5 things you should check if you live in an old house

check old house

If your house was built before 1978, you should check for these things!

Everything is constantly changing. And with new insights into health and hazards, certain things and objects are upgraded regularly to meet the current safety standards. Modern homes already are up to safety standards, but if your house is build before 1978, then you might want to check whether your home requires an upgrade. These are five things to look for when you live in a house built before 1978.


Back in the days, asbestos was used in all homes. According to Mike Powell, a structural engineer, certified home inspector, and the owner of Red Flag Home Inspection in Tampa, FL, your house could be filled with it too. He told Real Simple: “Asbestos is among the most effective insulators and fire retardants that we have at our disposal.” It was used in pipes, furnaces and certain roofing materials. But asbestos is actually really dangerous for you. Powell said: “The truth is that asbestos is perfectly safe to be around, but becomes extremely hazardous when friable—easily crumbled—and broken.” The fibers from asbestos can cause things like lung cancer, ovarian cancer or the larynx.

So, check if your house still has asbestos in it!


We are way better now at insulating our homes. But before 1978 they didn’t have the same advanced techniques, technologies and know-how that we do now. That means that there might be a lot more gaps and creaks that let wind and water in. And that can cause mold to occur in your home. So, look out for moisture on the walls and windows, stains caused by water, leaks, paint that comes off and moldy smells. If you suspect that there might be mold in your house, call a professional to get it checked – and fixed!


Thomas Dobrinska, board certified entomologist with Ehrlich Pest Control, told  Real Simple that “Just like humans, over time, houses wear down, and erosion, natural degradation, and years of bad weather all take a toll on a home.” And that allows unwelcome guests to make a home out of your home. Dobrinska said: “Moisture damage to the home can create water-damaged wood, which is attractive to wood-destroying insects such as carpenter ants, and a leaky basement or a wet crawlspace is attractive to numerous moisture-loving insects such as silverfish, cockroaches, and springtails—and the spiders that feed off of them.” Luckily, this can be fixed and it would be good to have a professional check it out for you.


This radioactive gas is released when uranium in rocks, soil and water breaks down. And when this gas gets trapped inside of your house, you could have a serious health hazard on your hands. Radon is the leading cause of long cancer for non-smokers. So, it would be good to have your house checked and fixed accordingly. You might literally save lives with it.


The last thing you should check for, is lead. In 1978, the government took measures to ban the use of paint that is lead-based. But if your house was built before 1978, the paint in your house might have some traces of lead in it. And when that paint cracks, it could be a health hazard. Powell says that painting over it is no use. The lead-based paint doesn’t break down. “This material is particularly problematic for those with small children who may chew on painted surfaces, or high traffic/wear surfaces where paint can flake off over time,” he told Real Simple. Lead is dangerous to children and pregnant women. So it would be worth the trouble to get your home checked out and rule out any dangers that your 1978 home might pose.

Read more: Do you really need a humidifier in your home?

Source: Real Simple | Image: Unsplash, Scott Webb