10 Common Problems Found in Old Homes

What is an Old Home?

Many consider any home that was built before the 1980s an old home. But there are certain characteristics of a house that can tell you it’s an old house. Old homes tend to have a charm about them.  

Having said that, if you are considering buying an old house take into account that you may need to renovate your new old home.

In this article, we are going to discuss common problems found in old homes and how you can fix them.

Common problems found in old homes

  • Boiler Inefficiency

An old boiler may not run as efficiently as a new one especially if the boiler is more than 10 years old. If the boiler is not warming up your home despite setting the thermostat at a high temperature, it means, you are dealing with a boiler that has seen better days.  

  • Roof Deterioration

Signs that your roof needs repairing include:

  1. Damaged shingles – shingles are cracked, or have curling edges or seem dented.  
  2. Clogged gutters – granules, shingle fragments and sludge inside the rain gutter  
  3. Color change and algae growth – The color of your roof has changed and there are signs of algae growth.
  4. Leaks – Sings of moisture on the interior walls and/or upper floors.  
  • A lack of insulation

Cold rooms, cold walls, cold floors and ceilings, fluctuating temperatures, cold drafts, high energy bills, these are all signs that your home is not properly insulated or it’s not insulated at all.

  • Mould

When you notice mould in your home, this could be due to excess moisture. The excess moisture can be caused by a leaking boiler or pipes, or a leaking roof. There may be other reasons that are causing the excess moisture causing the growth of mould.  

  • Leaking Heating Oil Tank

You can tell your heating oil tank is leaking if you notice there is a strong oil odor inside your home or near the tank. Also, when you notice that there is oil leakage on the ground that is an indication that the tank is damaged.

  • Plumbing Problems

Leaky pipes and dripping faucets indicate plumbing problems. This is a common problem with many old homes.

  • Unsafe Electronics

Loose connections such as electrical switches or outlets or damaged electrical wires and appliances can be dangerous. Assess your entire house to see if there are any loose wires or unsafe electronics.

  • Lead Paint

Lead paint that is chipping, peeling, or showing other signs of deterioration can be harmful. Exposure to lead paint can lead to serious health problems.

  • Drafty Windows

Old windows that show signs of wear and tear could be the reason why your house is chilly even when the heating system is set at high temperature. Drafty windows can make your home uncomfortably cold.  

  • Asbestos

A lot of old homes especially those that were built before the 80s contain asbestos. It can be found in ceiling tiles, insulation, roof shingles, floor tiles and parts of the house.

Asbestos is not considered harmful unless it releases dust into the air. If this contaminated air is inhaled, it can cause health problems. Long term exposure to asbestos can cause lung damage and chronic health conditions.  

What are the ways to fix them?

  • Boiler Inefficiency Solution

You may choose to fix or replace your old boiler. But consider replacing it instead of fixing. Old boilers tend to breakdown regularly, which means it may be costly to maintain the old boiler than to buy a new one.

Another issue wi timeworn boilers is that it can become hazardous in terms of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emissions being discharged into your home.

  • Roof Deterioration Solution

Fix problem areas by repairing them or by making partial replacements. If a huge section of the roof is badly damaged, consider replacing the entire roof.

  • A lack of insulation Solution

Insulate your entire home if the house is not insulated. If the house is not properly insulated, insulate those areas that bring in cold drafts like the windows

  • Mould Growth Solution

Repair any leaks and improve ventilation.  Once you have fixed the cause of the moisture, get rid of the mould. You can choose to do it yourself, or you may choose to get a professional to do it for you.

  • Leaking Heating Oil Tank Solution

When you realize that your heating oil tank is leaking, contact a reputable oil tank contractors immediately. Certas Energy is one of the most reputable companies that deal with oil tanks. They can help you remove damaged oil tanks safely as well as clean up the leakage. They will also help you install a new heating oil tank.  

  • Plumbing Problems Solution

Depending on the extent of the problem, you may choose to contact a plumber or choose to fix the problem yourself.

  • Unsafe Electronics Solution

If there is evidence of electrical hazards in your home, it is not advisable to fix the problem yourself unless you are an electrician by profession. It is better to contact an expert to help you fix the problem due to safety issues.   

  • Lead Paint Solution

Fix any lead hazards you may have in your new old home immediately to protect yourself and your family from lead poisoning. Avoid painting over the existing paint because you cannot be sure if it has lead or not. Contact a professional who can come and inspect the paint for lead and repaint your home for you.

  • Drafty Windows Solution

Depending on how damaged the windows are, you can either replace or repair them. If the damage is considerable, consider contracting an expert to replace the windows.

  • Asbestos Solution

Hire a professional who can come and examine your home for the presence of asbestos. Once they confirm that your home contains asbestos, they will be able to offer you a solution.

Advantages and Disadvantages of fixing an old home

Pros:

  • They cost less to repair than modern homes
  • Old homes have character
  • Old homes have strong structures

Cons:

  • An old home that requires a lot of fixes and repairs can be costly in terms of renovations.
  • Old homes tend to harbor toxins like asbestos and lead, which can cause health problems if they are inhaled or ingested.
  • Renovations can a lot of time to complete.  

Key Takeaway

Buying an older home may be cheaper than buying a modern home, but most old homes do require some amount of repair. So before move into your old home, contact an expert contractor to inspect your home for damages and toxins.

Robert Taylor Smith
 

Robert's motto is to start "with the end in mind." He married the love of his life in December 2016. Together with his wife Tanya, they're putting the building blocks in place for their eventual retirement. He's taken over the mantle at retirementsavvy.net and hopes to share his experiences with our readers.

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