How mold effects your home and why a home inspection can help

We’ve all heard the saying “out of sight, out of mind.” But when it comes to mold in your house, this phrase can have a very literal meaning. You might not be able to see it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there—and it definitely doesn’t mean that it isn’t causing harm. Read on to learn more about the risks associated with home mold and what you can do to prevent it from overtaking your house.

What is Mold?

Mold is a type of fungus that grows in moist environments. It is most commonly found in damp basements, bathrooms, and kitchens, but can spread quickly if left unchecked. Mold produces tiny spores that are easily inhaled by humans and animals; these spores can cause allergies or even dangerous illnesses like asthma.

How Does Mold Affect My Home?

In addition to posing a health risk for you and your family, mold can also damage your home if left untreated. It will grow on surfaces like walls and ceilings, discoloring them and leaving behind unsightly stains. In extreme cases, mold can even weaken structural elements of your home due to its relentless consumption of organic matter such as wood or drywall.

How Can I Prevent Mold?

The best way to prevent mold growth in your home is to reduce moisture levels inside your house as much as possible. Investing in a dehumidifier is a great way to do this; these machines draw moisture from the air so that it cannot settle on surfaces where mold could grow. Additionally, make sure any leaks or water damage are repaired promptly; don’t wait until the problem gets worse! Finally, keep an eye out for signs of mold growth (such as discolored walls or musty odors) and take immediate action if you notice anything suspicious.

We all want our homes to be safe havens—places where we feel comfortable and secure at all times. Unfortunately, one thing that could be lurking beneath the surface without us even knowing is home mold! Not only does this pose a health risk for us and our families but it can also weaken the structure of our homes over time if left untreated. Scheduling a professional home inspection in the Pittsburgh Area is one way to know for sure if mold is in your home!

Pittsburgh area water heater home inspector

Have you ever wondered how long your water heater will last? If so, you aren’t alone. Homeowners everywhere are curious about the life span of their water heaters and what they can do to increase their longevity. Today, I’ll tell you how you can estimate your water heater’s life span and what steps you can take to ensure it lasts as long as possible.

Estimating Life Span

Most manufacturers claim that a gas or electric water heater should last between 8-12 years and a tankless water heater should last up to 20 years. But those are just estimates—the truth is that the actual life span of your water heater will depend on many factors including the type, quality, maintenance, and usage.

You can get an even more accurate estimation of your water heater’s life by checking the manufacturer’s website for specific product information. Most websites will provide estimated lifespans based on each model’s age brackets (e.g., 6-9 years old) and whether it is gas or electric-powered. This can give you an indication of how much time you have before replacing your unit depending on its age and type. Other options include hiring a professional home inspector to inspect the water heater.

Tips for Maximizing Your Water Heater’s Lifespan

Once you know approximately when to expect to replace your unit, there are several things you can do to maximize its lifespan until then. First, make sure to flush out sediment build-up from the tank at least once per year—this will help reduce wear from sediment particles in the tank over time. Second, inspect valves and connections for any signs of corrosion or leaks every few months. Third, invest in regular maintenance visits from a professional plumber and home inspector every two years—they will be able to check for any potential issues with your unit before they become serious problems down the line. And finally, keep an eye on changes in hot water pressure or temperature—these could be signs that something isn’t right with your unit and requires immediate attention from a plumber!

Estimating how long your water heater will last is no easy feat! With proper care and maintenance though, it is possible to extend its lifespan beyond the manufacturer’s estimates — potentially saving yourself some money in replacement costs down the line. So make sure to check manufacturer websites for estimated lifespans based on age brackets and types of heaters; flush out sediment build-up from your tank at least once per year; inspect valves and connections for corrosion or leaks; invest in regular maintenance visits every two years; and keep an eye out for changes in hot water pressure or temperature which could signal underlying issues with your unit! That way, hopefully, you won’t have to worry about replacing it anytime soon!

Home inspections during winter in Pittsburgh

As the days get shorter and the temperature continues to drop, it’s time to start thinking about winterizing your Pittsburgh area home. Here are five easy home maintenance tips to help you get through the winter months.

1. Check Your Gutters
One of the most important maintenance tasks to do in the fall is to clean out your gutters. Clogged gutters can cause a number of problems, including water damage to your foundation and leaks in your roof. To avoid these problems, be sure to remove all leaves and debris from your gutters before the first snowfall. You may also want to consider installing gutter guards to make future maintenance easier.

2. Inspect Your Roof
Your roof is one of your home’s most important lines of defense against the elements, so it’s important to make sure it’s in good condition before the winter weather hits. Look for signs of damage, such as missing or damaged shingles, and have any repairs made as soon as possible. You should also make sure that your attic is properly insulated to prevent heat from escaping through the roof.

3. Service Your HVAC System
If you have a central heating and cooling system, now is the time to have it serviced by a professional. This will help ensure that it’s operating efficiently and will prevent any unexpected breakdowns during the coldest months of the year. Be sure to change your air filter regularly as well; a dirty filter can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 15%.

4. Seal Any Drafty Windows
Drafty windows are not only annoying—they can also increase your energy bills by allowing heat to escape from your home. To resolve this problem, simply apply weatherstripping around the perimeter of each window and door. You may also want to consider installing storm windows for an extra layer of protection against the cold.

5. Protect Your Pipes
Frozen pipes are one of the most common wintertime problems faced by homeowners. To prevent this from happening, insulate any exposed pipes in your home and allow a slow drip from faucets served by exposed pipes during periods of extreme cold. If a pipe does freeze, never try to thaw it with an open flame—this could result in a dangerous fire or explosion. Instead, use a hairdryer or a handheld heat gun set on low.

By following these simple home maintenance tips, you can enjoy a warm and comfortable winter without having to worry about costly repairs down the road. As an extra precaution, schedule a professional home inspection to discover any areas that need attention. So what are you waiting for? Start preparing today!

Inspecting a home in Pittsburgh

You may have heard of radon gas before, but what is it really? Radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is produced naturally from the breakdown of uranium in soil, water, and rocks. It can enter your home through cracks in the foundation or other openings, and once it’s inside, it can build up to dangerous levels.

So why is radon gas a problem? Well, long-term exposure to high levels of radon gas can lead to lung cancer. In fact, the EPA estimates that radon gas is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States. That’s why it’s important to test your home for radon gas and take steps to reduce your exposure if elevated levels are found.

Fortunately, there are things that you can do to reduce your risk of exposure to radon gas. If you live in an area where radon gas levels are known to be high, you can have your home tested for radon. If elevated levels are found, there are ways to mitigate the problem, such as sealing cracks in your foundation and installing a ventilation system that will help remove radon gas from your home.

Radon gas is a serious health hazard, but fortunately, there are things that you can do to protect yourself and your family from its dangers. Scheduling a home inspection in the Pittsburgh Area is one way to ensure you are not at risk. If you live in an area where radon gas levels are known to be high, have your home tested and take steps to reduce your exposure if elevated levels are found. By taking these precautions, you can help keep yourself and your family safe from the dangers of radon gas exposure.

Pittsburgh Home Inspection Professionals

A professional home inspection is a key part in the home buying process. You want to be sure that the home you are buying is in good condition and up to code. Here are 10 points your home inspector will check during the home inspection process.

1. Roofing – The first thing your inspector will do is check the roof. They will look for any loose, missing, or damaged shingles. They will also check the gutters and downspouts to make sure they are securely attached and free of debris.

2. Attic – The inspector will go into the attic to check for any signs of leaks, water damage, or mold. They will also look at the insulation to make sure it is adequate.

3. Walls – The inspector will check the walls for any cracks, holes, or signs of water damage.

4. Ceilings – The inspector will check the ceilings for any cracks, holes, or sagging.

5. Floors – The inspector will check the floors for any cracks, holes, or unevenness.

6. Doors and Windows – The inspector will check all the doors and windows to make sure they open and close properly. They will also look for any signs of drafts.

7. Heating and Cooling System – The inspector will check the furnace and air conditioner to make sure they are in working condition and up to code.

8. Electrical System – The inspector will check the electrical panel and all the outlets to make sure they are working properly and up to code.

9. Plumbing System – The inspector will check all the faucets, toilets, showers, and sinks to make sure they are in working condition and there are no leaks. They will also test the sump pump (if there is one) to make sure it is working properly.

10. Sewage System – The inspector will flush all toilets and run all showers/sinks at once to make sure there is enough water pressure and that none of the drains are backing up into each other.

These are just a few points that your home inspector will be checking during your inspection! Be sure to ask your realtor any questions you may have about the inspection process so that you know what to expect on inspection day!

Pittsburgh Area Home Inspector

The housing industry in Pittsburgh and its suburbs continue to gain traction as more people invest in new homes. While you may fall in love with the photos you see online from sellers, it can be risky if you decide to buy a home without doing a thorough home inspection. Here are the risks of skipping a home inspection for your next Pittsburgh Area home.

Safety Issues May not Be Identified

Some homes may have safety issues, especially in Crescent Township and Leetsdale, PA where homes may be older. Buying such a home without a professional home inspection can lead to various challenges once you move in. Safety issues such as electrical hazards, potential fire outbreaks, carbon monoxide, mold, pests, and radon could lead to severe injuries or even death in your household.

Home Buyers Fail to Get the Big Picture

Everyone wants to invest money in a home that is worth it. However, without a pro home inspection, you may overlook minor issues that can become a bigger nightmare in the long run. This can lead to frustrations, and you may not enjoy your home until you fix the issues. Doing a home inspection helps you identify the nitty-gritty details and make informed decisions when purchasing a home.

Budgeting for Future Repairs becomes Challenging

Without a home inspection, you may not identify various problems that need repairs and replacement. In this case, you won’t be able to budget for future expenses. This can distract your budgeting, leading to financial hardships in the long run.

A home with repair needs can be draining. You will have to spend most of your time and money fixing the issues. The good thing with a home inspection is that you get armed with knowledge about the current state of the home. You will know how to budget for repairs and replacements.

The Bottom Line

It is imperative to schedule a professional home inspection to avoid future problems with your new home. Consider working with a professional home inspector who understands every detail and can help you conduct a thorough home inspection worth a bang for your buck.

Home Inspector in Crescent Township PA

As a home owner, you should know what the cost of a home consists of: a down payment, closing costs, mortgage, insurance, etc. What many may overlook, is how much it costs to maintain a home for the future. From a broken pipe to a leaky roof, you can’t always predict when a major home improvement project will be needed, but you can be certain that they will be occur. That’s why it’s important to have some kind of plan for when they happen. Here is some advice on how to prepare for major home repairs as a homeowner in the Pittsburgh Area.

Save Money

No matter what your financial situation is, the best way to pay for home improvements is to do it without racking up tons of debt. Using a credit card should be a last resort because you could end up paying astronomical amounts of interest. Instead, start a rainy day fund where you regularly allocate a certain amount of money for larger unexpected repairs, either through a savings account or by keeping a money jar.

How much you save is up to you, but it’s difficult to say that you will ever have too much in your rainy day fund. While $5,000 is a good goal to push for, since major repairs are inevitable and you can’t always predict them, it may be best to plan on saving indefinitely.

Home Improvement Loan

There may be instances where you don’t have your rainy day fund built up enough to cover a repair. In that case, it’s still ideal to avoid using a credit card. Consider taking out a home improvement loan. These days, you can easily apply for home improvement loans online, and many of them start with an interest rate of less than 5 percent, which is a much lower rate than your typical credit card.

Schedule Regular Home Inspections

Finding issues before they occur is a major part of being able to repair the needed item before it gets too costly. Scheduling a home inspection in the Pittsburgh Area is key.

Cost Estimating

While using general rules of thumb can be a good place to start, there’s a more effective way of knowing how much to save for major home repairs: estimating the actual costs. Every big-ticket item of your home (e.g., roof, foundation, HVAC system, plumbing) has a life expectancy, which means you can roughly plan for when it will need to be replaced or repaired and how much it will cost (e.g., the average roof replacement costs anywhere from $1,700 to $8,500). Have your home thoroughly inspected so that you can get an idea of how old each component is, and keep track of it so you can know how much to save. This process requires time and diligence, but it can save you a lot of trouble down the road.

 

When it becomes Summer in the Pittsburgh Area, air-conditioning is a big deal! Air conditioning was first invented in the 1920’s and involves the compression and evaporation of volatile gases called refrigerants in order to remove the heat from your home. While we’ve refined the process over the last century, there are still quite a few moving parts to contemporary cooling systems nowadays and they do require maintenance.

The Absence of a Secondary Safety Switch

Secondary condensation drains are not always installed unfortunately! These drains are technically optional, as long as another means of shutting down the cooling system is present should the primary condensation drain become clogged. But all too often, especially on older residences, we see an air conditioning system that does not have any type of secondary drain.

Clogged Condensation Drains

Have you ever seen water dripping out of the pipe in the sticking out of the ceiling of your porch or exterior wall above a window? That is probably your secondary condensation drain, and if water is coming out of that pipe, it probably means that your primary condensation drain is clogged!

Cooling systems operate like big de-humidifiers, removing moisture from the air. This moisture has to go somewhere, so it collects on the evaporator coil and drains into a drip-pan, which is connected to a drain to the exterior. Periodically, this drain will get very clogged, because the cool, damp and dark space inside the pipe is a prime spot for gunk and algae to grow. The primary drain line can periodically maintained by pouring dilute bleach or white vinegar down the condensate drain, such as when you change your air-filters, but eventually you will likely need to use compressed air to physically blow out the line. When you don’t, the line gets blocked and condensation then goes to the secondary condensation drain.

Dirty Condensers

The condenser is the large, noisy, usually square shaped unit that exists outside. These systems contain a compressor that condenses the refrigerant and a large fan that blows air over the refrigerant lines to dissipate heat. These condensers are filled with aluminum radiator fins similar to a car’s radiator, and periodically these fins require cleaning. There are plenty of online tutorials about cleaning your own condensers as well as products that can be found affordably at your local hardware store, but you may consider contacting your local HVAC professional to provide a general cleaning and servicing of the system. Dirty condenser coils will reduce the lifespan of the equipment as well as reduce the energy efficiency of the equipment, so keep the coils clean!

Have more questions regarding what home inspectors look for? Feel free to contact your Crescent Township Area Home Inspector Pro today!

Home inspections are an essential part of selling your property at or above market value. In the Pittsburgh area where we serve, home prices have continued to rise significantly. While this is great new for existing homeowners, failing to take the right steps during the selling process can greatly reduce the potential gains.

What Does an Inspector Look At?

Here are just a few of the areas the home inspector reviews during your Pittsburgh Area Home Inspection:

The structure

The overall security and durability of your structure will be carefully examined as well. Inspectors will look to see whether your home is sitting perfectly upright or slanted in any direction for whatever reason. He or she will then determine whether or not the property is safe for future inhabitation, rehabilitation and renovation (if needed). Any home that’s determined to be unsound will need fixing before it can be put on the market, plus it can decrease the asking price of your property significantly (especially if it’s a newer house).

The entries

Inspectors will take time to look closely at your home’s entryways as well, with most of their attention paid to the windows, doors and trim. If everything looks squared away and intact, you’ll have nothing to worry about. But if the inspection reveals any issues (large or small) with the integrity of your entries, the price of your property may suffer greatly. However, as long as there’s no visible rotting, the caulking is solid, and the glass panes are all unbroken, things should check out just fine.

The exterior

Comprehensive inspections always involve a diligent look at the exterior of the home. Your siding, stucco and stonework are going to be looked at more closely than they ever have been before. Inspectors will search for dents, bowing, cracks, flaking, rotting, or any kind of decay that would suggest the need for a repair. Their findings could put you behind schedule significantly if the home hasn’t been well managed, plus negative findings can reduce the home’s asking price if the potential buyers want to fix the issue. Remember, most people hunt for houses with their eyes, so make sure the exterior is prepared.

The layout

You may not think that the layout of your property is that big of deal when it comes to the final inspection, but it most certainly is. Poor layouts can be seen as potential fire hazards, for one thing. For two, the layout may reveal some things about your home that you’re currently unaware of. Inspectors will look for signs of faulty framing and water damage. Leaning walls and stained ceilings are usually the biggest culprits for reduced asking prices, by the way. Your interior insulation and heating vents will also be examined, so prepare yourself (especially if the room is drafty).

These are just some of the many items a home inspector will examine during your home insepction. As always, please contact us today with any questions you may have.

You probably know the importance of having a home inspected before buying it. One question you may be asking yourself though, is how long a home inspection in the Pittsburgh Area takes to complete. There are a few things that affect how long a home inspection takes. Read on to learn more about these factors:

Size of the property being inspected:
Perhaps the factor with the most influence on a home inspection time is the size of the home. A smaller home will obviously take less time to inspect compared to a larger home. Also, homes with large basements and attics will take longer to inspect than homes that don’t have them.

Location of the property:
The environment in which a home is located also affects the inspection length. Homes that are located in areas that experience drier weather will be easier to inspect than a home located at the top of a hill. Also, homes in areas that experience severe storms will probably take longer to inspect, as there are more factors to take into consideration.

Risk of disasters:
Depending on aspects such as location, some homes may be more difficult to inspect because there are so many factors to consider. This is especially true for homes located in areas that are prone to flooding, tornadoes, or wildfires. Not to mention, there might be extra spaces, such as basements and storm shelters, to inspect.

Age of the property:
Houses more than 50 years old take longer to inspect because there are more tests that need to be administered to ensure that the foundation is in good shape. Older homes might have outdated or even dangerous aspects, such as paint with lead in it, which need to be removed and replaced prior to purchase.

As always, we are here to answer any home inspection questions you may have! Contact us today!

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