Tuesday, August 28, 2012

This is what you should learn from your home inspection.

Quite often, our clients ask us what exactly they will learn from a home inspection when buying a house in Nassau or Suffolk County.  Although that list can be a quite extensive, we've narrowed it down for a brief overview.

  • First and foremost, is the house structurally sound, and safe to live in?
  • What is the age and general condition of the roof?
  • Attic and crawlspace condition. This includes insulation coverage and thickness, as well as any water penetration issues, past or present.
  • Are the heating and cooling systems operating as designed?
  • Are the plumbing fixtures in working order and free of leaks?
  • Determine the location of the main water shutoff, determination of piping material; supply, waste and venting.
  • What is the location and condition of the electrical service and panels, including breakers?
  • Are the kitchen appliances perform as expected?
  • Are there any environmental issues in the home; asbestos, mold, radon, or termites?
  • Does the seller have maintenance records they are willing to give?

While this list is not exhaustive, it is a good start for new homeowners to understand what a general home inspection should reveal.

A home owners should never hesitate to ask a potential home inspector to explain what information the home inspection is expected to produce. And never feel uncomfortable asking for references. You'll want to learn as much as you can about your home inspection company BEFORE the inspection.

As always, How's My house Home Inspections is available to inspect your home. We inspect homes in all towns throughout Nassau, Suffolk, Brooklyn and Queens

Saturday, August 11, 2012

10 things you should know about mold

The question of mold always comes up during a home inspection.  Prospective buyers always have a concern if there is any mold in the house, as was the case this week during a Huntington Home Inspection.  All was well until we inspected the boiler room.  The inside wall showed signs of mold growth...apparently from a previous water tank leak. 

So here are some mold basics.  First off, the key to mold control is moisture control. If mold is a problem in your home, you should clean up the mold promptly, and fix the water problem.  It is important to dry water damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.  Wash mold off of hard surfaces with detergent and water and dry completely.

Ten Things You Should Know About Mold
  1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.
  2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
  3. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
  4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
  5. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.
  6. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  7. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
  8. Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
  9. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
  10. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.
Mold is everywhere, but can be controlled to a certain degree. For more information on Mold, download this guide from the EPA.

If you have concerns about Mold, How's My House Home Inspections will perform an evaluation for you.  To schedule a home inspection, call us at 516-732-7595