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Is Your Heat Pump Performing Properly?

Cold weather has finally arrived and that means that it’s about time to turn on the heat. To heat your home, it’s time for your heat pump to get to work if you have an all-electric house. However, once the temperature dips lower than 30°, your heat pump will run into some trouble keeping your house warm.

To learn a little bit more about your heat pump, read on and check out our video. 

A heat pump outside of a house

Check #1: The Thermostat

Make sure your system is calling for heat properly by setting the thermostat to a higher temperature than it is currently set to. If you do not hear the heating system kick on within a few minutes, there might be an issue with your heating system. If the thermostat doesn’t seem to be calling for heat, it might need new batteries. You can also check the circuit breaker to make sure it hasn’t been tripped.

Check #2: The Filter

A clogged air filter in your HVAC system can greatly decrease the heating efficiency and if not replaced can cause further damage to your heat pump. Your filter should be inspected once a month and changed no less than 4 times a year. If you notice your filter getting dirty often, it’s advisable to switch to a new filter once a month. Having pets who shed can cause this.

Check #3: The Unit Itself

There’s a very simple way to check in on your heat pump and make sure that it’s running properly. Head on outside and take a look at the unit itself. When you approach the outdoor unit, you’ll see a pipe that leads into your home easily identified with black insulation. Pull that insulation back and touch the copper pipe. If the heat pump is functioning properly, the pipe will be almost too hot to touch. If this is not the case, then it’s time to call in a professional to address the problem.

Neglecting to address your heat pump can lead to expensive bills come the Spring. It’s far better to avoid those surprise bill spikes by taking care of the issue now.

Winter Energy Efficiency Tips

  • Draw curtains and shades away from sun-facing windows during the day to bring in small amounts of heat that natural sunlight provides.
  • Check windows and doors for drafts and re-seal or re-insulate problem areas.
  • Upgrade to a programmable thermostat that allows you to give the heating system a break when no one is home.
  • Have your heating system inspected by a professional before the weather gets cold to ensure your heating system is running efficiently and is in great shape to keep you and your loved ones warm all winter long!

Looking to buy or sell a home and in need of a Maryland Home Inspection? Contact the professionals at Highland Homes Inspections today!

Pre-Listing Home Inspections

Are you considering selling your home? Before you list it, it’s important to get a pre-listing home inspection. Let’s learn about what this inspection checks for and why you need it!

The buyer of your home will have an inspection done before closing to determine if there are any problems with the home’s interior or exterior. The quantity and severity of these issues can affect both the price they are willing to pay for the home and the quickness with which they move into the home. You as the seller have a helpful advantage – you can have a pre-listing inspection done before your house even goes on the market.

Pre-sale home inspections

Your pre-listing home inspection helps you detect issues with your home early so that you can proactively address them before the buyer’s inspector does their own analysis of the home. Included in the pre-listing home inspection are checks for:

 

 

Outdoor

  • No standing water, drainage away from house
  • No septic system leaks
  • Landscaping, trees, walkways and yard in good condition
  • No bushes touching the home or branches overhanging the roof
  • No evidence of rot or infestation
  • Secure and adequate railings
  • Driveway, patio and sidewalks in good condition
  • No rot or decay of wood shingles on roof
  • No curling of or damaged/missing shingles

Structural

  • No cracking, rot or decay in siding
  • No large cracks in stucco
  • No wood-to-earth contact in siding

Interior

  • Sufficient insulation and ventilation in attic
  • No open electrical splices
  • No stains on floors, walls, ceilings
  • Floors, walls, and ceilings straight and level
  • Electrical outlets operate properly
  • No damage to fireplace
  • Adequate water flow in sinks
  • Plumbing fixtures in good condition
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors working properly
  • HVAC operational and in good condition

Having the pre-listing inspection conducted makes you aware of any of these issues you may have well in advance and allows you to make any necessary fixes to both the inside and outside of your home. This way, when the buyer’s inspector comes to take a look, you’re less likely to have big problems holding your buyer back from closing the deal and your home sale will go a lot quicker and smoother.

Are You Ready for Your Pre-Listing Home Inspection?

Highland Homes Inspections is a Maryland home inspector dedicated to helping make your home as safe as possible. Contact us to learn more about our inspection services or to schedule your pre-listing home inspection today!

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!

A Guide to Changing your Indoor Air Filter

Did you know your indoor air filter needs regular checking and changing? Over time air filters in the home become clogged and dirty, which can make them inefficient.

But how often does the filter need to be changed? Let’s take a look at filters and when they should be changed, how often they should be changed, and how to change them.

A Guide to Changing your Indoor Air Filter

Why Change the Filter?

Over time your indoor air filter becomes filled with dust particles that travel through your home’s air ducts. The filter’s purpose is to pick up dust and prevent it from entering the heating and cooling unit, and from cycling through your home. Filters are made to catch dirt and debris, so over time they should and will become dirty and full.

When the filter has caught all the dirt and dust it can handle it will stop being effective. When this happens it becomes harder for the air to pass through the filter and the air that does pass through isn’t cleaned as well as it should be. Changing the filter is an important part of maintaining your air duct system and maintaining clean breathing air in your home.

How to Determine if the Filter Needs to Be Replaced

To determine if your filter is in need of a replacement you can simply pull it out and examine it. A filter that needs to be changed will appear dusty and dirty. If you are unsure whether the filter needs to be replaced, consider replacing it on a regular schedule, such as every three months.

There are some other considerations to take into account when deciding how often to change your filter. The amount of pets you have in the home will greatly impact the amount of time you can get out of a filter. On average a filter can last approximately three months, but if you have several pets you will want to change it every 30-60 days instead.

Steps to Replacing the Filter

To replace the filter you’ll first want to figure out what type of filter to use, this information should be available with your HVAC units information.

Once you’ve determined the type of filter to use, turn off the unit and remove the existing filter from its place in the unit, the air filter slot. If you have trouble locating this consult the units guide, or contact the company that installed the unit for you.

Once you’ve removed the existing filter you can insert the new one, close the slot, and turn the unit back on. Before turning the unit back on quickly check the new filter to ensure it fits in the slot properly.

After you are finished you can throw away the old filter as you won’t need it anymore. If you were unsure of which kind of filter to purchase, it may be a good idea to write that information down for the next time the filter needs to be changed.

There are Many More Home Maintenance Tasks

Changing your home’s air filter is a simple but important part of home maintenance. Replacing the filter frequently can help your HVAC unit run smoothly and efficiently. In addition to changing your home’s air filter are a multitude of other home maintenance tasks. Changing the air filter is one of the more common of these home maintenance items. In the video below, we go into some of the… lesser known home maintenance tasks.

If you are unsure how to locate or replace your air filter, call us at Highland Homes Inspections, we’d be happy to help. Our team of Maryland home inspectors can help you ensure everything in your home is as it should be.