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.

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.

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.

Add Value to Your Home With These 5 Projects

As the New Year approaches, it’s a perfect time to think about how you can add value to your home. In this article, we’ve compiled some projects proven to increase your home’s value, some of which can be done inside over the colder winter months. Read on for just a few ideas on how to improve your property.

Replace the Front Door to Add Value to Your Home

Is your home older and the front door has seen better days? Consider investing in a new insulated steel front door. A new front door will not only improve your home’s energy efficiency all year long, but it will also enhance security. Paint the new door a bold color that complements your home’s style and be prepared for a great transformation of your entryway.

Add Insulation

Believe it or not, adding insulation provides a great return on investment. Over the years, insulation deteriorates and makes it difficult for your home to maintain a comfortable temperature. Simply adding insulation to your attic will help your family stay warmer in cold weather and cooler during the summer months.

While you’re at it, seal up any drafts around doors and windows with caulk or weatherstripping. These winterizing tasks will not just add value to your home, you’ll also see lower utility bills and your HVAC system won’t have to work as hard to keep your family comfortable.

Garage Door Replacement

While garage doors are not the first thing on people’s minds, they are an important access point to your home and also affect your curb appeal. If you have an old garage door, replace it with a newer model to add value to your home. A new garage door will look great from the curb, be more secure, and will better insulate your garage.

Paint the Interior to Add Value to Your Home

Interior painting is a great project for the winter months. A new coat of paint will completely freshen up your home and give a room a whole new look. If you can’t remember the last time you painted, it’s likely time to refresh your space. Choose light-colored neutrals to update and open up a room. Instead of using paint for color, opt for vibrant accent colors in your pillows, rugs, and other decor. The neutral palette will make your home feel clean, modern, and fresh.

Work on Your Curb Appeal

Now is a good time to start planning for your outdoor curb appeal projects once the weather warms up. Along with replacing the front door and garage door, also consider other ways you can make your home more appealing. Give your lawn furniture a fresh coat of paint, pressure wash the siding, walkways, and deck, and add an outdoor rug, comfortable seating, and seasonal plants to add value to your home.

Premier Home Inspection Services provides home inspections to Northern New Jersey. Contact us to schedule our services.

5 Easy Ways to Save Water at Home

We live in a time when access to clean water is often taken for granted. Wasting water is not sustainable and leads to high utility bills. To start saving money, track usage to monitor how much water you normally use. From there you can determine how to cut back. Here are a few easy ways to save water at home.

Save Water at Home by Turning off the Tap

Turn off the water when brushing your teeth or scrubbing your hands. Leaving the tap running wastes an average of four gallons of water every time the water is left on. A five-member household that brushes twice a day can waste about 40 gallons daily by not shutting off the tap.

To save water, dampen your hands or toothbrush, then turn off the tap. Brush your teeth or wash your hands. Turn the water back on when you’re ready to rinse.

Inspect Faucets for Leaks

It’s easy to ignore a faucet with a slow drip. A faucet that leaks 15 drips a minute wastes about 400 gallons of water each year. This seems like a minor leak, but it adds to your water bill each month. To save water and reduce utility bills, repair a leaking faucet as soon as possible.

Only Run Full Loads to Save Water at Home

If you only have a couple of dirty dishes, washing them by hand is an easy way to save water. If you have a full load of dishes, using the dishwashing machine is the more efficient option. This also applies to your clothes washing machine. Only run the machine when you have a full load to save water.

Check Toilets for Leaks

To check your toilet for leaks, put food coloring in the tank. Wait 15 minutes and if you notice any color in the bowl, you have a leak that needs repairing. Fixing a leaky toilet can save hundreds of gallons of water each month. Another way to save water is to add weighted bottles to your toilet tank, keeping them away from mechanical parts. The bottles will displace water and less will be used every time you flush.

Recycle and Reuse Water

People often discard the water that they could reuse. Use the rinse water after washing dishes to finish cleaning countertops, floors, and toilets. After boiling pasta, the water can be cooled and re-purposed to water plants. You can also save on your water bills by directing rainwater from your gutters into a barrel. This will capture water that would have otherwise ended up in the sewer system.

Premier Home Inspection Services provides home inspection services to northern New Jersey. Contact us to request an appointment.

Improve Indoor Air Quality

If you or a family member suffers from allergies or asthma symptoms, you’ll find it helpful to improve indoor air quality. Keep your home healthy and safe by taking steps to remove contaminants from the air you breathe.

Lower Humidity to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Humidity is a major factor in indoor air quality. Moisture in the air contributes to mold and mildew growth and it’s also hospitable to dust mites. The ideal humidity in a home is between 45 and 60%. Reduce humidity by using a dehumidifier in rooms where moisture levels in the air are too high.

Keep a Clean Home

Dust, mold, and pet dander will collect on surfaces around your house. To improve air quality, it is important to keep a clean home. Make a schedule so that you’re dusting and vacuuming at least twice weekly. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to trap the most particles.

Change the HVAC Filter

As your HVAC system circulates the air in your home, it’s also moving around airborne irritants. To help keep the air in your home clean, change the HVAC filter as recommended. Depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation, you’ll need to change your filter at least every 30 to 90 days.

Use an Air Purifier

An air purifier is an easy way to help improve the air you breathe. Especially if you have pets, an air purifier will help boost air quality by trapping contaminants so they can’t be recirculated in the air.

Like your vacuum cleaner, purchase an air purifier with a HEPA filter. Because these filters are so effective, you’ll change the filter often. However, this just means the purifier is doing its job in improving your indoor air.

Reduce VOCs

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are found in many building products and chemicals we use around the house. Paints, particleboard and pressed-wood furniture, stains, air fresheners, cleaning products, and candles release chemicals into the air.

When remodeling, choose low-VOC paints and building supplies. Make your own natural cleaning products instead of using commercially available, chemical-laden options.

Ventilation Fans to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Your home is likely equipped with ventilation fans in the bathrooms and kitchen. These fans move smoky and humid air out of your home. Your kitchen range hood fan will remove cooking odors, carbon monoxide, and moisture from your home.

The bathroom fan dries the room by pulling out moisture, which helps prevent mold growth. Use ventilation fans when you’re showering or preparing food, and run the fan for at least 20 minutes after you’ve finished.

Premier Home Inspection Services offers home inspections to customers in northern New Jersey. If you’re buying or selling a home, contact us to schedule an appointment.