The telltale signs of peeling paint are hard to miss: spidery cracks, holes in the paint surface, even large strips or sections of paint that come off on their own. The reasons for peeling paint are varied—dirty walls that have been painted, excess moisture, improper prep, latex paint on top of oil paint—but you can fix the problem.
Read up on what the EPA has to say about lead paint before you proceed with your project. Homes built prior to 1978 may have lead-based paint. You can find testing kits at hardware stores, but to be sure, hire a certified company to collect chips and send them to a lab for testing.