Home Safety: Is your home structurally safe?

Home Safety: Is your home structurally safe?

Home Safety – Our homes are our pride and joy. Most people find pleasure in painting their home or having it deep cleaned. Having pride in your living space is both necessary and completely normal. But, besides aesthetics, how often do you maintain the practical aspects of your home? 

Turns out; if you don’t do constant maintenance work on your home’s structural integrity – you could be living in a time bomb – or at the very least in a health hazard. 

Home Safety: Water patches on Ceilings

Particularly in older homes, there are patches on the ceiling. They resemble water stains and can be many colours: brown, green and sometimes even black. 

These patches could mean several things. There could be a leak in the ceiling. This means that there may be a weak spot in the roof (one of the tiles may have been damaged allowing moisture to filter through to the inside, or there could be mould or even water damage. 

All of these issues affect not only the ceiling’s structural integrity but also the health of everyone who lives there. Wetness, mould and mildew are known for either causing chest and respiratory issues, or aggravating already existing breathing issues like asthma. 

Leaks can really destroy a ceiling and if not remedied soon enough, you may be forced to fork out loads of cash to replace it. 

Joan Crowe, director of technical services for the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), told Popular Mechanics: “If it’s just a couple of drips, it can be hard to find. It could be caused by windows, condensation, plumbing, or even condensation on the plumbing pipes.” 

A leak can, in fact, be very difficult to locate because the water doesn’t necessarily drip straight down. Sometimes, the leak will meander along roof panels or lumber in the attic before dripping on to your insulation and leaving the tell-tale yellow water spot on your ceiling. That means the leak could be far away from where the ceiling shows damage. Your best bet is to hire a professional! Enlist a roofing contractor to help track down the cause of the problem. 

Home Safety: Rotten walls

Probably the most important part of the house’s structure is its walls. If the walls crumble, the entire house could collapse with catastrophic results. Many people have died from being inside structurally inferior buildings at the time of the collapse. The walls, of course, hold up the ceilings, the roof and any other floors above. 

Yes. Walls can rot. 

How does this happen?

Well, the walls of the house take a large amount of abuse from the elements. Strong winds, heavy rains and intense heat all compromise the materials in the brick or wood. This is why exterior walls are supposed to be treated with special coatings every ten years. These coatings are sealants that preserve the materials in the structures.

In some extreme cases, the wall rot needs to be removed and the hole needs to be patched. Sometimes walls need to be replaced with completely new ones. This may seem expensive, but it comes with the peace of mind that your family is safe in a structurally sound home. Also, if a wall caused the top floor of your home to collapse, you will probably end up forking out double what you would have needed to pay if you had just fixed the wall in time. 

Empty out those gutters

The gutters are the halfpipes at the side of your roof that run down the side of the home. Gutters are very important as they guide the water and debris that get caught on the roof down into the drain. But gutters can get clogged. Like all parts of the home, the gutters need maintenance. 

If you do not regularly clean your gutters, the weight of everything that gets stuck could break them off. Also, you risk flooding the roof of your home and you are opening up your house to a whole smorgasbord of other problems. 

Overfull gutters can spell trouble below deck as well, as water pouring over the gutters versus going cleanly down the drain pipes can mean water is getting to your foundation and possibly into your basement and crawlspace, says Art of Manliness. The torrents can also do a number on your garden beds if they’re right under the gutters.

Besides preventing flooding, gutters have many other uses. For one, they prevent your home’s foundation from cracking. Overfull gutters can allow water to seep into your foundation and possibly into your basement and crawlspace (although modern South African homes no longer have these). 

When water is prevented from travelling away from your home, it can pool around the foundation of your house. This water can crack your foundation when it expands and freezes in the winter months, reports Wo Big Construction.

Without doing the maintenance on these very important factors of your home, you could find yourself in the midst of an emergency. The iER app is a free emergency application that can be downloaded on any smart device. It gives the user peace of mind by offering a no-cost solution for emergencies. The App is a panic button that can be used in a variety of situations to ensure that the proper response team is sent to the scene of an emergency or crime. It is a one-click solution, available to everyone.

There is no membership fee to make use of the iER application, although data or a Wi-Fi connection is required for use. Anyone who has the app, which can be downloaded from all app stores, can make use of the emergency response facilities. This is because the app was designed to be accessible.

The FREE iER App is the gateway to emergency response services, including a national network of private, semi-private and government emergency medical and non-medical response services.

In the case of a Home Safety emergency, you should know how to contact EMS services. Read our article here.

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