4 Ways to Reduce Humidity in the Home

4 Ways to Reduce Humidity in the Home

Did you know that the highest levels of humidity in Michigan occur during winter? While you don’t feel the humidity when it is cold, it can still cause mold and mildew in your home. It is important to reduce humidity in the home to prevent these problems. Here are a few ways to lower indoor humidity levels.

Use Ventilation Fans to Reduce Humidity in the Home

Certain activities in the home cause humidity levels to rise. Cooking, bathing, and using some appliances adds moisture to the air. Turn on ventilation fans in the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room if you have one there. It is best for these fans to vent to the outdoors. Otherwise, the moisture will just circulate around inside. If the fan is venting into the attic, this is a serious flaw and mold and mildew may become a problem. Have a contractor remedy this by adding a vent pipe out the roof.

Set Up Dehumidifiers

Dehumidifiers are inexpensive and portable devices that bring down the humidity levels in a room. Set dehumidifiers up in rooms that have a water source, especially if there is no ventilation fan. It’s a good rule of thumb to run a dehumidifier in the basement because mold often grows there.

Fix Leaky Plumbing

Unchecked plumbing leaks cause indoor humidity levels to rise. Look around for signs of leaky pipes and have them fixed as soon as possible. Completing these repairs quickly will reduce humidity in the home and prevent water damage and mold.

Reduce Humidity in the Home by Taking Shorter and Cooler Showers

A long, hot shower can make the whole house more humid. If you are committed to keeping humidity levels low, encourage family members to take shorter, cooler showers and practice what you preach. By changing your habits and using a ventilation fan or dehumidifier, you can reduce humidity in the home.

American Home Inspection Services provides home inspections and mold inspections to Southeast Michigan. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

6 Ways to Maintain Your Septic Tank

6 Ways to Maintain Your Septic Tank

Your septic tank is an important component of your home. Taking proper care of it will save you thousands of dollars in repairs or replacement and promote a safe and healthy living environment. Use these 6 tips to maintain your septic tank.

1. Have Your Septic Tank Serviced

Professionals recommend having your septic system inspected yearly. Use a qualified technician to maintain your septic tank and save all service records and inspection reports. The number of people living in your home, the amount of wastewater generated, and the size of the tank determines how often your septic tank should be pumped.

Experts say the average tank should be pumped every three years or more often if yours uses an electrical float switch, pump, or other mechanical pumps. If your septic system is newer, it may have a filter to prevent solids from entering the drain field. If so, the filter should be cleaned or replaced upon servicing.

2. Protect Your Drain Field

The drain field is the part of your septic system that removes contaminants from the liquids that exit the septic tank. Sometimes called the leach field, it is a shallow, covered excavation in the ground. The drain field will flood if it becomes deluged with wastewater or outside liquid, causing a sewage back-up. Maintain your septic tank with regular pumping to protect the drain field. Don’t park vehicles over your drain field and don’t plant trees nearby. The roots can grow into the septic system and cause damage.

3. Watch What Goes Into Your Septic Tank

Most toilet tissue is designed to break down and dissolve inside the septic tank. Don’t flush items like feminine hygiene products, diapers, paper towels, cigarette butts, cat litter, or dental floss down the toilet. In the kitchen, don’t put coffee grounds or grease into the garbage disposal. In fact, if you have a standalone septic system, it’s best not to have a garbage disposal. Drain openers and other chemicals can damage the septic tank, so choose safer, non-toxic solutions instead.

4. Use Water Wisely

Conserving water helps maintain your septic tank. Avoid excessive washing machine and dishwasher use, running toilets, and leaky faucets. When it’s time to replace appliances, toilets, and showerheads, replace them with energy-efficient models if you don’t already have them. Conserving water will help keep your drain field from flooding and you’ll also save money on your utility bills.

5. Use High-Water Pressure Jetting

Regardless of regular pumping, all septic systems will accumulate solids in the drainpipe that can clog connecting pipes to the drain field. Maintain your septic tank by high-pressure water jetting the drain lines about every five years. This will clear away solids and other debris that could affect efficient operation.

6. Use a Bacteria Additive

Another way to maintain your septic tank is by using a bacteria additive. Organic bacteria will break down unnatural substances such as soaps and detergents that enter your tank. These common household products kill the naturally occurring bacteria that keep your system functioning properly. Bacteria additives are inexpensive and can help keep pipes clean and odor-free.

American Home Inspection Services provides septic inspections and other inspection services to Southeast Michigan. Contact us to schedule your yearly septic inspection.

5 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality at Home

5 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality at Home

Your home is healthier when you maintain a clean environment. There are several different factors that impact air quality indoors. Pollen, dust, pet dander, mold, and chemicals in the air worsen air quality. Poor indoor air is linked to allergies, fatigue, and asthma. Take these steps to improve indoor air quality in your home.

How to Improve the Indoor Air Quality of Your Home

Clean air reduces allergies, headaches, and fatigue. If you are experiencing these symptoms, make these simple improvements.

Regular Cleaning to Improve Indoor Air

One of the main causes of poor air quality is dust, so it’s important to keep the whole home clean. Sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming on a regular basis will reduce the number of pollutants in your indoor air. Regularly launder bedding and drapes and dust your home weekly.

Change Your Filters for Better Air Quality

If your HVAC system uses forced air to heat or cool your home, change the filters on a regular basis to improve air quality. Filters collect dust and other particles, but they eventually get clogged and reduce the efficiency of your system.

Purchase an Air Purifier

An air purifier in your home is an easy way to reduce allergens in the air. While a purifier may not remove all irritants, it will reduce the level of pollutants in the air.

Improve Indoor Air Quality by Opening Windows

Open your windows for at least 15 minutes a day so fresh air can circulate through your house to improve your air quality. When cooking or showering, use exhaust fans to lower humidity and remove contaminants from your home.

Choose Purifying Plants

Houseplants improve indoor air quality by removing pollutants from the air.  Add air-purifying plants to your home environment.

Good air quality in your home is essential for your family’s health. Improve indoor air quality and you will begin to notice a difference in how you feel.

American Home Inspection Services offers home inspection services to Southeast Michigan. If you’re buying or selling a property, contact us to schedule a home inspection.

Expected Home Appliance Lifespans

Expected Home Appliance Lifespans

You don’t usually think about how long you’ve had an appliance in your home until it stops working. Learn about the typical major home appliance lifespans so you’ll know when to budget for replacing the ones you have.

Gas Ranges Have Longer Home Appliance Lifespans Than Electric

At about 15 years, gas ranges have the longest life expectancy of any major appliance. Their electric range counterparts aren’t far behind with a 13-year average lifespan. The hood that’s used to trap grease above a range usually functions for about 14 years. Extend the life of your range by:

• never dragging pots from one element to another on electric ranges
• cleaning food particles from between burner head slots on gas ranges
• using the oven’s self-cleaning feature as per the manufacturer’s directions

Fridges Won’t Last as Long, but They’re More Efficient Than Ever!

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that new refrigerators with an Energy Star label use about 15 percent less energy than other models. They use about 40 percent less power than models available just after the new millennium started.

Major home appliance lifespans for refrigerators are about 13 years for standard models and almost a decade for compact models. Chest freezers average about 11 years, although new models could last as long as 20 years. Boost the lifespan of refrigerators and freezers by:

• cleaning the compressor coils every 1-2 months
• using a soft-bristle attachment to vacuum easily accessible parts
• wiping exterior and interior surfaces down with mild detergent and water

Dishwashers Have Shorter Home Appliance Lifespans

These popular kitchen appliances get a lot of use, so you should start looking for a new dishwasher after about 9 years. On the bright side, newer models use much less water than older, less efficient models. Get the maximum life out of your dishwasher by loading it properly, cleaning the filter, and wiping down the door gasket.

Washers and Dryers Will Last About a Decade

Clothes dryers tend to last a bit longer than washing machines – 13 and 10 years, respectively. Major home appliance lifespans for washers and dryers can be stretched a bit if you maintain them by:

• only using your washer/dryer when you have a full load
• cleaning traps and filters on a regular basis
• replacing hoses on your washer as needed
• empty any pockets before washing your clothes

Newer Furnaces and Water Heaters are Smart Long-Term Investments

Typically, modern furnaces will last around 15-20 years, depending on the model and the type of fuel it uses. Gas furnaces generally last a longer than electric models. Gas-fired boilers, however, keep you warm for roughly 20 years. Heat pumps provide year-round heating and cooling for 16 years, on average. Air conditioners average about 10-15 years.

With water heaters, expect traditional gas and electric tanks to work well for 10-11 years. Major home appliance lifespans for water heaters can be 20 years or more if tankless. Increase the home appliance lifespans of your furnace and water heater by having them professionally serviced at least once a year.

Replace Your Microwave and Trash Compactor More Often Than Other Appliances

Microwaves, which have been making meal prep a breeze for more than 50 years, last anywhere from 5 to 10 years, with the average life expectancy being 9 years. Trash compactors are at the lowest end of the appliance life expectancy scale at about 6 years. However, your garbage disposal could last for about a dozen years if you maintain it properly.

These are averages for major home appliance lifespans. The actual life of your appliances depends on how well they are maintained, the manufacturer, and how often they are used. Be proactive about taking steps to make your appliances last longer so you can enjoy them for their full expected life.

American Home Inspection Services provides home inspection services to Southeast Michigan. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

What Type of Home Water Filter is Right For You?

What Type of Home Water Filter is Right For You?

How to Choose a Type of Home Water Filter

The quality of the water that comes out of your tap varies based on where you live and your plumbing. It is always a good idea to filter the water you drink and there are many different options for water filtration systems. Read this article to learn more about the available systems and decide which type of home water filter is right for you.

Activated Charcoal: A Popular Type of Home Water Filter

Activated charcoal filters come in the form of water filtration pitchers, faucet attachments, and built-in refrigerator filters. The charcoal attracts and absorbs toxins like chlorine, volatile organic compounds that come from pesticides and detergents, and sediment.

They don’t remove heavy metals and dissolved inorganic substances. If your water tests positive for substances like lead or mercury, an activated charcoal filter will not be sufficient.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis removes 99% of all contaminants in water, including heavy metals and salts. Most reverse osmosis systems have a built-in carbon filter to remove chlorine. While this is a great type of home water filter for areas with lead and other heavy metals, the process wastes about 4 gallons of water for every 1 gallon purified.

Water Distillation

A water distillation system brings water to a boiling point so that it evaporates, leaving behind pollutants that have a higher boiling point. This process separates water from contaminants and then condenses the pure water vapor into liquid in a separate container.

This type of home water filter removes most impurities except for certain pesticides and volatile organic compounds that have a lower boiling point than water. Like reverse osmosis systems, some water distillers have a carbon filter attached to remove the remaining pollutants.

UV Light Filter

If your home drinking water tests positive for bacteria or viruses or if that is a concern in your area, a UV light filter may be your best choice. UV light treats bacteria and viruses in water by making microorganisms unable to replicate. It does not remove other kinds of pollutants, so if you want to remove chlorine, VOCs, heavy metals, and other impurities, use it in conjunction with another type of home water filter.

American Home Inspection Services provides water testing and other home inspection services to Southeast Michigan. Contact us to schedule our services.