As Baltimore’s leading disaster cleanup company, ServiceMaster of Baltimore has seen quite a few major cleanups. While you might think homeowners always know when disaster strikes, sometimes a hidden danger like leaking pipes or a broken sump pump can go unnoticed. We recently completed a job for an elderly couple who had three feet of water in their basement and didn’t even know! This is your reminder to check on elderly family members and those who live alone, and to check your own home for these 4 hidden dangers.
1. Water Damage in Unused Rooms
If you have parts of your home that are unoccupied, such as an attic, basement, or bedroom, be sure to check those rooms regularly. It’s easy to miss roof leaks or cracks in the foundation in rooms you don’t use. Water can erode your home’s foundation and can lead to mold and mildew, which poses a health risk to occupants. Check that windows and doors are secured, drains are clear, and cracks are sealed to avoid unpleasant surprises.
2. Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is called “the silent killer” for a reason. Homeowners with gas heating systems or other fuel-burning appliances need to be aware of the dangers of this invisible, odorless gas that leads to over 15,000 deaths each year.
If you have appliances that use gas, install carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home that will alert you to a carbon monoxide leak. Use common sense when using gas-powered tools and always ventilate properly. Even trace amounts can lead to poisoning and can be deadly to pets and humans.
3. Hidden Mold or Mildew
It’s easy to tell there’s a mold problem when you’re seeing dark or furry spots on the ceilings and walls, but mold can hide in places you wouldn’t expect. Mold thrives in areas with excess moisture, and you may not always know where you have excess moisture until you have a mold problem.
If you smell a musty or stale odor, you’re likely dealing with mildew and mold. The most common area for mold to grow is inside your HVAC system, which spreads the spores throughout the home. Moving air agitates the spores and allows them to spread to other surfaces and to your respiratory system.
4. Broken Smoke Detectors
Many homes have hard-wired smoke detectors, but even these need to be regularly checked and replaced after a certain period of time. A good rule of thumb is to check smoke detectors twice a year when you change the clocks for Daylight Saving Time. Smoke detectors need to be replaced every 10 years, as dust can build up over time and reduce the sensors’ sensitivity.
If you have a smoke detector that is battery-powered only, it’s even more critical to ensure the batteries are functional by testing the detector monthly. If you can’t remember how old your smoke detectors are, or if you haven’t tested them recently, it’s probably time to replace them.
ServiceMaster of Baltimore Disaster Cleanup
Be a good neighbor and check on elderly or people who live alone to make sure they’re safe, especially as the weather gets colder. One simple action like reminding a neighbor to test their smoke detector can save their life. If you’re dealing with the aftermath of one of these hidden dangers in your home, contact us today at 410-780-1700.