Performing Proper HVAC Inspections

Pre-planning goes a long way when it comes to home care, and HVAC units should not be forgotten about until an issue arises. The best time to pay your HVAC unit some attention is when it appears to be functioning properly, and before any major changes in weather occur (fall and spring seasons). To make sure your home’s air quality and indoor temperature are in good standing, perform frequent HVAC inspections with Inspect-It 1st’s guide.

 

Why Should I Perform HVAC Inspections?

HVAC inspections are important for several reasons. Most obvious is the need to make sure the unit is properly functioning. Your HVAC should maintain temperatures programmed in your thermostat, and parts and mechanisms should be physically intact and functional. A fully operational HVAC system is what keeps you cool and comfortable on hot days, and warm during the cooler winter season.

 

It’s also important to check for problems with your HVAC unit for the sake of energy bills. A clogged or malfunctioning unit can cause energy bills to skyrocket—a frustrating consequence to an easily avoidable problem. If debris is clogging your unit, your system will work harder than necessary. Working overtime on the temperature and air quality in your home might go unnoticed at first, but will surely make an appearance on your energy bill and in your wallet.

 

performing HVAC inspections

What to Look For

Spotting basic issues with an HVAC unit can be done by assessing the system itself and exposed duct work or other pipes and vents.

 

HVAC System

Your HVAC system should be free of any surrounding materials such as leaves, bushes, excess dirt, or other blockages. Excess debris can compromise the effectiveness of your system, and lead to a host of other problems with the air quality and temperature in your home. The unit should also appear to be in good physical standing. Check for any rust or physical damages to any parts of the system. If you spot any issues, make a note of the areas so you can pass the information along to a professional.

 

Once you’ve inspected the outside of your HVAC unit, locate the air filter. Most air filters need replacing once every month. If you have a reusable filter, it will need cleaning at the same frequency. To check if your filter needs replaced or cleaned, check for any built-up dust, dirt, or other materials. If you’re using a reusable air filter, use this guide to learn how to clean it properly.

 

Though checking air filters is a task that is often forgotten, it is extremely important. Allowing air to pass through a dirty filter leads to that same contaminated air circulating throughout your home. Inspecting your air filter is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to maintain clean air quality in your home.

 

Duct Work, Pipes, and Vents

After ensuring your HVAC unit is in good standing, both inside and out, you can move on to checking the ducts, pipes, and vents. Look for any excess condensation along these areas, as this can be a sign that there is an issue with the unit. Also, make a note of any peeling tape, dirt streaks, or dents. If you can spot any of these characteristics, they are likely causing problems with the air flow in your home.

 

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your air flow, regularly cleaning these passages is a good practice. Dusting air vents and making sure furniture is not blocking them can help improve your air flow and quality. If you have pets, be sure to vacuum or sweep up any pet hair surrounding the vents as well.

 

If you want to make sure your home is ready for warmer weather, contact the experts at Inspect-It 1st! Our inspectors will perform a thorough inspection of your HVAC system to ensure everything is in working order. Find your nearest IIF office here to schedule your HVAC inspection appointment.



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Tips for Handling Skylight Repairs

Skylights are often a great selling point in homes. checklist for skylight repairsThey offer natural light as well as provide a unique and scenic view for homeowners to enjoy. While this feature is extremely popular, it can also entail some risks. Most often, skylights can leak water or other debris in your home. If you’re experiencing any damages or issues with your skylight, read these tips below to find out how to properly address skylight repairs.

 

Skylight Repairs: Common Issues

Skylight repairs are more complicated and dangerous than they appear. If your skylight is showing signs of damage, refrain from climbing on the roof to get a closer look at the issue. It’s important to remember that only a professional should examine a damaged skylight. The skylight’s compromised safety and structure are extremely hazardous. Instead, use these tips to safely identify the issue, and pass them along to a professional. If your skylight is leaking it is often caused by:

  • Problems with the installation of the flashing
    • Flashing refers to the protection of the skylight from outside elements. If it’s damaged or has loosened over time, it can allow water to seep into your home. Flashing kits are readily available through most home improvement stores.
  • Improper roof draining system
    • If your roof is draining towards the skylight, over time, this can cause leaking issues.
  • Condensation
    • This is most common in the colder months of the year. Some condensation is natural, but if it’s excessive, it can signify an issue with the condensation channels on the skylight.
  • Skylight gears
    • If your skylight can open and close, it’s possible there’s an issue with the gears responsible for this function. They may have become loosened, rusted, or damaged in some other way, which could allow water to leak through the skylight.
  • General installation issues
    • A number of things can go wrong when installing a skylight. It’s best to rely on a professional technician to identify any damages.

Safety Precautions

Though sometimes the problem can be spotted with ease, it’s best to leave any skylight repairs to professionals. Even if an issue seems minor, leaking skylights can disguise larger issues with the structure and stability of the window. The best thing to do in these situations is to gather as much information as you can from a safe viewpoint and provide the information to a professional.

 

For professional inspections and assistance with skylight repairs, contact the experts at Inspect-It 1st! Our technicians will identify any issues with your skylight in a safe and professional manner. With Inspect-It 1st, you can trust your business or family’s home is in good hands! Find a local IIF office near you here.



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Performing a Proper Deck Inspection

Warmer weather is right around the corner! In preparation for your days spent outdoors, make sure your deck is ready to go. Unfortunately, decks tend to give little to no warning before they sink or even collapse. To avoid any mishaps with your summer hot spot, be sure you do a proper deck inspection.

 

To find out what to look for when you begin your deck inspection, follow these tips from Inspect-It-1st!

 

Deck Inspection: What a Safe Deck Looks Like

tips for deck inspection

When examining such a large structure, it’s helpful to start with the basics. By knowing what to look for in a solid, sound, and safe deck, it will be easier to spot potential problems on your own. All structurally sound decks should include:

  • Proof that the deck meets city codes, and if applicable, has a valid building permit
  • Solid base-footings that are below the frost-line
  • A secure and level ledger that attaches the deck to the house
    • A ledger is responsible for supporting about half of the deck’s weight!
  • Adequate space between the boards
    • Boards should be placed about one-eighth of an inch apart. By allowing a little room between each board, the wood can expand and contract with temperature changes without impacting the deck’s overall structure.
  • Maintenance of a protective wood finish
    • To effectively protect the wood, this should be assessed and reapplied about every two years or as needed.

Is Your Deck Safe?

Now that you know what to look for, you can begin inspecting your deck. If you notice any of the following problems with yours, it’s important that you address and resolve the issues immediately. Any problems you may find, no matter how minor they may appear, should be considered “red flags.” The integrity of a deck can become compromised by the smallest of issues, and needs to be fixed as soon as possible before further use of the area.

 

Rotted Wood

Examine the flooring, railings, stairs, and support posts. To test if the wood is rotted, you will need a tool or ice pick that you can insert into the wood. If the tool or pick can be inserted more than one-half of an inch, it’s a sign that the wood is not structurally sound. This can be from moisture, mildew, or not properly maintaining the finish on the wood. All rotted spots need to be removed and replaced. Follow this guide to learn how to safely replace the wood.

 

Moisture

Decks can generally handle the wear and tear from rain and snow, but it’s important to make sure the moisture is being drained away from the structure. Flashing refers to a waterproof material that protects the wood from water that could seep into it. Make sure your flashing is installed properly, and test that it is still doing its job correctly. If too much moisture gets into the wood, your deck can begin to sink or even rot. Also, make sure any sprinklers or gutter drains are a safe distance away from the structure.

 

Railings

Especially on tall decks, it’s imperative that your railings are stable, and the appropriate height and width apart. Check each railing for stability by trying to wiggle it loose. If the railing moves significantly, it likely needs to be tightened or replaced. All railings should be at least three yards high and no more than four inches wide.

 

Connections

Since there are lots of pieces and parts to a deck, it’s a good idea to make sure whatever is securing them is still installed correctly. Screws and bolts can loosen over time and should be checked for security regularly. Examine the entirety of the deck and be sure connections are still tight. If you need to replace any hardware, be sure you do so with materials that are labeled for outdoor use only.

 

The Big Picture

After getting up close and personal with the deck, you should step as far away as possible from it to get a good view of the whole thing. By doing this, you can check for sagging, warping, and the overall levelness of the deck. If you see any parts that don’t look sturdy or are slanted, it’s best to take note of the issue and consult a professional for further assistance determining the problem.

 

Outdoor decks are great sources of entertainment and a fun spot to lounge or bond with family and friends. To ensure you get the most out of your deck this spring and summer, make sure you perform deck inspections regularly. If you’d rather leave the hard work to the professionals, contact Inspect-It-1st for an expert deck inspection. Find a location near you here to speak with a local inspector.



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Residential Roofing Tips

residential roofing tipsEvery day, your roof pulls off double duty. It acts as your home’s first line of self-defense and your family’s first layer of protection during inclement weather.

 

Return the favor by spending a few moments on preventative roof maintenance twice a year—once in the spring and once in the fall. Negligence can lead to expensive repairs, so be sure to follow Inspect-It 1st’s residential roofing tips to keep yours in tip-top shape.

 

First Things First

Before you begin to examine the state of your roof, check your homeowners’ insurance manual to see if your policy covers serious roof damage. If it doesn’t, you’ll know you have to take precautionary measures seriously; or you might decide to switch to a plan that offers residential roof coverage.

Next, determine what material your roof is made of. The most common roofing materials include:

  • Asphalt Shingles
  • Clay or Concrete Tiles
  • Slate
  • Wood Shingles
  • Metal

Each material is unique, and thus, will have unique maintenance problems. Material durability differs greatly and its life cycle should be taken into consideration. Asphalt shingles are quite economical but only last about 20-25 years, while the lifespan of a slate roof can be more than 100 years.

 

What to Look for

To conduct a roof inspection, you’ll want to work your way around your house. Start on the ground and note potential problems from there, then use a ladder to examine the issue further. Some problems may require you to physically be on the roof to fix, but it’s best for your roof—and your safety—to spend as little time as possible on top of your house. When inspecting the roof from the exterior, look for the following:

 

  • Broken, buckling or curling shingles
  • Patches of moss and lichen
  • Missing shingles
  • Cracked caulking
  • Rusting flashing
  • Sand-like granules in gutters
  • Peeling paint underneath roof overhangs

 

Early signs of trouble that you can detect inside your home include:

 

  • Damp sections around fireplaces
  • Dark patches on ceilings
  • Water stains

 

Depending on the scope of damage, you may be able to do some repairs yourself. Things like resealing the roof’s flashing with caulk, replacing shingles or moss eradication can be done in a day’s time. Bigger issues, like rusted out vent boots or large areas of damaged roofing, may require a professional roofer.

 

It’s also smart to call in a professional inspection service, like Inspect-It 1st, if a heavy storm or natural disaster hits your neighborhood. Experienced, certified inspectors will be able to assess the situation in full and advise on repairs.

 

Expert Residential Roofing Tips

  • Inspect your roof when you’re cleaning your gutters; you’ll be able to kill two birds with one stone and you’ll be more likely to remember to do it.
  • If you’re afraid of heights and/or ladders, you can use binoculars to check your roof from the ground but you’ll want to hire an inspection service, like Inspect-It 1st, at least once a year to get up close and personal with your roof.
  • Trim the low-hanging branches of trees that surround your house to prevent them from causing damage to your roof shingles.
  • Be sure to check your states’ building and standards code to make sure your roof’s specifications abide by the rules. Codes are frequently updated, and failure to comply could result in a citation. The International Building Code is a good place to start, which encompasses regulations on everything from the slope of the roof to energy conservation.

If you’re in need of a residential roofing inspection or any other kind inspection, consider Inspect-It 1st. Inspect-It 1st can group your inspection needs together for both the home’s interior and exterior, to save you time and money. Find an Inspect-It 1st location near you.



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Facts About Radon Levels

Radon testing comes up frequently in home inspection conversations. Many homeowners are unaware of the adverse effects of radon and how important testing for it is. The inspection experts at Inspect-It 1st put together a quick radon facts guide to help you learn more about what it is, what it does, and why testing for it is important.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. It is odorless and colorless making it impossible to detect without the proper equipment. When inhaled, radon can be incredibly damaging to the human body. So much so that the Surgeon General of the United States identified radon as the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S.

High levels of radon in your home can exponentially increase your family’s likelihood of developing lung canceradon levels factsr. Some studies point to children being more susceptible to the adverse impacts of radon due to their higher respiration rates and rapidly dividing cells.

Where Can Radon Be Found in the Home?

Radon is typically located in the ground, groundwater, or building materials of a home. As uranium naturally breaks down in soil, rock, and water, radon occurs and gets into the air we breathe or the water we drink. Radon in the air is much more common and is how humans typically end up inhaling it.

  • There are a number of ways radon can get into your home including:
  • Cracks in solid floors
  • Construction joints
  • Cracks in walls
  • Gaps in suspended floors
  • Gaps around service pipes
  • Cavities inside walls
  • Water supply

While radon occurs everywhere, you are most likely to be exposed to it at home, where you spend the majority of your time.

What are the Dangers of Radon?

Radon can cause many health issues, but the most severe problem is lung cancer. Radon is the first leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and second leading cause of lung cancer globally.

Smokers see even greater health impacts of radon due to their already elevated level of lung cancer risk. Smokers are much more susceptible to developing lung cancer if they have also been exposed to radon.

Can You Test For Radon?

Yes! You can very quickly test for radon and you should. Testing is the only positive way to ensure that you and your family are not exposed to dangerous levels of radon. Test all floors lower than the third floor. We recommend calling your local Inspect-It 1st expert to do the testing to ensure that the test is accurate, but there are home-test kits that can give you a quick snapshot of your potential radon levels.

When Should I Test?

If you are moving into a new house, have just completed building your house, are moving into a new rental space, or have no current record of a radon test for your home, you should test for radon. Many homes are now built with radon resistance, but you should still test to be safe.

What Level of Radon is Safe?

Average radon rates in homes are about 1.3 pico Curies per liter of air [pCi/L]. To be safe, radon levels in your home should be below 4 pCi/L. While there is no “safe” amount of radon, the Environmental Protection Agency identified below 4 pCi/L as an acceptable amount for a safe home. A proper test can tell you exactly what your radon levels are. If your levels are above 4 pCi/L, it is time to take action to reduce them.

How to Reduce Radon Levels

Thankfully, it is possible to reduce the amount of radon in a home. Radon reduction systems are available and can be effective at removing 99% of the radon in your home. These systems use vent pipes and fans to vent radon out of your home. Sealing cracks in the foundation or other gaps in the home can also help. An Inspect-It 1st expert can assist in determining what will work best for your home.

If you suspect you have radon in your home or want to test to be safe, call your local Inspect-It 1st today!



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The Importance of Well Water Testing

If your home has a well water system, it is not protected by mandatory quality testing like public drinking water systems are. For that reason, it is important to make sure that well water systems are regularly tested to make sure it is safe to drink and use for washing dishes, clothes, showering, and more.

What is Well Testing?well water testing

Let’s start with an explanation of the differences between city & well water.

Well testing is conducted on water samples from the well water system to ensure the water isn’t contaminated by dangerous bacteria, germs, or chemicals.

Since it is not required by the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] that well water systems receive regular testing, it is a good idea to commit to having your water tested at least once a year. Checking your well system once a year helps ensure the mechanical parts of the system are in good working order and that the water isn’t contaminated.

Why Should Your Well Water Be Tested?

There are a number of contaminants and hazards that you should look out for when testing your well water. These include:

  • Total Coliforms
  • Fecal Coliform/E.Coli
  • pH
  • Nitrate
  • Volatile Organic Compounds

Below is more information on each contaminant and why you should test for them.

Total Coliforms

Coliform bacteria are microbes. They don’t typically make you sick, but if the “total coliforms” are tested and return at a high level, it can indicate the presence of harmful germs, parasites, or bacteria.

Fecal Coliform/E.Coli

Fecal Coliform can be tested for by itself. While they are usually harmless, elevated levels can indicate that your well water has been contaminated by fecal matter and harmful germs. These can lead to illnesses like dysentery, hepatitis, and more.

pH

The pH level of your well water can completely change the look and taste of your water. If the pH levels are too high or too low, the water can damage your plumbing, causing metals like lead to leak into your water, and potentially make you ill.

Nitrate

Nitrate is one of the most important things to test for in a well water test. High levels of nitrates can make you and your family very sick. This is why a nitrate test is recommended for all well water systems. If the nitrate levels are too high, it may be time to consider another location for your well.

Volatile Organic Compounds [VOCs]

VOCs are chemicals that come from fuel or industrial waste. At certain levels, VOCs can cause health concerns but their presence is largely dependent on where you live. It is the best practice to ask your local health or environmental department if VOCs are an issue in your area.

Other Chemicals and Contaminants

Some well water testing depends on the location of your well. It may be important to test for lead, arsenic, mercury, and pesticides if you live in certain areas. Your local Inspect-it 1st professional will know exactly which well water tests are needed for your area.

When Should You Get Your Well Tested?

It is recommended that you have your well water tested each year, usually in the spring. Some other signs that point to you needing to test your water are as follows:

  • There is a change in water quality (i.e. taste, color, odor)
  • Problems with well water have been reported in your area.
  • You have had problems around your well (floods, digging around the area, nearby waste disposal sites).
  • Parts of your well system have been replaced or repaired.

 

You should also have the well water tested before you list your home for sale, before you buy a home, before a home inspection, and before renting a home with well water.

Who Should Perform Your Well Water Testing?

Well water testing is a complicated and highly scientific process requiring lab time and specialized equipment. Your local Inspect-it 1st has all the tools and professional skills needed for well water testing. So when you suspect that your water may be contaminated or if you just want to have your well tested for peace of mind, call Inspect-it 1st for the best in well water testing.



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At-Home Septic System Testing

test your septic systemResidential septic systems house some pretty nasty situations that are usually—and thankfully—out of sight, out of mind. But when the system malfunctions, things can get stinky.

 

What Is a Septic System?

Septic systems are underground, onsite wastewater structures specifically designed to treat biological human waste when access to a centralized sewer system impractical. Septic systems are usually comprised of a main drainage pipe, a holding tank, a “drainfield” and ground soil. Through the various stages, septic systems allow human waste to be naturally broken down by bacteria, and then safely released into the environment.

 

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 25% of American households utilize septic systems—either individual or small community systems—to treat their wastewater.

 

A home’s septic system handles all wastewater from the household’s plumbing—which means everything from the obvious to bathwater and laundry output is processed by the septic system. While the system can safely handle some soaps and detergents, make sure that you use phosphate-free products. Phosphates promote algae growth –effectively acting as fertilizer—which can block pipes and cause problems. It is also vitally important that you never flush harsh chemicals or non-biodegradable items such as paper towels, tampons or diapers down the toilet. It is also important to keep kitchen scraps out of the equation, even if you have a garbage disposal in your sink. Instead, consider starting a compost pile to combat food waste, or resign these items to the trash.

 

Does Your Home Have a Septic System?

If you’re unsure as to whether or not your home has a septic system, there are few ways to find out. Poll your neighbors. If they have a septic tank, chances are you do as well. Rural homes that aren’t connected to city water—meaning you use well water—usually will have a septic system. Another tell-tale sign: your bills. Check to see if there is a $0.00 charge for sewer services on your water or property tax bill. If so, that usually means you have a septic system and therefore don’t need to pay for sewer fees.

 

After you determine that your home has a septic system, you may be wondering where it is located. As stated, these systems are built underground so look for lids or manhole covers in your yard. You can also consult your house’s “as built” blueprints, if you have access to these drawings. If you are still stumped, contact a plumber, or inspector to locate it for you.

 

Signs of System Failure

It is important to regularly monitor and maintain your septic system. This saves you money, keeps your environment (and in turn, your family) healthy and protects your home’s property value. Call in a professional inspector if you experience any of the following:

  • Foul odor near the septic tank or around the drainfield
  • Water backing up in household drains
  • Soiled, pooling water in your basement or around your septic system

At-Home’s Septic System Testing

While there are ways to properly inspect your septic system yourself, it is wise to call in a professional inspection service to do the dirty work for you, like Inspect-It 1st. The system is complex, and much of it is underground, so it’s best to leave it to the experienced inspectors so you don’t create more problems. A certified, Inspect-It 1st inspector will perform the trusted “dye test” method to determine if each component of your septic system is functioning correctly. Inspect-It 1st offers a wide variety of other inspection services as well, so there’s only one call to make, whether you need a pre-purchase, pre-listing, commercial or residential inspection.

 

 



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Carbon Monoxide Testing In Your Home

carbon monoxide testing serviceAs a homeowner, there are many circumstances that you need to be wary of in order to best protect your house and your family, from property damage caused by environmental factors, like fires and flooding, to accidental gas leaks like radon or carbon monoxide. In the U.S., around 20,000-30,000 people are affected by accidental carbon monoxide poisoning every year. While some things may be out of your control, carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable.

 

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

The gas known as carbon monoxide (CO) is odorless, colorless and tasteless, as well as hazardous to humans when released in poorly ventilated or enclosed spaces. The gas is formed naturally from the burning of carbon-containing materials (such as coal, wood, kerosene, etc.).

 

When there is an excess of carbon monoxide in the air, your body displaces the oxygen in your blood with CO. This causes the gas to build up in your bloodstream and results in carbon monoxide poisoning.

 

If caught early, carbon monoxide poisoning can be reversed, but long-term effects can still occur. Bodily systems that require large amounts of oxygen—like the nervous and cardiovascular systems—can be permanently damaged. Carbon monoxide poisoning can also have significant effects on reproduction.

 

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are varied, and often flu-like, including headaches, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, chest pain, muscle weakness and others. While anybody can be affected by carbon monoxide poisoning, those that are most susceptible include infants, and the elderly and those with chronic heart or breathing conditions. Those that are sleeping or inebriated are also at risk.

 

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Your Home

While carbon monoxide poisoning can be a real threat, there are precautions you can take to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home. Below are just a few steps you can take to ensure that your family is protected from carbon monoxide poisoning.

 

  • Make sure gas appliances are properly ventilated.
  • Keep a carbon monoxide detector inside your home—be sure to replace it every five years.
  • Have your heating system serviced by a certified technician once a year
  • Do not use a power generator inside your house or garage.
  • Make sure your chimney is checked/cleaned every year.

Carbon Monoxide Testing In Your Home

Preventative measures, like installing a CO detector and monitoring ventilation, are good first steps. But if you are still concerned you can perform at-home carbon monoxide testing. Passive CO test kits—also called detector badges—can be purchased at hardware stores for around $10.

 

To perform carbon monoxide testing, start by documenting the date of your test on the test badge from the kit. Secure the test badge close to the area in which you’re concerned about carbon monoxide leaks. This could be your furnace room, garage or your fireplace. Make sure that the test badge is out of direct sunlight and away from ammonia or any other solvents and cleaners. Return to the test badge after 15 minutes and look for any darkening in color. Even if the discoloration is slight, you’ll want to have a certified inspector look further into the issue and locate the source of the leak.

 

Inspect-It 1st offers a full range of inspection services, including residential carbon monoxide testing. For the last 15 years, our certified professionals have been providing high-quality, thorough inspections and reports for buyers, sellers, and commercial properties. If you suspect a possible carbon monoxide leak in your home call Inspect-It 1st today!



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Asbestos Testing In Your Home

test for asbestos in you homeSome homeowners may be surprised to learn that asbestos-containing materials could have been used in the construction of their home—especially if the house was built before 1980 when regulations were enacted. You may be thinking: Where can asbestos be found in my home? How do I know if I’m at risk? Below, Inspect-It 1st breaks down the basics about asbestos.

 

What is asbestos?

 

Asbestos is a silicate mineral that has been used in the past for various commercial applications, due to its resistance to heat and other insulating properties. Because asbestos naturally occurs in the environment as durable bundles of fibers, its tensile strength has been applied in the manufacturing of everything from toasters and dishwashers, to fireproof vests and roofing materials.

 

The use of asbestos curbed around 1980, when it was found to be carcinogenic, causing mesothelioma. In 1989 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put a ban on any new uses of asbestos, however, those that pre-date 1989 are still allowed. Asbestos becomes hazardous when it is airborne, and risk factors include both the concentration of asbestos in the air and the cumulative duration of exposure. Industries with the highest risk of asbestos-related occupational hazards are military veterans, sheet metal workers, auto mechanics, firefighters, electricians and others who have been exposed to asbestos in the past several decades.

 

How do you know if your home has asbestos?

 

Older homes—those built before 1980—could contain some asbestos, whether it’s in the roof shingles, flashing, siding, tiling, ducts, insulation or joint compound. As the asbestos particles start to deteriorate due to damage or old age, fibers are released into the air. Asbestos transite pipes also pose a problem. As the cement pipes break down, asbestos fibers can make their way through the piping and into the drinking water.

 

The only way to successfully test for asbestos within the home is to send samples of the suspected contamination sites into a lab for analysis. While there are a few DIY home asbestos testing kits available, the American Lung Association strongly recommends enlisting the expertise of a professional service, like Inspect-It 1st.

 

If asbestos is found in your home, there are a few different ways to deal with it, depending on where it is located. If the material is still in good condition, the asbestos is contained and doesn’t pose an imminent threat. Sometimes the asbestos-containing material can be isolated and repaired. In drastic cases, asbestos removal is possible. Asbestos abatement is the only permanent solution to the problem, which can be done by a certified professional.

 

Concerned that you and your family’s health is at risk due to the asbestos in your house? Call Inspect-It 1st to perform asbestos testing in your home and give you piece of mind.



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Lead-Based Paint Testing

testing for lead-based paintIf your home was built before 1978, chances are it may contain lead paint, which can pose a problem if you’re planning to renovate, repair or repaint.

 

What Is Lead-Based Paint?

Lead is a naturally occurring toxic metal that used to be mixed into paints and materials like gasoline, batteries, ceramics and others. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deemed lead-based paint a public health hazard in 1978 and banned its use, as well as enacted strict regulations for abatement.

 

Hazards of Lead-Based Paint

Deteriorating lead-based paint can be released into the air through dust and into the soil through flaking, where it breaks down and sticks to soil particles. Lead particles can travel long distances and can even make their way into water sources.

Easily absorbed by the body, lead can have dangerous effects on all major organs and bodily systems. Lead poisoning causes a variety of symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, nausea, fatigue and irritability, but can also harm children without any tell-tale signs. Those most at risk for the harmful effects of lead poisoning are children under the age of six who are in their developmental stages and pregnant women.

 

Lead-Based Paint Detection

Prevention is the best remedy when it comes to lead poisoning, and though the EPA strongly suggests that certified professionals perform inspections, there are many at-home, lead-based paint testing kits available.

Lead-based paint is most commonly found on the exterior walls, but can also be found in the household. To test for lead paint, gently scrape away layers of paint on each area of your house you plan on remodeling or repainting. Read the directions on the DIY lead-based paint testing kit, as each differs, but most show results with a change of color.

 

Steps to Take After a Positive Reading

If the results come back positive during your lead-based paint testing, there are a few immediate steps you can take:

  • Clean up any paint chips you can find
  • Frequently wash children’s hands and toys to reduce exposure
  • Dust and mop frequently

Inspection & Prevention

False negatives and questionable accuracy in at-home, lead-based paint testing kits can occur, so it may be best to have a full inspection done by a professional.

Homeowners, buyers, and real estate professionals choose to “Inspect-It 1st” because of our ability to perform a wide range of inspection services tailored to the market’s needs, you have the convenience of making one call instead of scheduling multiple inspectors. If you suspect that your house may contain lead-based paint or want to ensure your home is lead paint free, contact Inspect-It 1st today!



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Our home inspection company's history began in 1991 with the establishment of American Home Inspection. Over the course of the following seven years, a home inspection business prototype was developed that could be implemented anywhere in the United States. Our founders believed they had a unique methodology of providing homebuyers and sellers with consistent, professional and unbiased home inspections.

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