Flooding Concerns

Flooding

 

 

Whether from a torrential rainstorm, heaps of melting snow, or a leaky dishwasher, flooding can cause massive damage in your home. What’s more, clean-up can be extremely time-consuming and expensive, especially without expert advice. That’s why we rounded up flooding prevention and restoration experts from Bend to Atlanta. Read on to see their best tips for protecting your home against flooding and what to do if you’ve already been affected!

Highland Home Inspections: Actually, chronic water infiltration is a much more common problem than flooding. Mold usually accompanies moisture issues, so it’s worth addressing. Most water infiltration issues in homes with basements come from a failure to get rainwater moving away from the house. The two biggest contributors to basement moisture problems are grading and roof water. The grading should slope away from the house to move water away from the foundation. Similarly, roof water via the downspouts should be extended to discharge at least six feet away. In 99% of the homes, these two factors will keep the house dry. Don’t immediately react to a wet basement by calling a waterproofing company; those expensive systems are rarely necessary and should only be considered as a last resort. Even if you have a dry basement, consider using a dehumidifier in the summer if you live in an area with high humidity levels.

Valley Home Inspections: 

  1. Check all angle stops (shut off valves) at least once a year to make sure they are operational. If you see signs of corrosion, you will want a professional to evaluate. Angle stops are located under all sinks, at the water connections for your toilet (usually behind the toilet) and laundry hose bibs.
  2. Check all windows and doors for cracking (including any decorative trim over the window or door), these should be sealed to keep the water out.
  3. Take a look at your water heater, do you see dripping or corrosion on a valve? If so, don’t ignore it. We see many water heaters that have been ignored with the water seeping into the areas around it. Addressing early on can save thousands in repairs.
  4. Showers and tubs. These are used almost daily. When you see water dripping out a corner, corrosion along the door tracks, or cracks in the surfaces (very common between the tub or shower floor and the surround), take measures to repair immediately. If water gets into these areas it will seep behind the adjacent walls, and given the right environment, it will grow mold.

ProTec Inspection Services:  Prevent flooding damage: The best way to prevent flooding or water damage is to maintain good surface drainage around the exterior of the home. Proper water management always starts with the roof and gutters. Once you get water off of the home it is imperative that it be directed away from the foundation. If water is directed toward or collects near the home, it will inevitably find its way inside.

Rebuild after flooding damage: Water damage is a common and fixable issue. However it is imperative to identify and correct the source of moisture before any interior or cosmetic repairs are made. Otherwise they may need to be repeated.

House to Home Inspections: While it is not possible to fully eliminate the possibility of flooding in the home, there are steps that can be taken to help reduce the chances of experiencing a flood or at the very least to minimize the amount of water that could affect the home. Extend the downspouts at least 4-6 feet away from the foundation or into a subsurface drain that runs out to the edge of the property, preferably downhill. Grade the soil to slope away from the foundation, roughly ½” per foot for at least 10 feet. This will help to direct water away from the foundation. Installation of a French drain system can also help to direct surface water away from the foundation. Proper installation of a sump pump either in the basement or in the crawlspace will also help mitigate water intrusion. Flood repair and restoration work can be very expensive, costing up to tens of thousands of dollars and while not guaranteed to prevent flooding these simple steps will help to minimize water around the house and improve the overall quality and comfort of the home.

Ocean Breezes Home InspectionsThe most important thing you can do is air everything out immediately. Flood waters bring in mold spores, and with new construction practices things don’t dry out like days of old. If the water got inside, walls will most likely need to be gutted, inside and out. I’ve been called many times for inspections and testing where a remediation company or contractor did not open up the outer walls. The house wrap holds moisture in – thus allowing for mold even when the inner walls were gutted.

Advanced Look Property Inspections: As Advanced Look Property Inspections, LLC is one of Metro Orlando’s Best Home Inspectors, we know one of the most important systems we inspect and talk to our clients about is the plumbing system, because after “Wind”, non-weather related water damage and flooding is the insurance industries number 1 area of claims due to broken pipes or appliances like washing machines, dishwashers or water heaters having an issue.

A little precaution can go a long way when it comes to maintaining your plumbing and appliances but it is well worth it when you think of all the personal items (pictures, papers …) you’re protecting if you keep everything from a water problem in your home. Nowadays with all the “Smart Items” for your home you can go one step further and install a Water Sensor System in your House. Some just send out a basic notification that there’s a problem at home through an app, (which I don’t recommend). Others can actually turn the water off to prevent any further leaking/flooding in your house. The latter is sure to increase the value of your home and some insurance companies will give you a discount on your Home Owners Policy for having that protection and they all cost less than your deductible. Sounds like a win win to me : ).

Brick RestorationAfter home flooding has occurred, it’s often necessary to replace the framing around the bottom course of the home. If that’s needed, or you want to opt for the extra protection anyway, you can choose to have an Ice and Water Shield waterproof membrane installed around your home between the brick and the framing. Those that are safe from high water might still suffer damage from heavy rains. For this, we recommend having the chimney and brick veneer checked yearly for any cracks or holes in the brick and mortar which can lead to water leaks or more serious damage in the long run.

DryFast Property Restoration: Add insulation to outside walls that contain pipes. Exterior walls can get much colder than inside walls. If you have plumbing in outside walls, you may want to add an extra layer of insulation to ensure that your pipes are protected. If you see moisture or mold on the interior wall surface, surface cracks or nail pops, or your walls feel cool to the touch, consider reinsulating to add protection.

Home Inspection Headquarters: Water comes from 2 areas, outside or inside. Efficient lot drainage and water removal systems at the exterior of your home is the best way to keep outside water out. Then you want to protect you interior pipes and get your plumbing system evaluated every year by a professional. Do these things and you’re doing it right!

First Choice Inspectors: At First Choice Inspectors, LLC, we recommend that all homeowners that have basements or crawl spaces install a drain tile system and sump pump system with a battery backup system which will help to divert water away from the foundation of the house. We also recommend that the grading to the property provide sufficient water runoff so the property is not sitting at the bottom of a hill. After a home floods it’s important to get the pros in and fix the flood damage by installing proper waterproofing materials and make sure that no mold is growing. Proper remediation is very important before restoration!

Reliable Basement Services: There is no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach to waterproofing and flood prevention. The more information and history you can give a professional waterproofing contractor, the better they should be able to design a complete system for your unique home. Everything – gutters, yard drainage, drain tile systems, sump pumps, catch basins, etc. – should be considered. Do not buy into gimmicks and quick-fixes; all waterproofing and flood prevention is a VERY important long-term investment in your home.

Flood Pros: Keeping water far away from the house is the best advice we can give. Shut off water when you leave the house more than a day, check and test your sump pumps annually ensuring that the drainage pipe is not frozen or clogged, USE downspout extensions – they work great!

Integrity Restoration: Water damage is a progressive condition. While there is almost no mold problem we can’t later resolve, the best mold problem is none at all. If you act within the first 48 hours of materials becoming wet, mold can almost always be prevented by professional assessment and mechanical structural drying (meaning dehumidification, air movement and air filtration for your protection). My best advice is to call a reputable certified professional as soon as you realize that water damage has occurred.

Common Sense Inspections: Proper Drying is Important: What is most important is how fast and how well the flooded areas are dried. If there was a fire you would not let it put itself out. With moisture you must not let it dry itself out. Many times a person will think that moisture was removed, when in fact enough moisture was left behind to allow mold to start growing. If a minor amount of moisture is lingering inside the wall cavities, behind the baseboards, in the carpet, or under the carpet padding it will likely be weeks before it all dries up, by that time the mold starts forming as visible sports on your walls. Many mold remediators and carpet cleaning companies will focus efforts on drying the room that flooded and neglect nearby rooms where water flowed hidden inside wall cavities and under carpet or even tile.

Sacramento Home Inspections: A quick online search will show a wide array of enterprising flood prevention techniques and equipment in action, but the reality is most people are not so proactive or enterprising when it comes to flood prevention. This is one of the reasons why U.S. homeowners who have a mortgage and who live in a “special flood hazard area,” are required to buy flood insurance; whereas if the property is in a moderate-to-low-risk area federal law does not require flood insurance. It is highly recommended, however, because historically about one-in-four flood claims come from these ‘moderate-to-low-risk’ areas. That is worth thinking about, especially when considering the devastating impact a flood will have on a residential building and therefore one’s bank account.

Yellow Hat Inspections: Shingles, Tiles, and Openings are Paths to Intrusion over Time, (STOPIT). We need to stop water intrusion before it becomes a flood! Over time, a small leak can do as much damage as a catastrophic flood so remember STOPIT! Shingles, Tiles, and Openings are Paths to Intrusion over Time, (STOPIT) and we need to stop it before it starts! Water is a devious opponent. We need it but in the right place. Water intrusion through roof shingles or tiles can create paths into our homes. The invasion is often only visible some distance from where it started. You might have a musty smell or a small stain on a wall or ceiling which may indicate a significant problem. You need to pay attention to these little clues!

Craftsman Home Inspections: Floods aren’t always due to actual flooding from Mother Nature or weather. Many home floods come from very preventable sources. At Craftsman Home Inspections LLC in Colorado, we suggest being proactive by self inspecting your water heater on a regular basis – at least every 3 months. Simply look for signs of rust, water-related damage or active leaks, even very slow ones. Look at the TPR valve, and follow the discharge tube. If the discharge tube is warm towards the bottom and it’s wet at the end of the tube/pipe then you should have the TPR valve and water heater serviced by a professional plumber. If rusting is present on the exterior of the water heater, then you should have it serviced to prevent a future leak and the inevitable water damage. Many floods in-home begin at the water heater.

Another way that a homeowner can bee proactive in preventing water-related damage is to have a certified or licensed home inspector perform a sewer inspection before you purchase your home. In a professional sewer inspection, the inspector will be able to locate root intrusion (blockage), low spots, or damage and suggest repairs. This can be a big help to protect the home from future backups and flooding. This also allows you to negotiate repairs before you own the home. A professional Home Inspector will also look for signs of past flooding in basements or crawlspaces like stains on base trim or drywall repairs low on the walls.

Armchair Builder: Probably the best way to avoid major flood damage is to detect the water prior to the damage occurring. A simple, ten dollar water alarm placed near the basement sump crock will alert owners with a high pitched sound when water breaches the top of the sump crock and reaches the floor. So if the sump pump stops working or is overwhelmed by large amounts of groundwater, the alarm will notify the occupants that action must be taken immediately to avoid damage to furnaces, water heaters, and owner possessions. And probably the best part about these water alarms…there is absolutely no effort required for installation. Just put the battery in and set the unit on the floor.

Signet Home Inspections: When inspecting a house for potential homebuyers, unless there is an access panel (and there usually is not), most home inspectors will not fill a bathtub to check the overflow for leaks due to it being hidden from view and the possible damage it may cause should it leak. Because of this unseen flooding potential, it may be prudent for the homebuyer to have the seller confirm serviceability by either filling the tub to the overflow level to be sure it does not leak (which can cause damage if it does) or calling a professional plumber to remove and inspect the overflow tube and its rubber gasket which can begin to deteriorate after approximately 10 years. Of course, if you already own the home, the same precaution applies to you the owner.

Timberline Inspections: Central Alabama is always prone to flooding issues regardless of whether the structure rests in a flood zone since we see an average of 54 inches of rain annually, so we have had our share of experience with it. The absolute first thing that needs to be done is the exterior drainage controlled and the source of the moisture eliminated. Even with excess rains, this can typically be solved using a combination of gutters, swales, and landscaping. Every 1000sqf of roof space with 1 inch of rainfall deposits an estimated 600 gallons of water directly next to your home and foundation. Before any repairs start you need to dry the interior once the water is controlled to ensure mold does not set in. Fungal growth will typically start in less than 48 hours so dehumidifiers and air movement are absolutely essential.

Adams Home Inspection:

  • Ensure your water heater has a drain pan piped outside to the exterior of your home.
  • Inspect your supply line fittings on your water heater every 90 days for corrosion and replace as necessary.
  • Have a secondary drain pan installed under your HVAC system with a float switch to shut your HVAC system down if a leak should occur.
  • Have your HVAC system serviced every 6 mos by a licensed HVAC technician and ensure their services include cleaning and flushing the condensate drain line.
  • Inspect your commode refill device every 60 days by removing the commode tank top and flushing the commode, if the refill device leaks replace the refill device.
  • Have your roof jacks and flashing inspected annually by a reputable roofing contractor for wear/damage.
  • Inspect your exterior caulking annually at all penetrations through the siding such as windows, doors, hose bibs, etc. Re-caulk as necessary.
  • Make sure to install gutter extenders on your gutter downspouts to terminate at least 5’ from your home and keep gutters clean of debris.
  • Once a year after a major storm walk the perimeter of your home to ensure all the water flows away from the home and no restrictions at fencing from leaves and debris exist to allow the stormwater to run under the fencing

Disaster Doctors: One of the most common types of water damage is due to appliance failure. It’s important to check your water-based appliances regularly. Disaster Doctors recommend updating any plastic fittings to metal, as plastic fittings tend to crack and will start to drip water. If that happens in your refrigerator, you may not realize it until a massive amount of water has already caused thousands of dollars of damage. A few dollars in metal fittings and a weekend are a lot cheaper than a 10K mitigation bill, or a claim on your homeowner’s insurance.

Kavin Construction: After a flood: Immediately contact your insurance carrier and request authorization for emergency remediation from a company such as ServPro. The service company will vacuum out water, remove damaged surfaces, and set up heaters and fans. This will minimize the possibility of mold development. If demolition is to occur, also get authorization for asbestos testing prior to demolition, as the fines are considerable if asbestos becomes airborne. Find at least one qualified licensed contractor and obtain a bid to restore the residence. Do not settle on the insurance company’s assessment of costs until you have a proposal from your contractor that will cover the work needed. Typically the Homeowner and/or Contractor will need to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company that will complete the repairs.

Xpress Restoration: In order to prevent water damages in your home, Xpress Restoration Inc. suggests that you annually check your pressure regulator and visible plumbing fixture (angle stops & supply lines). If you see any calcium build-up, corrosion or that these items are old, don’t think about it twice have them replaced. Keeping these old plumbing fixtures up to date will save any homeowner the hassle of experiencing a flood in their home. If you any property owner has water damages to their home, not to worry, the first thing they should do is call their local restoration profession (Xpress Restoration Inc.) to immediately assess and mitigate further damages, after things are under control, Xpress Restoration Inc. will help the customers with their insurance process, report the claim (if needed) and walk the property owners through the process.

Professional Home Inspections: As a home inspector, the majority of water infiltration into homes that I come across is in direct relation to grading deficiencies on the exterior of the structure. The grading (the soil’s relation to the structure) should slope away from the home with a six-inch drop in elevation, in the first 10 feet away from the home. This equates to a 5% grade, which allows rainwater to be carried away from the structure. When this minimum 5% grade is not present, rainfall events will saturate the soil in contact with masonry foundation walls, and once the walls themselves reach saturation point, water infiltration into basements or areas below grade can and most likely will occur. A landscaping or grading contractor can typically make inexpensive repairs to correct this grading, properly managing rainwater.

Semper Fi Home Inspections: In my years of experience performing home inspections, here are four things that can flood your house or cause water damage that you should have checked: 1. Ground sloping toward your house (make it slope and drain away from your house)

  1. Roof damage or leaks (have your roof inspected at least annually and repaired as needed)
  2. Plumbing leaks (fix any leaks promptly – running toilets, under sink drain leaks, etc.)
  3. Air Conditioning condensate drains and pans can leak and damage ceilings or flood the floor (have your HVAC technician check and clean your condensate drain system during annual cooling and heating tune-up)

Excel Inspections: The main culprit of flooding for a homeowner is washer drain lines and hoses. The washers inside the hose lines can crack and dry out over time. We recommend always checking and replacing them periodically.

Originally published on Redfin

Is Your House a Home for Mold?

Not only does mold degrade the integrity of your home’s walls, floors, and ceilings, it can also cause major health problems. Depending on the type of mold in the home extreme measures may need to be taken to eradicate it and restore your possessions. Let’s look more closely at the different types of mold that may pose a threat in your home, and at some ways to check for mold on a regular basis.

Types of Mold to Look Out For

There are four main types of household mold, some being more dangerous than others. It may be difficult to determine which type of mold you are dealing with, so it is always important to have to checked by a professional, such as a . Let’s first look at mold that is a nuisance, but not deadly.

The most common type of mold you’ll find in any home is the type that grows on things that are decaying, such as old food, unclean dishes, dead plants, etc, called Cladosporium. This type of mold is found quite commonly in the kitchen on food that has been left in the fridge too long, or on dishes that have sat in the sink too long. Cladosporium also easily grows on dead plants so even fresh cut flowers can begin to grow this mold around their stems over time. And while Cladosporium can certainly be gross, it’s not likely to cause major damage to your home in the long run.

Another common type of mold is Aspergillus Penicillium. This mold most commonly finds its home in your home’s air conditioning unit and vent system. Because it thrives in cool, dusty environments it can quickly grow in the AC vents and then be spread throughout the air in your home when the unit is running. Aspergillus Penicillium can cause major problems in people with allergies or asthma because it travels through the air.

Black mold is a serious problem in the home because it thrives in damp areas and can quickly grow in drywall and on the wood framing of your home. Toxic black mold is different that regular black mold, and can be deadly. Toxic black mold spreads onto large surfaces and can not only destroy structural components of your home, it can also cause a host of illnesses including cancer, and other chronic illness. If you’re not sure which type is in your home, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Look for Signs of Mold

To look for signs of mold in your home there are several things you can do. In many cases mold becomes visible, growing on drywall or other home structures.

If you see mold in your home, there is likely a lot more you aren’t able to see growing underneath it. If you have recently had a leak, floor, or burst pipe in the home make sure to check frequently for signs of mold, as early detection could save you in the long run.

In addition to physical signs of mold, your own health may alert you that there may be an issue. Do you seem to have worsening allergies? Frequent headaches? Uncontrollable cough for no apparent reason? All of these things can point to a mold problem in your home.

If you have found evidence of mold in your home, or you suspect mold may be behind your unexplained health problems, call a Maryland home inspector today to set up a meeting. At Highland Homes Inspections we can inspect your home and let you know if there is an underlying issue you need to be aware of. Give us a call today to get started!

The Risk of Skipping a Mold Test

Mold is a dangerous, potentially deadly problem that many Americans must deal with in their homes. It’s possible that mold could be growing somewhere in your home without you even knowing it. Mold can be harmless, and mostly unsightly. However, different species can cause serious health issues. Left unchecked, mold can grow to an uncontrollable rate, making it costly and exhausting to fix.

How can you avoid running into a mold infestation? You can have a professional conduct a mold test within your home to ensure you are safe from this dangerous, home-threatening pest.

When DON’T You Need a Mold Test?

The only circumstance in which it is okay to forego a mold test is when the mold is visible within your home. Obviously, you don’t need someone to tell you that you have a problem. When this happens, skip the evaluation and go straight to the solutions. Contact your local home inspection agency in order to conduct a proper mold test.

You should also be made aware that there are multiple types of DIY mold tests that are available in hardware stores. These are a waste of money and time, and such tests should only be conducted by professionals. Why? Well, mold testing kits are inaccurate at best. Every home, to some degree, has mold, and an OTC test will tell you exactly that. However, this doesn’t explain the severity, and doesn’t let you know what you need to do about it. Don’t waste your money–there are some things that just need to be done by professionals!

What Are Signs That You Need a Mold Test?

Mold may be present in your home, so it’s important to have tests done on a regular basis to ensure you aren’t missing anything vitral. However, there are several warning signs to which you should pay attention, as they can mean the difference between early action and an uncontrollable infestation. For example, if you’ve recently experienced a burst pipe or a flooding incident, a mold test is vital. It will show you whether or not the water damage has caused a serious mold issue.

You should also have your home tested for mold when you smell mold, or suspect that something in your home is . If you feel as though you have allergies, but only within your home, it could be a sign of mold. Likewise, your physician may ask you to have your home tested in order to rule out the possibility of mold causing poor health. Health issues like breathing problems can arise from serious mold infestations, even if that mold is invisible to amateur detection.

Are you concerned about whether or not you have a mold issue in your home? Highland Home Inspections is here to help. We’re professionals, and we know exactly how to search for mold in a way that will help protect your family. We use our combined knowledge in the field to track down the source of the problem. Call today to set up your home inspection!

5 Tips for a Smoother Home Sale

Are you ready to start the process of selling your home? That’s great news! Keeping a clear head and following proper procedure is going to get you the best sale possible. Part of this procedure is knowing what kind of tips and tricks will help you sell your home faster, easier, and smoother. Not every real estate agent is going to give you the nitpicky details on what will make your home sell, so keeping these little tips in mind can help greatly.

Before you start to sell your home, and before you start to conduct open houses, read on to learn a few tips and tricks that will make this process easier for you!

Have Your Home Inspected

A pre-sale home inspection is the best way to tell whether or not your home is ready to go on the market. You may think everything in your home is functioning properly, but you might not be able to see some of the smaller details a home inspector will pick up on. Also, a home inspector will be able to provide you with information regarding your home value, and whether or not you need to improve it. And even slightly improving your home’s value can make a big difference.

Keep it Impersonal

During an open house, the goal is to help the prospective buyer see themselves in your home. This means remove most things personal to you. Photos of your family, very unique objects which make the home yours, pet supplies, and religious imagery. They all add a layer of personality to your home buy can also quickly alienate someone who doesn’t align with the image. With blank spaces and more general objects the buyer will be able to envision their own belongings in your home, which will encourage them to buy.

Keep the Price Low

While it may seem tempting to jack up the price for the sale, it’s best to be realistic. You want your price to reflect other prices in the neighborhood. Your competition is going to be based around the housing market, and your own home should be able to stand within a close price range. This doesn’t mean undervalue your home, it means work with your Realtor and use their experience in the industry to set an appropriate price for the current market.

Avoid Over-Improving

While some home improvements and renovations may be necessary, don’t go overboard. Additions should not be something you consider, and neither will incredibly elaborate kitchen and bathroom renovations—unless your neighborhood has similar aspects across the board. You’ll want to save your money and keep it simple to avoid over-improving and losing money after the cost of your improvements.

Discuss Price Changes

Changing your price may be necessary, but the longer your home sits on the market, the less value it’s going to have. You can discuss with your real estate agent about a timeline which will make it easy to keep track of any potential price changes. There should be exact dates that will be saved for changing price, instead of waiting for the right moment.

Do you need a home inspection before you sell your home? Highland Home Inspections is here to help! We offer sensible pre-sale inspections which make a world of difference, and will point out any problems that could cause issues when selling. Call today!