Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors Checked During A Home Inspection
Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors save lives. They should be checked and maintained regularly. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas, which is produced by combustion from gas furnaces and water heaters.
When performing home inspections I often see what appear to be very old smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in homes. As a home inspector I recommend to buyers to replace the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in a home to ensure they will work properly when needed. Pressing the alarm button on a smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector only tells you the alarm sound works when the button is pressed. It does not ensure that smoke or carbon monoxide will be detected by the unit.
Always follow manufacturers instructions but the general guidelines are that smoke detectors be replaced every 10 years and carbon monoxide detectors be replaced every 5-7 years.
Batteries should be replaced every 6 months to a year depending on the detector. Many people choose to replace their batteries during daylight savings. Some smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors have lithium long life batteries that last the lifespan of the unit and don’t need replacement, sometimes for as long as 10 years.
Always ensure you keep your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors up to date to prevent not being warned of immediate danger. If you get a high level of carbon monoxide in your home you will not realize it until it's too late.
Dairyland Home Inspection performs home inspections in Racine, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Walworth, and Ozaukee Counties.
White Haze/Fog on Fireplace Glass
When conducting an inspection of a fireplace during a home inspection one thing I commonly see is white haze or fog on the fireplace gas. It can be rather unsightly as one of the benefits of having a fireplace is seeing the fire and the visual effect it has. When the fireplace glass isn't clear it can affect the visual joy of having a fireplace. It makes the fireplace much less visually appealing.
The white haze or fog on the glass is caused by the hot combustion air coming into contact with the cooler glass causing condensation on the glass. Over time the effect gets worse and in some cases the glass can be permanently etched with the white haze. In most cases the glass can be cleaned so it can be clear again. Using a cleaner like Windex is not the proper cleaner and can cause damage rather then correct the white haze on the glass. A product made specifically for cleaning fireplace glass such as White Off can clean the glass properly. Sometimes though due to the condition of the glass, it cannot be cleaned completely and the only way to have clear glass is to have it replaced.
At Dairyland Home Inspection fireplaces are just one of the many areas of a home we inspect. We provide home inspection services in Racine, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Walworth, and Ozaukee counties.
Termite Inspections in Racine, Kenosha, and Milwaukee
Wood destroying organisms cost billions of dollars of damage in the United States every year. Pests such as the termite, carpenter ant, powder post beetle, carpenter bees, and fungi are some of the most common problems for wood buildings and structures. Many home mortgages and loan programs such as VA loans require termite inspections during the home buying process to ensure termites are not an issue with the home being purchased.
The most invasive of these is the subterranean termite. Termites are more prevalent in certain areas of the country and can cause major structural damage to a home. They can often go unnoticed for years, which allows them to cause significant damage. They thrive in warmer climates in the United Stated such as the South, Southeast, and Southwest. Termites can be found in every state in the United States except Alaska.
Buying a home with a termite problem could be a very expensive and difficult problem to solve. Termite treatments can be extensive and involve significant expense in the thousands of dollars. If termites have been invasive in a home for some time it could also result in structural damage to a home involving repair of the wood structure. Getting a termite inspection prior to buying a home can prevent possible future problems for home buyers.
Termites are ground insects that look for habitats that provide food, moisture, and shelter close to the ground: any moist place where wood meets ground. Preventing and correcting this situation can prevent termite infestation to a home. Mulch and other landscaping materials cause the soil to remain moist. You should make sure to minimize mulch around your foundation. Experts recommend mulch should be no closer than a foot from your home’s foundation. Firewood should be stacked well away from your home. You should also make sure to eliminate moisture problems in and around your home, especially in basements and crawlspaces. This can prevent your home from having termite problems.
At Dairyland Home Inspection we provide termite inspections free of charge for our clients. We ensure our clients get the most information about their home so they can make a wise home buying decision. We serve Racine, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Walworth, and Ozaukee Counties.
Waukesha Home Inspections Include Free Radon testing
Free radon testing is included on every home inspection in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Our goal at Dairyland Home Inspection is to provide the very best service to our clients. Radon is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and high radon levels and exposure over time can increase your risk. Radon can be easily mitigated from a home to reduce the radon level to lower levels.
Radon testing involves using a continuous radon monitor for 48 hours, which measure the radon level every hour in a home. It gives a average reading for the radon level in the home. Any reading over 4.0pCi/L is a level that the EPA recommends be mitigated to prevent significant exposure to radon.
Southeastern Wisconsin generally has radon levels that vary widely from high to low. It is impossible to know if a home will have a high radon level without conducting an accurate radon test.
When having a radon test conducted ensure the radon tester is using calibrated testing devices and is certified to conduct residential radon testing. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services lists radon test providers who meet recognized standards and have met guidelines by the department. We are one of the few home inspection companies certified in residential radon testing.
We perform radon testing in Racine, Milwaukee, Kenosha, Walworth, Waukesha, and Ozaukee Counties.
Insulating Your Attic With Blown Insulation Can Save You Big Money
One of the most important factors to home comfort is your homes insulation. Missing or inadequate insulation is a problem commonly seen during a home inspection. Insulation prevents high energy usage saving you money. It also prevents problems with mold, condensation, and moisture intrusion problems. The cost of updating or upgrading your insulation can easily be paid back over time in energy efficiency and energy savings. Certain types of insulation like attic insulation are easy to install and very cost effective. Trying to insulate your finished walls or replacing windows for a better insulating value are much more difficult and much less cost effective.
One of the most cost effective insulation solutions is adding attic insulation. There are several types of attic insulation which include blown insulation, batt insulation, and insulation blanket type material. Blown insulation is very easy to install and almost any home owner willing to put forth a little effort can accomplish it in around 4 hours. The only supplies needed are the blown insulation and an insulation blower machine.
Many stores offer insulation blower machine rental for a fee. Some stores and some insulation products such as Attic Cat insulation material provides fora free rental with a minimum purchase of insulation material. The installation of the insulation is relatively easy. It involves setting up and plugging in the machine in your yard. Then you'll need to find someone to add insulation material to the machine. Run the hose from the machine to the attic access and you'll need to blow the insulation into the attic. It's really that simple. It can be a little messy and involve some physical effort. For around $500 you can add a significant amount of insulation to your attic. Paying a professional to do the same thing for you will run $2000 or more. The cost of insulation can often be tax deductible.
In Wisconsin, the recommended insulation for an attic is R49 to R60. That equates to about 16.5 to 20 inches of blown insulation in the attic. The insulation depth is measured from the attic floor. Depending on how much insulation you currently have, you would need to factor that in to the number of inches of additional insulation you would need.
Websites such for Owens Corning Attic Cat and Energy Star provide information on insulation recommendations.
Basement Foundation Cracks Located During Home Inspections in Racine, Kenosha, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Basement Foundation Cracks Located During Home Inspections In Racine, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
As a home inspector one of the biggest issues I see that worries potential buyers the most is foundation problems. This is with good reason as foundation problems can be expensive to repair. Basement foundation cracks are commonly found during a home inspection. Basement foundation cracks are not always a significant problem and are often the result of many possible conditions.
Basement foundation walls are made up of many different materials such as stone, brick, masonry blocks, and poured concrete. This post focused on cracks in masonry block and poured concrete foundations. Vertical cracks, diagonal cracks, horizontal cracks, and stair step cracks are often seen during a home inspection and each has a different cause and effect.
Vertical cracks that go straight up and down or within 30 degrees of vertical are very common. They are the least severe, which are often caused by a home or building settling. It is common for even new houses to have some vertical cracks. Settling is common in homes and is usually not a problem if the settling is minor and does not cause any displacement of the foundation. Settling often occurs in the few first years after a home is built. Hairline cracks are not considered a problem. The cracks can be sealed using proper materials to prevent moisture intrusion. Vertical cracks that are wide or have displacement are considered more severe and may need further evaluation.
Diagonal cracks run at a 30-70 degree angle that will usually be wider at one end then the other and are often hairline sized. They are often caused by differential settling due to expansion and/or contraction of the soil. This type of issue can often be caused by too much water being deposited near the home and a lack of proper gutters and downspouts to move water away from the home. Water can cause soil at the foundation to shift resulting in the foundation cracking.
Horizontal cracks run sideways and are the most serious cracks in a foundation and can signal serious problems to a homes structural integrity. They are most common in homes with masonry block foundation. Horizontal cracks are the result of soil pressure outside your foundation, and hydrostatic pressure that can cause basement foundation walls to bow. These types of cracks and foundation problems should be repaired or evaluated by a foundation contractor.
Foundation problems are often the result of poor water management at the exterior of the home. Keeping water away from the homes foundation is critical to preventing foundation problems. Often solving these problems can have a positive effect on foundation problems by preventing further damage or problems.
Dairyland Home Inspection inspects Racine, Milwaukee, Kenosha, Waukesha, Walworth, and Ozaukee Counties. We provide free radon testing on every home inspection.
Simple Tips From A Home Inspector To Make Your Home Safer For Children
As a home inspector I often see home problems that can be very dangerous and should require immediate correction. Some of these dangerous problems are relatively simple fixes but failure to address them could be very dangerous for children.
One common issue I often see is water that is way too hot at the faucets. Water that is 140 degrees or hotter at the faucet can cause burns to small children in just a few seconds. Children who turn on the water may not realize how hot it is until they stick their hand under the faucet. This is a simple fix of turning down the temperature on your water heater. It not only prevents possible injury but saves money. When your water heater water temperature is cranked up too hot the water heater needs to use more energy to keep the temperature at a high level. Turning it down to about 120 degrees saves energy and possible injury. It's still plenty hot for showers or any other needs.
Stairs are a dangerous area for kids. Even kids that can go up and down stairs often get injure when there is not a continuous handrail from the top of the stairs to the bottom of the stairs. They need to be able to hold onto something going up and down. Doors that open over stairs are also dangerous. Having to try and open a closed door and pull it open over the stairs is unsafe. What if someone is on the stairs and someone swings the door when they are coming up the stairs and they get knocked backwards and tumble down the stairs? Stairs are dangerous for older adults and the elderly as well. It's one of the areas in a home where many serious injuries occur.
Electrical outlets/receptacles should have a cover plate over them. Whether they are in a garage or basement or anywhere in a home the wires in an electrical outlet are live and should be protected. A child that sticks a toy or finger inside on outlet without a cover protecting the live wires could result in serious injury or worse. Placing a cover is relatively simple to do.
Deck guard and stair balusters should be 4 inches or less apart to ensure a child cannot stick their head in between the guards or balusters and be injured. Often these are found to be too wide and don't provide the needed protection for children.
The above examples are just a few of the more common issues we find during a home inspection. Problems that may cause injury are just some of the areas we inspect during a home inspection. We serve Racine, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Walworth Counties.
Milwaukee Home Inspection, Free Radon Testing, and Mold Testing
Dairyland Home Inspection provides home inspection services in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. If you are looking for an experienced and professional home inspector in the Milwaukee area we are here to help. We inspect from the foundation to the roof and everywhere in between. Our goal is to provide you with the most information possible about the home you're purchasing. We use the best tools and technology on every inspection. We strive to find expensive home problems to save you money so you don't have any surprises.
We perform free radon testing and mold testing as additional services. We are nationally certified in radon testing and are one of the few home inspections companies in Wisconsin that is certified in radon testing. We use thermal imaging on every home inspection which helps us find hidden problems behind walls and ceilings like water leaks, pests in walls, and energy efficiency problems.
Milwaukee is the biggest city in Wisconsin and has many diverse and interesting homes. We inspect every neighborhood in Milwaukee and any type of home whether is be a single family, multi family or condo. We have easy online flexible scheduling.
If you are buying a home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin or any area in southeastern Wisconsin we serve please give us a call or check out our website and see how we can help you and provide you professional home inspection services.
Kenosha, Wisconsin Home Inspections, Free Radon Testing, and Mold Testing
If you are looking for a home inspection in Kenosha, Wisconsin we are here to help you. At Dairyland Home Inspection we do home inspections, radon testing, and mold testing in Kenosha, Wisconsin. We have helped numerous home buyers in the Kenosha area purchase a home by providing home inspection services. We have saved our clients thousands of dollars by finding problems with their home prior to closing. In addition to home inspections we provide radon testing. Radon levels in southeaster Wisconsin are relatively high with a large number of homes above the EPA recommended limit of 4.0pCi/L.
We perform buyer home inspections for people buying a home. Getting a home inspection is critical because what you don't know can cost you a lot of money. We help home buyers find expensive and sometimes dangerous home problems before they close. This gives you the opportunity to negotiate for repairs or the cost of repairs. This prevents you from moving into your new home and getting stuck with expensive repairs or problems you didn't know existed. We offer competitive pricing and exceptional customer service. Call us or check out or website and let us know how we can help you.
Kenosha is a city located on Lake Michigan in southeast Wisconsin. It was founded in 1835 even before Wisconsin became a state. As one of the oldest cities in Wisconsin it has a rich history and diverse past. Kenosha is the 4th largest city in Wisconsin with a population of about 100,000 people. It's located between Chicago, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin which gives it an ideal location for business and development. Many new businesses and developments are happening in Kenosha which is boosting the local economy.
With increased jobs and growth it means more housing and a vibrant real estate market and the need for more home inspections to ensure buyers interests ate protected. Home prices have risen steadily over the last few years in the Kenosha area and that trend seems as it will continue in the near future.
Cities like Pleasant Prairie, Salem, and Twin Lakes are also seeing increased growth and development. We are happy to serve those who live in Kenosha and those who are moving to Kenosha by providing professional and thorough home inspection services.
Get Your Home Ready For Winter in Southeast Wisconsin
As a home inspector we often see the results of homes that have not been maintained properly and are damaged from winter weather. There are some easy things you can do to prevent damage to your house and get it ready for the cold weather coming.
Air conditioning condensers should not be run in cold temperatures. As a home inspector we don't check the air conditioning unless the temperature is 65 degrees or warmer. Running the air conditioning in colder weather can damage the condenser causing damage that may need to be repaired or worse the condenser may need to be replaced. A simple way to ensure the air conditioning is not inadvertently turned on when the weather is too cold is to turn off the air conditioner breaker on your electrical service panel. That way someone can't accidentally turn it on and create an expensive mistake. When your ready to use it when the weather turns warm simply turn the breaker back on.
The water for outdoor faucets should be turned off inside the house before freezing temperatures hit. If water is left in the pipe at the faucet and it's not a frost free faucet the water can freeze and burst the pipe. This could cause water leaking inside your home as well as a damaged pipe. If you have frost free faucets they are designed to shut the water off prior to getting to the outside portion of the faucet so they should not freeze. If the water shut off is easy to access it's better to just shut the water off inside the home even with frost free outdoor faucets.
Clean your gutters of debris. If your gutters are clogged with leaves and other debris they can't move water properly and can cause water leaking into your house if they get backed up. During the winter there are often times when the snow melts on your roof. If your gutters are clogged this can cause water problems and possible damage from moisture intrusion. It's better to clean them while the weather isn't bad and the snow and ice freeze int he gutters making them impossible to clean.
Paint, caulk, or seal any areas that need to be maintained on the exterior. Exterior wood and wood trim, areas where caulk or sealant is missing or worn, areas where moisture can penetrate into the home or behind the exterior coverings. If there are gaps in siding or areas where pipes or wires go into the home seal them up. It's critical during the winter to protect these areas due to freeze and thaw cycles which can create damage to these areas. It also prevents pests such as mice from making your home their home for the winter.
Have your fireplace and chimney maintained by a professional certified chimney technician. Many of the homes I inspect that have fireplaces and chimneys often have issues directly related to lack of maintenance. Many fireplaces are not regularly maintained and cleaned which can lead to creosote build up in the fireplace and chimney and cause a chimney fire. A fire in your fireplace is great, however, when it happens in your chimney thats a bad thing. Chimneys are seldom maintained and because they are often out of sight and out of mind they can be a significant problem. Ensure your fireplace is safe to use for the winter by having it professionally maintained.
Tune up your furnace. A furnace needs to be maintained and tuned up to ensure it is functioning properly and efficiently. It helps save energy costs and ensures when its bitterly cold outside your furnace will run and provide heat and not leave you calling a furnace technician because your furnace isn't working.
Divert water from your house by making sure gutters are extended at least 6 feet from the foundation to prevent water pooling around the foundation of your house and creating basement moisture issues.
Have your lawn irrigation system drained if you have one. Leaving water in the irrigation pipes can allow water in the pipes to freeze and damage the pipes creating costly repairs.
Test your sump pump and ensure it is running properly. Install a battery backup sump pump system to make sure water is being pumped out of your sump pit if the main pump fails or the power goes out. If you don't have a backup system and the power fails or the pump fails the water ends up in your basement.
These are just some of the things you should be working on to get your home ready for winter. Doing some work now will prevent future headaches and expensive repairs. At Dairyland Home Inspection we provide home inspections, radon testing, and mold testing in Racine, Milwaukee, Kenosha, Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Walworth Counties. Let us know if we can help you.