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How To Handle Potential Hazardous Waste When Renovating An Old Home

Congratulations! You just bought the home of your dreams. You've been looking for the perfect old house to renovate and transform into something that will improve in value and create curb appeal in the neighborhood. But as you walk through, you notice that there are some things that need to be removed that could contain hazardous materials. So what is the next step? Here are some things to look out for and the best way to handle it. 

Be Careful Handling Old Insulation

Notice a lot of mold growth or condensation on the walls? This is a sure sign that there may not be adequate insulation inside the home. As you tear down walls for improvements, you may notice that the insulation is well-aged, matted and destroyed, so replacing it is a must. But because of the age of the home, there is a high possibility the insulation contains asbestos or has come in contact with it at one point. This is considered a hazardous waste and needs to be removed properly. A professional asbestos abatement company will come out, remove the materials and encapsulate them for safety while disposing of them at another location.  

Watch Out for Existing Water Tanks

Early 1900s-era homes may contain old wells that were left behind before connecting to city water or obtaining a new well. Some of these, like cisterns, are easily visible and the plumbing may still be exposed in some older homes. Because there is a risk of algae, lead and other leeching contaminants, it's best to seal the wells or have the tanks removed for environmental and personal health and safety. A hazardous waste management company can come out, assess and decide what the next steps are. 

Use Caution Around Existing Painted Areas

In order to make your new old home shine once again, painting is a must. If the home that has not been updated recently, there is a good chance of lead paint being present on the walls. Most homes built before 1970 do contain lead paint. Exposure to lead paint dust or chips can cause:

  • Developmental delays in babies and small children
  • Damage to the central nervous system
  • Organ damage 
  • Severe respiratory distress

Always use extreme caution when tearing down painted walls and floors that may contain paint or other hazardous materials. Remember that paint dust can also be toxic when it's airborne. If you suspect lead paint in the home, have a local professional test area of concern. They can also recommend a company that can safely remove the paint. 

It's an exciting time when you're planning out ways to make your older home feel like new. Embarking on a home renovation project is worthwhile in the long run, just make sure you do it safely throughout the entire process. Contact Ohana Environmental Construction Inc to learn more.