Posts Tagged ‘Home Inspection’

Mold Testing in a Home

Posted on: August 3rd, 2016 | No Comments

How to Detect Mold in a HouseJust about everyone has heard of mold and knows of the damage it can do over time if left untreated, but many homeowners don’t know exactly what mold is or how to detect it in the house.

The Inspect-It 1st team is experienced with a variety of common home problems, many of which lead to mold growth, and our home inspectors are experts in the services we provide. This blog post shares all homeowners need to know about mold detection and testing.

What is Mold?

Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors, growing best in warm, damp conditions. Molds need water to grow, and they spread by producing spores. According to the CDC, indoor mold is most likely to be found where humidity levels are high, such as basements or showers.

 

In addition, some people are sensitive to molds, and exposure can cause symptoms such as congestion, eye and skin irritation, wheezing and sometimes more severe reactions. If you notice a moldy smell or begin suffering allergic symptoms, there’s a good chance mold is hidden in the house.

How to Detect Mold in a House

If you see or smell mold in your home, there is a potential health risk, so no matter what type of mold is present, you should arrange for its removal. As long as water is present, mold will continue to grow and eventually damage the home structure, as well as increase the chances of your exposure.

 

Mold testing, which should always be performed by a qualified professional, can tell you if you have a mold problem in your home, detect hidden mold, measure indoor air quality and identify what species of mold is present.

 

The three main types of mold tests are air testing, surface testing and bulk testing. Air sampling tests the concentration of mold spores in the air, which can tell you if there’s a mold problem even if you haven’t found the growth. Surface testing takes samples from household surfaces to assess how much the mold has grown and spread. Lastly, bulk testing involves collecting pieces of material from the home to estimate the concentration of particles around the house. Testing is also useful after mold removal, ensuring that the removal was successful and thorough.

 

Inspection and Prevention

With the potential dangers to both your health and your home when mold grows undetected, it’s important to be informed and aware of areas more prone to mold growth, calling in the professionals for inspection if necessary.

 

Homeowners, buyers and real estate professionals choose to “Inspect-It 1st” because with a high level of customer care and our ability to deliver 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 the presence of mold in your home or want to ensure your home is mold-free, contact Inspect-It 1st today!

Home Water Leak Detection

Posted on: June 29th, 2016 | No Comments

ResearchHome Water Leak Testing image shows the typical home loses between 2,000 and 20,000 gallons of water each year due to leaks. Some common leaks such as faucets or water heaters are easy to detect; however, many leaks go undetected for years if the source of the leak isn’t visible. In addition, the precise location of a leak isn’t always apparent either, as some leaks may start in one place but flow along a channel before draining down and creating visible damage in another.

 

The Inspect-It 1st team is well-versed in home water leak detection, as well as water leak testing and prevention through our inspection services. If you suspect you may have a leak and aren’t sure what steps to take next, below are some of the best ways to detect a water leak in a house.

 

How to Detect a Water Leak in a House

  • Use Your Water Meter

    The best way to check if there’s a water leak in your home is by monitoring your water meter. Check and write down your meter reading, then after ensuring no water is being run in or outside the house, check the reading again an hour or two later. If the reading has changed, you have a leak.

  • Detect Leaking Faucets and Toilets

    These are the most common sources of water leaks in a home, with leaky faucets generally a result of a worn rubber washer, and toilet leaks typically caused by its flapper, both of which are easily replaceable. Close listening is important, and if you hear any hissing noises, try and locate where it’s coming from as this is indicative of a leak.

  • Detect an Underground Leak

    While any water leak in your home can be detected using the water meter, underground leaks are often detected visually. Make note if the look or feel of certain areas is consistently wet. Being aware of any puddles or dark spots on your driveway and curb can help detect underground leaks as well.

  • Schedule an Inspection

    When it comes to the upkeep of your home, the saying, “Better safe than sorry,” always rings true. If you suspect a water leak issue, bringing in a professional as soon as possible to prevent the problem from escalating is a tremendous save for potential destruction, financial cost and stress.

 

With the average cost of home water damage insurance claims being nearly $7,000, water leak testing and keeping your home dry should be a top priority for homeowners. Inspect-It 1st provides a wide range of inspection services, giving you the convenience of making one call instead of having to schedule multiple inspectors. We deliver a high-quality, thorough inspection report and are here whenever you have a question, even after the inspection. If you detect a water leak in your home, contact Inspect-It 1st today to learn more about water leak testing services!

How Much Does Home Inspection Cost ?

Posted on: June 6th, 2016 | No Comments

How Much is a Home InspectionPurchasing a home is arguably one of the biggest decisions one makes in life, so it’s essential to be sure you’re purchasing the right one – and avoiding any unpleasant surprises that may come with it.

 

A property inspection is a small investment that plays a big role in your home-buying process. Our thorough inspection services include a complete assessment of the home’s systems and interior/exterior components, also evaluating how these systems are working together and identifying areas that need to be watched, repaired or replaced.

How Much is a Home Inspection ?

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), costs for home inspections vary dramatically, depending on the region, size and age of the house, scope of services and other factors, typically ranging from $300 to $500. The reported average costs around $315, with condos and homes under 1,000 sq. ft. costing as little as $200 and homes over 2,000 sq. ft. costing $400 or more.

Here is what you should know going into the home inspection process:

  • Inspectors quote inspection fees using different methods. Some charge a flat rate by square footage of the living areas, some by square footage under the roof, or others may charge by amount of time spent on the inspection.
  • Typically, the larger your home is, the more you should expect to pay for an inspection.
  • The age of the home can affect cost as well. Newer homes can usually be inspected in a shorter time than older ones due to repairs, additions and other aspects that come with age.
  • There’s no industry standard for calculating home inspection price, so be sure to ask your inspector up front how much you’ll be charged.
  • Paying the lowest cost doesn’t always mean you’re getting the best value. Inspectors aren’t regulated by the HUD, so inspectors charging the cheapest rates may not be providing the most thorough service.

 

If you’re ready to purchase a home, before you close the deal, Inspect-It 1st! Our pre-purchase inspections will give you the accurate information you need to make one of life’s most important decisions, with confidence. We encourage potential buyers to accompany the inspector, and after our on-site inspection and consultation, you will receive our high-quality, thorough inspection report, complete with color photos and an easy-to-use summary. Contact us today to learn more about the home inspection process and to get started on yours!

 

The Importance of Water Quality Testing This Summer

Posted on: May 24th, 2016 | No Comments

Water quality testing keeps your family safe.Water quality testing on an annual basis or when purchasing a new home prevents unnecessary health risks to you and your family. While the United States has one of the safest and healthiest water supplies in the world, there’s still a chance of contamination. The only way to be sure of the water being delivered to your home is through water quality testing by professionals. Even if you have a water test kit, it’s not something you can figure out on your own. There are contaminants that may escape the detection of anyone who isn’t trained in what to look for and where.

 

Is water quality testing regulated?

Yes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates your tap water so that it is safe to drink and use. They create rules for proper water treatment and the maximum contaminant levels of different elements that can safely exist in a public water supply without posing a risk.

 

Companies like Inspect-It 1st utilize the rules and regulations set up by the EPA to ensure public safety. Through a combination of specialized equipment and experience, inspectors test your home’s water directly and determine if anything needs to be fixed in order to maintain a safe and sanitary water supply.

 

What contaminants can water quality testing detect?

There are standards and regulations for over 90 different types of water contaminants, including Salmonella, E. Coli, and disinfectant by-products. In some cases, the presence of a contaminant may make the water unsafe to drink. In other cases, only a very high level of a contaminant will cause concern.

The contaminants come from a variety of places or land conditions. Here are a few common sources for the contaminants detected by water quality testing:

  • Manufacturing processes nearby can pollute the groundwater with heavy metals or cyanide.
  • Sewage systems may malfunction or seep into the incoming water supply.
  • Local land use practices (fertilization, pesticides, livestock) can contaminate local water sources.

Why is water quality testing so important?

While the presence of certain naturally occurring chemicals or minerals may not pose an imminent threat, other contaminants can be seriously hazardous to your family’s health. Health issues from unclean water include reproductive problems, neurological conditions, and gastrointestinal illness. Infants, pregnant women, and the elderly may have a particularly high risk for these health conditions.

If you suspect your home water to be compromised or want to ensure that the water in a new house is safe, Inspect-It 1st. Water quality testing keeps your family safe and allows your mind to be at ease in your new home! Find an inspector near you today.

Summertime Prep: A Comprehensive Pool Inspection

Posted on: April 25th, 2016 | No Comments

Woman relaxes after getting a pool inspection.A pool inspection is highly recommended at the beginning of each summer, or optimally in the spring. That way, a swimming pool can either be deemed safe and clean for your enjoyment or you can proceed with the proper repairs to ensure that it’s ready for summer use! Yearly repairs also help maintain a pool so that the expenses for upkeep remain manageable. Otherwise, a pool that is left to fall into disrepair could produce a hefty fee for replacement or removal.

 

Typical pool inspection includes an assessment of the following key safety and health components:

  • The presence, absence, and state of child-safe barriers
  • The security and safety of handrails, slides, ladders, and diving boards
  • Proper cleaning system function
  • The maintenance of interior and exterior finish materials (EX: steps, decks, and coping)
  • Checking for cross-connections within the water supply system
  • Ensuring the external bonds between pump motors, heaters, blowers, and other equipment
  • The operation of electronic circuits, underwater lighting, circuit interrupters, and conduits
  • System-wide observation of valves, piping, pumps, filters, drains, heaters, and safety controls

Do you think your home pool and spa may be out-of-date or need repair? Before you jump in this summer, Inspect-It 1st! That way, you can have peace of mind that your family and friends will be safe as they enjoy pool parties and daily swims.

 

A pool inspection is also beneficial when buying or selling a home. Aside from being a way to ensure safety, it also protects your interests as a seller or buyer, much like a typical home inspection for things like roofing, siding, paint, foundation, patio, plumbing, electrical, and ventilation. If you’re in the middle of a home sale or purchase, consider Inspect-It 1st. With Inspect-It 1st, you can group your inspection needs for features inside and outside of the home, including the comprehensive pool inspection. Inspect-It 1st does it all!

Tackling Termite Season

Posted on: March 22nd, 2016 | No Comments

Tackling Termite SeasonTermite season is upon us, meaning your home may be at risk of termite damage or is already experiencing it. Termite season runs March-November. While termites technically are around all year, in colder climates they tend to slow down between December-February. Discovering that your home has termites can be a scary thing, but addressing the issue and preventing termites from taking over your home in the first place can be the best strategy. 

 

How do I know if my home has termites?

Although it is termite season, your home may not be at risk depending on the location and upkeep of your home. But knowing how to recognize a termite problem can save your home if they ever decide to pay you a visit. Termites tend to gather in dark, humid environments, meaning you most likely won’t find them on a wood surface because they are actually inside the wood. If wood sounds hollow or empty, it could be because termites are inside eating the wood. Other signs of termites can be groups of winged insects, known as swarmers, gathering around the exterior of your home. They will build mud tubes in corners of your home to provide themselves with moisture while they search your home for food.

 

How do I get rid of termites?

Getting rid of termites can be an easy process if they haven’t completely invaded your home, but it also can be a complicated process. Identifying which type of termite has moved into your home and then removing its food source are the first steps in creating a solution. To eliminate termites, there are wood treatments and also liquid pesticides that you can apply to the soil around your home. More importantly, it is imperative that you properly identify the type of termite that is causing damage or invading your home in swarms. If you think your home has termites but are unsure, bring in Inspect-It 1st. We can quickly identify the type of termite as well as how to get rid of these pests for the long haul.

 

Termite season can cause many issues for the exterior and interior of your home if you aren’t prepared. Taking precautions to prepare your home for termite season is recommended and will keep your house ready to sell when the time comes. If you are concerned that termite season has taken a toll on your home, call Inspect-It 1st. We can help you recognize the signs of termites and identify a solution to get rid of termites for once and for all.

How to Select A Home Inspection Company

Posted on: February 23rd, 2016 | No Comments

How to Select A Home Inspection CompanySelecting a home inspection company can be a daunting task, as you want to make sure you are choosing a reliable and honest service. Many different factors contribute to a quality home inspection company. Our VP of Business Development explains the best ways to choose a home inspection company in our Whitepaper guide. Let’s take a quick sneak peak into her best tips right here! Choosing a qualified home inspection company can help you select a home based on investment factors and not your emotions, leading to buying a home that may have a greater financial return in the long run.

 

State Certification & Compliance

Many states have home inspector legislation that requires specific training, continued education, and insurance for home inspectors and home inspection companies to comply with and keep current. Choosing a company or inspector that complies with these state rules will ensure your inspection will be of top quality. Some home inspectors let their continued education or particular certificates go unrenewed, creating gaps in their ability to provide clients with a qualified home inspection. Always look for companies that are labeled as ‘state certified.’

 

Training

Training is key in any professional service, and home inspection is no exception. Home inspection company employees are trained in many areas that are most likely unseeable to the untrained eye. If a home inspection company neglects to train their inspectors adequately, small details and even major issues can go unnoticed. You can request specific information from a home inspection company or inspector about proof of training; number of hours spent training, hands-on field training and ongoing education.

 

Insurance Coverage

During a home inspection, there is a small chance that an inspector could make a mistake or cause damage, just like any professional doing a very particular job. You should make sure they have two major types of insurance to cover any related damage that may occur during a home inspection. This is known as Errors & Omissions/Professional Liability Insurance and General Liability Insurance. Ensuring that the home inspection company is covered by these types of insurance will save you from damage risk factors. To learn more about these particular types of insurance, read the full version of the Whitepaper guide.

 

Report Format & Delivery

The report you receive should be detailed, understandable and comply with general standards. There is a variety of specific questions you should ask of your home inspection company and inspector, including; what is the report format, does the report include digital photography, and more. Your home inspection company should also provide you with a variety of options on how to deliver the report.

 

Franchise vs. Independent

When choosing a franchise or independent home inspection company, it’s important to make sure each one complies with training standards, certificates, and more. Prices may vary between a franchise and an independent, but making sure you are getting a qualified service for the amount you are spending is a critical factor to keep in mind.

 

Choosing a home inspection company can be easier than expected with the Whitepaper guide. Each of these sections, provides further information to help you make a smart decision with your home inspection company. Realtors can help you choose a qualified company as well. If you want to read more about how to choose the right home inspection company head to the Whitepaper guide, otherwise learn more about home inspections with Inspect-It 1st online.

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.

Radon In Homes – What you Need to Know

Posted on: February 25th, 2014 | No Comments

Radon in homes Radon – This is a term many homeowners have likely heard but do not necessarily know what it is or how it can harm their family. According to the EPA, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers in the United States and can be linked to up to 20,000 lung cancer deaths a year. Here’s what you need to know as a homeowner:

 

  • This radioactive particle is found the air and cause lung cancer in those exposed to large amounts. Radon is produced by the natural decay of uranium in the soil but this decay can be fixed and homes made safe from radon.

  • At home tests are available for testing your home’s radon levels. Generally these accumulate in the basement, nearest the ground where decaying uranium resides. The average concentration of radon in a home in the United States is 1.3 pCi/L. Radon concentrations between 2 and 4 pCi/L should consider fixing their home to protect against exposure to radon. For levels above 4 pCi/L the EPA strongly recommends action to be taken.

  • Contractors are available to test and fix your home. These people are experts in mitigating the risks of radon and ensuring your home is safe.

Contractors can be hired to inspect your home, especially rooms below ground level and those directly above ground level, for radon levels deemed unsafe. If your home does have higher than average radon levels there are a number of options.

 

As stated above, the EPA has set a maximum radon level of 4 pCi/L. Many homeowners take this to mean that anything below this level is “safe”. This simply is not true. Any levels between 2 and 4 pCi/L should still be considered dangerous and steps taken to reduce them. Your contractor will be able to explain the best option for dealing with radon in your home but generally there are three different solutions depending on the structure of our home.

 

  • For homes with basements, one of four types of suction can be used to reduce radon. Essentially, this process uses pipes directly in the earth below the basement slab and fans. The fans create suction below the slab and suck the radon up through the pipe. The open end of the pipe generally leads to an attic or outside the home where the radon is quickly diluted to safer levels.

  • Homes with a crawl space generally will use a thick plastic sheet layed over the earth. Underneath this sheet, a pipe and fan, much like that mentioned above, suck the radon out from the space between the ground and the plastic sheet and ventilate it to the outside. In some cases, ventilation of the space without a plastic sheet can also be used to reduce radon.

  • Any home, no matter the footings can benefit from sealing cracks in the foundation but this should be done in conjunction with other solutions to ensure the radon levels are reduced enough.

  • Ventilation of any space that may have excess radon is always a good idea. In lower levels of home be sure to open windows periodically, run fans to move the air up and out and keep track of radon levels.

The health risks associated with radon mean that all steps necessary should be taken to reduce exposure. Any of the above solutions can be used in conjunction with one another to ensure maximum diffusion. If you have radon accumulation in your home, contact a professional to ensure the correct steps are taken to reduce it’s presence and protect your family. For more information about radon visit the EPA website at http://www.epa.gov/radon/index.html. There you will find information about radon levels in your area, where to find testing kits and the more about solutions to radon in your home.

Seller’s Agents: Tips for a Smooth Inspection

Posted on: January 3rd, 2014 | No Comments

Sold home.

Seller’s anxiety associated with the home inspection can be greatly reduced by the cooperative involvement of the Seller’s Agent. Here are our top recommendations to ensure a smooth and successful inspection experience for all parties:

 

Provide the inspector with the proper access code for any lockbox. Make sure that the code operates properly by testing it in advance. Many times our inspector will try to gain access to a property only to find out that the code doesn’t work.

 

Make sure that all utilities are “ON”. In order to allow the inspector to inspect all areas of the property, coordinate with the seller, bank or other entity to have all utilities on for the inspection. Utilities that are “OFF” are an impediment to successful completion of the inspection and will likely cause delays in closing.

 

Advise your client that the inspection is a thorough activity. Most inspectors are on site for 2-4 hours and likely longer, if the house is very large, has detached garages, “out buildings” or contains a pool or spa. It is much easier for the inspector to complete the inspection if nobody else is on site during the inspection. Families that use the kitchen during the inspection are actually an impediment to the smooth completion of the inspection.

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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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