5 Small Signs of Serious Home Issues

5 Small Signs of Serious Home Issues

When you are busy, it can be tempting to ignore seemingly minor problems in the home. However, some small signs lead to big problems in a house. Here are 5 serious home issues that may not seem concerning at first, but that should be addressed immediately.

Slanted Floors are Serious Home Issues

Sometimes it is apparent that floors are uneven just by walking across them, and in other homes, it is less obvious. Slanted floors may not bother you, but they can point to serious structural problems that should be addressed for safety’s sake. It may mean that the structural beams underneath the flooring have been damaged by termites, rot, or water.

Doors That Stick

While doors that are difficult to open to close are annoying, they may not seem like a significant issue. However, this could point to the foundation sinking or a settling problem that’s causing misalignment with the door and its frame. Foundation issues should not be ignored; the longer you wait, the worse they will get.

Strange Smells can Point to Serious Home Issues

Any type of odd smell in your home should be investigated. Whether it is a musty smell of wet socks, sewer gas odor, or a fishy scent, it could be the sign of a serious problem that threatens the health and safety of your family. A mold problem, broken vent stack, or overheating circuit may be the cause of these smells.

Water Pooling by the Foundation

Drainage issues lead to serious problems like mold and foundation settling. Water pooling by the foundation may be a result of poor grading or clogged gutters. The fix might be as easy as cleaning out the gutters so that water can be properly channeled away from the home. If water is pooling around the base of the home, check the crawlspace or basement for moisture.

Mud Tubes

Any signs of termites should be taken seriously. Mud tubes on the exterior of the house are one of the most visible signs of termites. They are about the width of a pencil and run along the foundation and siding. Termites build them for a safe passageway to travel into the house. Other signs to look for are piles of termite droppings and discarded wings. Schedule a termite inspection if you see any of these signs.

American Home Inspection Services serves Southeastern Michigan with home inspection services. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

5 Ways to Heat the Home Efficiently

5 Ways to Heat the Home Efficiently

Winter is the season that comes with the highest utility bills for many households. Many homeowners don’t know about the small adjustments they can make to help heat the home efficiently. Here are 5 easy tricks that can save you some money.

Heat the Home Efficiently by Programming the Thermostat

You may be surprised how much money you can save by simply setting a schedule on your programmable thermostat. If the members of your household have a routine day-to-day schedule, it is best to set up the thermostat in advance.

If everyone leaves the house by 9 in the morning, program the thermostat to lower a few degrees at that time. There is no reason to keep the house at a warm and toasty temperature when no one is home. Program the thermostat to raise the temperature back up to its normal level about 30 minutes before people start arriving at home.

Fully Seal the Home

When a house is not well-sealed, the heating system has to work much harder to keep the home warm. Doors and windows are the most common areas for cold drafts to come in, so focus on sealing these areas first. Old windows become loose over time and may crack around the panes. Use caulk to seal up any openings. Exterior doors may have gaps around the edges. Apply weatherstripping around the door and a door sweep at the bottom to help reduce drafts.

Make Sure the House is Well-Insulated

A poorly insulated house cannot be heated efficiently. Since most of the insulation in a home isn’t accessible, hire a professional to inspect the insulation if you are having trouble lowering your heating bills and keeping your home warm. Damaged insulation may need to be removed and replaced or you may just need to add more insulation.

Heating System Maintenance

A poorly maintained heating system expends more energy to heat the home than one that is annually serviced. Problems like dirty components, malfunctioning parts, and a clogged filter put a strain on the system. Hire an HVAC professional to service your heater once per year, and then keep up with replacing your filters monthly or as directed by the manufacturer.

Use the Sun to Heat the Home Efficiently

The warmth from the sun is a free resource you can use on sunny days in the winter. Open the drapes on south-facing windows to heat up the room. Then, at night, close the drapes to keep the heat in and the cold air out. Outfit all the windows in the home with heavy drapes to help insulate them.

American Home Inspection Services provides home inspections and related services to Southeast Michigan. Contact us to request an appointment.

What to Know About Smoke Detector Placement

What to Know About Smoke Detector Placement

When homeowners consider home safety, protection against house fires comes immediately to mind. The most important defense against house fires is your smoke detectors. Statistics show that 3 out of 5 deaths due to house fires are in homes without working smoke detectors. Review these rules for proper smoke detector placement and make sure they are all followed in your home.

Rules of Thumb for Smoke Detector Placement

There are some basic, common-sense rules for smoke detector placement that should always be followed. While most people have heard them before, it is easy to let them fall by the wayside and cut corners.

  • There should be at least one smoke detector for every level of the home.
  • The smoke detector should be on the ceiling, or on the wall no more than 10 inches from the ceiling.
  • Smoke detectors need to be tested monthly to make sure they are operational.
  • A smoke detection device has a lifespan of about a decade.
  • Change your smoke detector’s batteries when the time changes twice a year.

Commonly Forgotten Areas for Smoke Detectors

Some areas you may not think to install a smoke detector are the laundry room, basement, attic, and garage. Because of the rule that a smoke detector should be on every level, there should be one in the attic and basement whether the furnace is located there or not. Also, they should not only be inside every bedroom but outside of the bedroom doors in the hallways.

Things to Avoid With Smoke Detector Placement

Certain conditions can make a smoke alarm fail to detect smoke. Painting over a smoke detector or otherwise decorating it inhibits its ability to function properly. Don’t install a smoke detector near an air vent, ceiling fan, ventilation fan, or doorway because the movement of air can dissipate the smoke. You won’t be able to rely on your smoke detector to alert you to fire if they are installed in these locations.

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

4 Easy Home Improvement Projects

4 Easy Home Improvement Projects

It’s always a good time to complete some easy home improvement projects. The more you can do on your own, the more money you can save. Only take on projects you feel comfortable with. Some of the home improvements in this article are easy enough for an inexperienced homeowner, and some take a little more skill.

Home Improvement is Easy With Foam Crown Molding

Adding crown molding looks more difficult than it really is. It’s possible to make this project simple and affordable while adding class and elegance to a room. The key is using polystyrene foam rather than wood. It is easy to cut, lightweight, and adheres to the corners of the ceiling and wall with joint compound.

Recaulk the Bathroom

Over time, caulk in the bathroom around tubs and sinks needs to be freshened up. Scrape it away with a putty knife or razor scraper before applying new caulk. Wipe away any residual grime and debris, and then apply a new strip of caulk with a caulk gun. Then press the caulk down to make it smooth. New caulk will make your bathroom look cleaner and better protect your walls from water intrusion.

Add a Backsplash

The kitchen gets the most use out of any room in the house, so it makes sense to focus your home improvement efforts there. Adding a backsplash is one of the simplest yet most impactful projects. A less experienced DIYer can choose peel-and-stick tiles for a foolproof backsplash application. If you feel comfortable with tilework, apply ceramic, porcelain, or glass tiles with grout. There are also non-traditional backsplash options that come in sheets or panels, like metal or pegboard.

Install a Bathroom Vent Fan for Home Improvement

If you do not have exhaust fans in bathrooms already, this is one of the more necessary home improvement projects. Vent fans remove humid air that builds up from showering and sends it outside. This keeps mold from proliferating in the bathroom, which is a common problem. This project does take some electrical skills, but it is a worthwhile home improvement project.

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

5 Ways to Make Your Home Healthy and Safe

5 Ways to Make Your Home Healthy and Safe

Your home should be the place where your family is the safest and most comfortable. Regular maintenance is key to keeping your house in good condition. However, appearances aren’t enough. Follow the below five tips to keep your home healthy and safe for years to come.

1. Reduce the Risk of a Fire in Your Home

While no one can eliminate the threat of a fire, there are measures you can take to prevent one. Don’t overload any of your outlets. Make sure nothing is up against your furnace, baseboard heaters, and space heaters. Have fire extinguishers in the kitchen, basement, and garage. Install smoke detectors in several rooms throughout your home including all bedrooms, the attic, and the basement. Check your smoke detector batteries twice a year and replace the units every decade.

2. Prevent Mold to Keep the Home Healthy and Safe

Every homeowner dreads finding mold in their home. Mold is a living organism that makes your home unhealthy. It can wreak havoc on your health if you inhale its spores. It thrives in damp places, so the bathroom and basement are the most common areas where mold can show up. To keep your home healthy and safe from mold, control the moisture levels in your home. A ventilation fan protects your bathroom from growing mold. A dehumidifier and fans can keep your basement dry.

3. Minimize Dust

A buildup of dust in the home is not healthy. Dust mites and other tiny organisms breed in the dust. They can cause skin rashes and breathing problems. Dust is especially problematic for anyone who is allergic to dust, has asthma, or has other respiratory disorders. You can combat dust by dusting regularly with a microfiber cloth, keeping the surfaces clean in your home, and purchasing an air filtration device.

4. Keep Your Drinking Water Pure

The quality of your water is essential to keep a home healthy and safe. Most municipal and well water contains contaminants of some form. You have two options when it comes to purified water. You can either buy bottled water or you can install a water filter. Bottled water promotes waste and is expensive. A water filter comes with an initial expense that will offer you the return of clean drinking and cooking water for years to come.

5. Test for Radon to Make Your Home Healthy and Safe

Radon is a radioactive gas that is often found in the basement. It can increase your risk of lung cancer. Testing is the only way to find out the levels. If you do have high radon levels, hire a mitigation professional to make your home healthy and safe.

When you are conscientious, you can keep your home healthy and safe throughout the years. Reduce hazards like mold, dust, radon, house fires, and polluted drinking water with the above tips.

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