Mein Hauskauf

Which information is needed before deciding to buy a house or apartment?

Buying a house or apartment is a big deal. A lot of money is taken into one’s hands and one commits oneself for a long time.

It makes sense to check in advance whether everything is really in order with the object of purchase.

Pollutants can hide in different places: Building fabric, floor covering, roof beams, walls. From there they reach our environment either directly, by outgassing or by abrasion.

Buildings from the 1970s or older may contain formaldehyde, wood preservatives, PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), plasticizers or phenols. But the insulating materials of new houses are also making the headlines again and again. The insulation materials may contain biocides such as terbutryn or hexabromocyclodododecane (HBCD).

The pollutants are usually odourless. They cannot perceive these substances in low concentrations themselves at first. Formaldehyde can also only be smelled in high concentrations.

Pollutants in wood

contaminants

  • Formaldehyde may be present in various paints, resins or adhesives. Possible sources of contamination within the living space are: Adhesives from carpets, furniture from pressboard, lacquers or the like.
  • Wood preservatives, which were used e.g. on the floor or to protect the roof beams, DDT, lindane, PCP etc. can be used. substances. Many of these agents have been used frequently in the past. DDT and some other substances are now considered carcinogenic.
  • PAKs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) are usually caused by insufficient combustion or are a component of crude oil. In the apartment they can be contained in parquet adhesive (black colouring). The group of PAHs is very large, which is why a defined number of indicator substances have been determined and used for evaluation. Many of the PAHs are suspected to be carcinogenic.
  • plasticizers may be present in adhesives or plastics, e.g. foamed wallpaper or PVC coverings. The plasticizers are divided into different groups of substances. These include phosphoric esters and phthalates.
  • VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) are volatile organic compounds. These are actually always present in the room air. At low concentrations, they do not pose a risk for the time being. VOC is a collective term for a large number of different compounds. These include hydrocarbons, alcohols and organic acids. Possible sources are: Adhesives, building materials, paints, furniture. In higher concentrations, odour nuisance, headaches or respiratory problems occur. As a long-term effect it can come to allergies some of these substances are classified as carcinogenic.
  • Biocides are used to prevent mould growth. They are used e.g. in colours or wool carpets.
  • Flame retardants are used, for example, in plastic housings (computers, televisions) or floor coverings, insulation boards and textiles. The flame retardants used in households belong to different chemical groups: there are brominated flame retardants and those based on phosphoric acid esters. Brominated flame retardants are difficult to degrade and can be detected long after use. Phosphoric acid esters in high concentrations irritate the mucous membranes or cause respiratory problems.
  • Asbestos may have been used in older houses in the building fabric. Asbestos has many practical properties and was therefore frequently used in the building fabric. 1993 asbestos was banned because it is carcinogenic.

my-lab International pistonAnalytics

There are different approaches to determine the pollution level in a house or apartment. For an overview we recommend a dust analysis in the various living rooms. The pollutants get into the environment through abrasion of fine particles and are evenly distributed with the dust in the room. The analyses contain detailed information on sampling and tests. If there is a concrete suspicion, you can also have the material analyzed directly.

In addition, poor insulation or leaking water pipes can lead to increased moisture and thus to mould contamination. Moulds occur especially in poorly ventilated rooms with high humidity. Regular ventilation prevents the formation of mould. The spores can cause allergies and respiratory problems. Therefore, please take a look behind the furniture in the decisive rooms!

The water pipes

Water analysis lead pipes

To check the water pipes for possible heavy metal loads such as lead, you will also find a suitable test and instructions for sampling in the shop.

About the house

Hauskauf Bodenprobe Grundstücksanalyse

In addition to the pollutants in the house, the soil and groundwater around the house should also be perfect. For the soil we recommend an analysis of heavy metals, organic contaminants and possibly pesticides.

If there is a domestic well, we also recommend a heavy metal analysis, a microbiological analysis and, depending on the type of use, further tests, which you can find in our shop.

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