Repairs

Damaged Gutters Can Spell Disaster for Your Home

We all get a little lazy from time to time. Sometimes we give up looking for the remote and decide to watch whatever is on. Sometimes we skip the gym and sleep in instead. Sometimes we put off cleaning and fixing the gutters. Well, you may want to reconsider that last one.

leaves gutter clog damage inspection

If your home’s gutters are working at anything less than full capacity, then your home could be in serious danger, and you could benefit from working with a Maryland home inspector. Damaged gutters can inflict serious damage on your home, and serious stress on you. We wanted to take some time today to discuss the possible dangers of neglecting a damaged gutter.

Leaky Gutters Can Cause Problems

The primary function of your home’s gutter system is to divert water away from the house. If your gutters are leaking then they aren’t properly performing this duty. Here’s just some of the issues that can arise from leaky gutters:

  • Damage to your roof and fascia
  • Damaged and swollen siding
  • Erosion of the soil
  • Stains on siding or concrete
  • Wearing down of your gutters, causing them to fall off
  • Water pooling near the foundation, which can cause a damaged or cracked foundation
  • Water pooling around the sides of your home, which can lead to the flooding of your home or basement

The key factor here is that leaky gutters aren’t functioning gutters. They lead to water being in places that it shouldn’t be, and damage to your home. Prevent leaks by conducting regular Maryland home inspections.

The Danger of Weather

If you’ve lived in Maryland for a while then you know how much it rains here. Even a light to moderate rain can lead to up to 500 gallons of runoff, enough to have your gutters working overtime. When you combine the Maryland storms with a set of damaged gutters, you get a recipe for disaster.

How to Tell if Your Gutters Are Leaking

Unless you’re spending a lot of time on your roof, you may not notice immediately when your gutters start leaking. One way to tell is to check them out when it’s raining. This, of course, requires you to get a little wet, but it’s worth it if it prevents damage to your home. You’ll want to look to make sure that the water is draining out where it is, and if it’s coming out of where it shouldn’t be, it could mean your gutters are leaking or are clogged.

Get Some Help From a Maryland Home Inspector

If you’re having issues with your gutters, don’t wait until your home floods, get some help from a Maryland home inspection professional today. Here at Highland Homes, we’ve been serving Maryland for years and have seen more than our fair share of damaged gutters.

Don’t wait around, give us a call today, and one of our Maryland home inspectors will be able to assist you.

3 Things to Fix Before You Sell Your House

Preparing your home for sale can be quite strenuous. What can you do to increase your home’s value? And what repairs/additions will give you a good return on the value? The entire real estate market is crazy and difficult to navigate. That’s why, as experienced Maryland home inspectors, we wanted to put together this little guide offering suggestions for how to get the best value for your home.

Inspect Home Before Sale

Fix Any Structural Issues

Most people neglect the structure of their home when they’re thinking about selling. While that scented candle you placed out is nice and acts as the cherry on top, that’s just it. It’s just a cherry. The structure of your home is the ice cream itself, and without it you don’t have a sundae, just some whipped cream and a cherry (which isn’t half as good!).

Many home-buyers take a home’s structure into serious consideration. Things like the roof, HVAC, the water heater, and pipes are all integral parts of your home, and if not functioning properly, make the home less appealing. If any of your home’s structural components are old or are in need of repair, you should seriously consider either repairing or replacing them. If anything is in too bad of shape, your home may not be approved by a Maryland home inspector.

Make Sure Your Landscaping is Top-Notch

One of the first things a potential home-buyer sees as they approach your home is not your house, but your yard. You want to make this first impression a good one. Many sellers think only about the house itself and neglect the yard, leaving it cluttered and unkempt. This is a big mistake.

Make sure your yard is cleaned up, with no junk or clutter laying around. Then spruce it up a bit! Cut the grass, trim the hedges, plant some new trees and flowers, put new mulch in the planting bed. You get the idea. You may even want to consider hiring a professional landscaping company. Whatever you do, just have your yard looking its best!

Update and Modernize Your Kitchen

One of the most important rooms in your house when it comes to selling it is your kitchen. Today’s buyers want a kitchen that could rival that of Gordon Ramsey’s. There are a couple of things you can do to renovate or revamp your kitchen. You could conduct a full-blown overhaul, redoing and replacing everything, though this is time-consuming and costly. Many sellers choose to update and upgrade kitchen appliances like the refrigerator and the oven. This is the best way to go, it’s cost-effective, and most buyers put a lot of stock into what appliances come with the home.

How Do I Know Which Things I Should Fix and Which Ones to Leave Alone?

If you’re having trouble deciding which components of your home should be fixed before you sell, don’t worry. This is a big decision and one that’s difficult to make. Take some of this stress off yourself by contacting a professional Maryland home inspector. Highland Home Inspections has served Maryland for years and we’ve learned the ins and outs of the real estate business. Give us a call today, we’d love to help you in any way we can.

Common Issues with Older Homes

As home inspectors, we see a ton of these issues all the time and today, we’d like to talk through some of them so that you can be better informed on which areas of your home might need a little more attention.

A historic home

Roofing and Furnaces Last About 25 Years

If your home was built in the late 80’s or early 90’s, then it’s possible that your roof might need to be replaced. Though replacing your roof is probably not something you ever thought you would do, experiencing roof failure is definitely something you don’t want to do. Like roofs, furnaces can also encounter serious wear around the 25 year mark. As the winter kicks in and the temperature drops, you’re not going to want to weather the season without your furnace!

We’ve Changed the Way We Build Houses

Much in the same way we don’t use asbestos, there are many other materials that we no longer use in houses. For example, we no longer use aluminum for our electrical wiring and if your home still has some within its walls, it will almost certainly pose a serious fire hazard. Similarly, we stopped using Polybutylene plumbing pipes in 1995 following a class action lawsuit. This type of pipe is known to fail prematurely and if the piping is within your home, this can spell disaster. Steel yard lines that bring the water into your house should also be replaced, as they are likely at the end of their lifespan.

Poorly Finished Basements are a Big Problem

Sometimes, homeowners will renovate parts of their home before they sell. One renovation that people like to do is to finish the basement. In some cases, to save a few extra dollars, homeowners will opt to perform the renovation themselves. The problem with this is that most homeowners are not licensed contractors, which means that the basement may not be up to code. Worse than that, their various parts can fail, which can result in serious damages down the line.

Get Your Home Inspected and Rest Easy

If you’re not sure about the integrity of your home, then have it inspected. We’ll take a look at all of the important components of your home, consider their age, and advise you on how to avoid disaster. For more information, check us out on Youtube or contact us today to schedule an appointment for your home inspection.

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!