Storm Doors: Advantages and Tips for Your Home

Storm doors advantages and tips

 

The versatility of a storm door to transform your home and your comfort level, between the warm and cold months throughout the year, earns it a spot on most homeowners’ project lists.

Each season brings out something new from a storm door, and yet many consumers struggle with the benefits of and tips for buying a storm door.

Advantages:

* A Warm Welcome. Setting the tone of your home with the entryway is essential. Storm doors create a better first impression for guests and make your home feel warm and inviting. With the entry door open, natural light can create a bright and welcoming space for you and your guests.

* Better Air Circulation. This is one of the transformative features of a storm door. In the warmer months, it can become a screen door. Many storm doors feature either full- or half-glass panels that can be switched out with a screen at any time. Some doors feature hidden screens that are simply pulled into place when needed.

* Exterior Door Protection. A storm door can help protect your front entry door from rain, ice, and snow. And it can help protect your entry door investment and maintain curb appeal.

* Improved Energy Efficiency.

Storm doors can help reduce energy loss by providing a buffer against summer heat and winter cold. With a storm door, the other systems in the home, such as the heater or air conditioner, don’t need to work as hard.

Tips:

* Sizes & Configurations. Ensure that you are getting the right size by measuring the opening for the storm door — between the door jambs, not the door itself. Most screen doors come in standard door widths of 30, 32, 34, and 36 inches and may be hinged on either side. But some can be specially designed to open to the right or left. Be attentive of the way the entry door opens.

* Designs. Want to see the whole entry door? Want a retractable screen or a screen that is removed every winter? With updated hardware styles, beautiful glass designs, including Low-E options, retractable screens and assorted colors to choose from, you can keep the architectural aesthetic as well as your functional goals in mind when shopping.

7 Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency

energy efficiency colorado

 

With Old Man Winter just around the corner, now is the time for homeowners to start considering how to make their abode more energy-efficient.

After all, an energy-efficient home not only saves money, it improves the comfort of the home environment.

Follow these tips to ensure that your house is energy-efficient this winter, and always:

1. Think Energy Savings. Keeping the cool air in during summer and warm air in during winter will require less energy if your home is well-insulated. An energy audit can help you assess your home’s efficiency and provide direction to improve that efficiency.

2. When an Audit Is a Good Thing. An energy audit includes checking for air leaks; inspecting heating and cooling equipment; checking light fixtures, appliances and electronics; and assessing insulation. It will help determine if your home is under-insulated or just not insulated properly, as is the case in many older homes. Each scenario can be easily remedied by adding more insulation or replacing the existing insulation, depending on the situation.

3. Reach Your R-Value. R-Value is used to measure insulation performance — the higher the R-Value, the greater the insulating power. Factors that are considered in calculating R-Value include what part of the home you’re assessing (walls, attic, floor or ceiling) and where you live.

4. Boost Real Estate Value.

Investing in your home to increase its real estate value involves more than improving curb appeal. Increasing the R-Value of your home’s insulation will help lower your energy costs, saving you money for as long as you live there. Plus, it will be a major selling point should you ever decide to move.

5. Replacement vs. Improvement Options. When your heating and cooling system isn’t doing the job, it’s easy to look at unit or window replacement as the answer. However, many times air temperature problems can be remedied in a less costly manner by conducting an energy audit and making the necessary changes to ensure that the walls, attic and ceiling insulation R-Values are up to par.

6. Protect Expensive Equipment. In extreme temperatures — whether in winter or summer — your heating and cooling systems are working extra hard to keep air temperature at ideal levels. An up-to-date R-Value will help reduce heating and cooling outputs, and can also extend the life of expensive heating and cooling equipment.

7. Do It Yourself: Insulation Is Easier Than You Think. Nearly any home insulation project can be accomplished with your own two hands and the right tools.

Buying New Construction – What You Need To Know

what to know about buying a new construction home

Buying a new construction home is exciting. You get to choose your colors, your cabinets and all of those nice little personal touches that you might not necessarily get right away when buying an older home. You get to move in to a nice new and clean home made just for you.

There is a common misconception when it comes to buying new construction and that is that you do not need a third party home inspection prior to closing. On the contrary, obtaining a professional home inspection on a new construction home is one of the smartest things you can do. But you ask yourself, why would I need a home inspection on a brand new home? After all, don’t the city code inspectors inspect the home? The answer is, yes and no.

Depending on the locale of your home, depends on how thoroughly it gets inspected by the city inspectors. In most cases, there are only one or two city inspectors that cover the entire county. With new homes going up at record pace, there could be literally thousands of homes that need to be inspected in any given area. The truth of the matter is, that there is no way one or two inspectors can cover that many homes in the time period given. This then leads to the “drive by” inspection. Is the home still standing? Ok, it is good to go.

It is also important to realize that even if the home was thoroughly inspected by a city inspector (which is an unlikely event), there still could be some major issues that are present. Just because something meets code, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is correct or safe. Many building codes are set as a bare minimum standard and believe me when I say that the majority of home builders do not go above and beyond ANY code.

To add to the misconception, there are many home builders that actually discourage third party inspections. They may tell you something like, your home is under warranty for the first year. The home is brand new and was passed by the city inspector(s). You do not need a home inspection. We hear this from our clients ALL the time. The hard truth? The home builder doesn’t want you to get a home inspection because, there WILL be issues (there always is) and they do not want to spend any more time or money on your home after it is built. Our inspectors used to work for home builders so we know exactly how they operate. Your construction supervisor is typically your main point of contact and his main job is not to make sure you are happy with everything, his main responsibility is to schmooze you, play everything off as “that’s the way it’s supposed to be”. If he cannot make you believe him, he gets fired, plain and simple.

No home is perfect even brand new homes. Home builders are notorious for taking short cuts to get the home completed faster so they can line their pockets with your money. Some of the most common defects found during home inspections of new homes are:

  • The grading around the home (home builders never compact the soil around the foundation as they are required).
  • Siding defects (loose sections, improperly installed, already damaged).
  • Roofing defects (improper installation, missing flashing, already damaged).
  • Decks (improperly installed, missing lag bolts, missing ledger boards and flashing, missing guard rails).
  • Electrical defects (outlets not working, improper GFCI placement, missing grounds).
  • HVAC defects (drywall dust inside the furnace, improperly sized breaker(s) for the furnace or A/C).
  • Concrete porches, patios and driveway (already cracked, spalling, improperly sloped, missing hand and or guard rails).

The list literally goes on and on.

Another common misconception when buying a new home is that you do not need a Realtor to represent you. This also is far from correct. The truth? Home builders have already factored a Realtors commission into the cost of your home. Yes, you read that right. The cost of your new home already has the Realtors commission built in. Hard truth? They don’t want you using a Realtor because that money that is already factored in to your purchase price will be an added bonus to them if you come in by yourself unrepresented. Having a Realtor representing you during a new build purchase will not cost you a dime so why wouldn’t you take that extra step to protect yourself?

This article was written not to bash new home builders but to educate. When purchasing ANY real estate, it is so important to practice your due diligence. It is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that you get what you are paying for. While this may mean spending an extra few hundred dollars during the transaction for a proper home inspection, the peace of mind you will have in doing so will be priceless.

Worried about lead poisoning in your home?

lead in your home

 

As more children are considered at risk for lead poisoning, many parents may wonder how to prevent the problem, especially if they have an older home with lead-based paint.

It’s a common problem. Most U.S. homes were built before 1978, when lead paint was banned, and half of those — about 38 million — contain lead, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Many pose a hazard to young children, so much so that the U.S. government this week cut by half the amount of lead that will trigger medical monitoring and other actions for kids ages 1 to 5. As a result, up to 365,000 more children could now be considered at risk for lead poisoning at a time when federal funds to monitor the problem have been slashed.

What’s a parent to do? “The best precaution is to have your child tested,” says Ruth Ann Norton, executive director of the Baltimore-based Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, an advocacy group. She says children who live in or frequently visit homes built before 1978 should definitely be tested, as should those living near a known hazard, such as smelters. She says most insurance companies will cover such testing, especially if the child is under age 6 and the home is older.

Norton says young children are most at risk, because 95% of brain development occurs before the age of 6. Still, she says lead poisoning affects adults, too. For pregnant women, it can result in miscarriages, stillbirths and low-birthweight babies, and for other adults, it can increase the risk of hypertension, cardiac arrest, liver problems and early death.

“If you get an elevated level, it’s almost too late” to take action, she says. She recommends that people test their homes to prevent problems. Norton answers USA TODAY’s questions about home testing:

Q: Should pre-1978 homes be tested even if no children live there?

A: Have it tested, especially if a woman of childbearing years lives there, if you’re planning a renovation or repair or if you have family and friends with children who may stay or visit.

Q: Are home-testing kits OK?

A: They’re not sufficient, but they can give you a leading indicator. The gold standard is to have a lead-based paint inspection and have your home checked for leaded dust. The full paint inspection is done with an X-ray-fluorescent machine. The test for lead dust is done using an approved wipe method. Your local health or housing department may provide that testing for free, based on income. If you’re renting, some states require landlords to test prior to occupancy. Homeowners should contact a company to conduct lead inspections and testing. They are certified under standards set by the EPA. It generally costs between $150 and $300. Some companies will do a visual inspection for less, $75 to $125.

Q: Can people do their own inspections and repairs?

A: Consumers should know the age of the home’s construction and look for chipping, peeling or flaking paint. Do not try to dry-scrape that paint or use a heat gun, because that will exacerbate the creation of leaded dust. People should get trained (to do repairs). You have to lay 6-millimeter plastic and put up protective coverings around door and window areas. You have to wet scrape and repaint. If you can afford to hire a certified contractor, we’d recommend it.

Q: How much will it cost to have professional lead abatement done?

A:. It depends on the scope of the job. If windows need to be replaced, that costs $250 to $400 per window depending on the type. Some jobs are $2,000 to $3,000, some are $20,000 to $30,000. If you’re already doing a full remodel, the additional costs of using lead-safe practices is minimal.

Q: Are there grants or loans to help cover the costs?

A: A lot of state programs do have low-interest loans to do lead abatement, regardless of income. Maryland is one example. Priority is often given to a home where children have been identified as lead-poisoned or homes with lower incomes. Banks will often allow you to fold the cost into home equity loans. If you have a poisoned child, you may be able to get a federal tax credit.

Q: Can frequent cleaning in a pre-1978 home prevent a problem?

A: As long as paint remains intact and in good shape, you should be OK. But frequently, you should wet mop and vacuum with a HEPA filter, wash kids’ hands and keep things out of their mouth. But if there’s chipping, peeling or flaking paints, you’re on a hamster wheel. You’ll never be able to clean enough to keep pace. You’ll have to fix it.

Termites The Silent Destroyers

termites in your home

 

Forget teenage boys, termites are what really could eat you out of house and home.  The ancestors of these wood-feasting pests once roamed with the dinosaurs, and  today they cause an estimated 5 billion dollars in property damage every year. Here is a guide  to recognizing and preventing termite damage.

Types of termites: There are three major types of  termites in the United States: dampwood, drywood and subterranean. Dampwood , which are usually the largest, live in heavily forested areas and go  for wood with high moisture content. Drywood, as their name suggests,  infest dry wood. They are primarily found from the South Carolina coast westward  to Texas and along the California coast. Subterranean termites are found throughout the U.S. and right here in Indianapolis. They are most destructive of all termites. They live underground or in  moist secluded areas above ground, and can cause the collapse of entire  buildings.

Signs of termite infiltration: You may  actually see the swarms of termites in early spring when clusters of  reproductive terminates venture out to start new colonies. Keep in mind that you  may confuse termites with flying ants. If you do see a swarm, contact a pest professional as soon as possible.

Termites are known as “silent destroyers.” They eat 24 hours a day, seven  days a week, which means the damage can happen rapidly.

According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), finding  discarded wings near your doors and window sills could indicate that the termites  have already gotten in. Also look for dark or blistered wood structures, mud  tubes near the foundation and inside the crawlspace or basement of your home.

Getting rid of termites: The NPMA says that termites are  not the kind of problem that the average homeowner can solve on his or her own.  The organization says to bring in a licensed pest control professional  to control the situation because treatment varies based on where you live, the  species of termite causing the damage, the severity of your infestation and the  construction of your home.

Prevention: While you might not be able to get rid of the termites without help, there are preventative measures that can be taken to thwart a potential termite invasion.  The NPMA recommends making sure basements, attics and crawl spaces are well  ventilated and kept dry. Make sure vines, hedges and other plants are not  blocking the vents. Avoid burying wood scraps or waste lumber in the yard.

It is important to store firewood at least 20 feet away from your house and 5  inches off the ground, keep mulch at least 15″ away from the  foundation of your house and always make sure vegetation around your home is kept trimmed back a minimum of 18″ away from the home and not be allowed to touch the structure. Keep an eye out for changes in exterior wood like  windows, door frames and baseboards.

Ensure that your downspouts, gutters and extensions are effective in  directing water away from your house a minimum of 4-6′. You should also routinely check your  foundation for indications of mud tubes (which termites use to get to their food), bubbling or cracked paint  and wood that sounds hollow when tapped. Repair any rotted  roof shingles.

Understanding The Home Inspection Contingency

understanding the home inspection contingency

 

So you just had your home inspection done on the home you are considering purchasing and the results of the inspection have you a bit disappointed. Maybe the home you were looking at isn’t exactly what you thought it was, and now you are reconsidering your offer. But wait! The sales agents involved say you are bound by the purchase agreement and are obligated to either purchase the home anyway or allow the sellers an opportunity to repair the items listed in the inspection report. They may even tell you that you will lose your earnest deposit and that the seller may also sue you.

In your mind, you are done with the whole fiasco (and rightfully so) and are ready to move on and continue looking at other homes. The sales agents on the other hand smell a commission check close at hand and are fighting you tooth and nail trying to hold the deal together.

So what can you do to prevent this from happening to you?

BEFORE you begin your house hunting journey, enlist the services of an exclusive buyer’s agent or a qualified real estate attorney. NEVER call the listing agent of a property you are interested in. When you are dealing with the agent of the seller, by agency law, that agent owes a responsibility to the seller to represent their best interests first in the negotiating of any offer. The goal of the seller is to sell the property at the highest possible price. The goal of a buyer is to buy the property at the lowest possible price and with the most favorable terms. Hence, if you are buying a home, you need a buyer’s agent or an attorney representing YOUR interests.

Once you have found a property you are interested in, make sure that you understand the purchase agreement and all contingencies listed in the agreement. It is very important that you fully understand what is in your contract and more importantly how to get out of it.

Laws vary from state to state concerning the home inspection contingency and in many cases are very open to interpretation. The absolute best way to protect yourself AND your earnest deposit is to make sure that the verbiage in your contract is clear and concise before you sign it.

Bottom line:

If you take away one piece of advice from this blog, let it be this: You will have an out if the sales contract is contingent not only upon completion of the home inspection but your full approval of the results of the home inspection. That means that there must be a home inspection completed AND you must approve of the condition of the home based on the home inspector’s findings.

If the contract is written with only the contingency of getting a home inspection, then once this task is completed, you are obligated to buy the home no matter what the results are. If the contract was written such that if the home inspection uncovers defects and the seller agrees to and fixes the listed defects, then once again, you are obligated to buy the home.

This article is provided for informational purposes only, and nothing stated here should be construed as legal advice. If you are experiencing a similar issue like the one mentioned in this blog or need help with any other real estate law problem, you should contact a qualified real estate attorney and discuss your options.

Why Bleach Does Not Kill Mold. Surprised?

why bleach does not kill mold

 

1) The object to killing mold is to kill its “roots” (hyphal fragments). Mold remediation involves the need to penetrate and disinfect porous surfaces such as concrete, wood and other cellulose based building materials. Chlorine bleach should not be used in mold remediation as confirmed by OSHA’s Mold Remediation/ Clean up Methods guidelines. The use of bleach as a microbial disinfectant is best left to kitchen and bathroom countertops, tubs and shower glass, etc. (non-porous surfaces)

(2) Chlorine Bleach does kill bacteria and viruses. Mold is a fungi, NOT bacteria and NOT a virus. Bleach is not effective in killing mold on porous surfaces. Bleach itself is 99% water and water of course is the main contributor to microbial growth. Current situations using bleach to remediate mold regenerated mold at twice the CFU counts than were originally found before bleaching. Bleach is an old and outdated method used for cleaning up mold. It is the only product people have known for years. The spore strains now associated within indoor air quality issues are resistant to the methods our grandmothers employed.

(3) What potential mold ‘killing’ power chlorine bleach might have is diminished significantly as the bleach sits in warehouses, on grocery store shelves or inside your home or business. 50% loss in killing power happens in just the first 90 days inside an un-opened jug or container. Chlorine constantly escapes through the plastic walls of its containers.

(4) The ionic structure of bleach prevents the chlorine from penetrating into porous materials such as concrete, drywall and wood. It remains on the outside of the surface, whereas mold has roots growing deep inside the porous material. The 99% water that is in bleach does penetrate the porous surface and actually feeds the molds roots. This is why a few days to weeks later you will notice that the mold returns.

(5) Chlorine Bleach accelerates the deterioration of most materials and wears down the fibers of porous materials.

(6) Chlorine bleach is NOT registered with the EPA as a disinfectant to kill mold. You can verify this important fact for yourself when you are unable to find an EPA registration number on the label of ANY brand of chlorine bleach. ALL proper Biocides have to be registered with the EPA, and all must contain a registration number on the container.

(7) Chlorine bleach off gases for a period of time. Chlorine off gassing can be harmful to humans and animals. It has been known to cause pulmonary embolisms in low resistant and susceptible people.

(8) Chlorine bleach will evaporate within a short amount of time. If the area is not dry when the bleach evaporates, or moisture is still in the contaminated area, you could re-start the contamination process immediately and to a much greater degree.

If Not Bleach, What Can I use?

If you have an area of mold on a porous surface, you have two options.

1) Completely remove and replace the affected area.

2) Remediate by encapsulation. This is typically a two stage process in which the remediator will apply a proper EPA registered biocide spray (serum) to the affected area. The remediator will then apply a top coat sealant which will encapsulate the roots and prevent it from coming back.

Of course it is important to understand that it is never recommended to remediate until the issue that created it is resolved. Typically that involves locating the water source. Sometimes it can be caused from improper grading around your home, excessive vegetation around home, damaged gutters, downspouts discharging too close to the foundation walls, roof leaks etc. Once the moisture issue is remedied, then the process of mold remediation can take place.

Conclusion: Chlorine bleach, has been generally perceived to be an “accepted and answer-all” biocide to abate mold in the remediation processes for years. New studies have now proven that chlorine bleach is ineffective in killing mold. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), have both changed their prior recommendations and do NOT recommend the use of chlorine bleach as a routine practice in remediation.

Common Home Inspection Myths Debunked

Whether you are buying or building a new home, it is always a wise idea to have a home inspection done. However, there may be some myths you want to be aware of before before you begin your search for a home inspector.

home inspection myths

Have You Thanked Your Home Inspector?

home inspection dangers

 

The last time you had a home inspection, did you thank your home inspector? If not, you really should have.

Most people do not understand home inspections or how they work mainly because people feel that the only time they really need a home inspector is when they are buying a home. (which could not be further from the truth, but we’ll have to address that in another blog) so you typically only run into a home inspector once every 5 years or so. There are some who believe that home inspectors are a joke or that they get paid too much money for what they do. Most of these ill feelings come from people who have been burned in the past because they did not practice their due diligence to begin with.

Home inspection is a very unique industry indeed, filled with mainly hard working owner operators of their own businesses. Home inspectors come in all shapes and sizes and have varying degrees of ethics and competency. Truth is, there is really only one thing that all home inspectors DO have in common and that is the danger we all face every day.

Danger? You say laughing to yourself. How in the world can a home inspection be dangerous? Well, let’s just take a look. I have outlined just a few of the everyday dangers home inspectors face below. Please keep in mind this is not a complete list, but should give you a general idea.

 

Asbestos – A known carcinogen that releases fibers into the air. When inhaled, the fibers embed into the lungs and can cause Mesothelioma (Cancer). Typically found in older homes 1800-1978. All home inspectors are exposed to Asbestos at varying times in their career. There are still MILLIONS of homes in America that still contain Asbestos.

Mold – Widely known for its adverse health effects when inhaled. Mold spores cause a wide array of health issues from upper respiratory illnesses to brain damage. Can be found in ANY home at any given time. If the home has mold and there is a home inspector inspecting that home, he is exposed to it.

Lead Based Paint – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are at least 4 million households that contain Lead Based Paint. The dust created from peeling/flaking Lead Based Paint is particularly dangerous. 1 to 5 micrograms of dust is enough to poison someone and cause irreversible damage. The most common issue found in poisoned individuals is brain damage. Home inspectors are exposed to Lead Based Paint routinely and can even bring the dust home with them on their shoes which can also harm their family and pets. Typically found in homes built prior to 1978.

Insulation – Fibers from any insulation can become airborne when disturbed such as when walking in attics, something home inspectors routinely do. Once airborne, these fibers can become lodged inside the lungs and cause a wide array of upper respiratory problems over time. Home inspectors are exposed to this risk every single day.

Animals – This one should go without saying. Dogs, raccoons, possums, squirrels (yes squirrels, they aren’t as cute as you think) even stray cats pose issues to home inspectors. Typically found in crawlspaces during winter months, animals can carry all kinds of diseases and rabies. Most animals do not like the thought of feeling cornered in a crawlspace and will become violent if they feel they are threatened.

Squatters – Typically found when inspecting vacant, foreclosed homes for investors or those home buyers who think they are getting a deal by buying one of these properties. Squatters, like most animals, can and will become violent if they feel they are being threatened in any way. There have been many cases of violence against home inspectors by squatters throughout the country. What you don’t read the news?

Fleas – Some people live very dirty and many have pets who are not exactly “well groomed”. Home inspectors have to inspect dirty homes too. A dirty home coupled with dirty pets is the perfect storm for fleas. Flea bites are not at all uncommon for a home inspector. Home inspectors can also unknowingly bring fleas home with them exposing their family and pets to these nasty little creatures.

Venomous snakes and spiders – Again this should go without saying. There are many venomous insects and snakes in the United States including the Brown Recluse and Black Widow! Insects are small, lightweight and can be on a home inspector for several minutes before he even notices.

Shards of rusted metal or broken glass – Typically found in crawlspaces or attics. These dangers are usually left behind by contractors who don’t like to pick up after themselves. It is not at all uncommon to find abandoned, rusted out duct work, broken glass bottles, nails etc. laying around on the crawlspace ground. Makes crawling around them even more hazardous than they already are to begin with.

Carbon Monoxide – Colorless and odorless. Often called the silent killer. Carbon Monoxide is a very real threat to home inspectors as we are required to inspect furnaces, flues, ducts, etc. and are usually inside a home for at least 2 hours. CO gas can come from the furnace in the form of a cracked heat exchanger or damaged/rusted flue but can also come from ANY gas fired appliance.

Electrocution – In this day and age of the DIY handyman, home inspectors routinely run across electrical work that was performed by someone other than a licensed electrician. Uncapped live wires, frayed wiring, open junction boxes, improperly wired outlets etc. all of which can pose an immediate danger to the home inspector inspecting those items.

Burns – Hot furnace and water heater flues pose a danger to home inspectors, particularly when located in confined areas or by attic accesses where home inspectors have to get to.

Waterborne diseases – Waterborne diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms in water. Contaminated well water is the most common culprit along with stagnated sump pit water and even standing water in basements or crawlspaces. All can pose a significant risk to the home inspector as he goes about his daily job.

Hantavirus – Home inspectors can easily become infected with Hantaviruses through direct contact with rodent urine, saliva, or feces found in basements and most commonly in crawlspaces. This is a very real danger to home inspectors and can be fatal.

Falling off ladders, roofs or though ceilings – As home inspectors, we climb ladders, we walk in attics and sometimes upon unstable decks. All of which pose a real danger and can put any home inspector into early retirement.

Mother Nature – The weather is a very real danger. Sub zero temperatures and even colder wind chills are not uncommon in many areas of the country. A typical home inspection lasts 3-4 hours with an hour of that time typically spent inspecting the exterior of a home. Frostbite can occur within seconds to exposed skin and many home inspectors have fallen victim to old man winters deadly bite.

Driving – Yes, home inspectors have to drive to the home in order to inspect it. This also includes driving in undesirable conditions. We are like the post office, rain, sleet or snow, you know the saying. We drive in snow storms, ice and hail storms, severe thunderstorms. You name it, we have to drive through it EVERYDAY to get to your potential new home.

As you can see from the list above, there really are many dangers that home inspectors face on a daily basis. The fact is, we never know what we are going to be in for until we get to the home. Some are nice,  clean and well maintained with little to no danger while others pose numerous and significant safety risks that put our lives in danger.

So the next time you have a home inspection, instead of doubting or scrutinizing the inspector, instead of thinking that the inspector is making too much money, instead of thinking you are completely wasting your money and your time, just stop for a moment and remember this blog. Take a second, reach out your hand to the inspector and thank him. Thank him for risking his life to inspect your potential new home and making sure that it is a good solid investment that is safe for both you and your family.

Buying a home? Beware of health hazards lurking in older homes

The housing market is hot and more and more potential home buyers are out and about looking for homes to call their own. Many home buyers are drawn to looking at older homes (1900-1960) for a variety of reasons from their character to old school building practices. Unfortunately many home buyers are unaware of the environmental hazards that still exist in thousands of older homes. Even many current homeowners have no idea about some of the things in their home that are potentially hazardous to their health and well being.

The following are 4 major environmental hazards that we as home inspectors encounter in literally thousands of older homes on a regular basis.

Radon in older homes

Radon – Odorless, colorless radioactive gas. According to the EPA, Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and kills approximately 21,000 people a year. High Radon levels are commonly found in all years of homes, but tend to be particularly high in older homes with basements or cellars.

lead based paint in older homes

Lead Based Paint – According to leadfreekids.org and cancer.org, more than one million children in the United States alone are affected by lead poisoning from lead based paint. Just a few particles of dust from lead based paint are enough to poison a child. Health effects range from headaches, stomach problems, anemia and brain damage. Lead based paint was widely used in homes until 1978 and is still very much present in thousands of older homes across the country.

asbestos in older homes

Asbestos – Classified as a carcinogen. Asbestos causes a wide range of health effects including lung cancer, Mesothelioma and Asbestosis. According to cancer.org there are 3,000 new cases of Mesothelioma confirmed every year in the United States. Asbestos was widely used in older homes from the 1800’s to the 1960’s. During home inspections, we stumble upon Asbestos regularly. Asbestos was commonly used as insulation on duct work and plumbing supply lines in basements and crawlspaces. Other areas we commonly find Asbestos at are exterior siding, 9×9 floor tiles (VAT) and even attic insulation (Vermiculite).

mold in older homes

 

Mold – Although there are no federal guidelines or standards concerning mold, it is widely known for causing a wide range of health effects. According to the CDC, exposure to excessive mold spores can lead to respiratory illnesses, eye and skin irritation, rashes, fungal pneumonia, lung damage, aspergillosis and liver and kidney damage.

Although most state laws do not require home inspectors to mention the presence of these hazards, good home inspectors with strong work ethics and morals will alert their clients to their presence and should recommend further review and suggest that these items be tested for by a qualified professional in that particular field.