Environmental concerns are very important. Fortunately, recent informational access now offers greater awareness than in the past. Most often there are no serious issues in newer homes. But you should be aware of potential environmental issues; both within the home and from the surrounding area.
We make sure to generate and understand a very thorough Environmental Hazards report. Having a background in construction helps in this as well. Our knowledge of environmental issues comes from years of experience working to resolve findings from these reports.
Mold can be a somewhat "ominous" finding. It has been the cause of many insurance companies to raise rates and even not issue new policies on homes which have shown a history of having mold issues. Mold can be a risk to anyone having an existing immune system problem. However, high doses can be of risk to virtually any person, including a healthy adult. It is wise to know your own level of tolerance to mold and whether you wish to have testing done on property that is showing levels of potential risk.
Water quality is a common concern and the one most often tested for. Typically, a basic water quality test will check pH, water hardness, the presence of fluoride, sodium, iron and manganese, plus bacteria such as E-coli. Additionally, water may be tested for the presence of lead or arsenic.
In homes built before 1978, lead based paint may be present. Generally, if the lead based paint is in good condition, 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.
Another common environmental concern with the home is radon. Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the natural decay of uranium in the soil. Sound crazy? It's not; pretty much all homes have some radon present. Tests can determine if the level present is higher than what is considered safe. If the level is too high, a radon reduction system will need to be installed. Testing is usually not required unless there has been some indication in that region of particularly high readings in the past.
In older homes built more than 30 years ago, asbestos was 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 material is in an inaccessible area and not releasing fibers, it may not pose a hazard and can be left alone.