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Survey: One-third of US homes pose health risk

Survey: One-third of US homes pose health risk



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake City's metro area ranks at about the middle of the pack when it comes to houses that pose health risks.

A study by the National Center for Healthy Housing claims about one-third of all houses in Metro areas across the nation have some safety concerns. In the latest polling, 36 percent of homes reported some kind of problem.

That figure is not surprising to Kyle Oler, who is a housing inspection manger for local home-inspection company Realty Check. In fact, he thinks the numbers could be higher.

"Most of them would be electrical," Oler said.

He said there are also a lot of fire-safety defects that can be as simple as holes in fire walls between houses and garages.

The national study looked at numerous factors including leaking pipes, signs of rats or mice, exposed wires, roofing or heating problems.

Inside air quality can also pose a problem, whether it be indoor allergens or problems with carbon monoxide.

**Room to Improve**
Homes in the Salt Lake City-Ogden area have more siding, window, roof, and foundation problems, broken plaster, flush toilet and/or sewage disposal breakdowns, exposed wiring, and signs of rats. But have fewer homes with heating problems, inadequate kitchen facilities, water supply stoppage and rooms without electrical outlets.-*[National Center for Healthy Housing](http://www.nchh.org/Policy/State-of-Healthy-Housing/Location-Summary/tabid/346/msa/37/Default.aspx)*
Some problems can be spotted from the outside, like at a house two doors down from where Oler spoke with KSL. There, he pointed out that a swamp cooler had been installed on the roof too close to the furnace vent. Salt Lake City's metro area is ranked 24th overall in a study of 45 U.S. cities for safe housing. New York City and Los Angeles come in near the bottom of the list, while Charlotte, N.C. and the Anaheim-Santa Anna area in California are the top.

The group said Salt Lake City, on the average, has fewer homes with heating equipment breakdowns and inadequate kitchen facilities. But it also said it has more siding, foundation and exposed-wire problems than most others.

The report cited experts who said it points to the need for people to improve current housing conditions across the country.

Oler, right now, is inspecting a lot of bank-owned, short sale or other properties that have been vacant for longer times. He said that adds to some problems, but a lot of the fixes are relatively cheap if people will make them.

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Story compiled with contributions from Marc Giauque and Andrew Adams.

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