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.

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.

Easy Ways to Make Your Deck Safer

Summertime is here and pleasant weather means spending more time outdoors with family and friends. Prepare for cookouts and lounging on the backyard deck by tackling a bit of maintenance ahead of time. Here are a few easy ways to make your deck safer.

Maintain Materials to Make Your Deck Safer

Your deck will need regular maintenance to keep it attractive and structurally sound. Check the railings to make sure they are sturdy and can support the weight of someone leaning on them. Inspect decking for any rotting or warped boards and replace any damaged wood. Reinstall fasteners that have worked themselves out of the materials. Sand rough spots and re-seal the wood to prepare it for another season.

Inspect for Termites

Termites and other wood-destroying insects can wreak havoc on the structural supports and other parts of a wooden deck. Look for soft spots in the wood, small holes, and piles of insect droppings, also called “frass.” Wood-destroying insects can compromise the safety of your deck and home, so call a professional if you think you have a problem.

Make Your Deck Safer with a Shaded Area

The summer sun will heat up decking materials and make surfaces too hot for bare feet or pets’ paws. To keep kids, pets, and older family members more comfortable in the heat, install an awning, use a sun sail, set up a patio umbrella, or plant a tree nearby. Creating a shady area on the deck provides a cooler place for pets to nap and friends to enjoy the outdoors.

Safe Grilling and Storage

The backyard deck is a popular place to set up for grilling burgers, hot dogs, and veggies. Take care when using the grill on the deck. Make sure the grill is level and is on a heat-resistant mat to protect the decking boards. Teach children and pets to stay several feet away from the grill at all times. When the grill is not in use, keep it covered and store all cooking utensils and fuel out of the reach of children.

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

ur Deck Safer

Choosing a Water Filter for Your Home

Both urban and rural areas may have contaminants in the drinking water. Pollutants like arsenic, fluoride, and mercury, among many others, can cause health problems. Water filters are available to provide cleaner water to you and your family. A water filter for your home will protect you from harmful contaminants.

4 Popular Water Filters for Your Home

Activated Carbon Filters

Carbon filters remove contaminants using activated carbon. This is the most common and least expensive type of water filter on the market. Carbon filters do not effectively remove a wide range of contaminants on their own. They are most effective in removing chlorine, sediment, and volatile organic compounds.

Reverse Osmosis Filters

This type of filter works by forcing water through a semi-permeable membrane. The membrane permits water particles to pass through but anything larger is left behind. Many of the contaminants that carbon filters can’t catch will be stopped by reverse osmosis, but, unfortunately, they do not remove chlorine. Reverse osmosis filters use a lot more water than they produce, so are not the best option for filtering water for the whole house.

Ultraviolet Filters

Ultraviolet (UV) water filters kill bacteria and living micro-organisms by using a high-powered UV light. However, they are not able to filter out non-living organisms, meaning that chemicals, pesticides, and metals remain in the water after the process. When used in conjunction with another filter that catches toxic particles, UV filters are very effective for purifying water.

Look at Distillation Systems When Choosing a Water Filter for Your Home

Distillation is the process of removing contaminants by evaporating water into a gas and then cooling it back into a liquid. This is a very thorough filtration system; however, drinking only distilled water may lead to health problems since all good minerals are also removed from the water. Some of these minerals replenish your body’s electrolytes.

Which Home Water Filter is Right for You?

Get familiar with the contaminants in your water before you choose a system. This can be determined with a household water test. Hire a professional to test your water to make the right decision for your house.

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

Keep Your Fireplace Safe This Winter

Before lighting your fireplace this season, make sure it is in good shape. If it’s been a year or more since you last used your fireplace, it’s important to take steps to keep your fireplace safe. From regular maintenance to a deep-cleaning, preparing your fireplace for use will help protect your family from fire hazards this winter.

How to Keep Your Fireplace Safe

As the temperatures dip, make sure your fireplace is safe to use before building your first fire of the year. Use the following tips to keep your fireplace safe:

Schedule Annual Inspections

The first step you should take to keep your fireplace safe is to schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning. Every year, your chimney should be properly inspected and thoroughly cleaned by a professional. A chimney sweep will clear out any animal nests and creosote buildup that would otherwise be a fire hazard.

Monitor for Damage and Cracks

As you work to keep your fireplace safe, remember to check for cracks inside your fireplace. If you notice any damage or problems with the masonry, call a professional mason before using your fireplace. If you’re considering doing it yourself, experts warn against repairing firebrick with conventional mortar as this won’t withstand the higher temperatures that your fireplace produces.

Keep Your Fireplace Safe by Checking the Damper and Chimney Cap

Another way to keep your fireplace safe is to check the fireplace damper and the chimney cap. The damper seals your fireplace when it isn’t in use, but should always be open when a fire is burning. Make sure it’s functioning properly before lighting the first fire of the year.

A properly working chimney cap keeps bats, squirrels, birds, and other animals from nesting in the chimney. Without a chimney cap, moisture, debris, and pests can make their way into your home.

Cut Nearby Tree Limbs

When lighting the fireplace, keep in mind that everything outside that’s close to the chimney is a potential fire hazard. Make sure to trim or remove any branches that are overhanging your chimney. With the area free and clear of foliage and tree limbs, your chimney cap will function properly and the airflow from the chimney won’t be restricted.

Use the Fireplace for Short-Duration Fires

Though fireplaces are a great way to keep the family warm during the winter, pay attention to how long you’re using the fireplace. Make sure you’re not using the fireplace as a furnace but as a supplemental heat source. The fireplace is meant to make your home warmer and it shouldn’t be used for fires that last more than a few hours.

Monitor the length of your fires and never leave a fire unattended. If you leave the house or go to sleep for the night, extinguish the fire to keep your family and home safe.

Empty Ashes Frequently to Keep Your Fireplace Safe

Ashes in your firebox are a fire hazard as long as they’re still burning. These ashes can remain hot for up to 3 days, so it’s essential to make sure they’ve cooled completely before vacuuming or sweeping them up. When disposing of your ashes, scoop them into a metal bucket to transport them to the compost or your garden.

Fireplaces make for cozy winter nights at home. Make sure your family stays safe while using the fireplace this season by following the tips above.

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

3 Easy Ways to Maintain a Healthy and Safe Home

As a homeowner, you want your home to be a safe place to spend time. Family and friends will be more comfortable and you will have peace of mind when you take steps to maintain a healthy and safe home.

Become Smoke Detector Savvy

One strategy you should use to keep your home healthy and safe is installing and regularly testing smoke detectors. These devices alert you to smoke in your home. Because smoke is an indication of fire, having working detectors throughout your property is critical if you want to improve safety.

Install detectors on every floor of the house and inside and outside of every bedroom. Also, add smoke detectors in the garage, laundry room, and near the furnace.

Dust Often to Maintain a Healthy and Safe Home

Failing to dust your home frequently is a problem for a few reasons. In addition to detracting from the aesthetic appeal of your living areas, excessive dust contributes to a wide range of health-related issues. Asthma can worsen in a dusty home and healthy family members may experience allergy-like symptoms. Dust regularly and declutter your living spaces to eliminate items that collect dust.

Let Professionals Assist You

To keep your home healthy and safe, hire professionals to assist you. For example, pest control experts can treat your property to make sure your loved ones aren’t exposed to the bacteria and droppings left by rodents and insects.

Hire a professional to perform water testing and learn about any pollutants in your household water supply. Some home inspectors offer mold inspections and radon testing so you can learn if these substances are health hazards in your home.

Premier Home Inspection Services offers home inspection services in Northern New Jersey. Contact us to request an appointment for our services like water testing, a mold inspection, and radon testing.

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.