Know The Enemy
Home disasters often come from unseen sources. You’d be amazed what is hidden in a home. A professional home inspection identifies issues and prioritizes them according to the safety of the home. The people inside need protection. Your home inspector is like a detective looking for anything that can either cause a problem or is dangerous to anyone inside.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, applies to do-it-yourself projects. In order to save money, home owners may try a quick fix that turns out to be a disaster in the making.
Take a look at these five dangerous nightmares found during home inspections, where the property owner had no idea what lurked inside the house.
Fry the Chef
Exposed live wires and metal pots make a dangerous match. Not to mention anyone poking around down there could touch the wires. Tape is not conduit.
The Earth Moved
All concrete cracks, but this big crack is a sign of serious earth movement. A crack of ¼ inch or less is probably nothing significant. But when a crack is wide and the soil underneath is open several feet or more, you’ve got a soil problem.
A crack like this can indicate trouble ahead for a foundation or right now. When the soil underneath a concrete slab moves and changes the foundation, the stability of your entire home is at risk.
If you see a crack wider than ½ inch, you may need to contact a structural engineer to evaluate the situation. Catching a structural problem at the outset can save thousands of dollars in remediation work.
An ignored crack puts your home at risk. Don’t delay. Secure the stability of your home now.
Water, electricity, and people are a dangerous mix with the potential to cause death. Exposed wires in laundry room put everyone at risk.
Do-it-yourself wiring can result in disastrous consequences. In an electric shock the body becomes part of the electrical circuit. The trauma includes burns at the entry and exit points of the circuit (hand and elbow, hand and foot). High voltage shock can cause severe muscle contractions that throw the body around causing broken bones or spinal fracture. A severe shock can cause cardiac arrest and death.
Protect your loved ones. Use appropriate electrical conduit to secure electrical wires from exposure.
A big problem in a beautiful home. When a dishwasher drains, the water flows out with force. The purpose of the air gap (that stainless steel tube at the sink) is to prevent sewage from draining into the dishwasher but it can create unrelated problems. If there is a clog or a kink in the line, water is forced in the wrong direction.
Fix root causes, then address effects, until that is done the problem will keep coming back, worse usually over time. When you catch the problem at the beginning, it’s usually inexpensive to fix.
Time is the enemy. Early detection equals early prevention. You can get in front of defects by doing one simple thing. plumbing leaks that continue for a while lead to water damage, fungus, and mold.
If you wait the issues compound and it can be very expensive or difficult to fix the subsequent effects. Instead of cleaning a drain, you may have to replace walls and floors due to water damage.
A simple way to prevent damage from small problems is to do a home review twice a year at the clock change. Operate every plumbing device in your home (faucets, toilets, showers, washer, dishwasher, everything including the water heater and water softener). Run it for 3 minutes and look carefully for supply or drain leaks.
One day you’ll find one (or more) and that’s it, fix it right there. You’ve just become your best friend when it comes to homeowner maintenance.
The Creeping Toxic Monster
Black mold, Stachybotrys chartarum, spores are toxic. It often hides behind walls in closed spaces. It grows with moisture. Plumbing leaks or water leaks in an untended roof that run down walls foster mold growth. Once black mold enters your home it can live in drywall, carpet, insulation, and sub-flooring.
Organics like human waste, food waste, bird droppings, leaves decaying, pet waste, anything organic breaking down can be the food source for Stachybotrys. It eats pretty much anything organic. With a combination of water and organic substances mold spreads.
Because black mold hides often the first sign it’s in your home is that people in the home have health symptoms: coughing and sneezing, irritated eyes, nose and throat, persistent headaches, and chronic fatigue. Long-term exposure can lead to serious symptoms like bleeding in the lungs.
Black mold spreads. Check your home for signs by opening cupboard doors and looking in closed spaces. If you see signs get professional removal assistance immediately.
When left to grow, remediation for black mold infestation can be costly. Flooring, walls, drywall, capeting, and insulation may all need to be treated and replaced.
Take Care of Your Home
If you learn one thing from these examples, it’s take care of your home. At least twice a year go around your house and check for problems. Look under the house. Open cupboards, remove contents, and check for water leaks. Check the foundation for cracks. If you see a problem, get professional help.
Every five years, get a professional home inspection. Your home inspector is a professional trained to spot issues. Catch those problems before they become major expenditures or threaten the health of your family.
Use the Inspect.com search tool to find the professional inspection service that keeps your home in tip-top condition.