What Really Matters In A Home Inspection?

Buying a home?

The process can be stressful. A home inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind but, depending on the findings, it may have the opposite effect. You will be asked to absorb a lot of information over a short period of time.¬† Your inspection will entail a written report, including checklists and photos, and what the inspector tells you during the inspection. All of this combined with the seller’s disclosure and what you notice yourself can make the experience overwhelming. What should you do?

Relax.

Home inspectors are professionals, and if yours is a member of InterNACHI, then you can trust that he is among the most highly trained in the industry. Most of your inspection will be related to maintenance recommendations and minor imperfections. These are good to know about.

However, the issues that really matter will fall into four categories:

  1. major defects, such as a structural failure;
  2. conditions that can lead to major defects, such as a roof leak;
  3. issues that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy, or insure the home if not rectified immediately; and
  4. safety hazards, such as an exposed, live buss bar at the electrical panel.

Anything in these categories should be addressed as soon as possible. Often, a serious problem can be corrected inexpensively to protect both life and property (especially in categories 2 and 4).

Most sellers are honest and are often surprised to learn of defects uncovered during an inspection. It’s important to realize that a seller is under no obligation to repair everything mentioned in your inspection report. No house is perfect. Keep things in perspective.

And remember that homeownership is both a joyful experience and an important responsibility, so be sure to call on your InterNACHI Certified Professional Inspector¬ģ to help you devise an annual maintenance plan that will keep your family safe and your home in top condition for years to come.

You should also make sure to choose an inspector that offers a variety of warranties and guarantees to protect you even after the inspection is complete.  Hero Home Inspection offers a variety of Quality Guarantees.  To view more information please click here.

12 EASY Steps to Get Your Home Ready for Spring

It’s that time of year again!¬† Spring (and Georgia Pollen) is in the air.¬† Before you get pool ready – here are a few tips to keep up with your home maintenance this year and keep your house happy and healthy!

1.  Clean Gutters

Image result for clean guttersGrab a ladder, and check your gutters for debris. Remove as much as you can with your hands (Don’t forget to wear gloves!). Remove any leftover gunk with a garden hose. Take off any nozzle and have a helper turn on the water when you‚Äôre ready. Shove the hose into the downspout to power out of gooseneck bends. Make sure your downspouts channel water at least five feet from foundation walls.

2.  Scrub Walls, Baseboards & Outlets

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Scrub all the walls (do a test spot, some paints may not be washable) ‚ÄĒ in the bathroom, kitchen, bedrooms and living areas¬†‚ÄĒ with a sponge or brush and mild soap and water. This includes baseboards and outlets. Make sure to completely dry outlet covers before replacing.

3.  Replace Filters

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Replace all filters including HVAC, water, range hood and air vent filters. You should replace these filters every 3-6 months depending on the type of filter you have.

4.  Clean Faucets and Showerheads

Unscrew the faucet aerators, sink sprayers and showerheads, and soak them in equal parts vinegar and water solution. Let them soak for an hour, then rinse with warm water.

5.  Clean Out the Dryer Vent

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A clogged dryer vent can be a fire hazard. To clean it, disconnect the vent from the back of the machine and use a dryer vent brush to remove lint. Outside your house, remove the dryer vent cover and use the brush to remove lint from the other end of the vent line. Make sure the vent cover flap moves freely.

6.  Wash Exterior Windows

 

Window Cleaning

If you can get to all of them safely, clean all of the exterior window.  If you have multiple levels or are not able to get to it for yourself, hire a window-cleaning service to clean all exterior windows.

7.  Check and Clean Patio Furniture

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The winter weather can cause damage to different materials and make them more brittle.  Bugs can make their homes, and spring is a great time to check everything for safety and get it cleaned up and ready for the warm months.  Check out this article from the DIY Network on how to clean your out door furniture.

8.  Check the Foundation Vents

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A house with a crawl space has vents along the foundation walls. The vents provide air circulation that helps prevent excess moisture and mold growth, and they prevent critters from taking up residence underneath your home. The screens collect leaves and other debris from fall and winter.¬†Spring is a great time to clean them out and check for damage. Clean the vents by hand or use a shop vacuum. Repair any damaged screens¬†‚ÄĒ critters can get through even the smallest holes.

9.  Clean the Grill

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Your grill has most likely collected dust during fall and winter. Help your grill live a long life with these maintenance tips, whether you have a charcoal or gas grill.

10.  Prep Your Garden for Spring

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Big or small, here are a few tips for getting your garden ready.

  1. Order summer-flowering bulbs and seeds. …
  2. Tidy up flower beds and borders. …
  3. Clean out and wash¬†your¬†greenhouse. …
  4. Sow any seeds that need¬†a¬†longer season. …
  5. Hunt down and remove¬†garden¬†pests. …
  6. Install water butts and start collecting rainwater. …
  7. Move deciduous shrubs. …
  8. Maintain fences, gates and trellis.
  9. Clean and sharpen gardening tools
  10. Create a composting area

11.  Test Smoke Alarms

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Test smoke alarms and CO detectors, and change out batteries as needed. It’s cheap, only takes a few minutes and can save your family’s lives.¬† While you are changing batteries, you may want to check remote controls, alarm systems, thermostats, and kids toys.

12.  Pressure Wash the House and Driveway

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It is best not to pressure wash your house every year. But spring is a great time to check and do so if needed.  The reason to wash a house is if it becomes dirty or has accumulated mildew. It’s a rare occurrence to have a significant accumulation of dirt unless there is new construction nearby. So mildew accumulation is generally the only reason to wash a house.

Air Sampling for Mold Inspections

by Nick Gromicko and Ethan Ward

Taking air samples during a mold inspection is important for several reasons. Mold spores are not visible to the naked eye, and the types of mold present can often be determine air samples through laboratory analysis of the air samples. Having samples analyzed can also help provide evidence of the scope and severity of a mold problem, as well as aid in assessing human exposure to mold spores. After remediation, new samples are typically taken to help ensure that all mold has been successfully removed.

air sample

Air samples can be used to gather data about mold spores present in the interior of a house. These samples are taken by using a pump that forces air through a collection device which catches mold spores. The sample is then sent off to a laboratory to be analyzed. InterNACHI inspectors who perform mold inspections often utilize air sampling to collect data, which has become commonplace.

Air-Sampling Devices

There are several types of devices used to collect air samples that can be analyzed for mold. Some common examples include:

Impaction samplers that use a calibrated air pump to impact spores onto a prepared microscope slide; cassette samplers, which may be of the disposable or one-time-use type, and also employ forced air to impact spores onto a collection media; and
airborne-particle collectors that trap spores directly on a culture dish. These may be utilized to identify the species of mold that has been found.
When and When Not to Sample

Samples are generally best taken if visual, non-invasive examination reveals apparent mold growth or conditions that could lead to growth, such as moisture intrusion or water damage. Musty odors can also be a sign of mold growth. If no sign of mold or potential for mold is apparent, one or two indoor air samples can still be taken, at the discretion of the inspector and client, in the most lived-in room of the house and at the HVAC unit.

Outdoor air samples are also typically taken as a control for comparison to indoor samples. Two samples — one from the windward side and one from the leeward side of the house — will help provide a more complete picture of what is in the air that may be entering the house through windows and doors at times when they are open. It is best to take the outdoor samples as close together in time as possible to the indoor samples that they will be compared with.

InterNACHI inspectors should avoid taking samples if a resident of the house is under a physician’s care for mold exposure, if there is litigation in progress related to mold on the premises, or if the inspector’s health or safety could be compromised in obtaining the sample. Residential home inspectors also should not take samples in a commercial or public building.

Where to Sample and Ideal Conditions

In any areas of a house suspected or confirmed to have mold growth, air samples can be taken to help verify and gather more information. Moisture intrusion, water damage, musty odors, apparent mold growth, or conditions conducive to mold growth are all common reasons to gather an air sample. Samples should be taken near the center of the room, with the collection device positioned 3 to 6 feet off the ground.

Ten minutes is an adequate amount of time for the air pump to run while taking samples, but this can be reduced to around five minutes if there is a concern that air movement from a lot of indoor activity could alter the results. The sampling time can be reduced further if there is an active source of dust, such as from ongoing construction.

Sampling should take place in livable spaces within the house under closed conditions in order to help stabilize the air and allow for reproducibility of the sampling and measurement. While the sample is being collected, windows and exterior doors should be kept shut other than for normal entry and exit from the home. It is best to have air exchangers (other than a furnace) or fans that exchange indoor-outdoor air switched off during sampling.

Weather conditions can be an important factor in gathering accurate data. Severe thunderstorms or unusually high winds can affect the sampling and analysis results. High winds or rapid changes in barometric pressure increase the difference in air pressure between the interior and exterior, which can increase the variability of airborne mold-spore concentration. Large differences in air pressure between the interior and exterior can cause more airborne spores to be sucked inside, skewing the results of the sample.

Difficulties and Practicality of Air Sampling

It is helpful to think of air sampling as just one tool in the tool belt when inspecting a house for mold problems. An air sample alone is not enough to confirm or refute the existence of a problem, and such testing needs to be accompanied by visual inspection and other methods of data collection, such as a surface sample. Indoor airborne spore levels can vary according to several factors, and this can lead to skewed results if care is not taken to set up the sampling correctly. Also, since only spores are collected with an air sample and may actually be damaged during collection, identification of the mold type can be more difficult than with a sample collected with tape or a cultured sample.

Air samples are good for use as a background screen to ensure that there isn’t a large source of mold not yet found somewhere in a home. This is because they can detect long chains of spores that are still intact. These chains normally break apart quickly as they travel through the air, so a sample that reveals intact chains can indicate that there is mold nearby, possibly undiscovered during other tests and visual examination.

In summary, when taken under controlled conditions and properly analyzed, air samples for mold are helpful in comparing relative particle levels between a problem and a control area.  They can also be crucial for comparing particle levels and air quality in an area before and after mold remediation.

Exercise Equipment Dangers

by Nick Gromicko
Want to feel less guilty about not working out as much as you planned in 2018?¬† We are here to help! ūüėä ¬†Before you make your resolutions list for 2019 check out this article to stay safe around that exercise equipment!
Exercise equipment is inherently dangerous.  Various types of home gym devices are typically large and have moving parts. Accidents, whether to adults who misuse the equipment or to children who gain unsupervised access, can be avoided through preventative measures. Gym equipment is also a breeding ground for dangerous pathogens, particularly in commercial gyms where users share the equipment.

Physical Injury

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that about 8,700 children under 5 years of age and 16,500 children between the ages of 5 and 14 are injured by exercise equipment each year. Some of these injuries are burns.  In fact, an Australian study found that treadmill friction injuries account for roughly 1% of all pediatric burns.

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Safety Measures to Prevent Physical Injury

  • Never leave free weights, especially barbells, in an unstable position.
  • Clip the treadmill safety key onto your clothing.¬† Do not leave it¬†dangling or wrapped around the handle.¬†All treadmills come with safety clips that will turn the treadmill off if the runner falls. When the treadmill is not in use, keep the safety key out of reach of children, as it is required to activate the machine.
  • Accelerate and decelerate gradually.¬†It’s a good idea to start a treadmill on the lowest speed setting possible and then increase the rate gradually, as some treadmills can accelerate with surprising speed. When you’re finished exercising, lower the speed of the belt gradually¬†and step carefully to the non-moving platforms at the sides of the machine.
  • Discourage children’s access to gym equipment through the following measures:
    • Keep gym equipment in a room that has¬†a door¬†which can be locked.
    • Position the equipment so that you have a clear view of your surroundings, and avoid distractions¬†by music or television, especially when children may be present.
  • Keep folding machines stored and secured¬†in the folded position.

Parents should keep home exercise equipment locked and unplugged so that children can‚Äôt¬†activate the machines on their own.¬† In 2009, the daughter of former professional boxer Mike Tyson was found accidentally strangled by¬†the power cord of a home treadmill. While it may be inconvenient to unplug an apparatus¬†after every use, this practice can save children’s lives.

Pathogens

Germs are found in high numbers virtually everywhere in a gym, from the weightlifting bench to the sauna. Sweaty residue on workout equipment, particularly the machines often used by several people in quick succession, such as weights and exercise bikes, provide the moisture that encourages the spread of germs. In a study published by Men’s Fitness Magazine, a quarter-sized site harbored 132 million bacteria, and the average site tested yielded 16 million. On the same area of a toilet seat, you can expect to find just 500 bacteria, according to the study.

Pathogens found on gym equipment can lead to a number of ailments, ranging from minor skin infections, such as pimples, to life-threatening diseases, including meningitis, endocarditis and sepsis. Staphylococcus aureus is perhaps the most serious pathogen found in commercial gyms, as it is resistant to antibiotics.  According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), it killed 18,000 people in 2005.

Good hygiene is the best way to prevent the transmission of pathogens around exercise equipment, especially in commercial facilities.  Practice the following precautions when working out:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after exercise. After touching weights and machine handrails, try your best to keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, ears and mouth until you can lather up.
  • Wipe down the machines and communal yoga mats with disinfectant before and after use.¬†Commercial gyms¬†ordinarily disinfect equipment on a regular basis, but you should not rely on the competence of the staff. It‚Äôs also bad etiquette to make the next user swim through a pool of your sweat.
  • Bring your own sweat towel, and use it. In fact, it‚Äôs better to bring two, as you can place one on machines and benches to protect yourself¬†when you sit down, and use¬†the other to periodically wipe down your body. Don‚Äôt trust the¬†towels provided by the gyms, since¬†they are not governed by the same¬†stringent standards that hospitals are.¬† Hospitals¬†must adhere to¬†strict regulations regarding the temperature at which towels must be laundered.
  • Wash and sterilize your water bottle regularly.
  • Don‚Äôt go barefoot in¬†a gym shower or sauna. Human traffic, hot temperatures, moisture, and a¬†lack of sunlight create a perfect environment for¬†many bacteria. Wear flip-flops or water shoes to avoid athlete‚Äôs foot, ringworm, and other such communicable¬†conditions. Shoes may also help you¬†avoid slipping on wet tiles.
  • Sit on a towel or wear shorts in the sauna to avoid direct contact with the seating, which may¬†harbor bacteria.
  • Cover any breaks in your skin with bandages. Even a minor scratch or raw skin can allow the entrance of¬†Staphylococcus aureus, causing a serious staph infection.
In summary, gym equipment can cause injuries and conceal dangerous germs. Precautions should be taken to ensure that they are used safely. As always, consult your InterNACHI inspector if have any questions about safety in your home.

Air Quality In the Home: Problems & Solutions

Indoor air quality is generally worse than most people believe, but there are things you can do about it. 
 
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Some Quick Facts:

  • Indoor air quality can be worse than that of outdoor air.
  • Problems can arise from moisture, insects, pets, appliances, radon, materials used in household products and furnishings, smoke, and other sources.
  • Effects range from minor annoyances to major health risks.
  • Remedies include ventilation, cleaning, moisture control, inspections, and following manufacturers’ directions when using appliances and products.
Research has shown that the quality of indoor air can be worse than that of outdoor air. Many homes are built or remodeled more tightly, without regard to the factors that assure fresh and healthy indoor air. Our homes today contain many furnishings, appliances and products that can affect indoor air quality.
Signs of indoor air quality problems include:
  • unusual and noticeable odors;
  • stale or stuffy air;
  • a noticeable lack of air movement;
  • dirty or faulty central heating or air-conditioning equipment;
  • damaged flue pipes¬†and chimneys;
  • unvented combustion air sources for fossil-fuel appliances;
  • excessive humidity;
  • the presence of molds and mildew;
  • adverse health reaction after remodeling, weatherizing,¬†bringing in¬†new furniture, using household and hobby products,¬†and moving into a new home; and
  • feeling noticeably healthier outside.
Common Sources of Air Quality Problems
 
Poor indoor air quality can arise from many sources. At least some of the following contaminants can be found in almost any home:
  • moisture and biological pollutants, such as molds, mildew, dust mites, animal dander, and cockroaches;
  • high humidity levels, inadequate ventilation, and poorly maintained humidifiers and air conditioners;
  • combustion products, including carbon monoxide, from unvented fossil-fuel space heaters, unvented gas stoves and ovens, and back-drafting from furnaces and water heaters;
  • formaldehyde from durable-press draperies and other textiles, particleboard products, such as cabinets and furniture framing, and adhesives;
  • radon, which is¬†a radioactive gas from the soil and rock beneath and around the home’s foundation, groundwater wells, and some building materials;
  • household products and furnishings, such as paints, solvents, air fresheners, hobby supplies, dry-cleaned clothing, aerosol sprays, adhesives, and fabric additives used in carpeting and furniture, which can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs);
  • asbestos, which is¬†found in most homes more than 20 years old. Sources include deteriorating, damaged¬†and disturbed pipe insulation, fire retardant, acoustical material (such as ceiling tiles)¬†and floor tiles;
  • lead from lead-based paint dust, which is¬†created when removing paint by sanding, scraping¬†and burning;
  • particulates from dust and pollen, fireplaces, wood stoves, kerosene heaters and unvented gas space heaters; and
  • tobacco smoke, which produces particulates, combustion products and formaldehyde.
Remedies to Indoor Air Quality Problems
Living Areas
Paneling, pressed-wood furniture, and cabinetry may release formaldehyde gas.
Remedy: Ask about formaldehyde content before buying furniture and cabinets. Some types of pressed-wood products, such as those with phenol resin, emit less formaldehyde. Also, products coated with polyurethane or laminates may reduce formaldehyde emissions. After installation, open windows. Maintain moderate temperature and humidity.
Biological pollutants can grow on water-damaged carpet. New carpet can release organic gases.
Remedy: Promptly clean and dry water-damaged carpet, or remove it altogether. If adhesives are needed, ask for low-emitting ones. During installation, open doors and windows, and use window fans or room air conditioners. Vacuum regularly. Consider area rugs instead of wall-to-wall carpet. Rugs are easier to remove and clean, and the floor underneath can also be cleaned.
Some floor tiles contain asbestos.
Remedy: Periodically inspect for damage or deterioration. Do not cut, rip, sand or remove any asbestos-containing materials. If you plan to make changes that might disturb the asbestos, or if materials are more than slightly damaged, contact a professional for repair or removal. Call your local or state health department or the Environmental Protection Agency.
Moisture encourages biological pollutants including allergens, such as mold, mildew, dust mites and cockroaches.
Remedy: If possible, eliminate moisture sources. Install and use exhaust fans. Use a dehumidifier, if necessary. Remove molds and mildew by cleaning with a solution of chlorine bleach (1 cup bleach to 1 gallon water). Maintain fresh air with natural and mechanical air circulation.
Your fireplace can be a source of carbon monoxide and combustion pollutants.
Remedy: Open the flue when using the fireplace. Have the flue and chimney inspected annually for exhaust back-drafting, flue obstructions, cracks, excess creosote, and other damage. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
An air conditioner can be a source of biological allergens.
Remedy: If there is a water tray, empty and clean it often. Follow all service and maintenance procedures, including changing the filter.
Gas and kerosene space heaters can release carbon monoxide and combustion pollutants.
Remedy: Never use unvented kerosene or gas space heaters. In the room where the heater is located, provide fresh air by opening a door to the rest of the house, turning on an exhaust fan, and slightly opening a window.
Tobacco smoke contains harmful combustion and particulate pollutants, including carbon monoxide and combustion byproducts.
Remedy: Do not smoke in your home or permit others to do so, especially near children. If smoking cannot be avoided indoors, open windows and use exhaust fans.
New draperies may be treated with a formaldehyde-based finish and emit odors for a short time.
Remedy: Before hanging, air draperies to ventilate odors. After hanging, ventilate the area. Maintain moderate temperature and humidity.
Paint manufactured before l978 may contain lead.
Remedy: Leave lead-based paint undisturbed if it is in good condition. Before removing paint, test for lead. Do-it-yourself lead test kits are available from hardware and building supply stores. Do not sand, burn off or remove lead-based paint yourself. Hire a person with special training to correct lead-based paint problems. For more information, call 1-800-LEAD-FYI.
Many animals create airborne allergens, such as dander, hair, feathers and skin.
Remedy: Keep pets outdoors as much as possible. Clean the entire house regularly. Deep-clean areas where pets are permitted. Bathe pets regularly.
Biological allergens caused by dust mites can trigger asthma.
Remedy: Clean and vacuum regularly. Wash bedding in water hotter than 130 degrees F. Use more hard-surface finishes; they are less likely to attract and hold dust mites.
 
Kitchen
Unhealthy¬†and irritating vapors may be released from chemicals in household cleaners and similar products.¬†Remedy:¬†Select non aerosol and non-toxic products. Use, apply, store and dispose of them according to manufacturers’ directions. If products are concentrated, label the storage container with dilution instructions. Use up a product completely before discarding its¬†container.
Pressed-wood cabinets can be a source of formaldehyde vapor.
Remedy: Maintain moderate temperatures (80 degrees maximum) and humidity (about 45%). When purchasing new cabinets, select solid wood or metal cabinets, or those made with phenol resin; they emit less formaldehyde. Ventilate well after installation.
Unvented gas stoves and ranges are sources of carbon monoxide and combustion byproducts.
Remedy: Keep appliance burners clean. Have burners periodically adjusted (blue-flame tip, not yellow). Install and use an exhaust fan. Never use a gas range or stove to heat your home.
Bathroom
Organic gases are released from chemicals in some personal care products, such as deodorant, hair spray, shampoo, toner, nail polish and perfumes.
Remedy:¬†Select odor-free or low odor-producing products. Select nonaerosol varieties. Open a window, or use an exhaust fan. Follow manufacturers’ directions when using the product and disposing of containers.
Air fresheners can release organic gases.
Remedy:¬†Open a window or use the exhaust fan. Follow manufacturers’ directions. Select natural products.
Bedroom
Humidifiers and cold-mist vaporizers can encourage biological allergens, including mold, mildew and cockroaches, that can trigger asthma, and encourage the spread of viruses and the growth of bacteria.
Remedy:¬†Use and clean these appliances¬†according to manufacturers’ directions. Refill daily with fresh water.
Moth repellents often contain the pesticide paradichlorobenzene.
Remedy: Avoid breathing vapors. Place them in tightly sealed trunks or other containers. Store separately, away from living areas.
Chemicals used in the dry-cleaning process release organic gases.
Remedy: Bring any odors to the attention of your dry cleaner. Try to air out dry-cleaned goods before bringing them indoors. Seek alternatives to dry cleaning, such as hand washing items.  Consider using green dry cleaners who use newer, non-toxic solvents and methods to clean garments.
Utility Room
Unvented gas clothes dryers produce carbon monoxide and combustion byproducts and can be a fire hazard. Remedy: Regularly dispose of lint around and under the dryer. Provide air for gas units. Vent the dryer directly to the outdoors. Clean the lint trap, vent and ductwork regularly.
Gas and oil furnaces and boilers, and gas water heaters can produce air-quality problems which include back-drafting of carbon monoxide and combustion pollutants.
Remedy: Have your heating system and water heater, including gas piping and venting, inspected every year.
Asbestos pipe wrap and furnace insulation can release asbestos fibers into the air.
Remedy: Periodically check for damage and deterioration. Do not cut, rip, sand or remove any asbestos-containing materials. If you plan to make changes that might disturb the asbestos, or if materials are more than slightly damaged, contact a professional for repair or removal.
Basement
Ground moisture encourages biological allergens, including mold and mildew.
Remedy:¬†Inspect for condensation on walls, standing water on the floor,¬†and sewage leaks. To keep the¬†basement dry, prevent outside water from entering indoors¬†by installing roof gutters and downspouts,¬†by¬†not watering close to the foundation, by grading soil away from the home, and by applying waterproofing sealants to the basement’s interior walls.¬†To¬†prevent the accumulation of standing water, consider installing a sump pump. If sewage is the source of water intrusion, have drains professionally cleaned. If moisture has no obvious source, install an exhaust fan controlled by humidity levels. Remove mold and mildew. Regularly clean and disinfect the basement floor drain.
Radon is an invisible, radioactive gas which poses the risk of lung cancer.
Remedy: Test your home for radon. Do-it-yourself kits are inexpensive and easy to use. Have an experienced radon contractor mitigate your home if your radon level is 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher.
Chemicals in hobby products, such as solvents, paint, glue and epoxy, release organic gases.¬†Remedy:¬†Follow manufacturers’ directions for use, ventilation, application, clean-up, and container storage and disposal. Use outdoors when possible. When using indoors, open a window or use an exhaust fan. Re-seal containers tightly. Clean tools outside or in a well-ventilated area.
Garage
Car and small engine exhaust are sources of carbon monoxide and combustion byproducts.
Remedy: Never leave vehicles, lawn mowers, snowmobiles, etc., running in the garage.
Paint, solvent and cleaning supplies may release harmful vapors.
Remedy:¬†Provide ventilation when using them. Follow manufacturers’ directions. Buy only as much as you need. If the products contain methylene chloride, such as paint strippers, use them outdoors. Re-seal containers well. Keep products in their original, labeled containers. Clean brushes and other materials outside.¬† Opt for non-toxic green products whenever possible.
Pesticides and fertilizers used in the yard and garden may be toxic.
Remedy:¬†Use non-chemical methods whenever possible. Follow manufacturers’ directions for mixing, applying and storing.¬† Wear protective clothing. Mix or dilute these products¬†outdoors. Provide ventilation when using them indoors. Store them outside of the home in their original, labeled containers. After using the product, remove your shoes and clean your hands and clothing to avoid bringing the chemicals into your home.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • Install a smoke detector in each bedroom or in the adjacent hallway.
  • If you have gas or other fossil-fuel appliances in the house, install carbon monoxide detectors in these locations.
  • Combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are available.
  • Check the batteries frequently, at least annually.
Amount of Ventilation
 
If too little outdoor air enters a home, pollutants can accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort problems. Unless they are built with a special mechanical means of ventilation, homes that are designed and constructed to minimize the amount of outdoor air that can “leak” into and out of the home may have higher pollutant levels than other homes. However, because some weather conditions can drastically reduce the amount of outdoor air that enters a home, pollutants can build up even in homes that are normally considered “leaky.”
How Does Outdoor Air Enter a House?
Outdoor air enters and leaves a house by infiltration, natural ventilation and mechanical ventilation. In a process known as infiltration, outdoor air flows into the house through openings, joints and cracks in walls, floors and ceilings, and around windows and doors. In natural ventilation, air moves through opened windows and doors. Air movement associated with infiltration and natural ventilation is caused by air-temperature differences between the indoors and outdoors, and by wind. Finally, there are a number of mechanical ventilation devices, from outdoor-vented fans that intermittently remove air from a single room, such as the bathroom and kitchen, to air-handling systems that use fans and ductwork to continuously remove indoor air and distribute filtered and conditioned outdoor air to strategic points throughout the house. The rate at which outdoor air replaces indoor air is described as the air-exchange rate. When there is little infiltration, natural ventilation or mechanical ventilation, the air-exchange rate is low and pollutant levels can increase.
Indoor Air Pollution and Health
 
Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly years later.
Immediate Effects
 
Immediate effects may show up after a single exposure, or it may take repeated exposures. These include irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, headaches, dizziness and fatigue. Such immediate effects are usually short-term and treatable. Sometimes, the treatment is simply eliminating the person’s exposure to the source of the pollution, if it can be identified. Symptoms of some diseases, including asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and humidifier fever, may also show up soon after exposure to some indoor air pollutants.
The likelihood of immediate reactions to indoor air pollutants depends on several factors. Age and pre-existing medical conditions are two important influences. In other cases, whether a person reacts to a pollutant depends on individual sensitivity, which varies tremendously from person to person. Some people can become sensitized to biological pollutants after repeated exposures, and it appears that some people can become sensitized to chemical pollutants, as well.
Certain immediate effects are similar to those from colds and other viral diseases, so it is often difficult to determine if the symptoms are a result of exposure to indoor air pollution. For this reason, it is important to pay attention to the time and place that symptoms occur. If the symptoms fade or go away when a person is away from home, for example, an effort should be made to identify indoor air sources that may be possible causes. Some effects may be made worse by an inadequate supply of outdoor air, or from the heating, cooling or humidity conditions prevalent in the home.
Long-Term Effects
 
Other health effects may show up years after exposure has occurred, or only after long or repeated periods of exposure. These effects, which include some respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer, can be severely debilitating or fatal. It is prudent to try to improve the indoor air quality in your home even if symptoms are not noticeable.
While pollutants commonly found in indoor air are responsible for many harmful effects, there is considerable uncertainty about what concentrations or periods of exposure are necessary to produce specific health problems. People also react very differently to exposure to indoor air pollutants. Further research is needed to better understand which health effects occur after exposure to the average pollutant concentrations found in homes, and which occur from the higher concentrations over short periods of time.
In summary, indoor air contaminants can be a source of ill health. Hire an InterNACHI inspector trained in air quality to perform your next home inspection.

4 Ways to Protect Your Property From Water Damage

Water may be essential to life, but, as a destructive force, water can diminish the value of your home or building. Homes as well as commercial buildings can suffer water damage that results in increased maintenance costs, a decrease in the value of the property, lowered productivity, and potential liability associated with a decline in indoor air quality. The best way to protect against this potential loss is to ensure that the building components which enclose the structure, known as the building envelope, are water-resistant. Also, you will want to ensure that manufacturing processes, if present, do not allow excess water to accumulate. Finally, make sure that the plumbing and ventilation systems, which can be quite complicated in buildings, operate efficiently and are well-maintained. This article provides some basic steps for identifying and eliminating potentially damaging excess moisture.
1.  Identify and Repair All Leaks and Cracks
 
The following are common building-related sources of water intrusion:
  • windows and doors:¬†Check for leaks around your windows, storefront systems and doors.
  • roof:¬†Improper drainage systems and roof sloping reduce roof life and become a primary source of moisture intrusion. Leaks are also common around vents for exhaust or plumbing, rooftop air-conditioning units, or other specialized equipment.
  • foundation and exterior walls:¬†Seal any cracks and holes in exterior walls, joints and foundations. These often develop as a naturally occurring byproduct of differential soil settlement.
  • plumbing:¬†Check for leaking plumbing fixtures, dripping pipes (including fire sprinkler systems), clogged drains (both interior and exterior), defective water drainage systems and damaged manufacturing equipment.
  • ventilation, heating and air¬†conditioning (HVAC) systems:¬†Numerous types, some very sophisticated, are a crucial component to maintaining a healthy, comfortable work environment. They are comprised of a number of components (including chilled water piping and condensation drains) that can directly contribute to excessive moisture in the work environment. In addition, in humid climates, one of the functions of the system is to reduce the ambient air moisture level (relative humidity) throughout the building. An improperly operating HVAC system will not perform this function.
2.  Prevent Water Intrusion Through Good Inspection and Maintenance Programs
Hire a qualified InterNACHI inspector to perform an inspection of the following elements of your building to ensure that they remain in good condition:
  • flashings and sealants:¬†Flashing, which is typically a thin metal strip found around doors, windows and roofs, are designed to prevent water intrusion in spaces where two building materials come together. Sealants and caulking are specifically applied to prevent moisture intrusion at building joints. Both must be maintained and in good condition.
  • vents:¬†All vents should have appropriate hoods, exhaust to the exterior, and be in good working order.
  • Review the use of¬†manufacturing¬†equipment¬†that may include water for processing or cooling. Ensure wastewater drains adequately away, with no spillage. Check for condensation around hot or cold materials or heat-transfer equipment.
  • HVAC¬†systems are much more complicated in¬†commercial¬†buildings. Check for leakage in supply and return water lines, pumps, air handlers and other components. Drain lines should be clean and clear of obstructions. Ductwork should be insulated to prevent condensation on exterior surfaces.
  • humidity:¬†Except in specialized facilities, the relative humidity in your building should be between 30% and 50%. Condensation on windows, wet stains on walls and ceilings, and musty smells are signs that¬†relative humidity may be high. If you are concerned about the humidity level in your building, consult with a mechanical engineer, contractor or air-conditioning repair company to determine if your HVAC system is properly sized and in good working order. A mechanical engineer should be consulted when renovations to interior spaces take place.
  • moist areas:¬†Regularly clean off, then dry all surfaces where moisture frequently collects.
  • expansion joints:¬†Expansion joints are materials between bricks, pipes and other building materials that absorb movement. If expansion joints are not in good condition, water intrusion can occur.
3.  Protection From Water Damage
  • interior finish materials:¬†Replace drywall, plaster, carpet and stained or water-damaged ceiling tiles. These are not only good evidence of a moisture intrusion problem, but can lead to deterioration of the work environment, if they remain over time.
  • exterior walls:¬†Exterior walls are generally comprised of a number of materials combined into a wall assembly. When properly designed and constructed, the assembly is the first line of defense between water and the interior of your building. It is essential that they be maintained properly (including regular refinishing and/or resealing with the correct materials).
  • storage areas:¬†Storage areas should be kept clean.¬† Allow air to circulate to prevent potential moisture accumulation.
4.  Act Quickly if  Water Intrusion Occurs
 
Image result for water damage picsLabel shut-off valves so that the water supply can be easily closed in the event of a plumbing leak. If water intrusion does occur, you can minimize the damage by addressing the problem quickly and thoroughly. Immediately remove standing water and all moist materials, and consult with a building professional. Should your building become damaged by a catastrophic event, such as fire, flood or storm, take appropriate action to prevent further water damage, once it is safe to do so. This may include boarding up damaged windows, covering a damaged roof with plastic sheeting, and/or removing wet materials and supplies. Fast action on your part will help minimize the time and expense for repairs, resulting in a faster recovery.

What Is Radon Testing? 7 Things Every Homeowner Should Know

Radon testing is the only way to know whether your home has high levels of radon, a radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer over time. Here’s what you need to know about radon testing and reducing radon levels in your home.

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1. What is radon?
Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that’s produced by decaying uranium. It’s present in nearly all soils, and very low levels of radon are found in the air we breathe every day.

2. Why is radon a problem?
The problem occurs when radon gas enters your home and gets trapped. Long-term exposure to high levels of radon can cause lung cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that lung cancer caused by radon exposure kills about 21,000 Americans every year.

3. How does radon get in your house?
The radon gas moves from the soil into a home. Although it can seep directly through pores in concrete, the worst entry points are gaps in walls and floors (see picture above). Any house, of any age, in any state can have elevated radon levels. It really depends on the way your specific house interacts with the surrounding soil. Your neighbor’s radon level may differ significantly from yours.

Testing your home from radon is the only way to know whether or not your house has unsafe radon levels.

4. How do you test your home for radon?
Conduct the test in the lowest livable area of your house that is regularly used 8 to 10 hours per week.

  • Self Test at Home With Short-term, Long term or Continuous Radon Test Kits.¬†¬†These are useful to see if further testing is warranted. Most are activated charcoal-based or electret ion that measure radon levels for two to seven days. You mail the tests to a lab for the results. Short-term tests are available at home centers, hardware stores, and online retailers.
  • Call a Professional Inspector to Test for Radon.¬† Hero Home Inspection regularly performs radon tests for homeowners and future homeowners.¬† A continuous testing radon testing monitor will be placed in the lowest living area of the home and left to check radon levels for at least 48 hours.¬† You will receive a report that includes both the long term average and the short term average of the radon levels in the home.¬† If the report is higher than the recommended number, we will run a second test at no charge to confirm the findings.

5. What should you do if your house has high levels of radon?
If an initial short-term test registers 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher, the EPA recommends doing a second radon test. A long-term test will give you the most accurate information, but a short-term test is acceptable if you need the results quickly, such as for a real estate transaction, or your first levels registered 8 pCi/L or higher.

If a second test registers above 4 pCi/L, consider taking steps to reduce radon levels in your home.

6. 
How do you lower radon levels in your house?

Image result for radon in homeYou can start by trying these easy repairs to reduce radon levels. These efforts alone rarely reduce levels significantly, but if your level is only slightly elevated, these repairs might make the difference. They will also make other radon reduction methods more effective and cost efficient.

  • Caulk foundation cracks, construction joints, and other openings with polyurethane caulk.
  • If you have a sump pump, install an airtight cover on it (choose one that allows access to your sump).
  • Cover soil in crawl spaces with polyurethane plastic sheeting (with a minimum thickness of 6 mil, available at home centers) tightly attached to the walls.
  • You can also try sealing concrete, although the EPA has found concrete sealers to be a temporary solution at best.
 

Once you’ve tackled these, retest. If levels are still high, consider installing a radon mitigation system yourself or hire a pro.

7. What’s a radon mitigation system and how does it work?

It basically involves ventilating your home by using PVC piping to draw radon gas up from the soil and out of your house.

The most effective system is a vent pipe placed in the sump pit (if you have a sump pump) or a hole made under your concrete floor slab. A special in-line radon fan is placed in the attic or outside the house to draw air through the vent and radon from under the basement floor. The easiest method is to run the vent out the side of the house and up to the eaves. (You can also run the vent up through the house and out the roof, which is a lot more work and cost, but it looks better).

 

Image result for radon mitigation system

Image result for radon mitigation systemIf your house has high radon levels, it’s important to act, but don’t overreact. Risks from radon are cumulative, which means serious effects result from exposure to high levels over a long period of time. It is prudent to test radon levels and decide on a course of action. But you don’t have to move out of your house or hire the first contractor who can fix the problem. For more information, contact your state radon office.Pros usually charge between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars to install a radon mitigation system, depending on your home and your radon levels. Your state radon office will have a list of qualified contractors.

 

By Laura Gelman Originally Published on Readers Digest

The 10 Best (AND WORST) Places to Hide Valuables in Your Home

Burglary is a crime of opportunity.  And burglars don’t want to spend a lot of time looking through a home to find things of value to steal, which is why there are obvious locations that they always check.  That means that there are ways to outsmart them by hiding your valuables in not-so-obvious places, and sometimes even in plain sight.

Depending on the size and type of item, the best places to hide valuables are those that burglars don’t want to search through or wouldn’t bother with, including places that are inconvenient or difficult to search, messy, or uninteresting.  On average Burglars spend 8-12 minutes inside of a home and they know where to look to make the most of their time.  Here are a few ideas on where to hide your valuables to keep them safe.

Here Are the Top 10:

  1. Dog food bin: If you store your pet food in a large bin, it can double as a handy hiding spot. Wrap up important items and place it at the bottom of the storage bin surrounded by dog food.

  2. A false VHS tape or VHS carton.  Who watches VHS tapes anymore?  Keep them in a stack with lots of others.  A few can be a clue, but many can be a time-consuming distraction.
  3. False containers in the kitchen cupboard, the fridge, under the sink, and in the 51dZsioyuVLbathroom, such as fake food cans and boxes, false cleaning product bottles, and personal hygiene items, and even in a heavy tub of “cat litter.”¬† Some false containers available on the market today actually look like false containers, so you might want to save yourself the expense and create your own.

  4. In the false bottom or under the plastic liner of a bathroom or kitchen trash can.  No one wants to go pawing through your trash in the slim hope of finding something worth pawning.
  5. Wrapped in plastic and aluminum foil and stored in the back of the freezer.  This is also a good place to store documents and paper currency in case of a house fire.
  6. In a floor safe in the bedroom closet.¬† While¬†this location may be obvious, a burglar would have to exert a lot of time and energy‚ÄĒand create a lot of noise‚ÄĒtrying to break into a floor safe, which is also generally of the heavy¬†variety, making it not only¬†hard to open, but hard to steal whole, if the thief had plans to¬†break into it¬†later.
  7. Inside a house plant.  Using the same method as for trash containers, a plant’s soil can be contained in a waterproof liner that can be lifted up to hide items underneath.  Just make sure the items you’re hiding are in a waterproof container, too.
  8. Inside a false wall outlet.  Make sure it’s not a live receptacle or in the way of any electrical wiring.
  9. Within hollowed-out/removable building components, such as wainscoting, floor panels, door jambs, window sills, and cabinet doors.
  10. In the garage inside boxes marked with mundane labels, such as¬†‚ÄúXmas Ornaments,‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúKid‚Äôs Clothes,‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúSchool Projects,‚ÄĚ etc.¬† Again, the more boxes you have, the longer the burglar will have to search‚ÄĒif he‚Äôs so inclined‚ÄĒto find something worth stealing.

Hiding Places to Avoid:

  1. Areas that can damage your valuables with water or invasive matter, such as the water tank of a toilet, inside a mayonnaise jar that still has mayonnaise in it, or a paint can filled with paint.  There are high-quality waterproof containers on the market that will allow you to hide items in water (and possibly other places), but err on the side of caution.  Documents, jewelry and electronics that become wet or permeated with chemicals or food matter may be damaged beyond repair in your zeal to outsmart a tenacious burglar.
  2. A jewelry box.  This is a good place to store jewelry that you can afford to lose, but not your diamond tennis bracelet or your grandmother’s antique wedding ring.
  3. Your desk drawer, bedside drawer, or underwear drawer.  Too obvious.
  4. Inside CD cases.  It’s true:  burglars still prefer CDs to MP3s.
  5. Inside DVD cases.  DVDs and Xbox-type games are worth between $2 and $10 at pawn and re-sale shops; count on being cleaned out of your collection during a home burglary, regardless of the titles.
  6. A wall safe.  Unless it’s high-end and professionally installed, a wall safe can be dislodged by cutting the drywall seam around it, and wall safes are typically small and light enough to easily transport off site to be opened later.  Opt for the heavier and harder-to-access floor safe.
  7. Inside picture frames with false backs/interiors.  These tend to be thicker than typical picture frames, so they’re easy to spot as a hiding place.
  8. A cookie jar.  Put cookies in it, not your grocery money.
  9. An electrical item or heated area, such as a lamp base, toaster oven, or HVAC duct.  You could accidentally ignite your valuables and put your entire home at risk for a house fire.
  10. Any locked box or locking file cabinet.  A box that has a lock on it will be stolen regardless of what’s inside, and the lock on a file cabinet can be popped out with the right tool and a little effort.

Other Precautions

For valuables that you can’t hide or lock up, such as a flat-screen TV, stereo system, and computers, make sure they’re insured through your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.  Unless you invest in a home security system (and sometimes even if you do), it’s not possible to protect every item in your home.  But you can take precautions to password-protect and GPS-activate laptops and smartphones so that their recovery is more likely, should they be stolen.

Also, firearms should be properly locked in an approved gun safe that is stored out of reach for the safety of the home’s occupants, as well as to deter theft.

Place a pole in the bottom track of your sliding glass patio doors so that they can’t be forced open wide enough to permit the entry of an intruder.  Install burglar-proof window locks that will allow you to leave your windows open slightly for fresh air, but not wide enough to allow a person to get through.

Remember that burglary is a crime of opportunity, so don‚Äôt tempt fate by leaving any exterior doors unlocked (including sliding glass patio doors, and the door between the garage¬†and the living area), hiding a spare house key outdoors (under the ‚ÄúWelcome‚ÄĚ mat, a large potted plant, statuary, or a solitary or fake rock), leaving the doors to your attached garage open (even when you‚Äôre home), or leaving the curtains or drapes open so that your valuables are in full view of prowlers and passersby.¬† Your personal safety is at risk as much as your personal property.

Also, don’t over-share personal information with the world by advertising your absence from home on social media.  When leaving on vacation, have a trusted neighbor, friend or family member monitor your home and bring in the newspaper, mail, and random take-out menus hung on your doorknob.  Install light timers indoors and security/motion detectors outdoors to illuminate your property’s exterior.  And go ahead and apply security company stickers to your windows/doors that advertise that your home is professionally protected, even if it’s not.

In short, do what you can to make your home a difficult, inconvenient and time-consuming target that will force a would-be burglar to move on.  And do your part to keep your neighborhood safe by reporting suspicious activity on your street to the police.

7 Steps to Fall Home Maintenance

Home inspection

Fall is the classic time of year when home maintenance projects really take off. The weather is nicer, insects are less aggressive, and it helps button up the house for the long winter ahead.

Although you may have had your home inspected in the past for major defects, new defects can arise almost overnight. With regular maintenance, homeowners can stay ahead of problems instead of scrambling to fix damage in an emergency.

According to ICA SEO Here are 7 jobs every homeowner should think about at the tail-end of summer.

#1: Check for Cracked and Loose Paint

After a long, blistering summer of unforgiving heat, exterior paint might show cracks, bubbles and flakes. While it’s normal for paint to degrade over time, damage leaves the wood underneath vulnerable to the elements. Now is the time to check paint on siding and trim, remove loose or damaged paint and give it a fresh coat.

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Gutter guards can help reduce the amount of large debris that gets trapped inside.

#2: Clean and Secure Gutters and Down Spouts

Hardly anyone enjoys cleaning gutters, but overlooking this simple fall home maintenance job can cause bigger problems. When gutters are full of leaves, water from rains and melting winter snow can’t flow out. That makes the gutter system heavier, which stresses the fasteners. It can also allow water to run backward under the shingles or overflow down the siding. Homeowners should clean out gutters and replace any rusted, loose or missing fasteners while the weather is mild. With fall coming on, it’s also a good time to think about gutter guards to keep leaves out.

#3: Upgrade Inferior Insulation

Inferior insulation lets more heat escape through the ceiling and into the attic where it doesn’t do homeowners any good. Before furnace season arrives in earnest, homeowners should check out attic insulation. If it’s damaged or dirty and compacted, replacement is the smart choice. Even if it’s in good condition, another layer of blanket insulation on top improves the R value.

#4: Replace Old Caulk and Weatherstripping

Caulk and weatherstripping are only as good as their ability to seal air leaks. Once they harden, they can crack and lift. Caulk is inexpensive and seals air leaks around windows and door trim. Weatherstripping makes a complete seal around windows and doors when they’re closed. Both are simple weekend projects that any handy homeowner can handle.

#5: Check the Roof for Loose Shingles 

All that it takes is one good storm to throw a tree branch onto the roof or lift and break the shingles. According to Home Advisor, the average cost of a new roof is about $7,000. After their home inspection, new homeowners still need to watch for damage that weakens the integrity of the roofing system. The sooner it’s repaired or replaced the fewer chances a damaged roof can allow water into the home.

#6: Clean the Fireplace Chimney

In homes with any wood-burning appliance, a clean chimney or flue pipe is a safer one. Before the first fire of the season, homeowners should inspect the chimney or pipe for creosote buildup. A professional maintenance tech or chimney sweep can remove creosote using simple tools.

Home inspection

Considering the costly damage it helps prevent, filter replacement has an enormous return on investment.

#7: Prep the HVAC System

As summer fades into fall, air conditioning switches to heat. Separate air conditioning units should be insulated and covered, recommends Bob Vila, to protect them from the elements and to keep cold air from whistling in around window installations. A filter change is always recommended before turning on heat for the first time of the new cool season.

The weather might be glorious in early fall, but that won’t last for much of the country. Nights get colder, days get shorter and winter blasts make working outside a chore. While the sun is still warm, it’s time for home maintenance projects. That’s what keeps a dream home safe, secure and good investment for the long haul.

 

The Radon Level is High! Now What???

What should I do if the radon level is high?

Don’t Panic! High radon levels can be reduced.

The EPA recommends that you take action to reduce your home’s indoor radon levels if your radon test result is 4 pCi/L or higher. It is better to correct a radon problem before placing your home on the market because then you will¬†have more time to address a radon problem.

If elevated levels are found during the real estate transaction, the buyer and seller should discuss the timing and costs of the radon reduction.  The cost of making repairs to reduce radon levels depends on how your home was built and other factors. Most homes can be fixed for about the same cost as other common home repairs, such as painting or having a new hot water heater installed. The average cost for a contractor to lower radon levels in a home can range from $800 to about $2,500.

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How to Lower The Radon Level in Your Home

A variety of methods can be used to reduce radon in homes. Sealing cracks and other openings in the foundation is a basic part of most approaches to radon reduction. The EPA does not recommend the use of sealing alone to limit radon entry.  Sealing alone has not been shown to lower radon levels significantly or consistently.

In most cases, a system with a vent pipe and fan is used to reduce radon.¬† These “sub-slab depressurization” systems do not require major changes to your home. Similar systems can also be installed in homes with crawlspaces.¬† These systems prevent radon gas from entering the home from below the concrete floor and from outside the foundation.¬† Radon mitigation contractors may use other methods that may also work in your home. The right system depends on the design of your home and other factors.

Radon and Home Renovations

If you are planning any major renovations, such as converting an unfinished basement area into living space, it is especially important to test the area for radon before you begin.

If your test results indicate an elevated radon level, radon-resistant techniques can be inexpensively included as part of the renovation. Major renovations can change the level of radon in any home.  Test again after the work is completed.

You should also test your home again after it is fixed to be sure that radon levels have been reduced. If your living patterns change and you begin occupying a lower level of your home (such as a basement) you should re-test your home on that level. In addition, it is a good idea to re-test your home sometime in the future to be sure radon levels remain low.

Selecting a Radon-Reduction (Mitigation) Contractor

radon-mitigation-system-knoxville-tn-radon-mitigation-experts-in-radon-remediation-systemsSelect a qualified radon-reduction contractor to reduce the radon levels in your home.¬† Any mitigation measures taken or system installed in your home must conform to your state’s regulations.

The EPA recommends that the mitigation contractor review the radon measurement results before beginning any radon-reduction work.  Test again after the radon mitigation work has been completed to confirm that previous elevated levels have been reduced.

What can a qualified radon-reduction contractor do for you?

A qualified radon-reduction (mitigation) contractor should be able to:

  • review testing guidelines and measurement results, and determine if additional measurements are needed;
  • evaluate the radon problem, and provide you with a detailed, written proposal on how radon levels will be lowered;
  • design a radon-reduction system;
  • install the system according to EPA standards, or state or local codes; and
  • make sure the finished system effectively reduces radon levels to acceptable levels.

Choose a radon-mitigation contractor to fix your radon problem just as you would for any other home repair.  You may want to get more than one estimate.  Ask for and check their references.  Make sure the person you hire is qualified to install a mitigation system.  Some states regulate or certify radon-mitigation services providers.