How Is Your Grading?
Many home buyers are unaware of how much slope (grade) is needed around a house foundation, but his is an important issue, because if the grading of your lawn is not proper, runoff can be directed toward your foundation and cause many issues.
So what is a proper rule of thumb? Most organizations agree that 6 inches for the first 10 feet around the home is best. This equals about a 5% slope. But more can be better as well.
Is your grading done properly? Contact us, and we will be happy to answer your questions!
Protect Your Home From Burglars
We all need to protect our homes from burglars, especially this time of year, when many go on vacation, so how about a few tips and pointers on how to do so.
Did you know?
- A high percentage of burglars enter through the first floor of the home, so insuring exterior doors and windows are secure is important.
- Exterior doors should be constructed of a heavy solid material that are not easily broken, and should have good quality deadbolt locks.
- Beware of leaving spare keys in what you believe to be hidden areas. Don’t hide keys in obvious places or close to the door, instead leave them with a neighbor you can trust.
- Install a peephole, so you can see who’s at your door before you open it
- If you absolutely must have a pet door, make sure it’s not located close to a lock and try to have it as small as you can.
- What about sliding glass doors? A cheap fix would be to place a wooden pole or handle of a broom, and place it in the door track so it cannot be opened. These doors should also have top and bottom locks.
- Windows want to be constructed with strong glass and screening should be a heavy-duty wire.
- Burglars don’t want to be seen, so make it as difficult as possible for them by attaching motion sensored lighting all around the house.
What if you’re going to be away?
Try to make it look like someone’s home. Timer activated lights, TV or radio are a good idea. Make sure the yard is kept neat while you are away, also try keeping a car in the driveway.
Please contact us here at Pasco County Home Inspectors for more advice on how to protect your home.
Here in Shreveport, attics get hot – very hot. That is why proper ventilation is so important.
Attics are like the “lungs” of your home. Attics need to breath – ie take in new aire while expelling the old.
What happens when your attic can’t “breathe” properly? It gets stagnant air, and can develop mold and other issues.
So how do you properly ventilate an attic? Well, there are actually many different ways.
One of the most common ways is to have a ridge and soffit vent system. In this system, hot air rises and leaves the attic through the ridge (the top of the roof), and this happens naturally.
As the hot air leaves, it takes in new air from the soffits at the bottom of the roof.
Whatever system you use, make sure that your attic is properly ventilated.
Buying a Home That Has Had a Previous Fire
What is Included on our home inspections
Tips For The BBQ
With summer already upon us no doubt we have already started thinking about the outdoor fun we’ll be having. One warm-weather essential is grilling and barbecuing. We wanted to mention a few tips to make sure your outdoor grilling will be safe and without incident.
It’s especially important to be vigilant at the beginning of the barbecue season since this is the most dangerous time to be starting up a propane grill. When a propane grill sits for a long period of time it’s important to check all of the connections and see if there are any leaks or rusted areas that could deteriorate and corrode certain parts to the grill.
One way to check the connections is by turning the gas on and spraying a soapy solution on the connection points to see if bubble form from any gas that might be escaping.
If you have a charcoal grill the risk of inhaling carbon monoxide (CO) is very possible. It is estimated that at least twenty people die annually by accidentally inhaling CO.
Make sure to be careful where the grill is placed and make sure it’s placed outside.
Risks also exist with electric grills. Basically, we just want to make sure everyone is safe while you’re enjoying that irresistible BBQ!
The Best Home Inspector In Shreveport
Everyone loves to have beautiful hardwood floors. In fact, many times on a listing it is advertised as a desirable feature that makes the home more valuable in the eyes of many buyers.
But if you have hardwood floors, what are some things to keep in mind?
Too often on a home inspection we find hardwood floors that have been neglected. One of the big areas that get deteriorated pretty fast are near doors. Water that we or our gusts track in seem fine at first, but they leave big dark marks in the wood they may not come out.
In those areas, try keeping a water proof mat over the floors. Also, try not to clean your wood floors with water, but use a hardwood cleaner instead.
Another point to keep in mind are pets. I have a dog myself – and I love my pup. But their claws can wreak havoc on your floors. Be sure to try and keep them from running in the home, which is when their paws do the most damage.
So while deteriorated hardwood floors are not the end of the world, keeping them nice is simple and effective.
Brominated Fire Retardants
Brominated Fire Retardants are an additive put into many products – such as couches, carpets, even tv’s. It is obviously a fire retardant, but it has also been linked to breast cancer.
Today, BFRs can be found nearly everywhere whether it is sediments in the river or dust within the home. As a result, it has been found in many animals including eagles, polar bears, and, perhaps most surprising of all, in sperm whales deep in the Atlantic Ocean waters. As well as in the atmosphere, the chemicals can be found near urban areas in rivers.
Despite all of this, the most concerning find so far has been within the blood of office workers in addition to breast milk. Considering this transfers directly from mother to child, this is worrying news.
How Old? Look At The Nails
Many times, trying to figure out the age of a building can be challenging. But a neat way to at least estimate the age of a building is to look at the nails. How so?
Nails have gone through many changes over the past century or two. So often the style of nail will give you a clue. Here are some nail facts to help you out:
Before 1800, all nails were produced by blacksmiths and can seem a little crude compared to the more modern alternatives. As well as a beaten look on the head, older nails were also squared off rather than being rounded.
From 1790 to 1830, Type A and B cut nails were used and these were also squared and created from wrought iron. From 1890 and beyond, nail production moved over to machines so are now rounded and more practical.
Need more help? Contact me and I will be happy to assist!
Remodelling Is a Poor Investment Strategy
Remodelling could greatly raise the quality of life for occupants of a building, however if you think remodelling is an investment, then you want to reconsider that.
Remodelling is rarely a sound monetary investment
In one of the reports published by Remodeling Magazine, the majority f remodelling projects only increase the cost of the building by 60-80 percent and on the average none of the projects yielded any profit. Therefore upgrading your homes are more correctly categorised as consumer spending rather than as real investments, which typically has the possibility of yielding some positive returns.
Seeing that the report only gave the statistics based on averages, there is every possibility that some certain remodelling projects yielded some profits for the home owner(s). For instance nearly half of the time, adding a wooden deck to a mid-priced house situated on the pacific coast will increase its value and displace the cost of construction. And even the most reckless projects evaluated in the research, like buying a backup generator or adding a sunroom could yield profit although they rarely do. Additionally, remodelling projects are more probable to yield profits if they are done on houses considered low-priced for their neighbourhood. But generally, you should carry out a remodelling project just for improving the quality of life for your household and not for investment purposes. So even though you’ll lose more than one third of what you expended on a family room extension, your family will enjoy the extension enough to make up for it.
When Should You Consider Asbestos Repair For Your Home or Business
When it comes to asbestos – whether it’s minor or major – it’s best not to try handling the repairs on your own. After all, if you don’t handle asbestos materials carefully, it can develop a risk where there was none initially.
If you do decide to handle the repairs on your own, you need to arm yourself with a plethora of knowledge on how to handle the asbestos… before you do a single thing! Be sure to talk to your local or state health department or the regional EPA office about different asbestos training programs being held in your area.
Get in touch with your local school district to find out about any training programs or area asbestos professionals. Before you undertake any minor repairs, be sure to enroll in and complete an asbestos training program. And, upon completion of this program, look for damage to the area and do only the minor repairs.
Special Note: If the area damaged is bigger than your hand, this is not a minor repair.
Before you do the repairs, be sure you follow the proper precautions:
Wet asbestos material down with a fine mist of water with a minute amount of detergent.
Commercial products are used to seal up the damaged areas
Wrap a special fabric like re-wettable glass cloth to cover the small areas
Do a search on the Internet for “Safety Equipment and Clothing” to find companies that specialize in asbestos and will do the removal and repair process for you.
Keep in mind removal is an extremely expensive method and should only be considered as the last resort unless dictated by local or state laws. Why? Asbestos removal increases the risk of the fibers being released. If you’re remodeling your home or making huge changes to it, it’s best to call in professionals, as you’re liable to disturb the asbestos material trying to do it yourself.
If you think removing the asbestos will damage the asbestos significantly, you should call in a professional who’s been specially trained in this area. If asbestos isn’t removed properly, it could increase your and your family’s health problems.
Hot Water Tanks
Using a large cylindrical storage tank, this is the traditional system that is normally in place in houses. Whilst cold water is piped into the tank, the water is then heated through a gas-fired burner or electrical elements.
Using a thermostat, you can control the temperature of the water and it remains stored inside the tank until it is used via a faucet, shower, dishwasher, etc. When it is activated somewhere in the house, hot water will pump through the house’s system to reach the destination which is why it may take a few seconds for the taps to warm up.
Nowadays, storage tank options are still widely used because they are an affordable option. Furthermore, many manufacturers are available to help plus they can be bought in different sizes. Despite this, they have their bad sides too.
For example, the heater will have to keep heating the water so it reaches your chosen temperature. Even when you aren’t using the water, the heater will regularly come on to maintain the water temperature. Furthermore, the fact that a tank is used suggests that the supply of hot water is limited. If someone wants to take a shower while the washing machine and dishwasher is in action, the hot water will only go so far. If more water is being used than can be maintained, the heater won’t be able to keep up with demand.
Finally, it should also be noted that they can take up large amounts of space. When there is little room to work with, people often choose a smaller-sized tank but this then limits the amount of hot water that can be stored.
Missing Electric Panel Screws
One thing that always seems to happen whenever doing an electrical inspection is that the electric panel cover (the dead front) is missing one or more panel screws. This is generally something that is obviously not “serious”, but tends to fall into the “missing sock” section of life.
When this becomes and issue is when someone decides that they want to replace the screw with something like a sheetrock screw. The problem is that panel screws are machined – with no point on the end. But othe screws have points on the end and can be dangerous to put in the panel.
So before you decide to replace those missing screws, take a drive to the hardware store and get the proper type of screw.
10 Things You Can Do During Your Home Inspection
Swimming Pool Safety
This time of year is one of those seasons where a swimming pool is one of the most beautiful things. In fact, it is usually so hot outside that the sun makes your regular pool a heated pool!
But whenever a swimming pool is involved, safety is the priority. Every year, children and adults alike are injured or even die in and around swimming pools. SO what can be done.
First, never swim alone. Especially is this true with children. Always have attentive adults who know how to swim watching the children.
Have safety devices around the pool, such as life vests, life preservers, and safety poles.
Also, be sure to have a properly sized fence around the pool with a self closing gate.
So be safe out there, and enjoy those pools!
Home Inspection Report Summaries
One of the services that we provide here at Pelican State Inspections is providing a separate home inspection report summary. Why do we do this and why is it a valuable service?
Well, think of it this way. When we go to the doctor for a physical, he may tell us a lot of information about many things going on with our bodies. He may tell us to cut back on sugar, exercise more, etc. But there may be a couple of very important points that we need to see a specialist about like a heart murmur, a tumor, or something else. While that other information may be great to have, we would appreciate our doctor keying in on the “big points”.
That is a lot like why we provide you with an inspection report summary. It helps you key in on items in your inspection report that are the main points and the most immediate issues.
CLick on the picture above to see the summary report that we provide for you in addition to the home inspection report to help you make an educated decision.
Multi-Family Homes and Home Inspections
Do you have a multi-family home or are you buying one and need a home inspection? Multi-family homes can be a great investment, but they can also be a lot of work if you do not hire the right inspector.
Multi-family units tend not to be as well kept as a single family home, but this is not always the case. Some landlords are better than others. SO when looking at a property to purchase, look at the little things. Do they cut the grass? Is the building clean? Any peeling paint? All of these can be clues as to how the important things in the building may look.
Also, try to get some receipts of work done. If they tend to hire people who are “fly-by-night”, then the workmanship will be like that as well. If they hire contractors that are reputable, then you know that their work wll likely be as well.
And of course, give me a call so that we can give your new building a thorough and complete inspection!
Dryer Vent Routing
If your dryer vent looks like the one in this picture, then you may have a problem. Dryer vents are one of those things that most people tend not to think about too often (or ever). We do our laundry and then we forget it exists. But with dryer fires being a real danger, and also other types of damage, these should not be ignored.
We could quote all sorts of building codes and recommendations all day long, but when it comes down to it, it is common sense. First, remember that the air that comes out of your dryer is two things: (1)Warm, and (2) Wet.
So where does warm air want to go? Up. So keep the length of the vent pipe going in an upward direction. Don’t try to force the air around a lot of bends or have dips in it. Because the air is wet, those bends and dips can also collect moisture, and then the lint sticks to the moisture as well.
So keep your family and home safe. And as always, contact me for a full inspection and we can help you identify any of these items.
What’s Wrong Up On Your Roof?
When was the last time you were on your roof? Most of us do noot venture up there on a regular basis, but we may want to go up there more often than we do.
For instance, the roof is where I often find surprises on a home inspection. This service wire in the picture above is a good example. This service wire feeds the main electric panel from the pole at the street. Unfortunately it was in a very hazardous condition with bare wire being exposed.
This repair ended up being about $1,300 to fix. While not the end of the world in some people’s books, this was more of a safety issue than anything else.
So if you are physically and mentally able, take a trip up to your roof once in a while and make sure that things are in good shape.