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South Philadelphia Homes at Risk: What You Need To Know


South Philadelphia is an area with many older homes. Some of these homes were built in the early 1900s and were at one time mansions. These homes have structural issues that are unique and challenging. Wooden structures and other materials wear down over time. There is also a risk of rodent and insect invasions that can destroy quality of life. Termite infestation is a problem with these older homes. Floods are likely in the Cobbs Creek area, as well as areas with poor drainage. Fire can also wreak havoc, especially in South Philadelphia row homes.


Minimizing the RisksPhoto: forum.skyscraperpage.com


There are some ways that you can minimize the risks. The first thing you need to understand is how structurally intact your home actually is. Older homes, built in the late 1890s and early 1900s share the most risk. Cracks and other signs of damage such as sagging ceilings are a clear indication that there could be structural damage. Home inspections can uncover faults and infestations that could potentially destroy the home's foundation.


The second thing you need to understand is a flood plan and how it affects your property. The Cobbs Creek area is especially prone to flooding during a major rainstorm or hurricane. Checking for mold and other noxious residue is prudent.


Electrical hazards are also to be considered in these older homes. A good portion of these homes were wired in the 1920s and 1930s and can create a fire hazard with modern electric appliances and computers. A total rewiring of old electrical systems is probably the best solution.


Solutions to Avoid Risks


There is no "quick fix" solution to the risks that South Philadelphia homeowners face. Safety consultants can help you assess the potential risks you face with your property. They can offer some solutions that can help you spot potential problems before they become major problems. There are also things you can do right now to eliminate potential risk factors.


Home inspections can and sometimes do uncover hazards that are not visible. A good home inspection will evaluate the current condition of the home, inspect for damage related to pests and mold and suggest ways to improve utilities.


Replacing faulty wiring can decrease fire hazards. Fixing leaking pipes can help eliminate major mold problems. Replacing and fixing roof tiles will save your property. These are all things you can do to eliminate and avoid risks.


Historical Preservation: What is the Risk?


There has been much talk about how historical preservation may or may not be the key to revitalization. It is not too risky to suggest that many of these older homes can be "conserved" to both reflect the home's unique architecture and make them livable. The risk is that for a good portion of these homes, neglect and inability to upgrade has made these homes very expensive to repair. You also run the risk of ripping out materials that have stood the test of time and replacing them with inferior and ineffective materials.


There are resources available for you to decrease your home's risk factors. Building conservation, done the right way, can:


1. Increase your home's value


2. Beautify the neighborhood and attract people


3. Help restore and strengthen your home's structure


4. Decrease energy costs by utilizing existing materials and adapting new technologies to increase your home's usefulness.


Safety experts, environmental engineers and building conservation experts agree that assessing your home with an eye towards using time proven materials and methods is a good way to decreasing risk factors.


The combination of unique row homes with their intricate designs and old fashioned utilities do create a challenge to insure against all known and unknown risks. You should know that owning a home in South Philadelphia is worth the risks you may encounter. You just need to remember that risk factors such as water table and age of your home will affect your home's value.


Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

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Photo: forum.skyscraperpage.com