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Smart Moves Home Inspections, LLC

Residential Home Inspections

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Prevent Laundry Hose Failure

Posted on February 6, 2014 at 3:46 PM Comments comments (0)
Over time, all washing machine hoses will wear out. Roughly, the included rubber hoses will last 8-9 years. Cracks, blisters, bulges, drips can lead to costly repairs with the average claim reaching close to $6,000. $6,000 for a repair you don't even need to hire a plumber for! It is imperative to inspect laundry hoses regularly  and upgrade hoses to a reinforced, steel-braided type.  These replacement hoses are a low cost ($10-20) preventative action against costly repairs (not to mention upset neighbors that live below you) and they are EASY to install. Some really good information can be found here - DisasterSafety.org. Something I recommend on every inspection (along with a drip pan under the washer - especially if there is living space below the unit). This simple upgrade not only will save huge dollars but give you piece of mind. Also consider installing a single throw water shutoff valve AND USE IT! After every wash turn off the water to the hoses to relive the water pressure limiting the risk of failed rubber hoses.

Roof stains

Posted on May 9, 2012 at 12:36 PM Comments comments (0)
There are many sources of roof staining and they vary in significance, from cosmetic to harmful to the roof.
Black streaks on shingles caused by algae or fungal growth used to be limited to warm, humid climates, but now this can be seen on houses as far north as Canada. Some experts attribute the spread to the increased use of crushed limestone as a filler material in asphalt shingles.
Limestone is economical and makes a durable shingle, but the calcium carbonate in the limestone supports algae growth. In algae-resistant (AR) shingles, zinc or copper granules are mixed in with the colored stone topping. When the shingles get wet, the zinc or copper is released, inhibiting algae growth.
Warranties for algae resistance are usually for less than 10 years since the protection ends when the mineral washes away. Some shingles have longer lasting protection than others due to a higher percentage of AR granules.

The chemistry of roof shingles, their granule coverings, and substrates is quite different from other organic substances that are home to many molds. Further, many newer shingle products include chemicals to retard black algae growth that may also retard mold growth. Specific mold genera/species like to grow on particular surfaces - it's their food, and while
some molds are more choosy than others (for example mildews grow only on living plants), you'll need to look carefully at a roof and the conditions around it (such as trees, and areas of sun or shade) and perhaps even sample the black debris to determine if it is mold and if so what is its species.
The roof cleaning methods to remove black algae will probably work well for black mold growth on a roof as well.

Do I need to get a home insepction?

Posted on January 19, 2012 at 1:51 PM Comments comments (0)
Short answer - no. The right answer - it's in your best interest to get one. As with anything you purchase it is proper to do your due diligence. You wouldn't buy a used car without taking it to your mechanic first. So why not when you're buying a used home? A home inspection will give you a unbiased opinion by a third party professional on the current condition and give you tips on how to properly maintain your property. The reports are NOT enforceable, they are NOT code inspections, or appraisals. Keep in mind - just because there is a defect reported it does not mean the seller must repair it.  It is an extensive report that documents hundreds of systems and subsystems in a home for your information only. Then, in most cases, after the inspection you can go back to the seller, with your fully loaded ammunition,  and renegotiate the agreement of sale by receiving credits, repairs, or walking away. This is all for your benefit! The fee for the inspection will totally pay for itself with the money it will save you in unforeseen defects. So, do you need to get a home inspection...? I think you know the right answer. Check out this form created by the US Department of Housing.

Knob and Tube Wiring

Posted on June 8, 2011 at 9:32 AM Comments comments (0)
Knob and tube electrical of wiring has been installed in homes from the 1920s right up into the 1970's in some jurisdictions. Only a hot and neutral wire are provided. The circuit has no electrical ground path. The individual electrical wires are wrapped in a rubberized cloth. That was fine when the wires remained suspended in air. Wherever the knob and tube circuit wires pass through building framing lumber a ceramic tube is used to insulate the wire from the wood. Where the knob and tube wiring is surface mounted in a building it is attached using a ceramic "knob". These ceramic knobs are a good insulator provided they have not been damaged or modified. Knob and tube electrical circuits are not "illegal" and there is not a code requirement that they be replaced. However this wiring method is considered obsolete.
Some issues:
  • No electrical ground is provided - the circuit is less safe than a modern grounded electrical circuit and appliances and devices that use a grounded plug should not be connected on an un-grounded circuit.
  • The knob and tube wiring may have become damaged by age, exposure to leaks, or to chewing rodents. In attics, for example, we often see that this wiring has been damaged by having been stepped-on or by chewing rodents.
  • The safety of the knob and tube circuit may have been affected by building changes such as adding insulation and modifications to the original circuit.
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Do you have a wet basement?

Posted on November 24, 2010 at 10:46 AM Comments comments (0)
An effective and informative article about wet basements. Did you know most basements are wet because of improper grading and poorly installed gutters/downspouts?

Keep water away from the foundation. This means proper site drainage that assures that surface runoff and roof spillage are conducted away from the building. Most of the wet basements  investigated were suffering from mis-handling of roof drainage. Between gutter defects that spill large volumes of water close to the foundation and improper site grading, we estimate that 80 percent or more of basement water entry problems can be explained.

How much MOLD is too much MOLD?

Posted on November 22, 2010 at 8:44 AM Comments comments (0)
Don't get freaked out if your home inspection reveals mold!  Mold is everywhere in the air we breath everyday. Some people react differently than others. Standards or Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) for airborne concentrations of mold, or mold spores, have not been set. Currently, there are no EPA regulations or standards for airborne mold contaminants.
For more information on mold, see the website at www.epa.gov/mold

Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture indoors.

How do I get rid of mold? It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust.  The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present.  Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors.  If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem.  If you clean up the mold, but don't fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back

  1. The key to mold control is moisture control.
  2. If mold is a problem in your home, you should clean up the mold promptly and fix the water problem.
  3. It is important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

Act a little Greener

Posted on October 21, 2010 at 3:33 PM Comments comments (0)
Tips on Energy efficiency blogWondering about the little things you can do to your home to become a little more energy conscience? Here are few simply items you can complete by the end of the week that will help your home become a little more efficient.

Bathroom Big: Install a low-flow aerating showerhead. Most models allow you to save around 30 percent on water usage without compromising on your shower experience. Small: Avoid using toxic cleaning products, as chemicals find their way into the atmosphere and waterways. As you run out of old cleansers, replace with nontoxic cleaning products.
Kitchen Big: Replace your old refrigerator or dishwasher with an energy-efficient model. Look for models that either meet or go beyond ENERGY STAR levels, like a new 4-Door French-door refrigerator from LG that's 20 percent more efficient than the minimum ENERGY STAR standard. The fridge achieves efficiency through linear compressor technology that alters output based on demand from the refrigerator. This means fewer temperature swings, ultimately using less energy and saving you money. Small: Plant a garden, as the food out of your garden will be fresher and won't need to be transported to the store or to your home.
Bedroom
Big: Buy all-natural bedding that is made from earth-friendly materials. Small: Unplug gadgets like cell phone chargers and unused appliances before going to bed, since they can use energy even when they are plugged in and not in use.
Laundry room
Big: Buy an energy-efficient washer and dryer. Consider a high-efficiency, front-load machine like a SteamWasher from LG. It uses more than 50 percent less water per load and is roughly 86 percent more energy-efficient than conventional top-load machines. Small: Clean your dryer vent after each load, because even a partially clogged vent will hurt your dryer's efficiency.
Energy center
Big: Invest in a programmable thermostat, which can save you money by setting temperatures lower when you plan to be away or while you sleep. Some even can be controlled remotely while you are away. Small: Replace incandescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient CFL or LED bulbs.
Garage
Big: If you're in the market for a new car, buy a gas-sipping hybrid. Small: Take public transportation. Better yet, where possible, bike or walk on one trip each week where you would usually drive.
Living room
Big: Buy an ENERGY STAR-rated TV that will save you money when it's both on and off. With very low standby and on-mode power consumption, some new LED HDTVs from LG use only about 7 cents of electricity a day for average viewing of six hours daily. Small: Unplug your DVD player or other accessories when they are not in use, especially when leaving for an extended time like a vacation.

Whether they are big or small, your energy-saving contributions won't go unnoticed by Mother Nature or your pocketbook. For more on The Green House project and more helpful home energy tips, visit www.SmartHouseSmartLiving.com. You can also take the ENERGY STAR Pledge at energystar.gov/changetheworld and join with millions of others in making energy-efficient choices at home and at work that save energy, save money and protect the environment.

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