Preparing Your Home For Vacation

Preparing Your Home For Vacation

By Preparing Your Home For Vacation, You Can Relax On Your Trip

Regardless of whether you’re leaving town for a long weekend or for the season, you’ll enjoy your vacation more knowing that you’ve prepared your house for your time away. It helps to begin your preparations a few weeks in advance and to use a checklist to make certain that nothing gets missed. We’ve created preliminary checklists with tips on preparing your home for vacation. Take these steps to get ready for both your departure and your return so that you can make the most of your vacation and return home stress-free!

Getting Ready to Take Off

  • Plan for your pets. Make arrangements with a pet sitter or a boarding facility, and give them instructions for how to care for your pet, food, treats, favorite toys, and any medication your pet may need.
  • Clean out your refrigerator. If food is expired, or if it will expire while you’re gone, toss it. Clean up any fresh spills while you’re at it.
  • Take care of your laundry. Do a few loads and put away whatever you’re not packing.
  • Don’t let your plants die. Ask a neighbor or a friend to water your plants, and give them a tour of where all your plants are. Leave them with detailed watering instructions.
  • Turn on a few lights. This will make it seem like someone is still at home. If you’re going on a longer trip—or if you want to play it extra-safe—invest in automatic timers that will turn your lights off and on at the times of your choosing. You should also let your neighbors know that you’ll be away so that they can be on the lookout for any suspicious activity.
  • Unplug and fine tune. You should adjust your A/C or heat in order to conserve energy while your home is unoccupied. Unplug any appliances that won’t be used before you leave as well.
  • Call your post office and your newspaper carrier. Have them put a temporary hold on your services so that you don’t come home to a mountain of mail and newspapers by your front door.

Prepare For Your Return

  • Part of preparing your home for vacation is thinking ahead to what you’ll need after you return. Have your first meal planned already. Make sure you’ve stocked the freezer and the pantry with the key ingredients for an easy non-perishable meal so that you won’t need to go grocery shopping after a long day of traveling. Or if you’d rather order takeout, that’s a great option as well!
  • Change your sheets right before you leave. This will make for a comfortable first night back in your own bed.
  • Clean up your house. Sweep, Swiffer, or vacuum. Run the dishwasher and put away all of the dishes. Quickly wipe down countertops with all-purpose cleansing wipes. You’ll be much happier returning to a clean home! Trust us, after you return you will be glad you spent a little time preparing your home for vacation.

American Home Inspection Services offers a Home Watch Service to Southeastern Michigan families so that you can have peace of mind and enjoy your vacation. Contact us today to discuss your needs!

How To Prepare Your Home For Winter

How To Prepare Your Home For Winter

As the weather starts cooling down and we begin to approach winter, we should take certain steps to protect our homes from damage during a freeze. No one wants to have to deal with a frozen or burst pipe ruining their day—or their property. Luckily, there are steps that we can take to make sure that freezing temperatures have less of an effect on our homes. Read on for advice to help you prepare your home for winter.

Prepare Your Home For Winter From The Outside In

Clean out your gutters and point the downspouts so that water will flow away from the foundation of your home.

If you have tree branches hanging over your home, clear them away. If snow starts accumulating on them, the branches will become weighed down and heavy and can break off causing damage to your house.

Take Care of Your Windows

Check the weatherstripping around your windows and doors to make sure that it is secure because gaps around the frames will allow cold air to come inside. If needed, try applying self-sticking weatherstripping to make sure your windows are tightly sealed. Making sure there’s a close seal around all of your windows and doors is an important step to prepare your home for winter that will also help lower your energy bills.

Protect Your Pipes

No matter how new your home is, you’ll want to pay special attention to your water lines, especially those that are in your attic or in crawl spaces. Figure out which of your pipes could be exposed to freezing temperatures and give them an extra level of protection. You can opt to use heat tape that senses the temperature and turns on and off on its own or heat tape that needs to be plugged in. If you decide to go with the latter, plug in the heat tape and check whether or not it’s working. Heat tape can be dangerous, so be sure to read the instructions and follow all of the necessary safety precautions. If your crawl spaces have vents, close them up for the season to keep the drafts from chilling your pipes.

Use a Humidifier and Adjust It According to the Temperature

Choose humidifiers that auto-regulate to reset the level of humidity based on the temperature outside. This can help keep frost from forming since the humidity level will be lowered when it’s colder outside and returned to normal when the weather is better. A normal level of humidity is somewhere around 35% to 45%. When temperatures drop down to single digits, however, set your humidifiers to 20%.

Let Your Faucets Drip

When the temperatures plunge into freezing, prepare your home for winter by keeping a tiny bit of water dripping from your faucets. This keeps water flowing through your pipes, which will help relieve the pressure and keep them from freezing over.

American Home Inspection Services is Southeastern Michigan’s preferred choice for home inspections, commercial inspections, radon testing, mold inspections, mobile home inspections, and home watch services. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you as a home buyer, owner, or seller.

Cleaning Gutters Made Simple

Cleaning Gutters Made Simple

When the rain starts to pour, you want to know your roof’s gutters are in good shape and free of debris, especially in Autumn when leaves accumulate quickly. This time of year, it is nearly impossible to keep falling leaves out of your gutters, so it’s important to make sure they’re clear at the beginning of the season. Clogged gutters can result in a massive overflow of water spilling over and causing damage to the sides of your house, your foundation, and that garden you’ve put so much work into. Luckily, you only need to take a few steps towards cleaning gutters and, as a result, maintain your home and yard. Or you could always get a robot to do the dirty work for you.

Get Ready to Clean out the Goop

Put on a long-sleeved shirt and rubber gloves and get out the extendable ladder – it’s time for cleaning gutters! You may also want to wear a bandana or hat to help divert sweat from your eyes so that you’re not wiping your face with messy hands. Have a hose with a sprayer and a forked garden claw or trowel close-by—the latter will fit nicely into a belt loop so you don’t have to worry about holding a pointy pronged tool while climbing up and down a ladder. It’s a good idea to have a friend with you as well; he or she can hand you whatever you need and help with steadying the ladder and refilling cold beverages!

Grab the Ladder and Start Cleaning Gutters

Put your ladder at the end of your gutter and climb up until you’ve just about reached the top while your friend keeps you and the ladder stabilized. You’ll need to get high enough above your gutters to be able to look down and see into them clearly. If your gutters are older or if they show signs of having been weakened, place a piece of a 2x4 inside to help them bear your weight.

Pull out the goop and leaves with the garden claw or by hand. Instead of trying to fit all of the debris into a bag, lay a tarp out on your lawn first where you can toss the debris as you’re cleaning.

Cleaning Gutters and the Roof at Once

Use the hose to clean out the downspout. This would be a good time to rinse off your roof as well; not only will you be cleaning it off, you’ll be able to make sure that the excess water is flowing into your gutter and into the downspout as it should be. If the water isn’t moving properly, you’ve got more cleaning to do—or else you need to check the downspout for clogs, blockages, and signs of damage.

Tackle the next section of your gutter following the same directions until you’ve reached the downspout at the other end. If the water flows well, then you’re through with the job, at least until next time. Cleaning gutters is best done during Spring and Fall to help guard against the possibilities of improper drainage, overflow, and flooding.

 

Buying or selling a home or commercial building in Southeastern Michigan? American Home Inspection Services offers professional inspection services that will give you a clear and accurate assessment of the property’s condition. Click here to request your inspection today!

Control Mold Growth In Your Home

Control Mold Growth In Your Home

Water Damage? 6 Tips to Control Mold Growth In Your Home

If you’ve got any water coming into your home due to a broken pipe or flooding, mold growth is a major concern. It only takes a little bit of moisture for mold to grow and cause an enormous amount of damage to your house. All that’s needed is water and a lack of light. You may not even know that mold is present, which is why having a professional mold inspection is always a good idea.

Porous materials, like your carpet or rugs, are particularly susceptible to mold growth. If you have a moisture or water problem, you’ll want to start the cleanup process as quickly as you can so you don’t end up with significant mold growth. Cleaning up the water is a job you can tackle yourself; it’s just going to take a fair amount of work to make sure you get rid of it.

Dry the Area Right Away

Use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to suck up as much water as you can. This piece of equipment is going to be the best way to get rid of excess water. You can likely find a place to rent one if you don’t have one of your own.

Put High-Speed Fans to Use

Using fans can help speed up the process of drying the wet area, but it’s still going to take a few days or more, depending on the amount of water that collected in your home. Even when you believe that the area is dry, it likely isn’t – let your fans run all day and night for another week at the least once your carpet feels dry to the touch. The fans do double-duty, as they’ll also keep the air circulating.

Use a Dehumidifier to Help You Dry the Room

Dehumidifiers help to eliminate excess moisture. This will dry out the air and the floor. It will also make the air seem more cool, which will inhibit the growth of mold.

Bring Out a Steam Cleaner

You’ll want to steam clean all carpeted areas. If your carpet or rug pads are damaged by water, you’ll need to replace them—while this is an expense, it’s not nearly as costly as replacing all rugs and carpets throughout your home.

Sanitize Everything That Was Soaked in Storm Water

Put on your rubber gloves and begin by cleaning your walls, floors without carpet, and other surfaces with a mixture of soap and water. The next step is to sanitize your surfaces using a solution of one and a half cups of bleach for each gallon of water.

Examine Furniture for Water Damage

If you see any water damage, move furniture off of the wet or damp floors. It’s easy for water damage to be concealed below carpets or rugs, so be sure to inspect these areas. You may need a professional home inspection in order to be certain that your home is free from mold and structurally sound. If you’re in Oakland, Wayne or Livingston counties in southeast Michigan, please contact American Home Inspection Services today for your inspection needs!

For more information on the dangers of mold in your home, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.