Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pests around the house...time to get rid of them.

Many homes that we inspect all have the same problem, and its doesn't involve the home directly.  It begins on the outside, and they can be a nuisance.  Pests.  Wood destroying insects and other pests around the house can be troubling, but they can be controlled.  New pest management invoke the use of  applying less pesticides.  Integrated pest management combines the use of common sense, proven techniques, conventional pesticides, and green alternatives.

IPM stresses prevention. To prevent infestation, deny the pests food, water, and access to the home. However, prevention may not be enough, and treatment may have to occur. When using pesticides, the exterminator should choose the least toxic product possible, apply as little as possible, and treat the smallest area possible.

To find out more about eliminating pests read here

As always, if you are in need of a home inspections, give How's My House Home Inspections a call.  All our inspections involve inspecting for WDI. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Do you have a wet basement?

There is nothing worse than walking down to basement to find water at the bottom of the steps.  That may be a bit severe, but as a home inspector, we find signs of water intrusion quite often. Whether its a complete flooding, or just a pooling of water, the damage can be enormous.

If your buying a home, you probably would like to know if there is a current water problem in the basement, and if there has been a past problem. If you walk into the basement and see any water, well that's a dead giveaway that there is a problem. But what are the other signs to help determine if there is a water problem.
Some things to look for:

Musty odor - If the basement has an ongoing water problem the odor will stay around for some time.

Efflorescence -When water soaks into concrete, it leaches out the salt and mineral deposits within the concrete. The dry, white, chalky residue left behind is known as efflorescence. It can usually be seen on the basement walls. It is one of the best indicators of a wet basement, since the efflorescence can pinpoint where the water is entering the basement.

Spalling - Water in a concrete wall can cause the concrete to flake away, creating a hole or pocket in the wall.

Mold - Mold can lie dormant for a long time and all it takes is a bit of water to bring it to life.  Mold can be a major headache, not to mention a health risk.

Sump Hole - If a basement has a sump pump, that's a pretty good indication that there is water infiltration to the basement. The buyer should find out how often the pump runs. 

Horizontal Cracks - Poor drainage and grading of soil around a structure can cause water to drain slowly. This water will saturate the ground around the foundation walls, causing an increase in hydrostatic (water) pressure. As the combined forces of hydrostatic pressure and the natural weight of the soils surrounding the foundation bear down, it can exceed the weight-bearing capacity of the walls, causing them to crack, bow, or shear.

Regardless of what the cause is, water in the basement usually leads to larger and more complicated issues.  Always ensure that the basement is dry, or find out why not.  This can help determine whether you should buy the home or not.