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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!

Water Smells Like Rotten Eggs?

Sometimes during a home inspection the water will smell like rotten eggs and that is an unpleasant situation.  It can also be unnerving to a prospective buyer.  This issue is most common in well systems; not so much in public water in this part of the country.  The smell is hydrogen sulfide gas which is produced by anaerobic bacteria in the water and it normally originates in the water heater.  An easy way to check is to run just cold water and then just hot and see when the water smells.

In water heaters there is something called a sacrificial anode that is made of magnesium or aluminum and that is what the water reacts with to make the hydrogen sulfide.  Its purpose is to reduce the risk of corrosion in the water heater, so you can’t just remove it altogether.  But sometimes replacing the sacrificial anode will eliminate (or reduce) the problem.  Another possible solution is to remove the anode rod and pour a quart of peroxide or chlorine bleach into the water heater (peroxide is safer).

It’s one thing to find smelly water during a home inspection, but this problem became personal when my hot water started smelling bad.  I have a 16 year old high efficiency gas water heater and I know better than to try replacing the anode rod on something that old.  Fortunately, I couldn’t even find the anode rod so that possibility was eliminated.  So, I tried the simplest solution.  My hot water temperature was about 125 degrees F; that’s good to prevent scalding and plenty hot for a shower, but it is not high enough to kill the bacteria.  So, I simply turned up the temperature to about 145 degrees which is high enough to kill the bacteria.  It worked!  Of course, the risk of scalding is higher now but I can always install a tempering valve which mixes a little cold water with the hot to knock the temperature back down.  It’s nice when something simple and free works.

 

That’s all for now from the Helpful Home Inspector! Happy home-owning.

Flood in Old Ellicott City

I normally try to keep this blog related to home inspections, but this post is a business owner’s perspective on helping those businesses that were devastated in the Ellicott City flood this past summer. Thanks to monumental efforts by the owners, volunteers and the government, the businesses are moving forward with the cleanup and restoration of their buildings; hopefully they will soon be open for business. I am reminded that for the owners, the building is not their business. The building is just a tool; the real business is the commerce that takes place in the building. Thankfully, for some of the businesses that commerce is able to continue even though they have been dislodged from their buildings. We can’t all help them rebuild, but we can all support the businesses by purchasing their services and products.

I want to tell you about one such business that is owned and operated by friends of mine: Shoemaker Country. Their retail took place on the first floor of their building which was wiped out in the flood. The building is being repaired and they hope to be back in for the holidays, but Mike Shoemaker let me know this week that they are still open for business – taking orders for furnishings of all kinds and custom wood working. I have two special tables in my house that Shoemaker Country made for me. One is a 42-inch diameter table made from an oak tree that died on my property, and the other is made from the 100-year-old floor joists that were removed from my farm house during a major remodel. If you have an idea, they can make it a reality. They do beautiful work. I also have several other furnishings including lamps, homemade decorative signs and even coffee mugs. Check out their website or give them a call for your project: shoemakercountry.net. Your purchases at this critical time can help the businesses of Ellicott City recover more quickly.

It is important that we keep these businesses in mind even when the media fades and we start to hear other news. A good way to do this is to follow along on social media to get updates directly from business owners! Even if you do not need their services right now, you may have friends or family who would love to work with the businesses in Old Ellicott City. Spread the word!

Thanks for reading, and blessings to all the shops and owners in Old Ellicott City.

Highland Home Inspections

Table made by Shoemaker Country

This table was made from floor joists from my 100-year-old farm house

Table designed by Shoemaker Country

This table was made from the cross-section of a felled oak tree on my property