• 5 Things to look for when choosing a swimming pool cover

    Swimming pool covers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and general types. There are solar swimming pool covers that work to keep the water warm as well as warm the water using the suns heat. Safety pool covers do just what it says it does, it keeps the swimming pool safe from unwanted entry of the humans or animals. In ground and above ground winter swimming pool covers, keep dirt, debris, and animals out of your pool during the winter season. It also prevents growth on the inside of your swimming pool that can be caused by the winter elements.

     

    Here are a few things you should look for when shopping for a pool cover for your above ground or in ground swimming pool.

     

    1. Find a swimming pool cover that is strong and sturdy. The cover should not only keep your swimming pool clean, it should add safety as well for humans and animals alike. It should prevent accidental drowning and dirt and debris from entering the pool.

     

    2. Make sure the swimming pool cover conforms to state and local law requirements. Some areas require that a certain size and depth of pool be covered when not in use. There are specific requirements that these covers must meet. Check with your local authorities to ensure that your swimming pool cover meets the requirements needed.

     

    3. Make sure your chosen swimming pool cover comes with a good manufacturer’s warranty. In general, the swimming pool cover should come with a warranty of longer than 2 years. It should definitely have a full 2-year warranty for all defects and longer for limited warranties. You only want a pool cover that can be trusted and is safe with a full warranty for a lengthy amount of time. you also need to be sure the company stands behind their products.

     

    4. Make sure the pool cover has a good overlap length. You should buy a size that is a little larger than your pool. This will enable you to securely anchor the swimming pool cover without having to worry about not being able to cover your pool completely.

     

    5. Make sure the swimming pool cover comes with enough parts to securely anchor the cover without worry of slippage. Most larger swimming pool covers come with a strap or anchor for every four feet of cover. You definitely want a good amount of anchoring so the cover will continue to be secure each time you use it.

     

    There you have it! The top 5 things you should look for when you are buying a swimming pool cover for any size pool and for any material type. You can purchase quality swimming pool covers at your local swimming pool supply store or at any department store that sells swimming pool gear and supplies. Carefully read all instructions provided by the manufacturer and ensure that the cover meets all requirements in your local area. Always think safety first when you own a swimming pool.

    Dave Park
    Advantage Home Inspection Raleigh
    Davepark@advantageinspection.com

    Advantage Home Inspection Raleigh. . . performs the Nation’s Best Home Inspection and provides the Nation’s Only “No Denied Claims Warranty” available in the industry. For the last 20 years, Advantage Home Inspection has been the deciding factor for the people we serve: Buyers, Sellers, Real Estate Agents and Home Inspectors

    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

  • Health Effects From Biological Contaminants

     

    Some biological contaminants trigger allergic reactions, including hypersensitivity pneumonitis, allergic rhinitis, and some types of asthma. Infectious illnesses, such as influenza, measles and chicken pox, are transmitted through the air. Molds and mildews release disease-causing toxins. Symptoms of health problems caused by biological pollutants include sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, shortness of breath, dizziness, lethargy, fever and digestive problems.

    Allergic reactions occur only after repeated exposure to a specific biological allergen. However, that reaction may occur immediately upon re-exposure, or after multiple exposures over time. As a result, people who have noticed only mild allergic reactions, or no reactions at all, may suddenly find themselves very sensitive to particular allergens. Some diseases, such as humidifier fever, are associated with exposure to toxins from microorganisms that can grow in large buildings’ ventilation systems. However, these diseases can also be traced to micro-organisms that grow in home heating and cooling systems and humidifiers. Children, elderly people, and people with breathing problems, allergies, and lung diseases are particularly susceptible to disease-causing biological agents in the indoor air. Mold, dust mites, pet dander, and pest droppings or body parts can trigger asthma. Biological contaminants, including molds and pollens, can cause allergic reactions for a significant portion of the population. Tuberculosis, measles, staphylococcus infections, Legionella and influenza are known to be transmitted by air.

    Combustion Pollutants

    Combustion appliances are those which burn fuels for warmth, cooking or decorative purposes. Typical fuels are gas, both natural and liquefied petroleum (LP), kerosene, oil, coal and wood. Examples of the appliances are space heaters, ranges, ovens, stoves, furnaces, fireplaces, water heaters, and clothes dryers. These appliances are usually safe. However, under certain conditions, these appliances can produce combustion pollutants that can damage your health, or even kill you.

    What are Combustion Pollutants?

    Combustion pollutants are gases and particles that come from burning materials. The combustion pollutants come from burning fuels in appliances. The types and amounts of pollutants produced depend on the type of appliance, how well the appliance is installed, maintained and vented, and the kind of fuel it uses. Some of the common pollutants produced from burning these fuels are carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particles, and sulfur dioxide. Particles can have hazardous chemicals attached to them. Other pollutants that can be produced by some appliances are unburned hydrocarbons and aldehydes. Combustion always produces water vapor. Water vapor is not usually considered a pollutant, but it can act as one. It can result in high humidity and wet surfaces.

    Where do Combustion Pollutants Come From?

    Combustion pollutants found indoors include outdoor air, tobacco smoke, exhaust from car and lawn mower internal combustion engines, and some hobby activities, such as welding, woodburning and soldering. Combustion pollutants can also come from vented or unvented combustion appliances. These appliances include space heaters, gas ranges and ovens, furnaces, gas water heaters, gas clothes dryers, wood and coal-burning stoves, and fireplaces. As a group, these are called “combustion appliances.”

    Appliances

    Vented appliances are appliances designed to be used with a duct, chimney, pipe, or other device that carries the combustion pollutants outside the home. These appliances can release large amounts of pollutants directly into your home if a vent is not properly installed, or is blocked or leaking. Unvented appliances do not vent to the outside, so they release combustion pollutants directly into the home. Many of these problems are hard for a homeowner to identify. A professional is needed.

    What are the Health Effects of Combustion Pollutants?

    The health effects of combustion pollutants range from headaches and breathing difficulties to death. The health effects may show up immediately after exposure, or occur after being exposed to the pollutants for a long time. The effects depend on the type and amount of pollutants, and the length of time of exposure to them. They also depend upon several factors related to the exposed person. These include the age and any existing health problems. There are still some questions about the level of pollutants or the period of exposure needed to produce specific health effects. Further studies to better define the release of pollutants from combustion appliances and their health effects are needed.

    The sections below discuss health problems associated with some common combustion pollutants. These pollutants include carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particles, and sulfur dioxide. Even if you are healthy, high levels of carbon monoxide can kill you within a short time. The health effects of the other pollutants are generally more subtle and are more likely to affect susceptible people. It is always a good idea to reduce exposure to combustion pollutants by using and maintaining combustion appliances properly.

    Carbon Monoxide:

    Each year, according to CPSC, there are more than 200 carbon monoxide deaths related to the use of all types of combustion appliances in the home. Exposure to carbon monoxide reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. Often, a person or an entire family may not recognize that carbon monoxide is poisoning them. The chemical is odorless, and some of the symptoms are similar to common illnesses. This is particularly dangerous because carbon monoxide’s deadly effects will not be recognized until it is too late to take action against them. Carbon monoxide exposures especially affect unborn babies, infants, and people with anemia or a history of heart disease. Breathing low levels of the chemical can cause fatigue and increase chest pain in people with chronic heart disease. Breathing higher levels of carbon monoxide causes symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and weakness in healthy people. Carbon monoxide also causes sleepiness, nausea, vomiting, confusion and disorientation. At very high levels, it causes loss of consciousness and death.

    Nitrogen Dioxide:

    Breathing high levels of nitrogen dioxide causes irritation of the respiratory tract and causes shortness of breath. Compared to healthy people, children, and individuals with respiratory illnesses such as asthma, may be more susceptible to the effects of nitrogen dioxide. Some studies have shown that children may have more colds and flu when exposed to low levels of nitrogen dioxide. When people with asthma inhale low levels of nitrogen dioxide while exercising, their lung airways can narrow and react more to inhaled materials.

    Particles:

    Particles suspended in the air can cause eye, nose, throat and lung irritation. They can increase respiratory symptoms, especially in people with chronic lung disease or heart problems. Certain chemicals attached to particles may cause lung cancer, if they are inhaled. The risk of lung cancer increases with the amount and length of exposure. The health effects from inhaling particles depend upon many factors, including the size of the particle and its chemical make-up.

    Sulfur Dioxide:

    Sulfur dioxide at low levels of exposure can cause eye, nose, and respiratory tract irritation. At high exposure levels, it causes the lung airways to narrow. This causes wheezing, chest tightness, and breathing problems. People with asthma are particularly susceptible to the effects of sulfur dioxide. They may have symptoms at levels that are much lower than the rest of the population.

    Other Pollutants:

    Combustion may release other pollutants. They include unburned hydrocarbons and aldehydes. Little is known about the levels of these pollutants in indoor air and the resulting health effects.

    What do I do if I suspect that combustion pollutants are affecting my health?

    If you suspect you are being subjected to carbon monoxide poisoning, get fresh air immediately. Open windows and doors for more ventilation, turn off any combustion appliances, and leave the house. You could lose consciousness and die from carbon monoxide poisoning if you do nothing. It is also important to contact a doctor immediately for a proper diagnosis. Remember to tell your doctor that you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning is causing your problems. Prompt medical attention is important. Some symptoms from combustion pollutants — including headaches, dizziness, sleepiness, coughing, and watery eyes — may also occur because of common medical problems. These medical problems include colds, the flu, and allergies. Similar symptoms may also occur because of other indoor air pollutants. Contact your doctor for a proper diagnosis.

    How can I reduce my exposure to combustion pollutants?

    Proper selection, installation, inspection and maintenance of your appliances are extremely important in reducing your exposure to these pollutants. Providing good ventilation in your home and correctly using your appliance can also reduce your exposure to these pollutants. Additionally, there are several different residential carbon monoxide detectors for sale. These detectors alert consumers to harmful carbon monoxide levels in the home. They may soon be widely available to reduce deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning.

    Appliance Selection

    • Choose vented appliances whenever possible.
    • Buy only combustion appliances that have been tested and certified to meet current safety standards. Examples of certifying organizations are Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the American Gas Association (AGA) Laboratories. Look for a label that clearly shows the certification.
    • All currently manufactured vented gas heaters are required by industry safety standards to have a safety shut-off device. This device helps protect you from carbon monoxide poisoning by shutting off an improperly vented heater.
    • Check your local and state building codes and fire ordinances to see if you can use an unvented space heater, if you are considering purchasing one. They are not allowed to be used in some communities, dwellings, and certain rooms in the house.
    • If you must replace an unvented gas space heater with another, make it a new one. Heaters made after 1982 have a pilot light safety system called an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS). This system shuts off the heater when there is not enough fresh air, before the heater begins producing large amounts of carbon monoxide. Look for the label that tells you that the appliance has this safety system. Older heaters will not have this protection system.
    • Consider buying gas appliances that have electronic ignitions rather than pilot lights. These appliances are usually more energy-efficient and eliminate the continuous low-level pollutants from pilot lights.
    • Buy appliances that are the correct size for the area you want to heat. Using the wrong size heater may produce more pollutants in your home and is not an efficient use of energy.
    • All new wood stoves are EPA-certified to limit the amounts of pollutants released into the outdoor air. For more information on selecting, installing, operating, and maintaining wood-burning stoves, write to the EPA Wood Heater Program. Before buying a wood stove, check your local laws about the installation and use of wood stoves.

    Ventilation

    To reduce indoor air pollution, a good supply of fresh, outdoor air is needed. The movement of air into and out of your home is very important. Normally, air comes in through cracks around doors and windows. This air helps reduce the level of pollutants indoors. This supply of fresh air is also important to help carry pollutants up the chimney, stovepipe or flue to the outside.

    • Keep doors open to the rest of the house from the room where you are using an unvented gas space heater or kerosene heater, and crack open a window. This allows enough air for proper combustion, and reduces the level of pollutants, especially carbon monoxide.
    • Use a hood fan if you are using a range. They reduce the level of pollutants you breathe if they exhaust to the outside. Make sure that enough air is coming into the house when you use an exhaust fan. If needed, open a door or window slightly, especially if other appliances are in use. For proper operation of most combustion appliances and their venting systems, the air pressure in the house should be greater than that outside. If not, the vented appliances could release combustion pollutants into the house rather than outdoors. If you suspect that you have this problem, you may need the help of a qualified person to solve it.
    • Make sure that your vented appliance has the vent connected and that nothing is blocking it. Make sure there are no holes or cracks in the vent. Do not vent gas clothes dryers or water heaters into the house for heating. This is unsafe.
    • Open the stove’s damper when adding wood. This allows more air into the stove. More air helps the wood burn properly, and prevents pollutants from being drawn back into the house instead of going up the chimney. If there is isible smoke or a constant smoky odor inside the home while using a wood-burning stove, this is a sign that the stove is not working properly. Soot on furniture in the rooms where you are using the stove also tells this. Smoke and soot are signs that the stove is releasing pollutants into the indoor air.

    Correct Use of Appliances

    • Read and follow the instructions for all appliances so that you understand how they work. Keep the owner’s manual in a convenient place to refer to when needed. Also, read and follow the warning labels because they tell you important safety information that you need to know. Reading and following the instructions and warning labels could save your life.
    • Always use the correct fuel for the appliance.
    • Use only water-clear ASTM 1-K kerosene for kerosene heaters. The use of kerosene other than 1-K could lead to a release of more pollutants in your home. Never use gasoline in a kerosene heater because it can cause a fire or an explosion. Using even small amounts of gasoline could cause a fire.
    • Use seasoned hardwoods (elm, maple, oak) instead of softwoods (cedar, fir, pine) in wood-burning stoves and fireplaces. Hardwoods are better because they burn hotter and form less creosote, an oily, black tar that sticks to chimneys and stove pipes. Do not use green or wet woods as the primary wood because they make more creosote and smoke. Never burn painted scrap wood or wood treated with preservatives, because they could release highly toxic pollutants, such as arsenic or lead. Plastics, charcoal, and colored paper, such as comics and wrapping paper, also produce pollutants. Never burn anything that the stove or fireplace manufacturer does not recommend.
    • Never use a range, oven or dryer to heat your home. When you misuse gas appliances in this way, they can produce fatal amounts of carbon monoxide. They can produce high levels of nitrogen dioxide, too.
    • Never use an unvented combustion heater overnight or in a room where you are sleeping. Carbon monoxide from combustion heaters can reach dangerous levels.
    • Never ignore a safety device when it shuts off an appliance. It means that something is wrong. Read your appliance instructions to find out what you should do, or have a professional check out the problem.
    • Never ignore the smell of fuel. This usually indicates that the appliance is not operating properly or is leaking fuel. Leaking fuel will not always be detectable by smell. If you suspect that you have a fuel leak, have it fixed as soon as possible. In most cases, you should shut off the appliance, extinguish any other flames or pilot lights, shut off other appliances in the area, open windows and doors, call for help, and leave the area.

    Inspection and Maintenance

    Have your combustion appliance regularly inspected and maintained to reduce your exposure to pollutants. Appliances that are not working properly can release harmful and even fatal amounts of pollutants, especially carbon monoxide. Have chimneys and vents inspected when installing or changing vented heating appliances. Some modifications may be required. For example, if a change was made in your heating system from oil to natural gas, the flue gas produced by the gas system could be hot enough to melt accumulated oil-combustion debris in the chimney or vent. This debris could block the vent, forcing pollutants into the house. It is important to clean your chimney and vents, especially when changing heating systems. Always hire an InterNACHI inspector to perform your home inspections, as they all must pass the most comprehensive, rigorous training program available.

    What are the Inspection and Maintenance Procedures?

    The best advice is to follow the recommendations of the manufacturer. The same combustion appliance may have different inspection and maintenance requirements, depending on where you live. In general, check the flame in the furnace combustion chamber at the beginning of the heating season. Natural gas furnaces should have a blue flame with perhaps only a slight yellow tip. Call your appliance service representative to adjust the burner if there is a lot of yellow in the flame, or call your local utility company for this service. LP units should have a flame with a bright blue center that may have a light yellow tip. Pilot lights on gas water heaters and gas cooking appliances should also have a blue flame. Have a trained service representative adjust the pilot light if it is yellow or orange. Before each heating season, have flues and chimneys inspected before each heating season for leakage and for blockage by creosote or debris. Creosote buildup or leakage could cause black stains on the outside of the chimney or flue. These stains can mean that pollutants are leaking into the house.

    Dave Park
    Advantage Home Inspection Raleigh
    Davepark@advantageinspection.com

    Advantage Home Inspection Raleigh. . . performs the Nation’s Best Home Inspection and provides the Nation’s Only “No Denied Claims Warranty” available in the industry. For the last 20 years, Advantage Home Inspection has been the deciding factor for the people we serve: Buyers, Sellers, Real Estate Agents and Home Inspectors.

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Before You Move

     

    Protect yourself by hiring a Licensed Home Inspector to inspect your potential new home. If you identify problems, have the landlord or seller correct them before you move in, or even consider moving elsewhere.

    • Have professionals check the heating and cooling system, including humidifiers and vents. Have duct lining and insulation checked for growth.
    • Check for exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens. If there are no vents, do the kitchen and bathrooms have at least one window in each room? Does the stovetop have a hood vented outside? Does the clothes dryer vent outside? Do all vents exhaust to the outside of the building, and not in attics or crawlspaces?
    • Look for obvious mold growth throughout the house, including attics, basements and crawlspaces, and around the foundation outside. See if there are many plants close to the house, particularly if they are damp and rotting. They are a potential source of biological pollutants. Downspouts from roof gutters should route water away from the building.
    • Look for stains on the walls, floor or carpet (including any carpet over concrete floors) as evidence of previous flooding or moisture problems. Is there moisture on windows and surfaces? Are there signs of leaks or seepage in the basement?
    • Look for rotted building materials, which may suggest moisture or water damage.
    • If you or anyone else in the family has a pet allergy, ask if any pets have lived in the home.
    • Examine the design of the building. Remember that in cold climates, overhanging areas, rooms over unheated garages, and closets on outside walls may be prone to problems with biological pollutants.
    • Look for signs of cockroaches. (Carefully read instructions for use and any cautionary labeling on cleaning products before beginning cleaning procedures.)
    • Do not mix any chemical products. Especially, never mix cleaners containing bleach with any product (such as ammonia) which does not have instructions for such mixing. When chemicals are combined, a dangerous gas can sometimes be formed.
    • Household chemicals may cause burning or irritation to skin and eyes.
    • Household chemicals may be harmful if swallowed or inhaled.
    • Avoid contact with skin, eyes, mucous membranes, and clothing.
    • Avoid breathing vapor. Open all windows and doors, and use an exhaust fan that sends the air outside.
    • Keep household chemicals out of reach of children.
    • Rinse treated surface areas well to remove all traces of chemicals.

    Correcting Water Damage

    What if damage is already done? Follow these guidelines for correcting water damage:

    • Throw out mattresses, wicker furniture, straw baskets and the like that have been water damaged or contain mold. These cannot be recovered.
    • Discard any water-damaged furnishings, such as carpets, drapes, stuffed toys, upholstered furniture, and ceiling tiles, unless they can be recovered by steam cleaning or hot-water washing and thorough drying.
    • Remove and replace wet insulation to prevent conditions where biological pollutants can grow.

    Reducing Exposure to Biological Contaminants

    General good housekeeping, and maintenance of heating and air-conditioning equipment, are very important. Adequate ventilation and good air distribution also help. The key to mold control is moisture control. If mold is a problem, clean up the mold and get rid of excess water and moisture. Maintaining the relative humidity between 30% to 60% will help control mold, dust mites and cockroaches. Employ integrated pest management to control insect and animal allergens. Cooling-tower treatment procedures exist to reduce levels of Legionella and other organisms.

    Install and use exhaust fans that are vented to the outdoors in kitchens and bathrooms, and vent clothes dryers outdoors. These actions can eliminate much of the moisture that builds up from everyday activities. There are exhaust fans on the market that produce little noise, an important consideration for some people. Another benefit to using kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans is that they can reduce levels of organic pollutants that vaporize from hot water used in showers and dishwashers. Ventilate the attic and crawlspaces to prevent moisture build-up. Keeping humidity levels in these areas below 50% can prevent water condensation on building materials.

    If using cool mist or ultrasonic humidifiers, clean appliances according to the manufacturer’s instructions and refill with fresh water daily. Because these humidifiers can become breeding grounds for biological contaminants, they have the potential for causing diseases such as hypersensitivity pneumonitis and humidifier fever. Evaporation trays in air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and refrigerators should also be cleaned frequently.

    Thoroughly clean and dry water-damaged carpets and building materials (within 24 hours, if possible), or consider removal and replacement. Water-damaged carpets and building materials can harbor mold and bacteria. It is very difficult to completely rid such materials of biological contaminants.

    Keep the house clean. House dust mites, pollens, animal dander, and other allergy-causing agents can be reduced, although not eliminated, through regular cleaning. People who are allergic to these pollutants should use allergen-proof mattress encasements, wash bedding in hot water (130° F), and avoid room furnishings that accumulate dust, especially if they cannot be washed in hot water. Allergic individuals should also leave the house while it is being vacuumed because vacuuming can actually increase airborne levels of mite allergens and other biological contaminants. Using central vacuum systems that are vented to the outdoors, or vacuums with high efficiency filters may also be of help.

    Take steps to minimize biological pollutants in basements. Clean and disinfect the basement floor drain regularly. Do not finish a basement below ground level unless all water leaks are patched and outdoor ventilation and adequate heat to prevent condensation are provided. Operate a dehumidifier in the basement, if needed, to keep relative humidity levels between 30% to 50%.

    Dave Park
    Advantage Home Inspection Raleigh
    Davepark@advantageinspection.com

    Advantage Home Inspection Raleigh. . . performs the Nation’s Best Home Inspection and provides the Nation’s Only “No Denied Claims Warranty” available in the industry. For the last 20 years, Advantage Home Inspection has been the deciding factor for the people we serve: Buyers, Sellers, Real Estate Agents and Home Inspectors.

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Outdoor air pollution in cities is a major health problem. Much effort and money continue to be spent cleaning up pollution in the outdoor air. But air pollution can be a problem where you least expect it, in the place you may have thought was safest — your home. Many ordinary activities, such as cooking, heating, cooling, cleaning and redecorating, can cause the release and spread of indoor pollutants at home. Studies have shown that the air in our homes can be even more polluted than outdoor air. Many Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors, often at home. Therefore, breathing clean indoor air can have an important impact on health. People who are inside a great deal may be at greater risk of developing health problems, or having problems made worse by indoor air pollutants. These people include infants, young children, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses. Many factors determine whether pollutants in your home will affect your health. They include the presence, use and condition of pollutant sources, the level of pollutants both indoors and out, the amount of ventilation in your home, and your overall health.

    What are Biological Pollutants?

    Biological pollutants are or were living organisms. They promote poor indoor air quality and may be a major cause of days lost from work and school, and of doctor and hospital visits. Some can even damage surfaces inside and outside your house. Biological pollutants can travel through the air and are often invisible. Some common indoor biological pollutants are:

    • animal dander (minute scales from hair, feathers, or skin);
    • dust mite and cockroach parts;
    • infectious agents (bacteria and viruses); and
    • pollen.

    Some of these substances are in every home. It is impossible to get rid of them all. Even a spotless home may permit the growth of biological pollutants. Two conditions are essential to support biological growth: nutrients and moisture. These conditions can be found in many locations, such as bathrooms, damp or flooded basements, wet appliances (such as humidifiers and air conditioners), and even some carpets and furniture. Modern materials and construction techniques may reduce the amount of outside air brought into buildings, which may result in high moisture levels inside. Using humidifiers, unvented heaters, and air conditioners in our homes has increased the chances of moisture forming on interior surfaces. This encourages the growth of certain biological pollutants.

    The Scope of the Problem

    Most information about sources and health effects of biological pollutants is based on studies of large office buildings and surveys of homes in the northern U.S. and Canada. These surveys show that 30% to 50% of all structures have damp conditions which may encourage the growth and buildup of biological pollutants. This percentage is likely to be higher in warm, moist climates. Some diseases and illnesses have been linked with biological pollutants in the indoor environment. However, many of them also have causes unrelated to the indoor environment. Therefore, we do not know how many health problems relate only to poor indoor air.

    Health Effects of Biological Pollutants

    All of us are exposed to biological pollutants. However, the effects on our health depend on the type and amount of biological pollution and the individual person. Some people do not experience health reactions from certain biological pollutants, while others may experience one or more of the following reactions:

    • allergic;
    • infectious; and/or
    • toxic.

    Except for the spread of infections indoors, allergic reactions may be the most common health problem with indoor air quality in homes. They are often connected with animal dander (mostly from cats and dogs), with house dust mites (microscopic animals living in household dust), and with pollen. Allergic reactions can range from mildly uncomfortable to life-threatening, as in a severe asthma attack. Some common signs and symptoms are:

    • watery eyes;
    • runny nose and sneezing;
    • nasal congestion;
    • itching;
    • coughing;
    • wheezing and difficulty breathing;
    • headache; and
    • fatigue.

    Health experts are especially concerned about people with asthma. These people have very sensitive airways that can react to various irritants, making breathing difficult. The number of people who have asthma has greatly increased in recent years. The number of people with asthma has gone up by 59% since 1970, to a total of 9.6 million people. Asthma in children under 15 years of age has increased 41% in the same period, to a total of 2.6 million children. The number of deaths from asthma is up by 68% since 1979, to a total of almost 4,400 deaths per year

    Dave Park
    Advantage Home Inspection Raleigh
    Davepark@advantageinspection.com

    Advantage Home Inspection Raleigh. . . performs the Nation’s Best Home Inspection and provides the Nation’s Only “No Denied Claims Warranty” available in the industry. For the last 20 years, Advantage Home Inspection has been the deciding factor for the people we serve: Buyers, Sellers, Real Estate Agents and Home Inspectors.

    Tags: , , , , , , , ,

  • It is normal to find mold spores in a homes indoor air and surfaces such as clothes, walls, and furniture. Most of the time mold spores found indoors are from outside sources. Regular housekeeping cleaning helps keep mold levels low. Cleaning small areas of visible mold, like the mold around your shower, is obligatory to maintain sanitary conditions.

    When you should be more concerned is when your home has a large-scale of active mold growing. Such problems are most likely to happen when there’s been an on-going water leak, flood, or excessively high levels of humidity in the home. Indoor mold growth may lead to high levels of airborne mold spores, which, in turn, can trigger the spread of mold growth from the original source to additional areas of the home having high moisture levels.

    Extensive mold growth will damage your home and furnishings, like carpets, sofas and cabinets. Over a period of time, uncontrolled mold growth can even instigate damage to structural elements of your home. While there is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment, keeping your home clean and dry can avert extensive mold growth and the ensuing damage.

    Damage to your home and possessions is not the only reason to be concerned with mold. Although most people are exposed to small amounts of mold or their spores on a daily basis without apparent harm, mold is an unsanitary condition that may present potential health risks to certain individuals.

    Possible adverse health effects produced by molds can include allergic, irritating, or toxigenic effects, and even infections, allergic reactions being the most common. Symptoms reported by affected people include: respiratory conditions, such as wheezing, difficulty breathing, and shortness of breath, sneezing and/or nasal congestion, eye and/or throat irritation, headaches and fatigue.

    Here are a few tips to keep moisture from becoming a breeding ground in your home for molds.

    1. Ensure that bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-creating sources are vented to the outside

    2. Take care not to block any of your house’s air conditioning vents

    3. Install de-humidifiers in basements and crawlspaces.

    4. Use your kitchen’s exhaust fans when cooking

    5. Install insulation on cold surfaces like piping, air ducts or basement walls to lessen possibilities of condensation

    6. Install moisture sensor alarms in potential water back-up and overflow areas to alert you when a leak occurs.

    Dave Park
    Advantage Home Inspection Raleigh
    Davepark@advantageinspection.com

    Advantage Home Inspection Raleigh. . . performs the Nation’s Best Home Inspection and provides the Nation’s Only “No Denied Claims Warranty” available in the industry. For the last 20 years, Advantage Home Inspection has been the deciding factor for the people we serve: Buyers, Sellers, Real Estate Agents and Home Inspectors.

    Tags: , , , , , , ,

  • Raleigh Home InspectorEven if you undertook the task of building your own deck, you understand the large investment (both monetary and in time) that went into the project. Decks add beauty and value to a home, and are often the family’s favorite place on lovely afternoons. In order to protect that investment, deck waterproofing is nearly as important as making sure your basement is dry and safe from water damage.

    After the completion of your deck, either you or the contracted builder should seal the wood with a water-resistant coating. Water-resistant sealants are painted on the wood, covering the entire deck. This coating helps to protect the wood from absorbing excess water. Not only does this seal the deck but also provides wonderful preservation of the deck’s beauty.

    If you choose to use redwood for your deck, waterproofing can extend the life of the wood’s color. It is strongly recommended that you seal this type of wood prior to construction. This ensures that the wood was properly and evening coated with the deck waterproofing sealant. When using redwood for construction, be sure re-apply the sealant coating once every 12 to 18 months in order to prevent the wood from darkening.

    Untreated wood will eventually become damaged. Being submitted to harsh weather and direct sunlight is often a killer of untreated wood. Wood can begin to rot, crack, and in severe cases, provide an open invitation to termites. Redwood is not as prone to rot and other damage as softer, lighter woods. Despite its durability, you should seriously consider waterproofing for enhanced beauty. Deck waterproofing is the only way to prevent premature damage to your deck. Decks are often a substantial investment and deck waterproofing is insurance for your peace of mind.

    Advantage Inspection Raleigh

    . . .  performs the Nation’s Best Home Inspection and provides the Nation’s Only “No Denied Claims Warranty” available in the industry. For the last 18 years, Advantage Inspection has been the deciding factor for the people we serve:  Buyers, Sellers, Real Estate Agents and Home Inspectors.  Advantage Inspection Raleigh serves Raleigh, Durham and the Triangle area.
     

    Dave Park 

    Advantage Home Inspection Raleigh
    more than just an inspection company!”
    www.adrdu.com

    Tags: , , , , , ,

  • Advantage Home Inspection Raleigh

    A professional home inspection begins with a comprehensive visual examination of a property.  As a buyer, a thorough home inspection is your first step toward protecting your investment in your new home.

    When you hire a home inspector, you can expect that he or she will carefully examine the property before preparing a written report that describes the construction of the home and the working condition of all its systems. Many inspectors will also include digital photographs of defects, especially in hard-to-reach areas such as the crawlspace, roof and attic.

    The following home inspection checklist outlines all areas a thorough inspection should include.

    General Information
    Persons present during the inspection, approximate age of the structure, construction type and style, weather and soil conditions at the time of inspection, residence type, number of stories and approximate house orientation (direction the house faces).

    Description of the Lot, Grounds and Landscaping
    Grade relative to drainage, yard drains, walks, driveway, landscaping, patio/slabs, outside lighting, dangerous trees or limbs, fences and gates, outside faucets and retaining walls.

    Condition of the Foundation and Basement/Crawlspace/Slab
    For basements: Accessible areas, moisture penetration, piers, foundation walls, floor joists, sills, girders, subfloor, slabs and insulation.

    For crawlspaces: Accessible areas, moisture penetration, sump pump, vapor barrier, piers, foundation walls, floor joists, sills, girders, subfloor, ventilation and insulation.

    For slabs: General condition of viewable components, cracks and signs of settling.

    Condition of the Home’s Exterior
    Siding, shutters, trim rot, paint and caulking, fascia, soffits, eaves, porch, porch rails, stoop, stoop rails, deck, deck rails, doors, sliding doors, garage, garage door openers and windows.

    Current State of and Estimated Life Expectancy of Roof
    Material type, roof style, flashing and roof penetrations, skylights, gutters, downspouts, splash blocks, rafters and other upper framing elements, ceiling joists, roof decking, water penetration, whole house fan, ventilation, insulation and attic access.

    State of Chimney and Fireplace
    General condition, gas logs, damper, chimney condition, flue liner, signs of settling and loose masonry.

    Condition of Electrical System
    Service entrance, service wires (size and types), grounding equipment, main panel, sub panels, over current protection, ground fault protection, 110 volt and 220 volt circuits, receptacles, light fixtures, switches and safety concerns.

    Condition of Heating System
    Unit manufacturer, model number, serial number, location, air temperature rise, general condition, heating unit description, energy source, system type and total capacity relative to area served and approximate age.

    Condition of Cooling System
    Unit manufacturer, model number, serial number, location, air temperature drop, general condition, cooling unit description, energy source, total capacity relative to area served and approximate age.

    Condition of Plumbing System
    Water supply, well pump, water shut offs, water pressure, water pipes, water pipe support, water pipe insulation, water heater, waste water disposal, waste and vent pipes, waste pipe support, plumbing fixtures, laundry connections, dryer exhaust and bathrooms.

    Assessment of All Interior Spaces
    Rooms, floors, walls, smoke alarms, ceilings, stairs and doors.

    Current State of and Estimated Life Expectancy of Permanently Installed Appliances
    Unit manufacturers, dishwasher, disposal, oven and energy source, range and energy source, refrigerator, trash compactor and microwave.

    Final Thoughts on Your New Home Inspection
    Remember that an inspection is simply an examination of the current condition of a home. It is not an appraisal or a municipal code inspection. An inspector, therefore, will not “pass” or “fail” a building, but will simply describe its condition and indicate which items need repairs or replacements.

    You, as a buyer, will find the information contained in the home inspection to be an invaluable resource as you make an offer on the home, negotiate that offer, close the deal, and assume ownership of the home.

    This check list was brought to you by Lowes and Sponsored by Advantage Inspection!

     

     Advantage Inspection Raleigh

    . . .  performs the Nation’s Best Home Inspection and provides the Nation’s Only “No Denied Claims Warranty” available in the industry. For the last 18 years, Advantage Inspection has been the deciding factor for the people we serve:  Buyers, Sellers, Real Estate Agents and Home Inspectors.  Advantage Inspection Raleigh serves Raleigh, Durham and the Triangle area.
     

    Dave Park 

    Advantage Home Inspection Raleigh
    more than just an inspection company!”
    www.adrdu.com

    Tags: , , , , , , ,

  • “Something in the air” takes on a whole new meaning today than that magic spring night in the 60’s or the Tom Petty song.  Mold, Fungi, Radon, Chinese Drywall and now PCBs.

    Polychlorinated biphenyls or PCB’s have been around since the 1940’s.  They where manmade chemicals that were widely used in construction materials and electrical products.  They were banned by Congress in 1976 because of a “concern” about their health and environmental effects. 

    The use and disposal of PCBs before the phase-out resulted in their widespread presence in our soil, air, water and food. Despite the federal ban, they remain present today in caulking and sealants used in the construction or renovation of older buildings before 1978.

    So why did the EPA announce guidance about this cancer causing chemical in September of 09?

    The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency “announced a series of steps that building owners and public school administrators should take to reduce exposure to PCBs that may be found in caulk in many buildings constructed or renovated between 1950 and 1978. 

    tom-petty-on-stage[1]

    Call out the instigator
    Because there’s something in the air
    We’ve got to get together sooner or later
    Because the revelution is here!
     
    . . .

    The press release acknowledged the growing amounts of evidence of levels of PCBs in caulk used in older buildings with discussion as to the health concerns related to this “banned” cancer causing chemical. 

    But, the press release seemed to be carefully crafted such that it did not use the words “must” or “shall” in their discussion for actions and related testing.

    Is this a serious issue? 

    Also the “EPA recommends testing peeling, brittle, cracking or deteriorating caulk for the presence of PCBs and removing the caulk if the PCBs are present at significant levels . . .”

    In referring to high air test levels, the EPA also stated that “building owners should be “especially vigilant” in implementing and monitoring ventilation and hygienic practices to minimize exposures . . . ”

    How are people exposed to PCBs?

    Though PCBs were banned from production in 1978, they still typically exist in low-levels in our environment.  They are in the food we eat, the air we breathe and in dirt and dust outside.  They build up in our bodies over many years.

    This long-term build-up of PCBs is what potentially causes harm. The levels of PCBs in our environment and in the bodies of people in this country have decreased significantly over time.

    So why all the fuss now?

    Food is a main source of exposure to PCBs. Fish (especially fish caught in polluted waters) contains small amounts of PCBs, as do meat and dairy products.

    Indoor air and dust may also be a significant source of PCB exposure from PCB-contaminated caulk, electrical products, other building materials or products that contain PCBs.

    What about caulk in single-family houses or other places? epa-1[1]

    EPA has found PCBs in large scale apartment complexes and public buildings. To date, EPA has not found PCBs in caulk in single-family houses.  They do note that generally air concentrations are below the public health exposure levels developed by EPA.

    Run through the fields and the houses
    Because there is something in the air
    We’ve got to get together sooner or later
    Because the Revolution is here!
    . . .

    - Tom Petty

     So where does this leave you?

    Unless you sleep with old caulk gun, lick your window sills or snort contaminated dust,  PCBs should not be a great concern.  On the other hand if you work or live in a room where window caulk is peeling and falling on the floor, call an inspector for testing and recommendations before you “break out” into a song . . . you heartbreaker you!

     Advantage Inspection Raleigh

    . . .  performs the Nation’s Best Home Inspection and provides the Nation’s Only “No Denied Claims Warranty” available in the industry. For the last 18 years, Advantage Inspection has been the deciding factor for the people we serve:  Buyers, Sellers, Real Estate Agents and Home Inspectors.  Advantage Inspection Raleigh serves Raleigh, Durham and the Triangle area.
     

    Dave Park 

    Advantage Home Inspection Raleigh
    more than just an inspection company!”
    www.adrdu.com

    Full Press Release http://www.epa.gov/pcbsincaulk

    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

  • leagueoftheirownMolds are ubiquitous in nature, and mold spores are a common component of household and workplace dust. However, when spores are present in large quantities, they can be a health hazard to humans, potentially causing allergic reactions and respiratory problems.

    Molds and fungi are found everywhere inside and outside, and can grow on almost any substance when moisture is present. When molds reproduce they make spores, which can be carried by air currents. When these spores land on a moist surface that is suitable for life, they begin to grow. Mold is normally found indoors at levels that do not affect most healthy individuals.

    Because common building materials are capable of sustaining mold growth, and mold spores are ever-present, mold growth in an indoor environment is typically related to water or moisture indoors.

    Mold growth may also be caused by incomplete drying of flooring materials such as concrete. Flooding, leaky roofs, building maintenance problems, plumbing problems can all lead to mold growth inside homes, offices, clubhouses, and other areas humans gather.

    For significant mold growth to occur, there must be a source of water (which could be invisible humidity), a source of food and a substrate (material) capable of sustaining growth. Common building materials, such as plywood, drywall, furring strips, carpets and carpet padding are food for molds. In carpet, invisible dust and cellulose are the food sources. After a single incident of water damage occurring in a building, molds grow inside the walls. The right conditions, such as high humidity, can activate a mold bloom even after a long period of being dormant after the event has occurred.

     moldspore-smaller

    If there are mold problems in a unit or home only during a certain time of the year, then it is probably either too air-tight or too drafty. Mold problems occur in airtight homes more frequently in the warmer months (when humidity reaches high levels inside the house and moisture is trapped) and occur in drafty units or homes more frequently during the colder months (when warm air escapes from the living area into unconditioned space and condenses). If a house is artificially humidified during the winter, this can create conditions favorable to mold. Moving air may prevent mold from growing since it has the same effect as lowering humidity.

    Assessment

    The first step in an assessment is to determine if mold is present. This is done by visually examining the premises. If mold is growing and visible this helps determine the level of remediation that is necessary. If mold is actively growing and is visibly confirmed, sampling for specific species of mold is necessary.

     These methods, considered non-intrusive, only detect visible and odor-causing molds. Sometimes more intrusive methods are needed to assess the level of mold contamination. This would include moving furniture, lifting and/or removing carpets, checking behind wallpaper or paneling, checking in ventilation duct work, opening and exposing wall cavities, etc.

     Careful detailed visual inspection and recognition of moldy odors should be used to find problems needing correction. Efforts should focus on areas where there are signs of liquid moisture or water vapor (humidity) or where moisture problems are suspected. The investigation goals should be to locate indoor mold growth to determine how to correct the moisture problem and remove contamination safely and effectively.

    RemediationMercury7astronauts-700195

    The first step in solving an indoor mold problem is stopping the source of moisture. Next is to remove the mold growth. Common remedies for small occurrences of mold include:

    *Sunlight

    *Ventilation

    *Non-porous building materials

    *Household cleansers

    Significant mold growth may require professional mold remediation and removal of affected building materials. As this issue has become more and more prevalent, different states have different requirements for licensing, certifying and qualifying mold remediation technicians. 

    There are Certified Mold Inspectors, Certified Mold Remediators, and Certified Environmental Hygienists, all professionals that provide services relating to mold problems. While some mild instances of mold may be able to be addressed in a do-it-yourself way, if in doubt, a professional should be engaged for this purpose. The preparation of the area for the removal of the material, the disposal of the material removed, the personal precautions that are required, generally exceed those of a maintenance worker or handyman.

    If in doubt, call a professional.

    Maverick Rules!

     

    Advantage Inspection Raleigh performs the Nation’s Best Home Inspection and provides the Nation’s Only No Denied Claims Warranty available in the industry. 

    For the last 18 years, Advantage Inspection has been the deciding factor for the people we serve:  Buyers, Sellers, Real Estate Agents and Home Inspectors.  Advantage Inspection Raleigh serves Raleigh, Durham and the Triangle area. 

     Advantage Inspection Raleigh

    more than just an inspection company!”

    www.adrdu.com

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    Advantage Companies Announces Program Relationship with B-Dry and Blue Canyon.Bdry checklist

    Advantage Inspection Raleigh and Advantage Home Warranty, providers of home inspections and home warranties respectively, announce a program relationship to offer their clients permanent waterproofing solutions through B-Dry and Blue Canyon’s Healthy Home System beginning July 15, 2009.

    Raleigh, NC (MyNC.com) July 15, 2009 – Advantage Inspection Raleigh, a home inspection provider and Advantage Home Warranty, a home warranty provider announce their program relationship with B-Dry and Blue Canyon beginning July 15, 2009.  This program will offer permanent waterproofing solutions to Advantage Inspection Raleigh and Advantage Home Warranty clients.

    The Advantage Companies selected B-Dry and Blue Canyon because they have separated themselves from their competitors by offering the Healthy Home System.  The Healthy Home System provides a permanent indoor air solution to Odor, Humidity, Radon and Water Penetration.  B-Dry and Blue Canyon create a dry and healthy living spaces for your family. 

    BdryAdvantage Inspection Raleigh offers the first and only home warranty in America to be underwritten by the home inspection. The inspection underwriting allows Advantage Home Warranty to cover more of the major systems and individual components of the home.

     The Advantage Companies provide their clients “piece of mind” by providing detailed information about the home and giving the nation’s best coverage of the primary structure, major systems, and appliances. 

     “Now is the right time for Certainty” said Dave Park, Sr. Marketing Director for Advantage Inspection International.  “Our clients are looking for relationship contractors.  These contractors value our client’s security and peace of mind. B-Dry and Blue Cannon are relationship contractors and as a homeowner this is nothing greater.”

    For additional information on Advantage Inspection or Advantage Home Warranty please visit www.advantagehomewarranty.com  or www.advantageinspection.com.  For additional information on B-Dry & Blue Cannon please visit www.bdry.com.

    AHW is available in SC, NC, KY, AL, TN, & GA. 

     

    Contact:                                                                                     
    Dave Park
    Advantage Companies
    Phone: 919-850-2526
    www.adrdu.com
    davepark@advantageinspection.com

     

    Advantage Inspection & Advantage Home Warranty are registered trademarks.

     

    ###

     
    Leigh Carsen, a legal expert in Real Estate transactions states “the right inspector will be experienced, meticulous, plainspoken and ideally have a proven track record in your area.” Ask your agent for a recommendation or check for local members of the North Carolina Licensed Home Inspectors Association (www.NCLHIA.org) or the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (www.nachi.org).

     Advantage Inspection Raleigh performs the Nation’s Best Home Inspection and provides the Nation’s Only “No Denied Claims Warranty” available in the industry. 

    For the last 18 years, Advantage Inspection has been the deciding factor for the people we serve:  Buyers, Sellers, Real Estate Agents and Home Inspectors.  Advantage Inspection Raleigh serves Raleigh, Durham and the Triangle area. 

    Advantage Inspection Raleigh

    more than just an inspection company!”

    www.adrdu.com

    Tags: , , , , , , ,

   

Recent Comments

  • anybunny.mobi/latest/ anybunny.mobi/latest/
  • ...Recent Blogroll Additions [...]The full look of your web...
  • ...Recent Blogroll Additions [...]The full look of your web...
  • ...Links [...]I am no longer certain the place you're getti...
  • ... [Trackback] [...]Wow, marvelous weblog format! How leng...