Monthly Archives: January 2021

Home Inspector Gives Tips on Water Main and Doors

If you are the slightest bit handy around the house you could save yourself thousands of dollars by taking care of the 10 most common repair problems. We’ll cover two of them here.

Let’s start with the main water valve. It is very important to know where the main water valve is and where to shut it off. You never know when a major problem will happen with your water. For example, a pipe could freeze up and break in the winter. Or you just may have a pipe break because of age.

So knowing the location of the main water valve is very important. Put a tag on it saying that this is the main water valve. Then show it to family members so they know where it is and how to shut off the main water valve in case there is a problem. This may save you thousands of dollars. Make sure that the valve turns easily so that anyone could shut it off if necessary.

The second simple repair is those pesky doors that stick. I am not talking about doors that are out of square because of a structural problem. I am talking about those doors that rub and have sticking problems. Let me give you the two main causes of doors sticking.

One of the easiest things to check and to fix is the door hinges. Sometimes the door hinges come loose over time. There is a very simple fix if your door hinges are loose. Just take a screwdriver and tighten up the screws that hold the door. This will tighten the door up and let it fit properly in its position.

Sometimes you will find that the screws will not tighten up but there is no reason for alarm. Here is a very simple way to fix that problem. The first thing you want to do is support the door because you want to take out all the screws that are holding the hinges.

Now this is the most expensive part. Take a little bit of glue and some toothpicks and stick them into the screw holes. Let the glue dry for about 20 to 30 minutes and then put the hinges back together. I know this may sound strange but it really is an old trick and it works very well. You will be very surprised how well it works.

The second problem with doors is between summer and winter. In the summertime you will notice that the door and frame swell and cause the door to stick and in the winter time the door works fine and has no sticking or rubbing.

On this particular problem where the door is swelling you can try and check the hinges first. But if this does not work you can buy a very inexpensive tool that costs under $20 and can be purchased at any hardware store. You probably can just borrow one from a friend. This particular tool is called a block planner hand rasp.

It looks like something that you would cut cheese with but I do not suggest that you do that. What you want to do is leave the door open and mark the door where it is rubbing. Once you mark the door you can start planing that area. Keep planing until the door closes properly. When you plane the door you are removing small portions of the edge of the door at a time.

This will only take a few minutes and you will find out that you do not have to remove very much material. If the door is real bad and you can not get the door to close then you might have to get a professional carpenter to look at your door problem.

Most likely with just a little planing your door will be fixed.

If you are buying a home, be sure to work with a professional home inspector who will examine the residence and let you know of any items that could turn into major repairs.

Checklist to Judge the Right Condition of a House Using Home Inspection

If as a house purchaser you want to get assured that price quoted is right & defects do not surface after the house is purchased leading to extra expenditure then a home inspection is necessary. Additionally, it opens up an opportunity for you as well as your property agent to bargain with the seller on reducing the price in case there are defects in the house.

What is Buyer’s Role?

The main thing for you as a buyer to do at the time of the home inspection is to get all the information about the house so that you are aware of the problems which exist. You should not hesitate to ask questions even if they sound very simple or insignificant.

Home Inspection – What it consists of?

The main aim of a home inspection is to find our problems that are present in the house. Problems can exist in:

  1. Roof, where there could be asphalt shingles which are deteriorating, the ridges may be sagging, slits which are wider than normal, roof vents which are quite visible and roof deck in de-laminated condition.
  2. Chimneys, with missing mortar, masonry caps which have been cracked or chimneys which are leaning.
  3. Gutter/Downspouts, where slope of gutter is not directed to downspouts and downspouts that are far away from the foundation.
  4. Wall coverings, with flaking bricks, sidings which are rotting, exterior walls which have started leaning and missing mortar.
  5. Foundation, where masonry is damaged and soft mortar has started appearing.
  6. Basement & walls/floors, with water pipes which are corroded, walls with loose plaster, basement having water penetration and drywall seams.
  7. Electrical fittings, where heating/cooling system is very old and electrical outlets are ungrounded.

Other Problems

Some of the other problems which are traced during inspection consist of things like checking whether electrical wiring has been done as per government regulations, condition of power connections, fire safety norms have been followed or not, if radon test has been done, whether wooden beams have been damaged due to termite problem, is there a mold problem and several similar conditions.

Conclusion

Thus as we can see the main goal of any home inspection is to figure out if the house you are going to purchase is in good condition or not so that you do not have to face problems after purchasing it. The seller may not always tell you about the problems house has or he may not be aware of it and a home inspector will be the right person to judge the condition house is in.

Keep Your Family Healthy and Safe With Radon Testing

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is estimated that radon causes 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year. This number is far greater than the number of deaths caused by drunk driving or fire incidents. This information was taken from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2005-2006 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Report and 2006 National Safety Council Reports. Because of the seriousness and alarming numbers, the government is encouraging everyone to keep your family healthy and safe by conducting radon testing for your home.

What is radon?

Radon is a “silent killing” odorless, colorless and tasteless radioactive gas coming from the breakdown of uranium found under the soil and rocks of your home. Radon can be present in the air that you breathe and the water that you drink. If you are someone who smokes and you have a high level of radon in your home, your risk of developing lung cancer is extremely high.

How healthy and safe is it inside your home?

If you haven’t checked your home for radon, the best time to do it is now. Today, there are different ways to check for radon in your home. You can do it yourself with radon test kits that are fairly inexpensive and easy to follow. But, if you are buying a home, you might find it useful and wise to combine the services from your local home inspector. A local home inspector that is certified in radon testing can perform your property inspection and add on the service of radon testing. It will save you money when combining services and you’ll have expert knowledge from a certified inspector.

What If There Are High Concentrations Of Radon In My House?

It’s quite simple. If you find out that you have high levels of radon in your home, you should do something about it. You can protect yourself from radon if you know how it gets into your home. As the radon is escaping from the soil and rocks, it is trying to disperse into the atmosphere. Normally, radon doesn’t affect us when it is combined with a vast atmosphere of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. However, when radon gas is trapped or enclosed, it becomes concentrated and dangerous to the human body. So, if radon gas is escaping from the rocks and soil into your home, it still hasn’t escaped into a safe atmosphere. Therefore, you can prevent radon from getting into your breathing air by installing a vent pipe and extracting the radon gas away from your home. This is known as the sub-slab depressurization. Just so you know, no, you cannot seal your home well enough so that radon doesn’t leak in. According to the EPA, it’s not effective in preventing radon gas from getting into your home.

Radon has been discovered in areas that have a high levels of granite concentration. But, it has also been found in locations without much granite. Therefore, it’s important to be cautious and approach radon testing on a case-by-case examination. You really can’t predict where high levels of radon could be lurking. So, protect your family’s health and ensure your home doesn’t become the place where radon gas gets trapped as it is trying to escape from the rocks and soil beneath.

Efflorescence on Exterior Concrete Wall

Efflorescence is a very common problem with poured concrete foundations. The white powdery substance you see along the outside of your basement wall is efflorescence and indicates moisture is in contact with the masonry. Don’t worry this unattractive build up isn’t hazardous; efflorescence is simply salt and can be easily removed with efflorescence removers or other cleaning techniques.

This does not necessarily mean that intrusion will occur. We recommend checking gutters, downspout drain lines for proper operation. Efflorescence is found on many homes without water intrusion occurring inside the home. But, it should alert you to the possibility that future steps may be needed.

What is happening, water infiltrates the block or the concrete wall and as water evaporates from the surface the mineral deposits are left behind in the form of white substance. Although efflorescence is generally a visual problem, if the efflorescence crystals grow inside and under the surface, it can cause spalling of the foundation wall, which is when the surface peels, pops out or flakes off. The salt pushes from the inside out and can eventually cause crumbling and deterioration.

Efflorescence, water-soluble salts come from many possible sources. First of all; there must be water present to dissolve and transport the salts. Groundwater is often a source of efflorescence. For water to carry or move the salts to the surface there must be channels through which to move and migrate. The more dense the material more difficult for the water to transport salts to the surface. On the other hand, the more porous the material, the greater the ease with which salts are transported and deposited. Salt-bearing water, on reaching the surface of a structure, air evaporates to deposit the salt.

When humidity is low, the water may evaporate before reaching the surface of the structure, leaving the salt deposit beneath the surface, and unseen. When the humidity is high, water evaporation is slower allowing more opportunity for salted to be deposited.

Since humidity has a definite effect on whether or not the salts appear, it can be assumed that efflores­cence is a seasonal problem. The intensity of efflorescence increases after rainy winter seasons, de­creases in spring, and by summer has practically disappeared. This cycle may repeat for months or years, but generally the intensity of the efflorescence decreases in all but very extreme cases, and by about the third year it should be practically eliminated.

Again I repeat, this does not necessarily mean that intrusion will occur. Checking the exterior for grade issues and low spots, ensuring the proper operation of downspouts and that water is being directed away from the foundation may help prevent efflorescence on the exterior of your foundation wall.