5 Clues That You Have Mold in the Home

Mold can cause health symptoms and aggravate already-existing respiratory conditions. Mold growth is not always obvious; it can spread unseen behind walls or beneath carpeting. Whether you own your house or rent, watch out for these signs of mold in the home.

Bubbling Paint is a Clue That You Have Mold in the Home

If the paint on your walls is bubbling and peeling off, you may have mold within the wall. This is more common in damp areas like bathrooms, basements, and around windows or doors. Moisture buildup causes bubbling paint, which often means mold is there. Covering the damage with another coat of paint won’t solve the underlying problem. It’s likely that the new coat will bubble also, and you’ll have wasted time and effort. Have the area tested for mold and treat any mold that is found before repainting the room.

A Persistent Cough

If anyone in your family has a persistent cough that is not due to a cold or seasonal allergy, it may be caused by mold. Allergy symptoms that improve upon leaving the home are a good indication that the allergen is indoors. Young children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to coughing as a result of exposure. Consult an allergy specialist to perform testing to determine if mold could be the culprit.

Soft Spots in Your Floor

Soft spots under your flooring are a sign of structural damage, but they can also indicate a mold problem. In most cases, the damage is the result of floor supports that have rotted out due to water damage. This leaves you with two concerns: an unstable floor and a mold problem. Access the floor from below, if possible, to see what is causing the damage and how far it has progressed. Hire a home inspector for a professional opinion.

Your Home Has Flooded in the Past

This is perhaps one of the most common causes of a mold problem in residential properties. If you have had a major leak or flooding, you almost certainly developed mold in the home. If mold growth wasn’t handled properly in the initial cleanup, you may still be dealing with the consequences.

Musty Odors are Clues That You Have Mold in the Home

The musty, moldy smell is caused by a chemical produced by mold and mildew that is released into the air. It is not enough to cover the odor with air fresheners or household cleaners. Find the source of the smell and eliminate the mold causing it.

Mold tests are available if you suspect mold in your home. For best results, hire a professional to perform the test. You’ll get more accurate results with a trained mold inspector. If you confirm mold is present, take steps to remedy the problem as soon as possible. Remove mold from your home to protect your family’s health and your investment.

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

4 Signs of Termites in the Home

 

Termites are a destructive pest found throughout the U.S. They can cause thousands of dollars in damage before you even know they are there. Look for signs of termites before the infestation becomes severe. Here are four things to watch for.

Visible Damage is Among the First Signs of Termites

Termites are known for eating wood, but they will eat paper and cardboard as well. This includes the paper backing on drywall, so one of the early signs of termites could be chipped or peeling paint. You may dismiss this damage as just a sign of an aging home, but with a little investigation, you might find that the paper backing was eaten by termites.

Signs of Termites Found in a Home Inspection

Termites tend to stay out of view by building their tunnels in the dark and isolated parts of your home. This is why so many infestations go unnoticed until they’re severe.

A WDI inspector will examine crawlspaces, foundations, basements, and other remote locations to find signs of termites. The inspector’s report will identify probable sites of termite problems based on these observations.

Swarming Adult Termites

The one exception to the private nature of termites is their spring swarming. Winged adult termites will emerge to look for a location to begin a new colony.

Because most people don’t think of termites as winged, these swarms are often a surprising sign. It is important to know what type of insects you are seeing. Winged ants are very similar to winged termites, so learn the differences and you’ll know which of these you are dealing with.

Mud Tunnels are Signs of Termites

Termites stay inside wood for a good reason, because they need dark, moist places to survive. One of the easiest signs of termites to detect is the mud tunnels they build on foundations and basement walls. The termites construct dirt tubes from one source of wood to another so that their bodies will not dry out as they look for food. These tubes are a sure sign of an infestation, so call a WDI inspector to investigate further if you see them.

By the time door frames are crumbling or paint is falling off the walls, the damage from termites is already extensive. Home inspections help catch termite infestations early. This gives homeowners a chance to take action and minimize damage.

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

The Dangers of Radon in the Home

 

You may know that radon gas is dangerous, but never thought it could affect your home. Radon in the home is a problem for a couple of reasons. First, it is not detectable without a special radon test. Second, it can cause lung cancer. Read on to learn what you can do to protect your family from radon.

Where Does Radon Come From?

Radon is a gas that naturally forms underground when other radioactive elements decay. It drifts upwards into the atmosphere and can easily enter houses through gaps and cracks. Once the gas is inside a building, it builds up. Exposure to elevated levels of radon has been linked to cases of lung cancer.

Testing for Radon in the Home

Homeowners need a radon test to learn about the levels of radon in a house. While inexpensive DIY radon testing kits are available, they often return inaccurate results. Experts recommend using a licensed radon measurement technician who uses superior equipment and has been trained on how to administer the test. For a matter as serious as your family’s health, you don’t want any errors.

What Happens if Radon Levels in the Home are High?

Fortunately, there are ways to lower high radon levels. The EPA says that any level at 4 pCi/L or higher needs mitigation. Radon mitigation companies employ a variety of techniques to suction radon from underneath the house and ventilate it out of the living spaces.

Every home should be tested for radon. The radon levels of one home and the home next door can be drastically different from one another. There is no way to tell if a home is safe from high radon levels without ordering a professional radon test.

Premier Home & Environmental Inspection Services conduct professional radon tests by licensed radon measurement technicians. Contact us to schedule a radon test in Northern New Jersey.

It is common for older homes in New Jersey and other states to have underground fuel storage tanks on the property. Many of these tanks are in place even if they are no longer in use. If you’re shopping for a house, an underground oil tank on the property may pose a risk if it hasn’t been properly decommissioned.

Usually, the only way to find out if a property has an underground tank is to have a trained professional perform a fuel storage tank search. In some cases, however, there may be visible signs that an oil tank is buried. These signs might include:

  • A vent cap or fill valve sticking out of the ground
  • Oil lines coming out of the basement
  • Stains visible near the furnace

If you are purchasing a new home, ask the sellers agent or current homeowner for information about fuel storage tanks on the property. If you find out that an underground oil tank is present, find out if and how it was decommissioned.

Decommissioning an Unused Tank

If the underground oil tank is no longer in use, it should be decommissioned. There are a couple of ways to safely close a tank.

  • Remove the tank from the property. This is the recommended method, though more expensive than leaving it in place.
  • Empty, clean, and fill the tank with concrete or other material to prevent collapse.

If an oil tank has been decommissioned properly, having an underground fuel tank is relatively risk-free, though some lenders will not finance a home with an underground tank. A home inspector who specializes in oil tank location can help you determine the status of the tank.

An Active Underground Oil Tank

There are some liabilities that come along with a home that is heated from oil stored in an underground tank. Fuel leaks are a serious problem that damages property and contaminates the soil. A leak will affect the resale value of the property and can result in fines. Oil tank insurance is available in some states, but the safest option is to remove the tank and establish a different heating source for the home.

Premier Home Inspection Services offers home inspections and oil tank scans in New Jersey. Contact us to schedule an appointment.