inspection

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!

What is Radon and Why do we Test for it?

Radon testing is one of the key components of a home inspection, but what exactly is radon? And why is testing for its presence in your home so important? Let’s find out!

What is Radon and Why do we Test for it?

What is Radon?

Radon is a type of gas that was discovered in 1899. It is odorless, colorless, and radioactive. It’s known to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in the USA, and the number one cause of this type of cancer in non-smokers. Radon is not commercially produced, as it occurs naturally during the breakdown (radioactive decay) of uranium.

Traces of this gas are found most commonly in igneous rock, soil, and well water. Radon levels fluctuate over time, which is why it’s so important to have a reliable radon monitoring system or detector in your home. When you are selling your home or purchasing a new one, it’s essential to have a professional test for radon gas to ensure the health and safety of you and your family.

Here’s a recent video we put together to help explain Radon, what dangers it can cause in the human body, and why we strongly advise clients to perform radon testing in Maryland.

How Does Radon Enter a Home?

If you have radon in your home, it is likely that it came in through the basement. The gas is exhausted from rock that is far beneath the ground and moves through the soil surrounding your home’s lowest level. Radon gas slips easily through holes and gaps in your basement walls or floors. Even more discreetly, it can seep through pores in concrete. Additional ways radon can enter the home are through:

  • The spaces around pipes that enter the foundation
  • Warm indoor air rising
  • Fireplaces and furnaces
  • Well water
  • Open areas inside your walls

How Can I Reduce Radon Levels in my Home?

  1. Install a radon removal system. This allows for the immediate venting of radon gas from the inside of your home to the outside. These devices are commonly known as Soil-Suction Radon Reduction Systems.
  2. Seal open spaces in floors and walls. Sealing cracks in the foundation, walls, and floors of your lower level will give radon gas less points of entry into your home.
  3. Install a heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system. These systems are designed to increase ventilation in your home and are most effective against radon when installed only in the basement.

Highland Homes Inspections is a Maryland home inspector with over 27 years of experience in the industry. To learn more about radon testing, or to have your home tested for radon gas, contact us today!

5 Common Issues with Town Homes

Townhouses and row homes are convenient for those who are looking to downsize from a large single-family home or expand their space from a cramped condo. Because of the way town homes are built, there are some inspection points you need to look out for when purchasing.

As Maryland home inspectors, we see plenty of issues with townhouses and row homes that buyers commonly overlook:

5 Common Issues with Town Homes

Issue #1 – Decks

In many townhome communities, neighboring decks are built so that they are connected to one another. It is all too common to overlook rot or other deck damage on the areas where your deck joins your neighbors’.

It’s important to have these spots checked thoroughly by your inspector so you know what parts of the deck may need repairs before you purchase the home.

Issue #2 – Roofs

Townhouses and row homes share a common roof with neighboring units, which can cause problems for new homeowners who are unaware of the condition of the roofs connected to their own.

Although your roof’s inspection can have positive results, a mildew-ridden or pest-infested neighboring roof can easily spread these problems to yours.

Issue #3 – Exterior Maintenance

It’s easy to keep your yard in great shape when neighbors take good care of their yards consistently as well.

However, if your neighbor’s yard is overrun with weeds, there is little you can do to prevent them from spreading to your own yard. This can add a lot of extra lawn maintenance to your weekly chore list.

Issue #4 – Attics

Sharing walls with neighboring homes also means that the attics are right next to one another. Attics are inviting to insects, birds, and rodents looking for a dark, warm place to call home.

If there are pests living in your neighbor’s attic, they can easily chew and claw their way through the walls or insulation into your attic as well.

Issue #5 – Foundation

The foundation of your townhome may also be shared with neighboring units, making it yet another key inspection point before you purchase. If you are not able to inspect the foundation of the neighboring homes, speak with the HOA to determine when the foundation was last inspected and get a report of the condition it was found to be in.

Highland Home Inspections Can Help With Townhouses.

Looking to purchase a new townhome? The professionals at Highland Home Inspections have been leaders in home inspection since 1989 and are well educated on all the red flags to look out for when inspecting homes for potential buyers.

Contact us today to schedule an inspection or to learn more about the services we offer.

Inspecting Your Home Five Years Later

A lot can happen in five years. You’ve had five Christmases, five Thanksgivings, and twenty seasons worth of weather. In all of that hustle and bustle, what has happened to your home?

Have strong winds affected the roof? Has the basement flooded? Have the pipes frozen? All this to say a home can change a lot in five years and a fresh home inspection may be prudent.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you should have someone periodically re-inspect your home.

5 year home inspection

Roof-Related Issues Can Crop Up Over Time.

A roof can be challenging to keep an eye on. After all, it’s probably not something you see every day or even every month. Things like leaks can clue you in to a roof problem, but without a Maryland home inspection, you may not be aware to developing issues.

Due to the high cost of roof replacement, catching problems early can make a big difference to a thrifty home owner.

HVAC Systems Can Become Costly When They Become Inefficient.

One item that we take a look at when we do a home inspection is the HVAC system and all that goes along with it. We want to make sure that it is still performing its best, even after five years.

Poor Fireplace and Chimney Maintenance Can Be Dangerous.

Fireplaces and Chimneys are wonderful additions to any home, but without the proper maintenance they can become quite dangerous.

When we tackle a home inspection, we always take a look at these features to ensure they are performing safely.

What Should You Expect When You Schedule a Home Inspection?

When you call on us to perform a home inspection, you can expect a thorough walk through. Not only do we inspect all we’ve mentioned above, we go far beyond as well. And we give you a thorough understanding of what we’re seeing with common sense documentation.

We will take about two and a half to four hours to survey your home. Then we will talk you through what we’ve found.

Within 24 hours of this inspection, we will also send you a detailed report on what you need to take a look at. To see what this looks like, check out our sample homes inspection report.

Stay Up to Date on Your Home’s Status and Needs with a Home Inspection.

Don’t let small maintenance items go undiscovered in your home. Schedule a home inspection with us today to ensure all is right with your home. You can contact us by phone at 301-854-3634 or by filling out the contact form on our website.