Archive for 2014

Holiday Safety Tips for Your Household

Posted on: December 28th, 2014 | No Comments

Don’t let the hustle and bustle of holiday madness result in a dangerous environment for your family; instead, keep these holiday safety tips in mind!

Mother and two sons enjoying  the season and following holiday safety tips.

 

Holiday Safety Tips for Kids:

Vigilance is key when it comes to practicing proper holiday safety tips for any younger members of the family.

  • Decorate with kids in mind. Place breakable ornaments and sharp hooks higher on your tree. Also keep other decorations with smaller parts out of their reach. Kids are curious!
  • Electronic toys are great, but they often come with batteries that can be harmful to small children. Stay vigilant and consider removing the batteries when the toy is not being played with. Other toys or decorations may include magnets, which are equally harmful and should be removed.
  • Decorating is a great holiday tradition, but certain holiday plants are poisonous to humans (and pets). Keep the following out of reach: mistletoe, holly berries, and Jerusalem cherries.
  • Engage older children in cooking. Use the opportunity to teach all children kitchen rules and precautions.
  • Remove wrapping paper and bow remnants promptly after gifts have been opened, as these can be a choking hazard to small children. Also avoid allowing balloons to deflate for this same reason.

 

Holiday Safety Tips for Pets:

Like kids, pets are curious and holiday safety tips are just as important for these four-legged family members.

  • When pets are allowed to wander into the hectic comings and goings of family, it’s easy to lose track of them. Keep them safe by picking up anything close to the ground that might be harmful, like Poinsettias and the other poisonous plants mentioned above.
  • Sweet treats are one of the greatest parts of Christmas, but they should never be given to pets and should be kept out of their reach. Chocolate is especially dangerous to dogs.

 

Holiday Safety Tips for the Whole Family:

Whether you are traveling or preparing your own home to be a gathering place for friends and family, remember these general holiday safety tips.

  • Water your tree regularly to prevent dry needles from piling up on the floor and being consumed by young kids or pets. They are also a fire hazard.
  • Keep open flames (candles, fireplace) under close watch and away from flammable objects (tree, garland, blankets, etc.). Always extinguish when leaving the house or going to bed. In addition, keep foreign objects such as wrapping paper or disposable dinnerware out of the fireplace.
  • Check light strands for fraying, broken sockets, etc.
  • If you are traveling, check the car prior to your journey. Do the tires have good tread depth? Are the car seats secure? Is the oil and windshield wiper fluid full?
  • When traveling, passengers may get restless (especially younger ones). It’s beneficial to everyone to take occasional breaks to stretch their legs, get food and use the bathroom.
  • Never hang electric lights on a metallic tree or fasten them to walls with metal tacks or nails.
  • Create a list of emergency numbers for any emergency that might arise, no matter who is home. This is especially handy and a stress-reliever for parents leaving children in the hands of family from out of town or a baby sitter.

It’s never clearer than during the holidays that family comes first, and that’s why following these holiday safety tips are important! Keep these safety tips in mind and create a safer environment for everyone.

Don’t stop with these holiday safety tips. Follow through and have your house inspected for any less apparent safety issues prior to visits from your family. Inspect It 1st can check your house for serious health threats like Radon or aging house problems such as plumbing leaks or heating malfunctions.

7 Tips for Staging a Home in the Winter

Posted on: December 9th, 2014 | No Comments

Staging a home for the winter.The winter months are typically a time for settling down in front of a warm fireplace with your family gathered around, passing a plate of brightly frosted cookies. However, it can also be a time for staging a home to sell. After all, if you have plans to move after the holiday season, you can’t stop showing your home to potential buyers.

 

While you may think that staging a home during the winter months is more challenging given a hectic schedule or the dreary grey world outside, there are ways to make your home shine and sparkle with a holiday cheer that will work in your advantage. In fact, many buyers will be able to picture themselves in front of that warm fireplace with family – if you are staging a home correctly to capture the magic and character of the season.

 

 

Here are seven tips to make staging a home in the winter more successful:

  1. The Path to Perfection – Keep in mind that guests won’t be pulling into your garage. If there is snow on the ground, the first step to staging a home is to shovel the driveway and/or a path to the front door. Also check for ice, as traffic over the snow can easily pack down and melt the snow into a dangerous walkway. Sprinkle sand or salt over the path to reduce this risk. In addition, place a mat or two at the front door to limit the spread of snow and muck into the house.
  2. Let There Be Light – If you are staging a home for the evening, turn on the porch lights and enough light inside to be welcoming – that means at least one light in every room. Did you put up a Christmas tree or garland? Turn those lights on. However, the less personal the decorations the better. And if you are staging a home in the day, do away with fake lighting and opt for natural. Just open the window drapes or blinds and let the sunshine in, and only turn on lights where the natural light does not reach. Light also helps a space seem larger.
  3. “Brr” Be Gone – Even if it’s not snowing outside, it’s sure to be chilly. Keep your house warm enough to render a coat unnecessary. A few degrees warmer will keep the heater from kicking on (which could be noisy) and help convince the buyers to linger inside longer. If you have a fireplace, make sure it’s lit for warmth as well as charm.
  4. Eye Candy – Eye candy can start with a festive wreath on the door or twinkling lights outside. Inside, consider staging a home with decorations in the most lived spaces. The living room may have a Christmas tree or stockings hung on the fireplace. Add folded throws or blankets over the arms of couches. Place poinsettias or other holiday plants in the room. The kitchen table might be set with clean dinnerware over a tablecloth or placemats.
  5. Dial Down the Scents – Candles are appropriate to the season but can often be overwhelming. If you light candles, consider the scentless kind and instead bake or cook prior to visiting buyers. Most people would much rather smell chocolate chip cookies than overpowering floral waves.
  6. Set the Mood – Music can be appropriate for this time of year, but keep in mind that not every guest enjoys the same type of music. Try to choose music that is more classic or instrumental, and turn it down to a barely noticeable level that will accent the mood.
  7. Provide Specifics – When staging a home, set out a small card or piece of paper with a list of items of features that you want to highlight in the house. This step is especially helpful in the winter when something like a back porch and jacuzzi might be covered and hidden.

Staging a home is a crucial step in the selling process, enabling you to move onto your next residence and also transition the new family in. These are big decisions for you and those closest to you, and that’s why you should Inspect-It 1st before moving in. Have your new house tested and examined by the experts to ensure that it’s a safe environment. Inspect It 1st offers services to check heating, plumbing, electrical, ventilation, foundation, and everything else that will keep your new home running beautifully!

Buyer’s Checklist: Spa and Pool Inspection

Posted on: November 29th, 2014 | No Comments

Floatation device in a pool ready for pool inspection.

Buying a new property is exciting, but don’t be wowed by the inclusion of a pool and forget the pool inspection! A poorly maintained pool or spa can not only suggest a poorly cared for home, it can also mean thousands of dollars in repair or reconstruction costs to make the property safe and functional for your family. Don’t get hosed by a lack of knowledge; instead, have some conditions and warning signs to look for going into the home buying process and then consider a pool inspection before signing the paperwork.

 

 

 

Before taking the plunge into a house purchase that includes a backyard pool or spa, there are important points to consider:

  1. Asset or Burden? – The first question to ask is if you will utilize a swimming pool. If not, don’t settle for a house in which you’ll have to care for one, or worse yet, pay for upkeep. You might think a swimming pool is an automatic asset as a buyer, but don’t be fooled. In warm climates, a pool might add a 10% resale value to a home, but that’s not true of everywhere! The winter weather in midwestern states, for instance, can damage and deteriorate a pool each year. Maintenance and pool inspection expenses can rack up to between $50-100 per month, even in good weather conditions. The water itself costs, along with heating, chemical balance, water filtration, liability, and mechanical problems that may arise in a pool inspection. In addition, every few years, a pool should be resurfaced. All in all, a pool can amount to an extra few thousand dollars each year for homeowners.
  2. Is the pool or spa up-to-date? – Hoses, pumps, liners, ladders, railing, slides, steps, diving boards – all of these may have cracks, safety concerns, or be in another state of disrepair. Only a pool inspection technician can fully investigate what may require repair and replacement. Even certain external pool conditions such as nearby outlets should be checked for proper circuit-interrupter devices that are missing from older pools. A lack of pool inspection services on pumps and heaters could result in electrocution.
  3. Proper Fencing – Erecting and maintaining proper fencing is critical to your family and guest safety, not to mention the neighborhood (if you have an open backyard). There are codes and local requirements for height and gate closing so as to prevent potential mishaps.
  4. Filling a Pool In – If you love a house but the pool inspection came up with a few thousand dollars in repair costs, you might consider filling it in. But this, too, can be extremely expensive. Quotes for larger pools have been up to $20,000.

Ultimately, deciding to buy a house with a pre-existing pool or spa comes down to money and time. A buyer must weigh the potential use and eventual resale value against repair, upkeep, and pool inspection costs. How do the sides measure out? It might end up being more beneficial to search for an equally lovable home and avoid pools altogether. But if you are considering taking the dive into a house investment, Inspect It 1st offers quality pool inspection services to give you all of the facts and figures for an informed decision.

Series on Safety: Termite Infestation

Posted on: November 14th, 2014 | No Comments

Termites easting away at a piece of wood. What:

There are five common types of termite: dampwood, drywood, conehead, formosan, and subterranean. All of these types of termite consume cellulose-based material, a material that exists to some degree in and around every home in the form of dead plant, wood, and cellulose bits in soil. A termite may only be a single centimeter in length but can cause considerable and costly damage, especially because where there is one, there are always others.

 

Where:

A home foundation is not the only place to find a termite, though it may potentially cause the most danger and damage. Termites also feed on furniture, books, shelves, and antiques (such as sleds or wooden plaques).

 

Drywood termites are the stereotypical kind of termite that often comes to mind to represent the little pest. It is the kind that lives within the wood it consumes, infesting walls and furniture in colonies.

 

Signs:

Often called the “silent destroyer,” a termite can threaten the home without leaving any obvious signs of damage. However, wood that sounds hollow when tapped may indicate a problem. Additionally, watch for “discarded” wings, droppings, and mud tubes on exterior walls and crawl spaces.

 

When a colony is matured, winged “swarming termites” may be visible around windows and doors. They are most active in springtime, which is when they typically mate and spread to other locations to start new colonies.

 

Prevention Steps:

  1. Eliminate moisture problems such as leaks, blocked gutters and vents, standing water, etc.
  2. Seal pipe and utility line entrance points.
  3. Keep firewood away from house foundation.
  4. Check fences and wooden decks for damage.
  5. Keep any wood on and around your home from directly contacting the soil.

 

Treatment:

Contact a trusted expert like Inspect It 1st to investigate. If termites are found, further spray treatment may be needed.

 

A termite problem is detrimental to health as well as safety, but they are not the only pest or concern that may be hiding in a home. Whether you are selling and want to ensure that your house is safe for the next family or you are buying and want to make sure your investment is sound, Inspect It 1st! Take a look at the various inspection services offered by Inspect It 1st and allow the experts to build your peace of mind surrounding termite pests and other potential issues.

 

Fall Cleaning Checklist

Posted on: October 27th, 2014 | No Comments

Home exterior in fall - fall cleaning checklist in action.A chilly breeze is in the air, and soon, the falling leaves will be in motion – circling around the pumpkins that decorate your neighborhood. Trick-or-treaters are coming to knock at the front door. You might even be making arrangements for family to visit you over the coming holiday season. All of these signal one thing – winter is coming!

Are you prepared for fall cleaning? Sure, spring is the better-known season for all of those up-to-your elbows chores, but fall should also be a time for deep cleaning – to prepare a comfortable house to retreat into, surrounded in the warmth of family and friends. Not to mention that a lack of preparation for winter or procrastinating your fall cleaning to-dos can result in long-term damages to your home and yard.

So put down the Halloween candy and wrap yourself up in this essential fall cleaning checklist:

  1. Check caulking around windows. This will enhance insulation and cut down on your electric bill!
  2. Have your carpet professionally cleaned early in the month of October when weather is still warm and the professional cleaning companies are not yet busy.
  3. Fall cleaning wouldn’t be complete without flushing out the gutters after the leaves have fallen. Build-up can create ice dams and prevent proper drainage, roof leaks, etc.
  4. Clean or buy a humidifier (depending on how dry your home gets in the winter).
  5. Remove patio furniture, grills, and children’s toys from the outdoors. Fall cleaning means storing all of your summer possessions in the garage or storage room.
  6. Re-organize kitchen cabinets to prepare for those big family meals!
  7. Check external and garage doors. Is the weather strip crumbling away from age? Does it seal tightly? Fix any issues that might reduce energy efficiency as part of your fall cleaning routine.
  8. Inspect and clean out chimneys, fireplaces and furnaces.
  9. Launder all bedding (including the musty stuff you never use in the closets). Turn over your mattresses.

Don’t let winter sneak up on you. Be ready for guests and the season’s harsher climate by marking fall cleaning chores off of our handy checklist. And if you get on a roll, try conquering other tasks from our general maintenance checklist. Staying on top of these tasks keep your home comfortable, your family happy, and your property value high in case a time comes when you want to sell! Interested in buying or selling now? Consult Inspect-it 1st to see if your house needs any safety updates or improvements.

Fall Pet Safety Tips

Posted on: October 14th, 2014 | No Comments

Smiling dog is an example of pet safety. Buying or selling a house aren’t the only reasons to get a safety inspection; sometimes you just want to ensure your family is living in a healthy environment and that means investing in pet safety as well as human safety! After all, our four-legged companions are our furry best friends and they rely on responsible, aware owners to give them a full, happy life. Not to mention that pet safety very closely coincides with overall living safety for humans too! Think that dust, mold, or a crumbling foundation are any less dangerous for animals? Think again.

Here are some household tips for pet safety that you may want to give extra attention when cleaning, moving somewhere new, or just enjoying the fall weather and upcoming holidays:

  1. Reduce allergies. You might be susceptible to outdoor pollens and even your own pet’s dander, but did you know that they can be susceptible to allergens too? If you see your pet itching more often or developing a rash, that just might be the case.
    • Outside: To increase human and pet safety, be sure to rake away those fallen leaves and mow the grass and hedges down to counter any possible nature irritants to your pet and you!
    • Inside: Brush your cat or dog twice to three times per week as they shed their summer coats to make room for winter ones. Otherwise, that hair will get all over your carpet, clothes, and furniture – not healthy and definitely not welcoming to guests.
  2. Beware of pests. Fall is a season for all kinds of pests to make their last pre-winter harrah. Continue monitoring your pet safety by checking for fleas and ticks. Those are nasty little buggers to bring indoors to endanger your family, let alone torment your furry friend. Also, be aware of where your pets romp around. Leaves, wood piles, and long grass can host dangerous snakes and other cranky critters trying to prepare for winter.
  3. Ensure access to water. Even though the temperatures are cooling, your pet still needs to drink a lot of water to stay healthy and active. Check the water bowl, especially if its outside, as cooler temperatures can freeze the water. Clear out ice chunks from the bowl to increase pet safety. While you’re at it, check the walkways and gutters for ice buildup – if the bowl water froze, chances are that ice could have built up and created danger zones elsewhere.
  4. Stay vigilant on holidays. Your pets become attention hogs with all of those guests around, but it’s easy to lose track of them with all of the festivities.
    • Halloween: Thinking of dressing your pets up and letting them participate in giving out candy? Consider using reflective stickers on their outfits in case they get loose at night in the street. Also, keep an eye on that candy bowl by the door. Your puppy might decide that chocolate smells tasty, but it can make a dog seriously sick.
    • Thanksgiving: Lots of leftovers? It’s tempting to throw some to your lovable, pouting pooch. But many human foods can be harmful to animals. When it comes time to clean up, use safe alternatives to harsh cleaning chemicals. This will avoid releasing fumes and covering surfaces with human and pet safety hazards.
    • Christmas: Presents, tree water, decorations, strings of lights – all of these may look delicious to a dog or cat, but the sharp edges, chokable objects, and electrical sources can considerably jeopardize pet safety as well as interfere with seasonal celebrations.

Concerned about human or pet safety risks that might already exist in your home? It’s never a bad time for household maintenance and safety inspection services. Inspect-it 1st will help you find and address any possible concerns, keeping your entire family – including your pets – safe. Best of all, an inspection can set your mind at ease so that you can fully enjoy the cooling fall weather and the holidays to come!

6 Fall Lawn Care Secrets

Posted on: September 26th, 2014 | No Comments

Fall lawn care basics. In the fall, lawn care is tricky. Temperatures are beginning to descend. Days are becoming shorter. Soon the trees will be covered in fiery coats, and then they will shed their leaves onto the lush green grass you took so much time to care for over the hot summer months. As winter nears, your lawn will go dormant and may even become covered in a blanket of snow. These seasonal changes require an increased awareness. Improper fall lawn care could result in rotted roots, insect infestations, and other problems that delight pesky spring garden gnomes.

 

Here is our complete list of the six fall lawn care secrets the garden gnomes don’t want you to know – shh!

  • Fertilization will boost spring growth. Many proud yard owners don’t realize that grass roots keep growing during the winter months, even if your yard is snow-covered. Fertilization in the fall provides additional nutrients that supply a boost to your lawn until the snow melts and spring arrives.
  • Power seeding increases turf density, reducing insect and weed damage. Want thicker grass? Power seeding in your fall lawn care routine increases turf density. Not only does this mean your grass will come in less patchy next year, it also reduces the space for nasty weeds and detrimental insects to take hold. Be careful not to overseed, as this could harm your turf in the long run. Professional fall lawn care teams can measure the right amount for your lawn’s needs.
  • Lawn aeration counters summer lawn traffic. All of those football games and grilling parties in the yard really condensed the grass. Aeration counters grass compaction and increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients reaching the roots.
  • Raking/blowing leaves off the lawn once per week increases its health. Autumn leaves may dress up the trees and even decorate a yard in fallen color, but the leaves can actually prevent sunlight from reaching your grass and shrubs. No sunlight means that your lawn greens can’t build up the food it needs to remain healthy through the winter.
  • Fall is the best time to discover pest problems and take preventative steps for spring. Grubs and other insects can destroy roots, not to mention eat certain shrubs outright. Analyzing your yard and treating it for pests is crucial to fall lawn care and gives your lawn a head start for the spring. And since certain chemicals may be applied to treat your yard, what better time than the chilly fall to have to keep your family off of it?
  • Winterizing shrubs/trees prevents moisture loss and accidents. Maintaining your lawn also means maintaining the other components of your yard, as the system works together. Note that certain evergreens experience extreme loss of moisture in the fall and winter. To help prevent this dehydration and keep your yard healthy, you can apply a special oil to trunks. In addition, trim back limbs that overhang your house and walkways. When covered in snow or potentially frozen and brittle, they could break off and fall onto/around your house which could end in costly repairs.

Keeping your yard healthy and pest-free starts with fall lawn care. Power seeding, aerating, fertilizing, and other practices will ensure a healthier and more aesthetically-pleasing lawn in the spring. This is especially important if you are looking to sell your house, as both the interior and exterior will be extensively checked for problems. Not to mention it will need to look its best!

 

If you are concerned about pests or other problems that might come up in the exterior checklist of a house inspection, take the first step by hiring Inspect-it 1st. Their quality inspection services will help give you peace of mind about the state and safety of your home.

8 Tips for Household Dust Control

Posted on: September 16th, 2014 | No Comments

Older woman practicing dust control in her home. When you were little, your parents might have warned you to beware of dust bunnies. And as you grew older, you thought that they were exaggerating to inspire you to be tidier and follow their cleaning rules for dust control. But the truth is that dust can be the vehicle for much nastier critters and chemicals than bunnies.

 

Depending on the age and state of your home, dust can carry asbestos, crumbling flecks of lead paint, or dozens of other harmful chemicals that are released from new furniture, cleaners, etc. In addition, dust may include dander, animal fur, and many allergen-causing agents. So allowing dust to just sit around and form “bunnies” that jump back into the air when disturbed can be quite as detrimental to your health as your parents originally suggested.

 

Instead of growing a “fluffle” of dust bunnies, crack down with these 8 tips for household dust control:

 

 

1. Simplify to decrease surface area.
Fewer surfaces means fewer places for dust to accumulate. Minimize knick-knacks, furniture, and other household items that don’t serve a purpose (other than as a home for dust bunnies).

 

2. Rearrange furniture.

Dust mites (and dust in general) cling to upholstered fabrics very easily. Upholstered furniture should be avoided in bedrooms and wherever else possible, so rearranged those pieces into the living room decor. Vacuum them along with your carpets to improve surface dust control.

 

3. Keep floors clear.

If you have kids or keep projects spread out across the floors of your homes (toys, puzzles, blankets, magazines, etc.), those items are gathering the dust that would otherwise be caught in the carpet and sucked up by the vacuum. Keeping your floor clear makes it easier to vacuum for optimal dust control.

 

4. Organize closets/shelves.
Closets, pantries, and shelves are huge dust collectors. Dust migrates and gets caught in corners and lurks behind shelved items waiting to stir up into the air when the items are shifted or removed. Just like the rest of your home, simplify what is displayed and stored in this way so that cleaning is easier and more effective.

 

5. Remove your shoes.
Dust control starts when you enter the door, dragging in debris and chemicals in the dust on your clothes and shoes. One option for preventing the spread of outside dust inside your home is by removing your shoes outside or by the front door.

 

6. Isolate pet toys and beds.
Pet toys and beds are horrible dust magnets. They get tossed around the carpets, forgotten in corners, and dragged through dirt on a daily basis. Eliminate finding dust bunnies where only your pet should be by running these items through a laundry cycle and isolating them when not in use (ie stored in a closed cupboard).

 

7. Wash linens regularly.
Dust falls onto made and disheveled beds and collects on the linens you sleep in each night. Improve your household dust control by washing bedding regularly. Even bedding in guest rooms that aren’t being used should be washed, especially prior to guests arriving.

 

8. Vacuum and clean surfaces weekly.
This tip for dust control seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, it’s tough to remember to clean before the dust gets noticeable or out of control. Mark your calendar with a sticker or note to remind yourself that it’s time to clean! Don’t forget areas like plant leaves and fans/lighting fixtures.
Dust bunnies are an unwanted collection of critters in every household. From mites to harsh chemicals and annoying allergens, dust can be a serious danger to your health. The eight steps listed above for maintaining dust control reduce the risk of health problems from dust and help keep your entire home clean and safe.

 

 

Keeping your home safe doesn’t stop here. There are many simple home maintenance tasks for both the interior and exterior of your house that can be accessed through Inspect-It 1st. The inspection professionals at Inspect-It 1st are dedicated to helping you fix potential home dangers and keeping your home comfortable, whether you are buying, selling, or just maintaining your home.

How to Keep Your House Cool … Without Touching the AC

Posted on: August 26th, 2014 | No Comments

How to Keep Your House Cool… Without Touching the ACThe traditional summer months are coming to an end, but the heat remains. For some this means frizzy hair or rolling down the car windows, but for most it also means cranking up the AC. Turning that dial to try to cool your living quarters can be costly, but perhaps you don’t know how to keep your house cool without that modern convenience. Here we examine a few alternatives on how to keep your house cool without touching the AC.

  1. Close Doors – As much as possible, keep your house closed off from the ambient humid and hot air. This means keeping your external doors closed. But how to keep your house cool goes beyond shutting out the external heat. You should also keep internal doors closed to isolate the cooler air within your home.
  2. Cover Windows – Twenty to thirty percent of unwanted heat comes from sunlight and hot air permeating the windows of your home. Covering your windows, ie closing the blinds or drapes during the daytime, can lower indoor temperature by up to 20 degrees. That can result to saving 7% on your electric bill each month.
  3. Use Vent Exhausts – If you take a warm shower or cook something in the oven, those areas of your house can heat up considerably. Be sure to use vent exhausts in your bathroom and above your stove to allow the hot air to escape and keep the surrounding rooms cool.
  4. Cool from the Inside Out – The tricks for how to keep your house cool won’t make a difference if you yourself are not cool! So while you are making the necessary changes around your house, make them also with yourself. Drink iced beverages that lower your internal temperature. Take colder baths/showers, and cool your skin down with ice packs while sitting around the house.
  5. Adjust Fans -Fans should be adjusted seasonally. In the warm summer months, program your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise.
  6. Let in the Night Air – Even in the summer time, nights are usually cooler. One of the simplest methods of how to keep your house cool without the AC is by opening up the windows at night.
  7. Change Your Sheets – Avoid using flannel and other heavy material sheets during the summer. Cotton breathes more easily and doesn’t retain body heat.
  8. Grill – How to keep your house cool may have more to do with what you do outside. Grilling reduces the build-up of heat your oven and stove would produce in food preparation. In addition, grilling takes people outdoors into cool breezes.
  9. Purchase Better Light Bulbs – Incandescent lights waste almost 90% of the energy they produce in the form of unnecessary heat. Switch to more efficient bulbs that will last longer and put off less heat.
  10. Make Lasting Home Improvements – Shading your house with sunlight-absorbing plants and trees helps the environment and reduces the heat gripping your home. At the same time, your landscaping adds to the curb value of your house; you are making a permanent environmental and financial investment!

As heat waves continue through the end of the summer, cut back on your energy bill by finding alternatives to turning on your AC. How to keep your house cool can be as easy as closing the curtains and planting a few shady trees. But it might also be beneficial to have your house inspected. Getting new windows with better insulation and other home improvements might make a huge difference to your comfort. Call and schedule an appointment with Inspect-It 1st today!

Series on Safety: Lead Paint Poisoning

Posted on: August 11th, 2014 | No Comments

Lead paint removal to prevent lead paint poisoning.Lead-based paints were commonly used on houses and various other products prior to recent decades. It is estimated that lead paint poisoning has claimed a large portion of the 143,000 lives lost to lead poisoning worldwide and causes 600,000 disabilities per year, according to UN health officials. Low and middle income countries are especially prone to this health concern, but 30 countries and counting have phased out lead paint use. The United States banned lead paint in 1978 but over 24 million houses built prior to 1978 are still in use and exposing families to lead paint poisoning. Certain interior items such as antique furniture and toys are also putting people at risk.

 

What: Paint containing lead poisons all systems of the human body. After ingestion or consumption, lead pollutes the blood and results in damage to the brain and central nervous system. High exposure can produce convulsions and eventually lead to a coma or death. Low exposure still affects brain development, especially in young children. Lead paint poisoning has been shown to reduce IQ and attention span, increase antisocial behavior, and decrease academic achievement. Affected adults may see increased risk of kidney failure and raised blood pressure.

 

Where: Lead paint can be found on the outside or inside of older homes as well as on antique furniture and toys, and candy from Mexico. Costume jewelry and other toys passed down through generations within a family might be posing a lead paint poisoning danger.

 

When: As the lead paint on various surfaces begins to peel and decay, it often crumbles into a dust-like substance carried through the air and able to be ingested. In addition, studies claim that children under the age of 6 are at an increased risk of consuming lead by touching items with deteriorating paint and then putting their hands in their mouths.

 

Symptoms: While there are no obvious symptoms, an affected individual may demonstrate tiredness, hyperactivity, irritability, poor appetite, weight loss, trouble sleeping, or stomach aches. Because these symptoms may go unnoticed or attributed to other things, lead paint poisoning often goes unchecked. If you suspect someone you know is being poisoned by lead paint, encourage them to get a blood test.

 

Action: Once lead paint has been ingested or consumed and takes its toll on the body, there is no known countermeasure to undo the damage. Therefore, it’s imperative to take preventative measures.

 

Prevention: Lead paint poisoning can be prevented (especially in children) in several ways.

  1. Check the date of the buildings and houses your where you and your children spend the most time. If any were built prior to 1978, consult a local health official and take measures to reduce prolonged exposure until you know if the lead paint has been removed.
  2. Keep pregnant women and children away from renovations, especially renovations for structures older than 1978.
  3. Wash children’s hands and toys regularly.
  4. Keep children from playing in bare soil. Use a sandbox instead.
  5. Create barriers between your family and any items known to contain lead paint. Fence your house off from the older house next door or keep antique furniture in a room young children don’t enter.
  6. Keep your house free of dust by cleaning consistently.
  7. Get an inspection!

Lead paint poisoning is a serious health concern facing many countries. Even though the United States has banned the use of lead-based paint, old houses and antique or imported items may still pose a considerable threat.

 

Take preventative steps to protect your family from lead paint poisoning. Seek blood tests if you suspect exposure. And consider the inspection services from Inspect-It 1st to see if the painted surfaces or dust in your home are contaminated.

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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