<![CDATA[PRO Home Inspections, LLC - Blog]]>Wed, 17 Jan 2018 14:01:05 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[The greatest enemy to your home]]>Tue, 06 Oct 2015 16:20:31 GMThttp://prohomeinspections.biz/2/post/2015/10/the-greatest-enemy-to-your-home.htmlWhat is the greatest enemy to your home? Is it the heat from the Sun? High winds during storms? Fire? Insects? 
Actually, it is none of the above. The greatest enemy your home will ever encounter is moisture intrusion. Moisture intrusion (water entering walls, crawlspaces, basements, etc.) can be caused by many different factors including a leaking roof, 
clogged,damaged, or no roof drainage(gutter system)

Open voids in the homes exterior,

Faulty grade of the soil around the home, flooding, and even by leaks within the home including leaks in the water supply and waste drainage system.

Failure to maintain these aspects of a home can lead to damage and dangerous conditions including foundation damage, rotting wood members, and the growth of mold and other fungi.

Here are a few tips to help you maintain these systems of your home and prevent these conditions,

Lesson #1:
Most residential water damage is the result of improper drainage. Before you spend lots of time worrying about getting water out of your basement, worry about letting water in. Too many homeowners spend their time and energy trying to figure out how to pump water out of their basement sump pump versus trying to prevent it from entering in the first place.

Simply put, basements are natural places for water to collect. Most basements or crawlspaces are at least partially below grade. This means that water at grade (grade refers to the soil that is placed against the home) level from rain or melting snow will permeate soil and attack foundation walls. Most foundations simply can't handle massive levels of water without seepage. As a homeowner, you must do your best to minimize this water flow. Here's how:

  1. If you have a gutter and downspout system, make sure the gutters are clean. Clean gutters increase water flow to the downspouts and minimize water flowing over the gutters and flooding the perimeter of your home.
  2. Make sure that all downspout elbows have extensions and that all downspouts are directing water AWAY from your foundation. A good rule of thumb is that the elbow and its extension should slope away from the foundation at least ½ inch for every foot of length. We recommend downspout extensions be installed at every downspout and extend away the home.
  3. Make certain that you have a battery back-up sump pump installed for every electric sump pump installed in your home. Many homes in the Midwest experience regular power outages due to an unstable power grid. A power outage during a storm will render an electric sump pump useless. Once the pump crock pit fills with water, your basement will flood.

Lesson #2

Check the grade around your home. Grade refers to the soil that is placed up against the home. The grade should be 6-8" below any cladding on the home such as vinyl, aluminum or wood siding, stucco, or masonite. This will help to prevent these materials from drawing up moisture. If necessary, remove some of the soil or adjust the slope so that the grade slopes away from the home.

Lesson #3
Remove and relocate any trees or bushes that are very close or in actual contact with your home. Trees and bushes can damage exteriors and their roots can penetrate drain tiles (the tiles that carry groundwater to the sump pump and away from the home and its foundation walls). For example, many homeowners have experienced major damage to their drain tile system as a result of the weeping willow tree. A willow tree is beautiful, but it loves water and its roots can extend for hundreds of feet. A damaged drain tile system can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars to repair.

The same is true for your lawn. If it's located too close to the structure, watering it to keep it healthy may have a very negative impact on the structure, especially if water is performed by sprinklers.

Lesson #4

Check the location, timing and pattern of automatic sprinkler systems at your home. Sprinklers that are near the home can spray exteriors and soak foundations. Leaking sprinklers underground can do even more damage. Damage to concrete structures can occur very quickly, as concrete is quite porous.

Lesson #5
Check the slope of any non-permeable surfaces near your home such as walkways, patios, driveways, etc. When it rains, does water route away from the structure or is it flowing against the building? After a number of years, concrete surfaces installed in colder climates often shift due to frost heave. The frost heaves the concrete in such a way that water is now routed towards the house instead of away from it. Make any repairs necessary to improve slope so that water runs away. In some cases a simple solution such as trimming grass that borders a concrete walkway will dramatically improve drainage.

Lesson #6
Put on your raincoat. The next time it rains, go outside and take a look at your home. Pay close attention to the roof and how water is handled by your drainage system. You'll learn a lot about which sections of the roof handle the most rainfall, which sections are most protected, where rain actually ends up and what might be done to improve the drainage system. You'll learn which areas of the foundation receive the most water, how that water is handled and how long the area stays wet. While you're looking, make diagrams with notes and create a master map so that you can explain it clearly to someone else when it isn't raining. Start making contact with home professionals such as roofers, plumbers and landscapers so that you can complete a project quickly, if needed.

<![CDATA[Signs of a Problem - Plumbing]]>Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:40:57 GMThttp://prohomeinspections.biz/2/post/2014/07/signs-of-a-problem-plumbing.htmlPicture
  1. Foul odor from sink
  2. Drains empty slow or constantly clogged
  3. Toilet backing up
  4. Screeching/rattling when turning faucets off and on
  5. Stains around toilets or under sinks
  6. Sputtering faucets
  7. Dripping pipes in basement or crawl space 

<![CDATA[Signs of a Problem - Electrical]]>Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:25:03 GMThttp://prohomeinspections.biz/2/post/2014/07/signs-of-a-problem-electrical.htmlPicture
  1. Exposed wires
  2. Wires with electrical tape
  3. Warm outlets
  4. Flickering lights
  5. Main breaker panel is rusty or damaged
  6. Burn/singe marks
  7. Smoke/scortched smell

<![CDATA[Signs of a Problem - Roof]]>Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:18:18 GMThttp://prohomeinspections.biz/2/post/2014/07/signs-of-a-problem-roof.htmlPicture
  1. Ceiling replacement seams or stains
  2. Mismatched roof sections/repairs
  3. Loss of granulation on shingles
  4. Missing, Cupped, curled or warped shingles
  5. Missing or visible gaps in flashing
  6. Dips/valleys in roofing structure
  7. Nails sticking up, above shingle surface

<![CDATA[Signs of a Problem - Water Damage/Mold]]>Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:10:14 GMThttp://prohomeinspections.biz/2/post/2014/07/signs-of-a-problem-water-damagemold.htmlPicture
  1. Leaking faucets, bath or toilets
  2. Peeling paint
  3. Wood rot around doors or trim
  4. No ventilation in bathrooms
  5. No caulking or tile in shower/bath
  6. Musty smell
  7. Visible mold
  8. Cracks around windows
  9. Water stains on walls or ceilings
  10. Bowed roof

<![CDATA[Signs of a Problem - Foundation]]>Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:04:29 GMThttp://prohomeinspections.biz/2/post/2014/07/signs-of-a-problem-foundation.htmlPicture
  1. Doors jam, mal-align or won't latch
  2. Visible gaps on top of interior doors when closed
  3. Window not square
  4. Floors visibly not level
  5. Large trees close to home with branches extending over the home or roof
  6. Yard slopes toward house
  7. Drainage not pointed away from the house
  8. Visible exterior cracks 

<![CDATA[Home Energy - Top 10 Ways to Conserve Energy]]>Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:54:34 GMThttp://prohomeinspections.biz/2/post/2014/07/top-10-ways-to-conserve-energy.htmlPicture
  1. Insulate your pipes, ducts and water heater
  2. Think before you use lights, TVs and other electronic devices
  3. Turn off your computer/laptop when not in use, especially overnight
  4. Use power strips for all electronic devices and shut them off when not in use
  5. Seal and caulk leaky windows and doors; replace worn weather stripping
  6. Install a programmable thermostat so your heat and air are only on when you need them
  7. Consider geothermal and solar technology 
  8. Use public transportation, walk, bike or carpool when possible
  9. Replace inefficient appliances with Energy Star appliances
  10. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact flourescents or LEDs

<![CDATA[Home Energy - Air Conditioning]]>Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:45:35 GMThttp://prohomeinspections.biz/2/post/2014/07/home-energy-air-conditioning.htmlPicture
  • Service an older, existing air conditioning system regularly to ensure peak performance.
  • When deciding to upgrade, opt for a high efficiency system
  • Change your air system's air filter often, refer to the owner's manual for guidance
  • Keep coils on the exterior air conditioning unit free of dirt, grass clippings and leaves
  • Turn air conditioners to the highest comfortable setting; adjusting your thermostat up a few degrees will have a significant impact on your cooling bill
  • The “ON” fan setting on your central air conditioner can circulate air continuously throughout your home, this will usually even out the hot spots in your home
  • Have your air conditioning system checked annually by a qualified heating and air conditioning contractor
  • Humidity is a significant load on an air conditioner, so check the local weather and only open windows on a cool day/night when the humidity is low

<![CDATA[Home Energy - Appliances]]>Sat, 26 Jul 2014 12:55:01 GMThttp://prohomeinspections.biz/2/post/2014/07/home-energy-appliances.htmlPicture
Appliances are in every home.  Here are a few tips for conserving and maximizing home energy efficiency.
  • Upgrade to Energy Star appliances
  • Wash clothes with cold water
  • Regularly clean your dryer vent
  • Hang-dry laundry 
  • Place your water heater on the low or Eco setting
  • Wrap your water heater and pipes in insulation
  • Install a "Low Flow" shower head
  • Don't overload your dishwasher
  • Let dishes air dry
  • Scrap rather than pre-rinsing dishes
  • Don't keep your refrigerator too cold, recommended settings are 36-38 degrees Fahrenheit for the fresh food compartment, and 0 degrees Fahrenheit for a standard freezer
  • Make sure your fridge and freezer doors seal properly
  • Cook with the right size pot
  • User smaller appliances when necessary, such as a crock pot or toaster oven