We specialize in residential and commercial property inspection services. Call us today. 716 432-7423
Home Inspector for Western New York, Specializing in Home, Business and Radon Inspections. 25 years of Experience.
Home inspector,Licensed, Certified, Experienced, Educated, Radon Testing, Solar Panel Inspections, Covering all of Western New York Lockport, Batavia, Medina, Niagara falls, Tonawanda, Cheektowaga, West Seneca, Amherst, Depew, East Aurora, Hamburg, Attica, Clarence and Elma
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We specialize in residential and commercial property inspection services. Call us today. 716 432-7423
Spring home maintenance checklist
March 20, 2019 by Team HomeServe To
You're stocked up on cleaning supplies, the windows are open and you've officially retired your winter coat. Hello spring!
However, spring home maintenance goes beyond deep cleaning and organizing. Work your way through this checklist to make sure your home is ready for the change in seasons.
1. Check the roof.
If you're comfortable on a ladder, inspect your roof from up high. If not, use binoculars. Look for damaged or missing shingles and signs of rusting, cracking or leaking. If you find issues, call a professional to assess the damage.
2. Clean out the gutters.
Clear all leaves and debris out of the gutters and downspouts. If they're sagging, reattach the gutters, or replace them with new hardware. Use caulking to seal holes and prevent leaking. Make sure downspouts face away from the foundation of your home for proper draining.
3. Inspect the concrete.
Take a walk around your property to look for cracking in the driveway, walkways or pool deck. You can fill cracks with concrete filler or silicone caulk, but if the concrete is severely damaged, you may want to replace it entirely.
4. Check outside faucets.
Inspect hose faucets for freeze damage by turning on the water and placing a finger over the opening. If that stops the water flow, the pipe may be damaged. Call a professional to inspect your pipes and determine if they need replacing.
5. Inspect the air conditioning unit.
Remove debris from around the cooling unit, and change the filters. To help your unit run properly in the upcoming months, follow these steps to make your system more efficient. Spring is also the ideal time to schedule a professional HVAC tune-up.
6. Give the deck some attention.
Check the deck for signs of water stains, discoloration and warping. Look for rusty or loose nails, and make sure the railings and stairs are safely secured. Replace rotting or lifting boards.
7. Repair and reseal woodwork.
In addition to the deck, you'll also want to focus on wooden fences, railings and trellises if you have them. It’s important to give these wood structures some TLC as they are prone to rot and decay so it’s a good idea to learn how to maintain a wood fence.
8. Run the sprinklers.
Turn your sprinklers on to check if the system is still working properly. Look for leaks or broken sprinkler heads. Adjust them so they spray the grass rather than the house, sidewalks or porches.
9. Inspect windows and doors.
Check for cracks or holes and repair as necessary. Use a screen repair kit to fix holes or tears that bugs can sneak through.
10. Spruce up landscaping.
Clear your landscaping of debris, trim overgrowth and plan fresh additions. HGTV recommended using compacted soil in low areas of your yard, as spring rains can cause flooding and foundation damage.
1. Open the windows.
With the welcoming warmth of fresh spring breezes, you might be inclined to do this regardless. Opening the windows is also an effective way to naturally aerate your home and may improve air quality. Take this opportunity to wipe down the interior of the window sills as they have most likely collected dust, dirt and mold over the winter months.
2. Inspect the basement and attic.
Check the walls and floors for water stains, mold and leaks. Remove unwanted moisture that can lead to mold issues or serious water damage.
3. Perform routine home safety checks.
Change the batteries in smoke detectors, make sure fire extinguishers are still intact with the needle in the green zone and check that exhaust fans are working properly. Replace anything that isn't working immediately.
4. Clean the furnace.
The furnace worked overtime hard these last few months, so make sure you clean the filter system, blower and motor. If you're not comfortable doing it yourself, call a professional.
5. Consider upgrades.
Spring is the perfect time to revisit your appliances, lighting and other essentials that may need replacing. If it's time for an upgrade, consider energy-efficient options to help reduce waste and lower your bills. Refer to the Department of Energy for guides to the best home energy improvements.
You may find some damage while prepping your home for spring. If you’re prepared ahead of time with a plan from HomeServe, you’ll have help with the costs of covered repairs.
How to Check for Roof Wind Damage
1. Perform an Outdoor Inspection: Look for missing and damaged shingles (damaged shingles might be curled, cracked, or torn) on your roof or around your property. If this type of damage is localized (i.e., it covers less than 30 percent of the entire roof), roofing repairs might be able to address the problem. More extensive damage might necessitate roof replacement. Also keep in mind that not only the roof itself, but the chimney, ventilation pipes, roof flashing, gutters and fencing can also become damaged. Be sure to inspect them for damage as well. If you suspect that your roof is damaged, here is a basic list of what to look for:
• Composition shingles: curling, loss of granulation, broken, damaged or missing shingles
• Wood shingles/shakes: Mold or decay, splitting or curling
• Flat roof: Obvious patches, cracks or tears, several blisters and/or wrinkles (also check patched areas from inside the attic)
• Flashing: Tears, buckling around roof penetrations
• Roofing cement: Excess cement, crumbling
• Soffits and fascia: Decay, stains
• Soffit and ridge vents: Clogged or damaged vents, flashing and shingles around them curling or missing
• Gutters: Decay or rust, leaky seams, loosely attached to structure, bent or sagging, missing sections of gutter or downspout, filled with debris. Clogged gutters can easily freeze shut and cause excessive weight on gutter fasteners, ice dam conditions, and slippery walks below.
• Chimneys: Leaning, loose or missing flashing, damaged bricks, cap or cracked joints. Chimney flashing is especially prone to tearing because a chimney settles independently from the house.
2. Perform an Indoor Inspection: Moisture marks, brown, yellow, or grey stains, and peeling paint on walls and/or ceilings could all indicate a damaged, leaking roof. Also check your attic for damp rafters or leaks. And if you experience a sudden surge in energy costs, it could be a sign that your roof ventilation has been compromised.
3. Call in a Professional: Call in a roofer for a professional inspection. Getting on your roof yourself is not recommended as it can lead to personal injury and also further damage to your property. A trained professional also has the tools and safety techniques to get up on your roof and check for damage.
The Cadez Team - Signature Real Estate Group
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Wishing all of my friends and clients a Happy Thanksgiving
Termites are a particularly troublesome pest, because they can cause serious damage to your home, and are notoriously difficult to get rid of. If you notice any of these wood-chewing creatures, or signs of their activities, it’s important to deal with them immediately! Here’s how to get rid of termites.
You might miss some of these signs when viewing a home
Homeowners, you may want to stop what you’re doing and check your water heater right away. A.O. Smith, a leading manufacturer of water heating systems, has recalled more than 615,000 residential water heaters due to a potential fire hazard, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced...
Werner Ladder issued a recall of 78,000 of its ladders because they pose a falling hazard, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Thursday.
The 10 Most Common Home Inspection Problems
1. Faulty wiring—open junction boxes, amperage mismatches, no wire nuts on wires.
The cure: Fix junction boxes; upgrade to at least 100 amps.
2. Poor grading and drainage—spongy soil around the foundation, signs of leaking in basement.
The cure: Regrade so that grounds slopes away from house for 10 feet; remove porous material around foundation.
3. Faulty gutters—clogged or bent gutters, water not channeled away from house.
The cure: Preventive maintenance; gutters of adequate size, splash pans to divert run-off.
4. Basement dampness—water stains, powdery residue on walls, mold or mildew.
The cure: Repair gutters to channel water away from house; apply waterproof coatings to basement.
5. Roof problems—brittle or curled shingles; broken or missing flashings.
The cure: Apply new shingle, or tear off if needed (usually after three re-roofs ); replacing flashings, especially around chimneys and other protrusions.
6. Foundation flaws—cracks in foundation, sloping floors, sticking doors or windows.
The cure: Fill cracks with silicon caulking or epoxy; apply waterproof coating to exterior.
7. Poor upkeep—needs repainting, worn carpeting, cracked driveway.
The cure: Give the house a minor facelift.
8. Faulty plumbing—inadequate water pressure, slow drains, signs of leaks on ceilings.
The cure: Clean and rout drains; reseat toilet with new wax ring, repair leaks.
9. Poor ventilation—extreme heat in attic, vapor condensation.
The cure: Ensure that roof soffits are not blocked; install additional roof vents; vent bathroom and kitchen fans outside.
10. Defective heating—cracks in the heat exchanger or water tank; carbon monoxide leaks.
The cure: Reseal chimney flues; replace sacrificial anode in water heater.
Each year the American Society of Home Inspectors conducts surveys related to inspections and U.S. homebuyers. Here are some of their latest findings:
In a 2012 survey, 88 percent of respondents say home inspections increase their confidence about the condition of the property.
In a 2011 study, the ASHI found that nearly 90 percent of all U.S. homebuyers believe some home inspections are a necessity, not a luxury.
According to a 2011 survey, 72 percent of U.S. homeowners agree the home inspections they had when they purchased their current residence helped them avoid potential problems.
In 2010, the ASHI reported that 64 percent of homeowners said they saved a lot of money as a result of their home inspection.
Banging pipes are caused by water hammer
by Reuben Saltzman May 8, 2018
Have you ever heard a banging noise coming from your water pipes when the water is turned off quickly? It usually sounds like the pipes are banging on something inside the walls… and that’s exactly what’s happening. When the flow of water is turned off very quickly, a small shockwave is created inside the pipe. This can cause the pipe to shake and often bang on the wall studs or floor joists.
Many years ago, I replaced the water tubing running to my kitchen sink as part of an experiment to get hot water faster at my kitchen sink. Before I secured the new tubing in place, I tested out the water line to make sure I was happy with the results. I found I had created perfect conditions for a banging pipe.
That pipe banging on the wood was happening just from me turning the hot water on and off at the kitchen sink. How many times do you suppose that pipe will bang on the floor joists before something gives way and the pipe starts leaking? I never waited around to find out. Just watching that video made my skin crawl.
This banging is referred to as ‘water hammer’, and as you might imagine, it can lead to damaged water lines.
Water hammer diagram
How to deal with water hammer
The most obvious way of dealing with this is to keep the pipes secure. As soon as I secured the flexible water tubing at my own house, the tubing couldn’t move anymore, and the sound went away. For new installations, clamps and protective devices are standard.
Water Hammer Arresters
The Minnesota State Plumbing Code actually addresses water hammer, and requires the installation of devices to help prevent it:
609.10 Water Hammer. Building water supply systems where quick-acting valves are installed shall be provided with water hammer arrester(s) to absorb high pressures resulting from the quick closing of these valves. Water hammer arresters shall be approved mechanical devices in accordance with the applicable standard(s) referenced in Table 1401.1 and shall be installed as close as possible to quick-acting valves.
The places that you’ll most commonly find “quick-acting valves” are at dishwashers, clothes washing machines, and whole-house humidifiers. Also, the standard referenced in Table 1401.1 is ASSE 1010-2004, Water Hammer Arresters.
In many older houses, you’ll find primitive water hammer arresters. These were simple chambers of air that were supposed to prevent banging pipes, but they didn’t work all that well. One type was a whole-house shock absorber, consisting of a huge pipe that went nowhere, and was typically installed next to the water meter.
Old water hammer arrester 1
Old water hammer arrester 2
This riser created an air chamber in the pipe which would compress when there was a shockwave. Unfortunately, these weren’t effective. The shockwave started right at the fast-closing fixture and affected everything in its wake.
Because shockwaves that create water hammer are created at the quick-closing valve, a much better location for a shock absorber is right at the faucet or valve. The photo below shows a pair super cool-looking, ancient shock absorbers installed just above the washing machine connections.
old water hammer arresters at fixture
These early-edition water hammer arresters worked fine until all of the air was absorbed into the water. After that happened, these ‘air chambers’ became waterlogged and useless. The animation below shows what would happen to these early-edition water hammer arresters over time.
Air chamber problems
The simple solution is to install a manufactured water hammer arrester; a small sealed air chamber that’s designed to prevent water hammer. The animation below shows how they work.
Water hammer arresters
If water hammer arresters are needed to help prevent banging pipes at a washing machine, they can be purchased for under $25 at Amazon and they don’t require any special tools or knowledge to install.
Special thanks to Sioux Chief Manufacturing for providing the animations and diagram above.
10 Tips to Keep Your Basement Dry
To avoid structural damage and expensive repairs in your home, you must make efforts to keep your basement dry. A damp basement leads to the growth of mold, fungus, and mildew; furthermore, it can cause health problems such as asthma and allergies. Some of the below tips can help you in keeping your basement dry and warm.
Ensure That Water Flows Away From the House
Sometimes the landscaping around the house is to be blamed for water accumulation around the foundation. Ensure that the ground slopes away from your home, and that water does not form puddles around the foundation.
Install Gutters and Downspouts
If your home does not have an efficient system for collecting rain water and melted snow, you must install new gutters and downspouts. Make sure the downspouts are at least 5-feet away from the building structure and that water is directed a safe distance away from the house.
Use Water Resistant Paint
Moisture and condensation in basements sometimes causes the interior walls to “weep”. You can prevent this problem by using a high quality and water resistant paint on the basement walls.
Use a Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier is a valuable tool for absorbing excess moisture from your living space. Depending on the basement area, you may need multiple dehumidifiers to provide effective results.
Surround the Basement With Rocks or Gravel
Rocks and gravel absorb moisture easily and dry quickly. Putting some rocks around the periphery of the basement is an inexpensive and effective method of reducing moisture accumulation around the foundation of the house.
Insulate Water Pipes
Cold water pipes may develop condensation on the surface. Insulate the water pipes so that this problem can be avoided. Ensure that there are no problems or leaks in the plumbing.
Install Metal Window Wells for Basement Windows
Basement windows can collect water and retain it if not properly constructed. Metal window wells covered with pebbles or gravel prevent water retention and seepage through window frames to the basement walls.
Avoid Drying Clothes in Basement
If you have excess area in the basement, avoid using it to dry clothes, as doing so contributes to the humidity and moisture in the area. Use the dryer or dry clothes outdoors on sunny days.
Ensure That All Appliances Vent Outdoors
Most people have their laundry rooms in the basement. Ensure that the washer and dryer are properly connected, and that the dryer vents air outdoors. Also ensure that there are no leaks from the washer.
Install Exhaust Fans in Basement Bathrooms
Basement bathrooms and showers are major contributors to humidity levels. Use exhaust fans when necessary to remove moisture and improve ventilation. On warm, sunny days, leave basement windows open for some time. Avoid opening windows on rainy or humid days.
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