In this 2017 file photo, Hollie Ann Beal talks about renovations to her small Stockton Springs house while John Larson the code enforcement officer for the town inspects the structure. Credit: Gabor Degre / BDN

Everyone wants their home to be safe. They look for obvious risks — damaged floor boards, bad wiring, roof leaks. But in older housing stock like Maine’s, sometimes the dangers are hidden. Do you know what to look for?

Here are five potential hidden hazards to watch out for.


Maine has an older housing stock, which means that homeowners need to be extra cognizant of the potential for lead paint. Lead paint can be found in houses and buildings built before 1978, when lead-based house paint was banned in the United States. Most commonly, it is found in homes built before 1950. Lead can seriously impact children’s development, even from the dust that is left behind from remnants of lead paint. Maine has laws in place to test children for lead exposure, but beyond that, here’s what you can do to prevent lead hazards in your home.


Asbestos is a fibrous silicate material that can wreak havoc on your lungs. Homes built before 1980 are likely to contain asbestos in a variety of places, including floor tiles, ceiling tiles, roof shingles, siding and insulation. Do-it-yourself home renovations are apt to reveal the presence of asbestos in the home, whether you realize it or not. In 2017, the Bangor Daily News reported that Maine had the highest rates of asbestos deaths of any state in the country between 1999 and 2015. Follow this guide from the Environmental Protection Agency on how to identify and deal with asbestos in your home.

Carbon monoxide

The activation of heating systems in the winter comes with an increased potential for exposure to carbon monoxide in the home. Carbon monoxide is often called the “silent killer” because it is odorless, tasteless and colorless, but can be fatal in large quantities. Over time with more moderate exposure, carbon monoxide has also been linked to an increased incidence of heart disease. Here is what you need to know to manage your risks of exposure to carbon monoxide. Aside from the winter days, here are some other activities where you might need to be cognizant of carbon monoxide, from grilling to repairing engines.


Maine has relatively high levels of radon in homes compared to other states. The Bangor Daily News reported in 2014 that an estimated one in three homes in Maine ha d dangerous levels of radon gas. You can’t see or smell this toxic gas, but indoor radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Here is how to protect yourself form radon in the home.


The potential for fire may not be as consistently hazardous as a toxic chemical, but fire safety is one of those things that can fall to the wayside and catch you by surprise if you are not prepared. Here is how to choose and care for a home fire extinguisher and how to plan a fire escape route for you and your family to make sure you are prepared if disaster arises.

Preparedness and awareness will help keep you and your family safe from the various hazards that can be present in your home.