Monthly Archives: November 2020

Prevent Serious Illness – Opt for Prompt, Professional Mold Cleanup and Asbestos Removal Services

Mold and asbestos are serious environmental hazards that should not be overlooked. Protect yourself by being aware of the signs of mold, requesting an asbestos inspection if you suspect that your home may contain this harmful substance, and putting abatement in the hands of a capable professional.

Although the most common home safety precautions center around fires, carbon monoxide, and other more immediate threats, property owners should not forget about the less discussed dangers of mold and asbestos. These two sneaky substances are linked with very serious ailments, including cancers, lung impairment, brain damage, and more. Prolonged exposure to either substance can even result in death.

Luckily, if your home is found to have been built using asbestos, or if you discover mold in your home, you have options. Mold remediation and asbestos abatement services are available to safely contain, collect, and eliminate all traces of these harmful substances. Specialists in the removal of mold and asbestos are fully trained in proper remediation regulations and only use industry-approved tools and techniques in order to minimize the danger during the entire treatment process.

What is Asbestos, Exactly?

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral material. Asbestos was once commonly used as a fire retardant and household insulation for roofs, pipes, and more. When these fibers are released into the air, they can easily be breathed into the lungs, causing the deterioration of proper organ function. A standard test or home history can reveal the presence of asbestos. Asbestos must be removed by a professional to ensure that all fibers are contained during the removal process.

How Did My Home Get Mold?

Mold can occur in any home. Tiny mold spores are constantly floating through the air, and when combined with a humid atmosphere and a food source (such as paper, wood, or cloth) the spores can start to grow. Mold remediation services can take care of the invasion of this unwelcome guest at first, but another outbreak will likely occur if the one thing that you can control–the humidity of your home–is not remedied. Your mold remediation expert will be able to recommend treatments to prevent future mold growth.

Most mold companies will perform black mold removal, mildew mold removal, and more. Do not waste time trying to identify which species of mold is growing in your home–call your local professionals immediately. In addition to increasing your risk of serious health problems, mold can also cause irreversible damages to your home. Avoid having to call in interior demolition contractors: take care of your mold problem before it gets out of control.

How Can I Tell If My Home Contains Mold?

Some of the most common signs of mold are:

  • Visible mold
  • Rotting wood
  • Stains
  • Musty odors
  • Flaking paint

If you suspect that your home is host to mold, don’t play the guessing game–find out for sure.

How Vulnerable Is My Home to Raccoon Invasion?

Raccoons are known to find their way into our homes, garages, barns, and porch spaces; however, do we really know how vulnerable our house is to such intrusion? How do you determine your home’s level of exposure? Read on to learn ways to inspect and animal proof your house from raccoon invasion this winter season.

Interior Home Inspections

To begin assessing how open your home is to the wild animal community, particularly raccoons, it is crucial to inspect the inside and outside of your house. Look for weak spots and pay close attention to dark, warm areas. These are ideal shelter spots for raccoons. Indoors, try starting in your basement. If you do not have a basement, turn to your utility room, crawl space, or garage as an option in its place.

In the basement or other areas, look in dark corners, and keep your eyes peeled for any open or exposed areas. These could be areas of access. If you do not see anything here, move on to the attic area. Attics are very popular spots for raccoons. They love the dark, warm shelter it provides. This is an ideal breeding ground for them too. If you do not have an attic, check under stairs and in closets.

Exterior Home Inspections

Outside, raccoon access points are easier to spot. Look to your roof and try to observe any loose shingles or pried open areas. These are indications that raccoons have been breaking in. Check under porches and patios as well. These are also common areas of access and even areas of living for wild raccoons.

Hire a Pro for Comprehensive Inspections

Doing an interior and exterior inspection of your home is a tedious and difficult task. Typically, it is recommended to hire a professional wildlife removal and control company to provide an inspection. They are highly trained and experienced professionals that know all the signs to look for, and how to remedy the disturbance within a convenient time frame. If you are having trouble, call a professional for advice. They can offer the best solutions and service.

Animal Proofing Your Home

Once an inspection has been completed, it is important to move onto animal proofing your home right away. The areas that were labeled weak, exposed, and open should be sealed immediately. By closing off the areas of access, you can stop further intrusion. It is very crucial to have all existing raccoons removed from your home with the help of a professional company before sealing off these access points.

Why Are Home Inspections Important?

Home inspections inform the buyer and the seller about the condition of the home. Many San Fernando Valley sellers pay for a home inspection at the time they put their Sherman Oaks, Encino, Van Nuys or North Hollywood real estate on the market so that they can address any potential issues or problems that potential buyers may be concerned about.

It is a good opportunity for the seller to fix or repair any statutory items that they need to comply with such as strapping their water heater to earthquake code, retrofitting toilets and showers and installing smoke alarms per state codes. If there are other items that the seller or their Realtor think may affect the price of the home or the length of time it may take to sell the home, then the seller may want to make some of those repairs if they are justified and will help get the home sold for maximum dollar and in a short period of time. Or the alternative is to offer the buyer seller concessions.

Buyers should conduct a home inspection during their contract contingency period so they are aware of the condition of the home and can make an intelligent decision as to whether they want to purchase the San Fernando Valley home, condo or townhome. This will avoid any surprises after closing as well.

As Is Condition

Although most San Fernando Valley real estate in sold in an “as is” condition, meaning the seller is not required to make any warranties or repairs, except for statutory items, the buyer still should negotiate an inspection contingency in the purchase contract which gives them the opportunity to conduct an inspection. Bank foreclosures and short sales are always sold in an “as is” condition as well.

The purpose of the home inspection is to determine any problems with the home during the inspection contingency period and to give the buyer the opportunity to go forward with the sale, ask the seller for concessions or repairs or cancel the contract if the inspection reveals major repairs or structural damage to the home.

What is Covered in a Home Inspection?

Generally, the buyer pays for a licensed home inspector to conduct a physical inspection of the home’s interior and exterior. The inspection includes the inspection of the general systems of the home such as plumbing, electrical, heating, air conditioning and the roof condition and condition of the appliances. A home inspection can run anywhere from around $250.00 – $500.00 and up depending on the size of the home and the type of home, condo, townhome, etc.

The home inspector does not conduct environmental inspections for mold, lead paint, asbestos, radon, etc. If it is determined that these conditions exist in the home, the inspector will recommend further inspections be done by the appropriate inspectors. Some home inspectors will provide these services at an additional cost. It is then up to the buyer to either hire the appropriate professionals to conduct these further inspections, ask the seller for concessions or a price reduction, or cancel the contract.

When You May Not Need a Home Inspection

If you are planning on tearing down the home and rehabbing it, then you probably don’t want to spend the money on a home inspection. You may want to obtain a geology report or soils report and a survey to determine the property boundaries. If you are purchasing a condo or townhouse, it is not necessary to obtain a survey or geology report. You will want to review the natural hazards report to determine if you are in a flood, fire or earthquake seismic hazards zone though.

In a seller’s market, it was common for buyers to waive inspection contingencies especially in a multiple offer situation. It is generally not recommended that the buyer waive the inspection though. However, it is a personal decision to be made by the buyer.

Home inspections are an inexpensive way to determine the condition of the home. For buyers, it is important that they conduct a home inspection to avoid a costly mistake by purchasing a property that needs major repairs, has structural damage or is affected by environmental hazards. Every buyer’s motivation for purchasing is different. Some buyers are willing to purchase properties that are considered major fixers for the right price. Others want move in condition properties and do not have a budget for making major repairs.

An inspection will reveal material problems about the house that the seller or their San Fernando Valley Realtor may not know about, and therefore did not disclose on the transfer disclosure statement. As a buyer, you don’t want to solely rely on the seller’s or the Realtors’ transfer disclosure statements. It is your responsibility to complete your own investigations about the property you are potentially purchasing so you know what you are getting yourself into.

What to Inspect Before Buying an Older House

Homes have changed over the years along with the standard in which the homes are built. Some conditions change over the years because the level of knowledge has increases over the years as building science is studied. Some conditions are the result of past or current home owners that alter the condition or add items to the home. Here are some important areas to inspect or have inspected if you are buying an older home.

Attic and the roof system is an important system to inspect. The attic space and the roofing effect each other and if correct they will help extend the life of each other. Older homes may have less insulation than is recommended by modern standards. Having the proper amount will help the home owner reduce heating and cooling bills.

The amount of ventilation in the attic space is also important, too little ventilation can result in high attic temperatures which will age the shingles more rapidly. A lack of ventilation can also create a condition where moisture is trapped and condensation is formed. High moisture levels can aid in the growth of mold, reduce the effectiveness of insulation and create a conducive condition for wood destroying insects. Home owners will also improperly vent shower vents in to the attic space exaggerating the moisture issues.

Electrical systems should also be inspected. Older homes especially those built before the 1960’s have a chance of having two prong outlets instead of the modern three prong outlets. The size of the service can also be an issue. Amperage for older homes may not be enough when additions are added onto the home and electrical appliances are added to the home.

Energy efficiency has made great improvement over the years. Old gravity furnaces made still be operating (yes I have come across them) however, the gravity furnace is not an energy efficient appliance. The cost of replacing such a furnace will be well worth the expense as the energy savings will be more than enough to recoup the cost. Energy efficiency has also improved for other appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners. Although determining the efficiency of appliances is not in the scope of a normal home inspection you can be fairly certain that any appliance over 15 years old is not the tops when it comes to being energy efficient.

Other areas that will be looked at that are done during all home inspections include the grading and the gutters and downspouts. These areas can effect the foundations and moisture issues. These should be inspected during all home inspections, however with increased age they are more likely to be in need of repair or improvements.

What Is a Gas Safety Inspection?

Gas Safety Inspection

The gas safety inspection is a check of all gas appliances within a property.

Checking there is no danger to the user when the appliances are working.

Statistics state that around 70% of homes in the United Kingdom never have their gas appliances checked over until something goes wrong.

Property that is classed as rented needs to have an annual gas safety inspection carried out every 12 months by law.

My boiler is serviced every year, is this not a gas safety inspection?

No, The boiler service is only to check the boiler and no other appliances.

Let me explain the difference between a boiler service and a gas safety inspection.

A boiler service is checking first that it is still safe to operate and in no danger to the user.

The boiler is checked to make sure it is fitted to the wall correctly and is stable, then we move on to the flue, this is checked to make sure it is still in good condition and has no corrosion.

Over the last 12 years, all boilers installed are condensing boilers, they produce condense water which is acidic.

Should the condense leak within the boiler or flue it will cause corrosion and let products of combustion leak out, so this check is very important.

The gas supply is checked to ensure it is adequate for the boiler, one of the most common problems found is the gas is undersized, normally on combination boilers.

The boiler combustion is checked with a gas analyser and checked against the boiler specifications if needed adjustments can be carried out.

When a boiler service is carried out it’s advisable to follow the maker’s service instructions if possible.

If the service manual is not present then you can normally find one online. Most boilermakers now list their manuals online.

All safety devices are checked to make sure they are functioning correctly if the boiler has an expansion vessel fitted, this is also checked and reset if needed.

Gas safety inspection.

The gas safety inspection is safety check on all gas appliances, a little similar to the boiler service.

Whatever the appliance maybe, it has to be checked to make sure it is safe to use and of no danger to the user.

The appliance is checked to ensure it is installed correctly and stable and is suitable for the room it is located in.

If the appliance has a flue connected this needs to be checked to ensure there are no blockages and the products of combustion can disperse correctly.

Ventilation is checked to ensure it is adequate for the appliance to burn correctly, and cannot be closed off.

The flame picture is checked to make sure it is crispy blue and not a yellow colour.

Gas cookers are checked to ensure they have a stability bracket or chain fitted to stop them being pulled over by young children.

Gas hobs are checked to make sure they have the correct clearances around them.

The gas supply to the hob must have an isolation valve fitted, so if the hob needs to be removed it can be without disrupting the supply to the other appliances.

The most common fault found on a gas safety inspection is a flexible cooker hose connected to the hob, all gas hobs must be connected to a solid pipe.

Any visible gas pipes are checked for signs of corrosion and stability, ensuring that they are supported with clips and labelled if needed.

The gas supply for the whole property is checked to ensure it is adequate when all appliances are working.

One of the most important checks is a gas leak test, this is called a tightness test. This test is carried out at the gas meter.

While at the gas meter we are also checking to make sure the meter is secured to the wall correctly and not moving around.

We are also checking the gas pipe has the correct earth bonding and is of the right size.

A gas safety inspection is a very important process and should be carried out at regular intervals.