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Signs that Termites Are in Your Home

As home inspection experts in Maryland, we see plenty of homes with termite damage that can make it difficult for homeowners when it comes to selling their house. Take a look at these common signs of termite presence in your home so that you can be better prepared to get these pests removed and repair the damage before listing your house for sale.

termite damage inspection

Types of Termites

Termites come in two general categories: drywood and subterranean. The former burrows deep within wooden structures in your home and the latter is primarily found underneath the ground. Subterranean termites are often more difficult to detect, as you don’t often inspect underground areas of your home and the damage can be done long before you even know they are there.

Damage to Walls

Termites often live in walls which can lead to discolored or drooping drywall, peeling paint that looks similar to water damage, and wood that sounds hollow when tapped. In addition, if you notice small, pinpoint-sized holes in your drywall, this could be another sign of termite presence.

Damage to Floors

Another space termites like to occupy is beneath the floors in your home. If you notice any of the following, have a pest control expert out to your home so that they can check for these troublesome insects and remove them promptly:

  • Buckling laminate or wooden floorboards
  • Loose tiles
  • Squeaky floors
  • Maze-like patterns
  • Wing piles

Other Damaging Pests

During home inspections, much of the damage we find is unbeknownst to the homeowners prior to inspection and typically caused by wildlife and insects that made their way into the home. It’s important to keep an eye out for any signs of damage and to have your home routinely inspected to ensure you catch pests before you have to make any large repairs. Some of the other pests we see damage from in homes throughout Maryland are:

  • Wasps
  • Bed Bugs
  • Carpet Beetles
  • Carpenter Ants
  • Cockroaches

Your Resource for Home Inspections in Maryland

When you’re ready to buy or sell a home, call the professionals at Highland Home Inspections. We offer thorough home inspections to residents and buyers all throughout Maryland and can detect the presence of termites and other pests that cause worrisome damage to your home. Contact us today to learn more about our inspection services or to book your home inspection with our experts online.

Focus on Fire Safety in Your Home

When you’re buying a new home, you don’t typically think about all the things that can start a fire. However, you should have that in the back of your mind. Not all homes come completely fire-hazard-free, and it’s important to know what to look at in a potential new home to determine if there is, in fact, a fire hazard. It’s always a good idea to hire someone who does home inspections in Maryland to determine if your home is a fire hazard or not. In the mean time, we’re going to look at different fire hazards around the house and signs that something might just be ready to catch fire.

A fire extinguisher in an apartment

Safety First

When you’re looking at a house for the first time, you might just be looking at the space and layout of the house. What you should really be looking for, are potential fire hazards that could endanger you and your family. For starters, make sure the wiring in the house isn’t out of date. If an electrical socket cannot easily hold a plug or is loose, it’s time to replace it before it bursts in to flames. On the same note, faulty wiring can cause a fire, even if it’s new. Check every electrical outlet in the house to make sure there is no charring or discoloration that may have been an electrical socket fire.

Older appliances that are still installed in the house, like an old dryer or oven, are also a fire hazard. If an appliance is too old, it may not function properly, and using it may result in flames which could ruin your house.

Asbestos and the fuse box are two of the most obvious things people looking for a house think about. Asbestos was used in older houses to prevent fires, but if it does catch fire, the chemicals it releases in to the air can put you and your family in physical danger. A faulty fuse box is also a huge fire hazard, hitting one wrong switch could result in flames.

Something is Wrong

You might not realize something is wrong in your new home until something happens. To prevent that, you should know the signs that something is wrong. If you keep smelling something burning, but can’t find the source, you need to check all of your outlets and switches to make sure your wiring isn’t faulty. On the same note, if your circuit breaker keeps tripping, you might want to replace it or get it checked out by a professional who can help you fix it. Other signs something may be wrong are an unclean kitchen, uncertified appliances, lint build up in the dryer exhaust, or an unclean chimney or fireplace.

Fighting Back at Fire Hazards

Fire hazards are around every corner, and you should always keep an eye out for them. To prevent any fires from happening in your home when you thought you were safe, get your house inspected in Maryland by Highland Homes Inspections. We’ll make sure your new home is ready to live in, not ready to catch fire.

Signs that Animals are Ruining Your Home

Do you ever hear noises around your house at night? Something that sounds like an animal, but you’re not completely sure? Well, it could be an animal, and it could be ruining your home. This could spell disaster for a homeowner. We’re here to look at some of the most common animal intruders and signs that they’re in your house so you can make sure your home is safe and rodent free.

A raccoon on a roof.

Rats and Mice

The most common house intruders, but some of the smallest and trickiest to get rid of or spot. If you’ve spotted the rodent, then you know you have one. But if you’re still trying to figure out if you have an intruder, for starters, keep your nose open. The smell of rats or mice can spread, especially when they typically pee wherever they go.

You should also keep your eyes open for droppings. The droppings of rats and mice tend to be smaller, almost mistakable for a chocolate or raisin. Another way you can tell if a rat or mouse is in your home, is noises. Rats and mice are typically nocturnal, so you will hear them running about the walls and scratching at night. Along with that, there may be signs of chewing. Take a look at your running boards, insulation, and other various places you think the mouse or rat may have been. Yes, this includes the open box of cereal you have on your counter.

Raccoons

To determine if you’ve got a raccoon roommate, you typically follow the same signs as you would for a rat or mouse. Raccoons, because they’re larger animals, don’t typically stay in the walls. They tend to seek shelter in an attic or basement, so if you suspect something has gotten in to your attic or basement, it might be a raccoon.

Signs that a raccoon is now living in your house could mean raccoon droppings, ripped insulation, damaged ducts, or chewed wires. Raccoons are also known to get in to garbage, so be sure to get rid of your trash frequently as to not draw them to your house. If you’re unsure if you have a raccoon but have a strong feeling you might, call a professional to conduct a home inspection and help you decide if you’ve got a raccoon.

Opossums

The signs of an opossum being in your house are very similar to the other two. Because opossums are larger than the other two, the signs are slightly different and larger. There will be a more prominent smell, as opossums defecate more frequently than most mammals at a size that is close to a house cat’s droppings. Other signs you might have an opossum are: louder noises, including animal vocalizations, disappearing pet food, and damage to your houses exterior.

How Do I Get Rid of These Pests?

If you’re unsure if there are animals in your home, call the professionals to conduct a home inspection in Maryland. At Highland Home Inspections, we look at everything inside and outside of the house to make sure you’re safe. Contact us today to learn more.

Do You Have Lead-Based Paint in Your Home?

Depending on where your home is, and how old your home is, you may still have lead-based paint on your walls. Lead-based paint is often found in older homes, built before the 1990’s, but it never hurts to check if your home has the hazardous paint. Sure, it’s glossier and prettier and holds the color better, but it can put you and your loved ones in danger. Before your dream-home inspection, here’s the dangers of lead based paint, how to spot it, and what to do about it.

A wall with chipping lead paint

The Danger

Lead-based paint contains high amounts of lead which can lead lead poisoning. This means development problems for younger children which consists of problems hearing, growth delay, short- and long-term learning difficulties, and behavioral problems. For adults, it can result in sleep problems, kidney dysfunction, numbness, abdominal pain and cramps, and more. More serious side effects may include vomiting and seizures.

Thankfully, it’s not illegal to manufacture lead-based paint. However, you should always get a local home inspector to go around your house before moving in, just to make sure you won’t be subjected to harsh symptoms of lead poising.

How to Spot The Danger

There are many signs of lead-based paint. One sign is a fun little thing called “alligatoring,” which essentially means the paint is peeling like scales. Make sure to check all your closets, along baseboards and basement window sashes, or anywhere painters might have missed a spot.

There’s also a paint testing kit available at local hardware stores that can find lead on your surfaces. There is a solution in this kit that you rub against the surface, and if the solution turns pink, there is lead.

How to Deal With The Danger

There is various health risks involved for you and others that enter your home if you have lead-based paint, so it’s best to get a local home inspector to test for lead as soon as you can. At Highland Home Inspections, we can test everything in your household for lead, and send the report directly back to you.

Don’t put yourself or others at risk any longer, contact us today for more information about our lead-based paint testing services.