Home warranties and hazardous materials
Hazardous materials are a big cause of concern for most homeowners. Whether you are introducing some of these materials into your home or purchasing another home that already has them, it is important to protect your home and yourself from the damage they may cause. Finding the best home warranty company in your area and purchasing a policy from them is a great start. However, home warranties and hazardous materials mix poorly. In this article, we will explain exactly the relationship between the two, provide you with a comprehensive list of hazardous materials, and offer some advice along the way.
Do home warranties provide coverage for hazardous materials?
The answer to this question is rather simple: No. Almost no home warranty company will provide you with a plan that includes coverage for any issues that may have been caused due to hazardous materials. Furthermore, if you need to remove or dispose of these materials, you will not be able to get coverage from your home warranty policy for that either. This is something you might want to consider when transferring your home warranty policy when you move, as the terms will inevitably change. If your new home is full of hazardous waste, your policy will need to be considerably amended. Most of the time, however, you can expect that your home warranty policy will not help you deal with any hazardous materials.
To fully understand what exactly is covered and what is not, you need to know what is considered to be a hazardous material and what is not.
What is considered to be a hazardous material?
When it comes to hazardous waste, there are four categories:
- Listed hazardous materials
- Universal hazardous materials
- Mixed hazardous materials
- Characteristics hazardous materials
All of the materials that fall into one of the above categories are considered hazardous, and your home warranty will not cover any damage due to the presence or effects of hazardous materials. In fact, home warranties and hazardous materials don’t generally mix together. Furthermore, you will want to see if your home warranty covers pre-existing conditions, as these might be quite common in homes with hazardous waste lying around. Most of the time, however, you will find that your policy does not cover any such conditions. Therefore, it is in your best interest to identify and remove any hazardous waste as soon as possible.
To make that happen, you will want to know what the hazardous materials are.
Listed hazardous materials
Listed hazardous materials are further divided into four sub-types (lists). There’s the U-list, P-list, F-list, and the K-list.
U-List and P-List hazardous materials
The hazardous materials on these two lists are specific commercial chemical products that are not designated for use but for disposal. For a material to be listed in either of the two lists, it needs to meet certain criteria. First, the material needs to be in a commercial chemical product form, and its chemical must be unused. Second, it needs to contain one of the chemicals from either the U-list or the P-list.
To be completely honest, you will most likely never see any of these materials inside a residence and you will not need to worry about how home warranties and hazardous materials of this type mix. However, if you happen to have a chemical manufactory near your home, you might want to take a better look at the chemicals from both of these lists. In fact, you might want to include searching for any traces of these materials on your end-of-summer home maintenance checklist. It is always better to be safe than sorry!
F-list hazardous materials
The materials on the F-list all come from a nonspecific source. They are the result of various industrial and manufacturing processes and are generated across numerous industries. That is why their source is difficult to identify, and they become nonspecific.
You can usually identify these materials by their composition. With that in mind, there are seven groups of F-list hazardous materials:
- Electroplating/other metal finishing hazardous materials
- Wood-preserving hazardous materials
- Multisource leachate
- Spent solvent hazardous materials
- Dioxin-bearing hazardous materials
- Chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons
- Petroleum refinery wastewater treatment sludges
Unless your home is near a manufacturing facility, chances are that you don’t need to worry about any materials from this particular list. However, if you are moving into a new home and have to deal with a flooded basement, who knows what you can find?
K-list hazardous materials
All of the hazardous materials on the K-list have specific sources. Again, they are mostly found within manufacturing and treatment processes. The easily identifiable source makes them a lot easier to spot than most of the materials on the F-list. Basically, you will want to ensure that your home is nowhere near any of the following industries:
- Wood preservation
- Petroleum refining
- Ink formulation
- Primary aluminum production
- Iron/steel production
- Coal processing to produce coke (Coking)
- Veterinary pharmaceuticals
- Inorganic pigment manufacturing
- Secondary lead processing
- Organic chemicals
Both the K-list and F-list hazardous materials are identified by an EPA-assigned code. What this means is that any material that contains T (Toxic waste), I (Ignitable waste), E (Toxicity waste), H (Acute hazardous waste), C (Corrosive waste), or R (Reactive waste) is considered to be hazardous. If you notice any such materials on your kitchen appliances, that is one of the definite signs that it is time to replace your kitchen appliances. You also do not want to be anywhere near these materials as they present a significant danger to your health.
Moving on, the next materials that this home warranties and hazardous materials guide will cover will contain most of the items that you may find present inside residential homes.
Universal hazardous materials
These materials are all very common in today’s society, as they are used in many commercial products. The materials themselves are too numerous to list, which is why we will provide you with nine categories instead. The 9 categories of universal hazardous materials are:
- Corrosive substance
- Radioactive materials
- Toxic/Infectious substances
- Flammable liquids
- Flammable solids/substances
- Miscellaneous dangerous substances/articles
- Organic peroxides and oxidizing substances
As you might imagine, everyday items such as bulbs may include traces of hazardous materials. Also, any pesticide is a hazardous material, as well as any equipment that contains mercury.
Mixed hazardous materials
Mixed hazardous materials can be either LLMW (Low-Level Mixed Waste), HLW (High-Level Mixed Waste), or MTRU (Mixed Transuranic Waste). They are categorized by the fact that they contain both hazardous and radioactive materials. Due to their practical scarcity, you are highly unlikely to run into them. However, if you do, it is in your best interest to dispose of them as soon as possible. You can follow the US. Department of Energy guidelines on mixed hazardous waste disposal. As for home warranties and hazardous materials, you can be quite certain that absolutely no home warranty will cover mixed hazardous materials.
Characteristics hazardous materials
The last category is the characteristics of hazardous materials, identifiable by a specific characteristic. These materials can either be toxic, reactive, ignitable, or corrosive. If you are doing any of the home repairs that you can do yourself and run into any such materials, you may want to stop what you are doing and contact a professional disposal company.
Toxic materials include any waste that is fatally poisonous when either absorbed or ingested. These are your lithium-sulfur batteries, for example. Any material that can cause death when swallowed is considered to be toxic.
Reactive hazardous materials include anything that is unstable under normal conditions and has the potential to explode.
Ignitable hazardous materials are any materials that are flammable and have the potential to create fires on their own. Examples include any liquids and nonliquids that have the potential to ignite under certain conditions.
Corrosive hazardous materials are those that have the ability to melt through steel. They usually involve various acids and bases, but any material that has an acidity level of 2pH or less or 12.5pH or higher is considered to be corrosive.
Home warranties and hazardous materials—What is the best option?
Since your home warranty will not cover any damage brought by the effects of hazardous materials, you may want to be extra careful when introducing these materials into your home. If you know that your home contains any hazardous material, you will first want to search for hazardous waste disposal in your area.
Furthermore, you never want to mix any hazardous materials with other chemicals. Always store them in the original container, if possible. Also, all products containing hazardous materials have very specific instructions, so make sure that you follow them to the letter.
Even though home warranties and hazardous materials do not mesh well together, that is no reason to scrap the idea of purchasing a home warranty. Your home warranty policy will still offer great protection for your appliances and systems against most other types of damage.
If you want to find the best home warranty company in your area, minimize the cost and maximize the protection, all you need to do is refer to the Consumer Opinion Guide. We are here to provide you with all the information you may need to purchase an optimal home warranty policy!