Common Problems in Old Homes

An older home is generally one that was built before 1990. Many older homes offer a charm and appeal not found in more cookie-cutter style housing communities. Thanks to the popularity of home remodeling TV shows, home buyers and do-it-yourselfers are now more willing than ever to consider buying an older home, as they envision renovating and updating the home to meet today’s styles, building codes, and standards. But older homes can also come with issues and problems that go beyond cosmetics and will need to be addressed before undertaking any renovation project.

Electrical Wiring – Electrical wiring that is not up to current code poses a serious fire hazard, whether from outdated wire type to frayed wire insulation. Electrical panels also fail with age and can lead to power failures and more. Home owners may also find the number of outlets in the home to be insufficient.
Drafty windows – Old, inefficient windows can lead to higher energy bills, as cold drafts coming in cause heating systems to work harder to maintain temperature settings. Today’s windows are Energy Star rated for efficiency, and can reduce annual electric bills significantly.

Lead Paint – Homes built before 1978 may have a layer of potentially toxic lead paint underneath the current surface paint. When lead paint chips and peels, airborne lead particles can be inhaled. Paint that has tested positive for lead should be removed by a specialist.
Asbestos – Asbestos, linked to lung cancer and other respiratory diseases, might be found in insulation, fireproofing materials, floor and roof tiles, and duct work in homes built before the mid-1970s. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests leaving asbestos-containing materials in place unless you plan to make major renovations that include knocking down walls or moving duct work.


Radon – If the home has cracks in the foundation or basement walls, radon may be a concern, especially if the home is poorly ventilated. Given the potential health risks that exist with radon, homeowners would do well to install a radon mitigation system.


Water and Plumbing Leaks – Water can enter a home in places not readily visible, such as in the darkest hidden corners of an attic. Or old pipes can fail and result in a flooded basement. This presents two concerns: the leak itself and the potential for a mold infestation. A thorough inspection will detect these issues, and the homeowner should take immediate steps to address them both.


Mold – Moisture that has seeped through cracked foundations in older homes or water that drips from a leaky pipe can leave an entire wall or area damp and subject to mold and mildew. Not all mold and mildew is visible to the naked eye and, given the potential health hazards that can occur, homeowners should consider hiring a professional mold testing and remediation company.

At first glance, older homes may appear to be a good value for the dollar. But the buyer should always beware of the potential issues that may exist upon closer inspection of the property.


DC Complete can answer your questions about these issues and more. Contact us today at (810) 407-1771!