Archive for March, 2014

Electrical Wiring: How To Be Sure Your Home is Up to Code

Posted on: March 25th, 2014 | No Comments

Electrical wiring by an electrician.

From running the dishwasher to powering important electronic devices, electricity runs our lives. But, what happens if there is a problem with the system? Exposed wiring, outdated breakers, and a host of other potential issues could pose dangers for you and your family. So, how can you avoid these pitfalls and ensure the wiring in your home is safe? Here are a few tips from the experts at Inspect-It 1st:

  1. Get your home inspected if it is:
    • Over 40 Years Old: Old wiring and circuits can wear out, become exposed or simply not be fit to handle the amount of energy that is being transmitted along them. Ensure any older wiring is up to par by getting it professionally inspected by a home inspector or your local electrician.
    • Major Renovations: If your home has had any major renovations or additions and is more than 10 years old, it is a good idea to get the wiring inspected. Verify all new wiring was run correctly and that safety standards for adding an electrical circuit meet code requirements.
    • New Home: If you are moving into a new home. No matter what age your home is, it is always a good idea to have the electrical wiring inspected to make sure it is up to code prior to purchasing. Repairs can sometimes be costly, so knowing beforehand is important when assessing your the best purchase options.
  2. Keep an eye out for unexpected power loss, flickering lights, overheating switch plates or outlet covers and other signs of electrical problems. These can indicate faulty or old wiring that can cause electrocution or start a fire.
  3. Check your fuse panel. If fuses are consistently being blown, they may be old and need replacing. Additionally, over fused electric panels can be extremely dangerous. Be sure the electric panel does not contain fuses or breakers rated at a higher current than the current capacity allows.
  4. Label all fuses or breakers in the electrical panel.
  5. Test outlets to ensure all plugs fit snugly and do not move or wobble. If outlets are not snug, they should be replaced  to avoid shocks or potential fires.
  6. Maintain cord integrity. If you find a cord that is frayed or damaged, remove and replace it immediately for your safety. Any exposed wiring can be dangerous because splicing and taping is not a safe, long-term solution.

Maintaining a safe electrical system in your home is important to avoid the occasional shock or blown fuse. It can also prevent larger shocks and electrical malfunctions which could lead to an electrical fire. By inspecting your home’s wiring thoroughly when you move in and maintaining the wiring through proper maintenance and upkeep, you can feel better about the safety of your home for both you and your family.

 

Don’t have a trusted electrician in your area yet? Inspect-It 1st can provide an experienced and trustworthy inspector that will evaluate your home’s wiring system. They can also provide you with the names of electricians in your area that can help fix any present problems.

Siding Options: Things to Consider When it Comes Time to Reside your Home

Posted on: March 18th, 2014 | No Comments

Siding options.The exterior of your home is extremely important, both structurally and aesthetically. There are a huge array of siding options – ranging from stucco to wood to brick, and the list goes on. Each type of siding has its benefits and drawbacks. We wanted to break these options down based on their costs – and the long term outcomes of choosing a certain type of siding over another. Below is an analysis of 4 popular siding options to consider:

 

Vinyl Siding

Benefits:

  • Wide variety of colors and styles available

  • Lightweight but durable

  • Fast installation

  • Can be fitted over old siding

  • 30-50 year lifespan

Drawbacks:

  • Not exceptionally eco-friendly, made with PVC which does not degrade

  • Seams show where the panels meet

Cost: $2-$6 per square foot (installed)

 

Metal/Aluminum Siding

Benefits:

  • Comes prefinished with color or wood grain options

  • Dent resistant

  • Insect and Fireproof

  • Low maintenance

  • 50+ year lifespan

Drawbacks:

  • Dents are permanent

  • Scratches must be touched up professionally

Cost: $3-$5 per square foot (installed)

 

Fiber Cement/Stucco Siding

Benefits:

  • Strong compound which is made to be durable and weather resistant

  • High-end look

  • Does not require painting

  • 30 year warranty (generally)

Drawbacks:

  • Can crack and will need to be touched up

  • Special tools needed for installation, more involved in installation process

Cost: $5-$9 per square foot (installed)

 

Wood Siding

Benefits:

  • Easy to work with and install

  • Appealing to the eye

  • 100+ year lifetime

Drawbacks:

  • Upkeep is more involved; it can involve repainting every 5 years, restaining every 3 years, and redoing the clear finish every 2 years

  • Requires a clean surface to retrofit; all old siding must be removed

  • Species such as Pine or Fir can rot if not properly maintained

Cost: $6-$9 per square foot (installed)

 

Choosing the right siding option for your home is a big decision. Once you narrow down your choices, do your research and contact local contractors for estimates. Return on investment varies as well, whether this is important to you at this point or not, knowing how this investment will play out in the future may also influence your decision.

 

Residing your home is a long-term investment. Doing the appropriate research will help you determine what the best option is for your home. If money is not the bottom line, there are many other factors including region, durability, maintenance, and appearance. These things should all be considered when choosing which type of siding to use on your home. If you are having trouble deciding, get in touch with a trusted contractor whom you feel will give you quality answers to your questions. An informed decision is a good decision. This is your home: invest in it, protect it and enjoy it!

 

Series on Safety: Plumbing

Posted on: March 11th, 2014 | No Comments

Plumbing - Plumber fixing a broken pipe.Winter can wreak havoc on your home plumbing. With arctic temperatures sliding across the United States in recent weeks, many people in the southern half of the country were surprised by unexpected plumbing problems they had never experienced before. From frozen pipes to drainage problems, a cold snap can mean waking up to a big mess. Flooding, even leaks, can cause unhealthy mold growth and leave your home smelling musty and wet. So, how can you avoid frozen pipes? Can you DIY a plumbing job? We have the answers for you.

 

The most prevalent issue when it comes to cold weather and plumbing is frozen pipes. Don’t worry too much if the temps outside dip below freezing as pipes will not freeze until temps hold around 20º according to the University of Illinois Building Research Council. However, temperatures in the sub-zero range can put your pipes in danger. The easiest way to avoid freezing is insulation. Foam pipe insulation sleeves are available at most home improvement stores, and do the trick for exposed pipes in crawl spaces and attics. In addition, electrical tape can be wrapped around smaller sections of pipe to prevent freezing.

 

Another way to prevent frozen pipe problems is to maintain heat circulation throughout the house, including crawl spaces and attics. Any vents that let cold outside air into these spaces should be closed, and heat from the house will be allowed to radiate through them. This minimal heat can help to ensure the pipes don’t freeze through during an extended deep freeze.

 

In the event that your pipes do freeze, there are a few things you can do to prevent them from bursting or other pipe damage. First, turn off the water main to prevent issues after the ice melts. Second, turn on all faucets in the house, just enough so that they dribble. This allows the pressure to be released that can form in frozen pipes. Relieving this pressure can help ensure the expanding ice does not crack or burst your pipes. Lastly, if you want to try manually thawing the pipes, a hair dryer or other radiative source of heat can be used to slowly warm the frozen sections. Do not use an open flame or torch to thaw frozen pipes.

 

Should a pipe crack or burst, a drop in water pressure will be noticeable, and would indicate a problem somewhere in the line. The water main should be turned off immediately to avoid a constant flow of water through the pipes. Even a small crack can create immeasurable damage on your home, so if you notice a small leak or crack, call a plumber immediately and have the cracked section replaced. Even if you cannot see a crack or break, that does not mean it is not there. These problems can occur out of sight, so make sure to keep an eye out for any indications of the presence of water in walls, floors or your ceiling.

 

Be aware of the cold temperatures, and keep an eye on plumbing to keep your home safe and dry. If problems do arise, call a professional. Plumbing is not always something you can learn how to do on the internet, especially large repairs. Avoiding major water damage is a top priority when protecting your family and home. Vigilance when it comes to plumbing care and maintenance is the first defense when cold weather strikes.

 

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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