so if you suspect a leak, you’ll want to leave your home and call the gas company. They will send out a technician to shut off the gas and determine the problem.
While these gas intrusions do not happen often and can be remedied quite quickly, being prepared with carbon monoxide monitors and testing for radon can help stave off a potentially hazardous situation before it starts. Ask the local insurance experts at Wycoff Insurance Agency in Mount Vernon, WA about any discounts for which you may be eligible. They can assist you with discounts, amending an existing policy or setting up a new policy. Visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about home insurance or the other insurance products they offer like auto insurance or flood insurance.