Drywall cracks- should I be alarmed?

Very frequently we get questions on home inspections about cracks in drywall, typically near the corners of interior doors or at the base of windows. You may have seen cracks like this- they start at the corner and emanate outward at a 45-degree angle. The buyer’s question essentially boils down to this: is my house falling down?

OK, maybe it’s not quite that anxious, but it is a question that seeks to determine if there are any serious structural issues that may be present.

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Is my house up to code?

This is a question we often get from homebuyers who are a little confused about the scope and intent of a home inspection.  Remember, the home inspection is designed to identify major deficiencies that will either cost you a lot of money or that may pose a safety hazard.  A home inspection is most definitely and quite specifically NOT a code inspection.

I’ve found that most people, when they ask this question, are really seeking to find out if the home is safe.  Much of the residential building code is geared towards safety, but the vast majority is not.  Keep in mind, a home inspector should identify safety concerns to you, but he should not refer to them as being up to code or not.

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7 steps to allergy relief with spring cleaning

Longing for allergy relief? To stop the endless cycle of sniffles, sneezes and wheezes, it’s time to ready your vacuum and rubber gloves. Spring cleaning helps eliminate allergens so you can relax, breathe easy and enjoy the season.

“People who suffer from allergies may not realize there’s a direct connection between cleaning your home and reducing allergy symptoms,” says allergist Bryan Martin, DO, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI.) “The more you can rid your home of dust mites, mold, cockroaches and pet dander, the easier you’ll breathe.”

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Radon testing procedures

So far we’ve learned a bit about what radon is and why it’s a good idea to test your home for elevated radon levels. Now we’ll take a look to see what the testing procedures are.

Radon levels change from hour to hour, so I want to first eliminate a common misconception: a home does not have a specific radon level. It is not as if your home, once tested, will remain at that same level if tested later. During our testing we get readings every hour, and the readings show trends and movements, which is why it is very important to take radon levels according to EPA testing protocol to get a good idea of the overall radon level.

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What’s the deal with Radon?

This is a common question we get both from buyers and sometimes real estate agents. There is quite a bit of confusion regarding what radon is, what (if any) the health risks associated with it are, and what to do about it. Today’s blog is part 1 of a multi-part series to help you understand radon and to make an informed decision about testing and mitigation.

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Radon testing protocol

There are strict guidelines a radon tester must adhere to when taking a radon sample.  In general, the longer the test, the more accurate the results, and we’re talking weeks or months.  However, for real estate transactions, certain criteria must be met in order to achieve the best possible results within a very constrained time period, so the EPA and other similar bodies have developed acceptable protocol to be able to give us the best look at an average radon level in a home.

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What’s the deal with Radon?

This is a common question we get both from buyers and sometimes real estate agents. There is quite a bit of confusion regarding what radon is, what (if any) the health risks associated with it are, and what to do about it. Today’s blog is part 1 of a multi-part series to help you understand radon and to make an informed decision about testing and mitigation.

Continue reading “What’s the deal with Radon?”

Why is radon higher inside a home than outside?

This is one of the most common questions we get, along with its follow-on: why am I just now hearing about radon (ie, is this some sort of modern scam or what)?

The answers to both questions are pretty straightforward. Radon seeps up through the soil in its natural life cycle. It is a gas made of tiny particles, and as it decays it moves up and into the atmosphere. Our homes have a negative pressure caused by our heating and air conditioning systems. Think of it as a very low pressure vacuum cleaner, which leads to a suction that gathers more of the earth gases into the home than outside of the home. As I mentioned, it is a very, very small pressure difference caused by the heating and cooling system, but it nevertheless is a difference, and that means more earth gases (and hence radon particles) enter your home.

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