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Home Environmental Issues

It seems that we hear a lot about environmental concerns these days. Much of it is simply the result of a greater awareness than in the past. And even though there isn't anything to be concerned with in most homes, there are still a number of potential home environmental issues that buyers should be aware of.

Water quality is probably the most common concern and the one most often tested for safety from possible contamination. Typically, a basic water quality test will check pH, water hardness, the presence of sodium, iron and manganese, plus bacteria such as E-coli. Samples of water from newly installed wells are sent to approved laboratories for safe-water testing. Typically, the water may be tested for the presence of bacteria, arsenic and nitrates.

In homes built before 1978, lead based paint may be present. Generally, if the lead based paint is in good condition and not cracking or peeling, it is not a hazard. If the condition is hazardous, the paint will either need to be removed or sealed in such a manner as to eliminate the hazard.

A less-frequent environmental concern within the homes in this area, is radon. Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the natural decay of uranium in the soil. If radon is present, tests can determine if the level is higher than what is considered safe. If the level is too high, a radon reduction system would need to be installed. 

In homes built more than 30 years ago, asbestos may have been used in many types of insulation and other building materials. If the asbestos is releasing fibers into the air, it needs to be removed or repaired by a professional contractor specializing in asbestos cleanup. But, if the asbestos material is in good repair and not releasing fibers, it poses no hazard and can be left alone.