Lead in The Home – Keep Yourself Safe

What can you do if you find lead in your home? Here in this part of Florida, we don’t always think about this issue. But if your home was built before 1978, then you could have an issue. Millions of homes have lead based paint, and the older the home the more likely it is to have it.  If the paint is in good condition,  lead paint is usually not a problem.

There are different steps that can be taken in order to lower the effects of lead, ranging from something easy that everyone can do, to more major steps, that might require a professional.

What are some of the things we can all do?

It will seem obvious but cleaning regularly will help to reduce a child’s exposure to lead. If you see paint chips, get rid of them immediately. Wipe down all surfaces like window frames and sills, and clean floors with warm water, all purpose cleaner or even a cleaner that is meant for lead paint.

Whatever items you use for cleaning, such as mops and sponges, take care to clean them thoroughly after use.

Never wear your shoes in the house, you can prevent a lot of issues by doing this simple task.

A healthy diet rich in calcium and iron is good for helping your child to absorb less lead. Also, a very important step is to make sure your child has washed their hands before eating and especially before bed time.

Interim steps can also be taken to help reduce exposure to lead. For example, if you have found lead in the soil, plant some grass to cover it over. You could also do some repairs to any damaged, painted surfaces. Steps like these are not a permanent solution though, you will eventually need to do something about it.

When you should get a professional:

The time may come to permanently remove the lead problem, and its best to consult a professional lead removal specialist. Check first though to make sure they are a certified lead abatement specialist. They have special training in safe lead removal and clean up. If you try to do it yourself, you may encounter more problems and hazards than you bargained for. Its always good to know that there are things that can be done about lead in a home, but always put safety first.

Is Lead In Your Home A Concern?

We all know that a well known health risk in the home could be the presence of lead or lead based materials. Sadly family-2057307__340those most at risk category of being affected by it are babies and small children. There is even a risk to unborn babies. How concerned should you be about the possibility of lead presenting a danger in your home? How much of an issue could it cause?

A home built around 40 yrs ago or more, has a great chance of being painted with lead paint. It can be found both in the exterior as well as the interior of the house.

One of the greatest issues you could encounter is lead paint chips or paint dust. This can even be found in the soil around the home.

Lead piping was also something used in plumbing systems. This could have an effect your drinking water.

What about old furniture or antiques? There is a good possibility that may also contain lead paint.

Should I always be concerned about lead in the home?

It depends what kind of condition the paint is in, if it is in very good condition, then it won’t present so much of an problem. The bigger concerns come when this paint begins to get damaged and chip or peel, this is when you should do something about it.

When paint is knocked, dented or scratched, which anyone with children knows is an everyday occurrence, this causes dust. When the paint was lead paint, then there is a problem, as dust will settle just about anywhere it can. As the household touches these dusty areas then they will get lead paint dust on themselves. This is especially problematic for children who inevitably touch it and breathe it in.

As we’ve mentioned, lead can also be found in soil. Treading in this soil can easily happen as it is transported on shoes and boots.

If you feel concerned about lead in your home, our next article will discuss what can be done about it.

Should you buy a portable generator?

For some, when there is a power outage it can be much more than just a nuisance. It could be a matter of health and light-bulb-2618617__340safety. Is it wise then, to buy a portable generator?

There are many advantages to having a portable generator. It is especially useful when your power goes out.

Here are some of the benefits:

  • They are small and easy to transport, ideal for someone who enjoys camping or going to remote locations etc.
  • There is no difficult installation and you don’t usually require a permit to buy or operate one.
  • They typically run on gasoline.

Some things to think about if you decide to buy a portable generator.

  • Never overload a portable generator, it will be prevented from functioning as it should, and more importantly it could also cause a fire.
  • Portable generators are not designed for appliances hard wired for your home. They are designed to run corded appliances.
  • Due to the fact that portable generators produce carbon monoxide, which we all know to be deadly, its very important to never have one running in the house.
  • Keep your generator away from water as this could cause electric shock if water gets onto it whilst running.
  • Being that gasoline is a very flammable liquid, be extremely careful to not spill any on a hot generator, so as to avoid potential fire.

As we can see, a portable generator is a very good thing to have as long as much care is taken when operating it.

After your home has flooded

Whether your home has flooded from a natural disaster or from another source, there are steps you must take to ensure you get the help you need.mud-616481__340

Some of the first steps to take:

  • One of the first things to do is take pictures of your property, and its contents. Its very important to have photo proof of the damage.
  • You will want to begin cleaning up the mess and destruction left over by the flood, this will no doubt incur some cost so make sure to keep any receipts for the clean up items purchased.
  • Contact an InterNACHI certified inspector to help you with chronicling the damage to your property, they can also suggest recommendations on what needs to be done.
  • It is important to note however, that if your home is flooded due to a natural disaster, other steps will also need to be taken. If the president has declared your area a Major Disaster zone, then contact FEMA who can provide you with assistance.
  • It is wise to contact your insurance company as soon as possible, as they may have a time limit within which to make a claim.

We hope that this information has proved useful to you. If you would like more assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Wise Home Inspections.

How To Stay Safe After Your Home has been Flooded

Sad to say, natural disasters have become all too common lately. Whether you live in an area affected by the recent hurricanes or not, its good to know what we should do after our home has been flooded. catastrophe-1098490__340

Here are some important reminders of what to do immediately after your home has flooded:

  • When first entering your home, be very careful as you don’t know what you’ll encounter. The structure could be unstable, so look out for potential floor and ceiling collapse. Make sure you have the proper clothing on, such as sturdy shoes and appropriate breathing masks.
  • Do not consume food or drink water that might of come into contact with flood waters.
  • After a flood, its possible that your electrical system could be damaged. While its probable that there is no electricity in your neighborhood, you still want to make sure that you turn off the electricity to your own house as the flood water may of damaged electrical circuits. A word of caution though, if there is water you have to stand in to get to the circuit breaker, ask a professional electrician for advice first.
  • As strange as it may seem, did you know that fires pose a huge risk after a flood? This is due to electrical appliances and furnaces being under water. Chemical spills and gas leaks also are a big factor.
  • A home doesn’t just fill up with water when flooded, but also with mud and sludge. This can be very hazardous to health as it contains all kinds of bacteria and sewage. Try and remove this from your home as quickly as you are able, also don’t try to salvage absorbent building materials or mattresses etc, as these will be contaminated with bacteria.

This is just some of the first steps to staying safe after your home has been flooded. In our next blog we will consider more on this subject.

Pre-Listing Home Inspections

Want to sell your home faster and for more money? We all would. We work hard to maintain our homes and to keep them in good condition. So when it comes time to sell your home, you want as few road blocks as possible.

One of the best ways that you can prepare your home to sell is to get a pre-listing home inspection. A pre-listing home inspection allows you to find the issues with your home before a buyer’s home inspector finds them – and puts your deal in jeopardy.

Watch this short  video below to see what you can do to prepare to sell your home, and why having a pre-listing home inspection is so important. And feel free to contact us to schedule your pre-listing home inspection!

How can I improve the air quality in my home?

As we had mentioned in our last blog post, there are a lot of things that can affect the quality of your air. But we gave some simple suggestions on how to overcome some of those issues. We wanted to take a minute and expand on some of those points though.

 

 

  • If you have to use cleaners, try something organic. And when we say organic, we don’t mean expensive. White distilled vinegar is a great option. And since we live in Florida, don’t forget that citrus makes a great cleaner as well.
  • We love our pets, but we should keep them away from areas like our pillows, couches, and beds. Also, be sure to get a vacuum that is made for pet hair and dander.
  • Formaldehyde is a common thing to be in newer furniture (really puts a damper on that new furniture smell). So if you buy new furniture, be sure to air it out first.
  • Keep moisture to a minimum. Be sure to clean up spills quickly, have vent fans, and never leave standing water anywhere.
  • Certain indoor plants can also help to absorb pollutants – and adds some green to your home too!

 

So making your indoor air better takes a few steps, but in the long run is well worth it.

 

How good is the air quality in my home?

How good (or bad) is the air in your home? As people become more aware of health hazards in the home, this question becomes more important.

Unfortunately, the indoor air in the vast majority of homes has more pollutants in it than outside air. This can be pretty discouraging information. But there is good news – it can be improved.

Here are a few things to look for in your home that can impede clean air:

  • Areas that are humid or damp (like kitchens and baths) should have ventilators
  • Pets leave a lot of allergens. Using a wet duster helps keep it to a minimum
  • Try to use organic cleaning products – you’d be surprised how well white vinegar works
  • Lead paint and other issues (we have a couple of other great blogs on lead too)
  • Keep dust to a minimum in the home, and try to use high MERV rated air filters

As we can see, most of us have at least some of the potential pollutants in our home, but they are relatively easy to keep to a minimum.

In our next blog, we are going to go a little further into how you can improve your air quality.

Please contact us here at Wise Home Inspections with any questions you may have about the air quality in your home

How to tell the age of a water heater

2016-06-20 09.13.02When buying a home, many people ask a very common question: How old is the water heater.

They probably ask this because they have either heard horror stories of older water heaters bursting and leaking all over a home, or perhaps they have even seen it first hand.

The problem is, sometimes those stories are true. Water heaters seem to choose the most random time to break – and sometimes the worst time. So replacing your water heater before it breaks is important.

So before we answer the question in our blog, we should first understand how long the average water heater lasts. According to most associations, the average lifespan of a water heater is about 10 years. But there are other factors.

For instance, larger water heaters and electric water heaters tend to last a little longer. Also, some brands go sooner, and some last longer. The average water heater warranty is about 6 years – so a good rule of thumb is to at least start watching a water hear at 6 years old, but consider replacing it at 10 years (whether it still works or not).

So how can you tell how old your water heater is? That’s an easy one. Buildingcenter.org has most manufacturer’s date codes (usually built into the unit’s serial number). Just look at the sticker, and use the Building Center online guide.

What Really Matters On Your Home Inspection

When it comes to a home inspection, there are a lot of things that go into the report. We pride ourselves on being thorough, detailed home inspectors.

We scour your home to find every issue possible. Everything from a damaged outlet to a structural issue. So when you get your completed home inspection report, it can look pretty terrifying at times.

So you may wonder: What really matters in the home inspection report? That is a valid question.

We want to give you the most complete information possible. But a lot of that information is for your your benefit after you move in. For instance, we may recommend cutting back vegetation from the home. While that is a great maintenance item, it is not usually something that you bring back to negotiate with the seller.

So what “really” matter? While we make our reports very clear in this regard, watch this brief video to see what really does matter on your home inspection: