10 Common Home Concerns with Solutions

Common Problems Home Owners Encounter

When we’re at home, we want to relax and unwind. The last thing any homeowner wants is for their house to become a burden or a hassle. There are common home concerns to look out for, such as mold, pests, and more. This article covers ten common household worries and how to handle them.

Mold is One of the Common Home Concerns

If you have a mold problem in your home, call a mold remediation specialist to help. The best way to find out if this is an issue in your home is by checking for common signs. Do any of your rooms smell musty? Have you noticed that people are frequently experiencing colds and allergies when they’re at your home? Is there visible mold on walls or surfaces? If the answer to any of these questions was yes, then you need to take action soon.

Insects Invading Your Home

This is one of the most common home concerns. If you’re seeing insects in your home, it’s important to act fast. Insects are unsanitary and can cause a great deal of damage to your home. Get rid of them early before things get out of hand.

If the problem is small, you should be able to resolve it yourself using store-bought solutions. However, if there’s a large infestation or the bugs are cockroaches or termites, call pest control. Termites will cause damage to the structure of your home, making it unsafe and reducing your home’s value.

Odors

If you’re noticing a strange odor in your home, then it’s time to take action. Here are some common odors and what causes them.

  • Pet odors: pets can damage furniture and flooring if accidents aren’t addressed quickly and properly.
  • Mold and mildew odors: If you have a mold problem, call an air quality specialist. Mold is dangerous to your health and will cause respiratory symptoms, especially in the elderly and those with asthma.
  • Cigarettes: Smoking is a health risk that also impacts your indoor air quality and damages textiles like furniture, rugs, and curtains.

Leaks and Structural Problems

Leaks and structural problems are major concerns that need immediate attention. Here are situations where you would want to call a professional.

  • You notice water stains on your ceilings, walls, or floors.
  • There is visible mold or mildew growing on the walls and/or surfaces of your home.
  • You see cracks in your foundation or notice missing, curling, or buckling shingles on your roof.

Other Common Home Concerns

  • Peeling paint or wall damage
  • Electrical hazards
  • Roof damage
  • Heating systems
  • Structurally Related Problems

If you’re noticing any of these common home concerns, take action before things get any worse.

Premier Home Inspection Services offers home inspection services, including mold inspections, to Northern New Jersey. Contact us to request an appointment.

Being Prepared for Fire Safety in the Home

A safe home is well prepared for emergency situations. While events such as a house fire are frightening, proper planning will help you protect your home and loved ones from danger. Fire can move quickly through your living spaces, so you’ll have very little time to respond. Be prepared for fire safety in the home by creating an emergency plan.

Fire Safety in the Home: How to Prepare

Be ready for a fire emergency by creating an escape plan with your family. Find at least two routes to exit each room in case one becomes blocked. If a fire breaks out, every second counts. Practice your fire escape plan with family members so everyone knows how to leave the home quickly and safely.

Double-check that the windows are easy to open, no exits are blocked, and that screens can be easily removed. Being able to find your way out of your house in low or no vision situations is also key. Teach your children to exit the house as fast as possible and help them understand that firefighters are there to help.

Make sure that smoke alarms are up to date and have working batteries. Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and replace the devices every ten years or per the manufacturer’s instructions. Smoke alarms for people with visual and auditory impairments are available, as well as alarms that trigger an exterior strobe light that alerts neighbors and emergency crew to a fire your home.

For extra security, install a fire suppression system in your home and keep fire extinguishers on hand in the kitchen, laundry room, and garage. Make digital copies of all of your important documents and records, such as birth certificates and social security cards, in case they are destroyed.

Staying Safe During a Fire

If a fire breaks out, exit quickly. Stay low to the ground. Heat and smoke rise, so crawling makes your escape easier. Look for smoke around doorways and check doorknobs for signs of heat before opening a door.

If you are unable to reach people or pets who need assistance, exit the building and contact emergency services. Give them the exact location of the trapped person or pet. Emergency services will be better equipped to rescue people or pets from the home. If you become trapped, block all vents and spaces under the doors as best you can and call for help.

Being prepared for an emergency situation helps family members stay calm in the moment. A fire escape plan will teach everyone how to exit the home quickly. Choose a meeting place a safe distance from the house to check in with your family if a fire breaks out.

Premier Home Inspection Services offers inspections in Northern New Jersey. Contact us to request our services.

5 Tips for Babyproofing Your Home

Parents expecting their first baby can be overwhelmed by trying to figure out how to make their home safer. They may not know what requires changing, or they may go overboard by adding things in their home that they don’t need. Use common sense and intuition to find things in your home that are obvious hazards. Here are five tips for babyproofing your home:

Setting Up a Crib

Newborns will be spending a lot of their time sleeping, so having a safe place to sleep should be an immediate priority. Do not place any objects in the crib with the baby, including pillows and blankets. Pillows and blankets can be hazardous because the baby can get tangled up. If you want to keep your baby warm, swaddle them instead.

Make sure that the height of the crib rail is appropriate for the age and size of your baby as they grow and develop. As your baby starts to learn how to pull themselves up, you don’t want to risk them falling over the edge of the crib.

Start Babyproofing Your Home by Putting Away Small Objects

Babies love to put things in their mouths. Start babyproofing your home by placing small items out of the reach of your child. Even items you think are safe should be secured as they could fall on the floor giving your baby easy access to them.

If you’re not sure whether objects are small enough to cause a choking hazard, see if the object can fit inside an empty toilet paper roll. If it falls right through the tube, it’s small enough to potentially choke your child and should be placed far out of reach.

Set Up a Baby Play Area

Have a designated area for your baby to play while you tend to chores. For a newborn, this might be a baby swing or bouncer. Older babies will be crawling around more, so set up a playpen nearby that you can supervise. The older the child is, the more independent they will be. Should an emergency happen, you need to be able to get to them as soon as possible.

Use Baby Gates

Using baby gates for babyproofing your home is great because they have multiple uses. They can be used to section off part of the house to keep your child out of trouble, such as keeping them from tumbling down a set of stairs. You can also use gates to keep them inside a specific area. Set up gates to keep them from wandering off and out of sight.

Cover Corners When Babyproofing Your Home

Make sure all of the sharp corners in your house are covered by soft corner protectors. You don’t want to risk your baby hitting their head on anything while crawling around on the floor. Get down to a baby’s eye level and look around your house. There are likely corners that you’ve not noticed because they’re so low to the ground.

These are just a few important tips that will help when babyproofing your home.

Premier Home Inspection Services provides home inspections to customers in Northern New Jersey. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

5 Places That Water Damage Occurs

Water can damage your home without anyone knowing about it until it’s severe. However, when you know the places that water damage occurs most commonly in a house, you can keep an eye out for the signs. Try to catch water damage before it causes serious problems and mold.

Bathrooms are Places That Water Damage Occurs

Water is used in the bathroom more than any other room in the house, so it makes sense that it’s susceptible to water damage. An issue as minor as water splashing out of the shower can damage the drywall and floors. Dry up any water that makes it out of the shower or bathtub immediately. Use ventilation fans to reduce condensation in the bathroom when bathing. If you notice caulk deteriorating around sinks and tubs, remove it and apply new caulking to protect the drywall.

Attic

Attics experience water damage when there’s a roof leak. Since people don’t usually go into the attic, the damage can become extensive and costly before it’s discovered. Mold may begin to grow and your belongings that are stored in the attic can be ruined. Water leaking through the attic boards will cause water stains on ceilings. Once this happens, boards in the attic are probably already rotted.

Basement

Basements experience water damage due to floods, clogged gutters, and improper grading around the foundation. Waterproofing the walls and floors of the basement is an effective way to prevent water from getting in, but some basements with persistent flooding problems need a sump pump.

Behind Walls are Places That Water Damage Occurs

Leaking plumbing pipes behind walls often don’t show immediate signs of a problem. The water damage is advanced before visual signs and mold odors occur. Once you do notice a problem, finding and fixing the source of the leak is an invasive procedure that requires removing and replacing drywall.

Under the Kitchen Sink

A leak under a kitchen sink is easier to deal with than in some other situations. Once you notice standing water or moisture in the cabinet under the sink, it is fairly simple to troubleshoot and find out where the leak is coming from. The pipes are usually exposed just inside the cabinet, so they are easy to access and fix. The cabinet may be damaged by water, but in the worst-case scenario you’ll only have to replace the cabinet after fixing the pipe.

Premier Home Inspection Services offers home inspection services, including mold inspections, to Northern New Jersey. Contact us to request an appointment.

4 Types of Grills

Summer is here and you might be in the market to buy a new grill. There are different types of grills to choose from, and some people like to have more than one for variety. Here is an overview of some ways to cook outdoors and also some safety tips to keep in mind.

Popular Types of Grills: Charcoal Grill

Charcoal grills are considered the classic option because some people prefer the taste of cooking food over charcoal. You can find charcoal grills in the round kettle style or a rectangular model. It takes a bit of time and effort to get the charcoal hot enough to cook food.

To start the charcoal, use a charcoal chimney and newspaper. Let the coals burn for about 10 minutes until they are covered with grey ash, and then you can start cooking over them. While you won’t have the same instant gratification that a gas grill offers, many people enjoy the process of getting a charcoal grill going.

Gas Grill

Gas grills are popular because of their convenience. Lighting the grill is as easy as turning on the stove inside your house. If you like to grill out daily in the summertime and don’t have a lot of extra time to prepare for dinner, a gas grill is right for you.

If you have a natural gas line to your home, you can hook it up to your grill. Alternatively, you can use propane tanks bought from a hardware store. Use caution grilling with gas. You’ll need to check for gas leaks and always open the grill lid before igniting it to avoid a buildup of gas.

Electric Grill

An electric grill is portable and convenient as long as you have an outdoor outlet close by. Simply plug it in and it is ready for use. They are also affordable and easy to clean. One drawback is the size of the grilling area; electric grills tend to be smaller than charcoal and gas grills. This grill is a good option if you live alone or have a small family.

Smoker

A wood smoker is usually most appreciated by a meat-smoking enthusiast who treats it as a hobby. Smoking meat with a wood fire takes attention to detail, time, and skill. The temperature must be managed by controlling the amount of wood burning on the fire and the meat needs to be smoked for the perfect amount of time.

There are now high-tech pellet smokers that take the art out of smoking meat and let you set and forget it. You can achieve delicious results without all the effort, but for a high price tag.

Safety Tips for All Types of Grills

No matter what type of grill you are using, always make safety precautions the top priority. Use the grill outside in an open area, not underneath a cover of any sort. Give the grill 10 feet of clearance away from buildings, trees, and fences. Use long-handled grilling utensils to prevent burns.

Premier Home Inspection Services provides home inspections to Northern New Jersey. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

Pros and Cons of Different Types of Flooring Materials

If it’s time to replace the flooring in your home, you have many options to choose from. When trying to select the right flooring, you’ll want to consider the location and conditions the material will be exposed to. In choosing the best materials, consider many factors. Below are common types of flooring materials and their advantages and disadvantages.

Natural Stone Tiles

Stone tiles are one of the most durable and most expensive options. Natural stone tiles are made from different materials. Sandstone, granite, and marble are popular options. Stone is durable and eco-friendly, and since they are insulating, these tiles are ideal for use above radiant heating. However, this type of flooring is costly. You would also need to hire expert installers to guarantee quality work.

Porcelain Tiles

For high-traffic areas, ceramic or porcelain tiles are ideal. They are moisture-resistant, durable, and don’t require much maintenance. Choose this type of flooring for bathrooms or kitchens. You can also select from a wide array of designs. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are expensive, depending on the style and material. While they are durable, porcelain tiles can break under pressure, so you may want to set aside money for repairs.

Hardwood Types of Flooring Materials

Hardwood is often chosen for its appearance and wide range of colors. This is best for living rooms and dining areas because it is attractive and durable. While hardwood has a high return on investment and will add value to your home, it is an expensive flooring option. Hardwood does require maintenance because it absorbs moisture, scratches easily, and can dent with the weight of heavy furniture.

Carpeting

Carpets are a common choice for bedrooms because they help maintain warmth and buffer sound. Some brands are resistant to stains and spills. Carpeting is softer than other flooring options, making it ideal for areas where kids play. It is also cost-effective, with some styles priced as low as $2 per square foot. However, what you save on flooring materials and installation, you will have to spend on cleaning. Plan to replace carpeting sooner than other flooring materials because it will wear out over time.

Types of Flooring Materials: Vinyl

If you’re looking to save money on a new floor, the wide array of designs vinyl can offer may be appealing. Vinyl is available to mimic hardwood or tile but at a much lower cost. Professionally installing it would cost between $3 to $15 per square foot, however, you can also install it yourself to save on labor costs. Vinyl is inexpensive and water-resistant, making it useful in the laundry room, kitchen, and bathrooms.

Flooring materials differ vastly in terms of price because of their quality, availability, and installation costs. Use the information here to weigh your options in making the best decision for your home and family.

Premier Home Inspection Services provides home inspections to Northern New Jersey. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

How to Paint the Exterior of Your Home

Tips for Applying Exterior House Paint

Painting the outside of your home is a big task, but it is a project that will pay off when you choose the right color and pick the best paint for the job. After you’ve selected a color, follow these helpful tips to paint the exterior of your home.

Plan for the Weather

Check the weather and pick a good day to start your painting project. Exterior house painting is best done on a moderately warm and overcast day. It’s not a good idea to start painting outside in the middle of summer, winter, or during rainy seasons. The paint may not adhere as well and you won’t get the best results from your work.

Choose Quality Paint for the Exterior of a Home

If you’re hoping to keep costs down, you may consider choosing a less expensive paint option, but it’s important to use a high-quality product for the exterior of your home. Talk to the paint specialist at your local home improvement store. He or she can offer advice on the best product for your job. Quality paint is more expensive, but you’ll get the best results when you purchase the best paint and the best tools.

Clean the Siding

Paint will not adhere well to dirty and uneven surfaces. Thoroughly clean the siding and trim before applying paint. A pressure washer can make quick work of this step. Remove all mud, dirt, mildew, and algae. Allow it to dry completely before applying paint. If the old paint is peeling away, use a scraper to remove it for the best results. Afterward, sand the siding to prepare it for paint application.

Use Exterior Primer Before You Paint Your Home

After preparing your house for paint, start with a coat of primer before applying your color. Some paint manufacturers offer exterior paint and primer in one product to make this task easier. Primer gives you a solid base and covers stains. It helps the paint go on smoothly and better adhere to the siding.

Paint Top to Bottom

For the best results, start working at the top and make your way to the bottom. Painting this way gives you more control over the paint application and can help you see streaks so you can touch up areas as you go. Apply the paint with the best quality rollers and brushes.

Painting a house is a big job. When tackling this endeavor on your own, keep these tips in mind. If the task seems too big, you can hire a professional crew to complete the work. They’re experienced and have the tools to do a great job that will add value to your home.

Premier Home Inspection Services offers home inspection services in Northern New Jersey. Contact us to request an appointment for our services.

5 Home Maintenance Chores You Shouldn’t Ignore

Some home maintenance tasks help your home look more attractive and your home’s condition won’t suffer if you forget to do them. Others are directly related to the functionality of the home and your family’s health and safety. Here are 5 home maintenance chores you shouldn’t ignore. Schedule these tasks on your calendar to complete regularly.

 

Clean the Gutters

Gutter cleaning is one of the most important home maintenance tasks. Clogged gutters can cause water damage to many areas of the house. Backlogged rainwater in the gutters can seep under shingles and saturate roofing boards. Water that spills out of the gutters and collects by the foundation can damage the siding and seep into the basement or crawlspace. Clean the gutters at least twice a year. If you have a wooded lot, install gutter guards to help keep debris out of your gutters.

Change the HVAC Filter

The air filter in the HVAC system removes particulates from conditioned air before sending it through the air ducts and into the home. When the air filter is full of dust and debris, it can no longer filter air properly.

Your HVAC system will work harder to push air through a dirty filter, lowering its efficiency. It will also send dirty air back into the home instead of capturing pollutants. Change your HVAC filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some manufacturers recommend every 30 days and some recommend only twice a year. If someone in your home has allergies, invest in HEPA filters for the best filtration.

Home Maintenance Chores for the Driveway

Sealing the driveway helps preserve its surface and protect it from holes and cracks. Since this maintenance doesn’t need to be completed very often, it’s easy to forget about sealing your driveway.  Experts recommend applying a sealant coat about once every three years. Prep the driveway first by pressure washing it before sealing it.

Home Maintenance Chores for the Deck

The most common decking material is pressure-treated wood. While this type of wood is treated to protect it from insect infestations, it still needs to be maintained year after year. Snow and rain take a toll on the deck which ages the surface and loosens the connections. A pressure-treated deck should be sanded, stained, and sealed every year. Remove and replace nails and screws that are protruding and secure any loose railings.

Grease the Garage Door

Even an automatic garage door needs its movable parts lubricated to keep it opening and closing smoothly. Buy a product specifically made for greasing a garage door and apply it to the hinges and rollers once per year.

Premier Home Inspection Services provides home inspections to Northern New Jersey. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

5 Tips to Level Up Your Online Home Search

When searching for a new home, many buyers turn to real estate listings online. If you don’t use filters for your online home search, you’ll end up wasting time viewing houses that don’t meet your needs. Here are 5 tips to follow when looking at house listings online.

Get Specific with Your Boundaries

If you have strong preferences about certain neighborhoods, there is a handy tool on Zillow that allows you to get specific. Instead of just searching within a zip code, city, or county, you can draw boundaries around the areas you want to search. Work with your real estate agent to discuss the neighborhoods that would most appeal to you, especially if you are not familiar with the area.

Filter Out Home Types That Won’t Work for You

You may know that you want a detached single-family home, or maybe you are open to a condo or multi-family property. When you don’t filter by home types, you’ll be looking at plots of land, apartments, townhomes, condos, manufactured homes, and multi-family units in addition to houses. If some of these types are a dealbreaker for you, filter them out of your search.

Set a Price Limit for Your Online Home Search

It’s fun to daydream about living in a mansion, but if this isn’t realistic for your budget, set a price limit. You’ll only get discouraged by looking at houses you can’t afford. Set the upper price limit at the number that you are pre-approved for or the maximum you’re comfortable spending. You don’t have to accept all the money that the bank offers you. A mortgage payment shouldn’t exceed 30% of your household income after taxes.

Only Look at Homes That are Large Enough

You may be able to compromise on certain things, but you cannot reduce your family’s size. Don’t bother looking at houses that simply don’t have enough space and rooms. If you don’t want your teenage children to have to share a bedroom, filter out houses that are too small.

3D Home Tours Come in Handy for Your Online Home Search

Some listings have 3D tours that show each room, making you feel as though you are in the space looking around. If you are moving to a far-away place where you might not be able to physically visit every home, 3D tours are a great tool. Set up an alert that notifies you when a new listing with a 3D tour becomes available.

Premier Home Inspection Services offers home inspection services in Northern New Jersey. Contact us to request an appointment for our services.

4 Benefits of a Pre-Listing Inspection for Home Sellers

When getting your home ready to sell, one thing you can do to prepare is a home inspection. Getting this done before your property ever hits the market can save you time, money, and frustration. Here are the top four benefits of a pre-listing home inspection.

1. Make Repairs After a Pre-Listing Home Inspection

The home inspection report will note areas and components that need work. Because you have not listed your home yet, you can take care of these repairs before a buyer sees the house. If the buyer discovers the problems after their own inspection, you might have to scramble and address them quickly.

During certain times of the year, work crews can be very busy, and it could take some time before a contractor can even get to the property to assess the job. Because you are not racing against the clock, you can wait for the tradesperson of your choice. You may even choose to fix some of the issues yourself or not make any of them and adjust the price instead.

2. Attract Buyers

When it comes to attracting buyers, you can use the home inspection results. A pre-listing inspection tells the buyers essential details about the structure and the components in it. Sharing the report with them shows a level of transparency, and it can help a buyer make a quicker decision.

3. Negotiations

A pre-listing inspection can make the negotiation process smoother. If you did not get the inspection ahead of time, the buyer will likely get one once you have accepted their offer. If anything concerning comes up in the report, it might cause lengthy negotiations. Having already ordered a home inspection could eliminate most of that process and get you to the closing table faster.

4. The Benefits of a Pre-Listing Inspection Include Peace of Mind

If you are unsure about the condition of your property, a pre-listing home inspection can answer any of your questions. Your report can be used as a tool to help you make repairs or adjust the price. Getting an inspection will give you solid information so that you can confidently list your home.

Premier Home Inspection Services provides home inspections to Northern New Jersey. If you’re selling a home, contact us to schedule an appointment.