What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that can be positively identified only with a special type of microscope. There are several types of asbestos fibers. In the past, asbestos was added to a variety of products to strengthen them and to provide heat insulation and fire resistance.
How Can Asbestos Affect My Health?
From studies of people who were exposed to asbestos in factories and shipyards, we know that breathing high levels of asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer in the forms of mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity, and asbestosis, in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue.

The risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma increase with the number of fibers inhaled. The risk of lung cancer from inhaling asbestos fibers is also greater if you smoke. People who get asbestosis have usually been exposed to high levels of asbestos for a long time. The symptoms of these diseases do not usually appear until about 20 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos.

Most people exposed to small amounts of asbestos, as we all are in our daily lives, do not develop these health problems. However, if disturbed, asbestos material may release asbestos fibers, which can be inhaled into the lungs. The fibers can remain there for a long time, increasing the risk of disease. Asbestos material that would crumble easily if handled, or that has been sawed, scraped, or sanded into a powder, is more likely to create a health hazard.

Where Can I Find Asbestos and When Can it Be a Problem?
Most products made today do not contain asbestos. Those few products made which still contain asbestos that could be inhaled are required to be labeled as such. However, until the 1970s, many types of building products and insulation materials used in homes contained asbestos. Common products that might have contained asbestos in the past, and conditions which may release fibers, include:
  • steam pipes, boilers and furnace ducts insulated with an asbestos blanket or asbestos paper tape. These materials may release asbestos fibers if damaged, repaired, or removed improperly;
  • resilient floor tiles (vinyl asbestos, asphalt and rubber), the backing on vinyl sheet flooring, and adhesives used for installing floor tile. Sanding tiles can release fibers, and so may scraping or sanding the backing of sheet flooring during removal;
  • cement sheet, millboard and paper used as insulation around furnaces and wood-burning stoves. Repairing or removing appliances may release asbestos fibers, and so may cutting, tearing, sanding, drilling, or sawing insulation;
  • door gaskets in furnaces, wood stoves and coal stoves. Worn seals can release asbestos fibers during use;
  • soundproofing or decorative material sprayed on walls and ceilings. Loose, crumbly or water-damaged material may release fibers, and so will sanding, drilling or scraping the material;
  • patching and joint compounds for walls and ceilings, and textured paints. Sanding, scraping, or drilling these surfaces may release asbestos fibers;
  • asbestos cement roofing, shingles and siding. These products are not likely to release asbestos fibers unless sawed, dilled or cut;
  • artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces, and other older household products, such as fireproof gloves, stove-top pads, ironing board covers and certain hairdryers; and
  • automobile brake pads and linings, clutch facings and gaskets.
Where Asbestos Hazards May Be Found in the Home
  • Some roofing and siding shingles are made of asbestos cement.
  • Houses built between 1930 and 1950 may have asbestos as insulation.
  • Asbestos may be present in textured paint and in patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints. Their use was banned in 1977.
  • Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces may contain asbestos.
  • Older products, such as stove-top pads, may have some asbestos compounds.
  • Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves may be protected with asbestos paper, millboard or cement sheets.
  • Asbestos is found in some vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives.
  • Hot water and steam pipes in older houses may be coated with an asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape.
  • Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets may have asbestos insulation.

What Should Be Done About Asbestos in the Home?

If you think asbestos may be in your home, don’t panic.  Usually, the best thing to do is to leave asbestos material that is in good condition alone. Generally, material in good condition will not release asbestos fibers. There is no danger unless the asbestos is disturbed and fibers are released and then inhaled into the lungs. Check material regularly if you suspect it may contain asbestos. Don’t touch it, but look for signs of wear or damage, such as tears, abrasions or water damage. Damaged material may release asbestos fibers. This is particularly true if you often disturb it by hitting, rubbing or handling it, or if it is exposed to extreme vibration or air flow. Sometimes, the best way to deal with slightly damaged material is to limit access to the area and not touch or disturb it. Discard damaged or worn asbestos gloves, stove-top pads and ironing board covers. Check with local health, environmental or other appropriate agencies to find out proper handling and disposal procedures. If asbestos material is more than slightly damaged, or if you are going to make changes in your home that might disturb it, repair or removal by a professional is needed. Before you have your house remodeled, find out whether asbestos materials are present.
How to Identify Materials that Contain Asbestos
You can’t tell whether a material contains asbestos simply by looking at it, unless it is labeled. If in doubt, treat the material as if it contains asbestos, or have it sampled and analyzed by a qualified professional. A professional should take samples for analysis, since a professional knows what to look for, and because there may be an increased health risk if fibers are released. In fact, if done incorrectly, sampling can be more hazardous than leaving the material alone. Taking samples yourself is not recommended. If you nevertheless choose to take the samples yourself, take care not to release asbestos fibers into the air or onto yourself. Material that is in good condition and will not be disturbed (by remodeling, for example) should be left alone. Only material that is damaged or will be disturbed should be sampled. Anyone who samples asbestos-containing materials should have as much information as possible on the handling of asbestos before sampling and, at a minimum, should observe the following procedures:
  • Make sure no one else is in the room when sampling is done.
  • Wear disposable gloves or wash hands after sampling.
  • Shut down any heating or cooling systems to minimize the spread of any released fibers.
  • Do not disturb the material any more than is needed to take a small sample.
  • Place a plastic sheet on the floor below the area to be sampled.
  • Wet the material using a fine mist of water containing a few drops of detergent before taking the sample. The water/detergent mist will reduce the release of asbestos fibers.
  • Carefully cut a piece from the entire depth of the material using a small knife, corer or other sharp object. Place the small piece into a clean container (a 35-mm film canister, small glass or plastic vial, or high-quality resealable plastic bag).
  • Tightly seal the container after the sample is in it.
  • Carefully dispose of the plastic sheet. Use a damp paper towel to clean up any material on the outside of the container or around the area sampled. Dispose of asbestos materials according to state and local procedures.
  • Label the container with an identification number and clearly state when and where the sample was taken.
  • Patch the sampled area with the smallest possible piece of duct tape to prevent fiber release.
  • Send the sample to an asbestos analysis laboratory accredited by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Your state or local health department may also be able to help.
How to Manage an Asbestos Problem
 
If the asbestos material is in good shape and will not be disturbed, do nothing! If it is a problem, there are two types of corrections: repair and removal. Repair usually involves either sealing or covering asbestos material. Sealing (encapsulation) involves treating the material with a sealant that either binds the asbestos fibers together or coats the material so that fibers are not released. Pipe, furnace and boiler insulation can sometimes be repaired this way. This should be done only by a professional trained to handle asbestos safely. Covering (enclosure) involves placing something over or around the material that contains asbestos to prevent the release of fibers. Exposed insulated piping may be covered with a protective wrap or jacket. With any type of repair, the asbestos remains in place. Repair is usually cheaper than removal, but it may make removal of asbestos later (if found to be necessary) more difficult and costly. Repairs can either be major or minor. Major repairs must be done only by a professional trained in methods for safely handling asbestos. Minor repairs should also be done by professionals, since there is always a risk of exposure to fibers when asbestos is disturbed.
Repairs 
 
Doing minor repairs yourself is not recommended, since improper handling of asbestos materials can create a hazard where none existed. If you nevertheless choose to do minor repairs, you should have as much information as possible on the handling of asbestos before doing anything. Contact your state or local health department or regional EPA office for information about asbestos training programs in your area. Your local school district may also have information about asbestos professionals and training programs for school buildings. Even if you have completed a training program, do not try anything more than minor repairs. Before undertaking minor repairs, carefully examine the area around the damage to make sure it is stable. As a general rule, any damaged area which is bigger than the size of your hand is not considered a minor repair.

Before undertaking minor repairs, be sure to follow all the precautions described previously for sampling asbestos material. Always wet the asbestos material using a fine mist of water containing a few drops of detergent. Commercial products designed to fill holes and seal damaged areas are available. Small areas of material, such as pipe insulation, can be covered by wrapping a special fabric, such as re-wettable glass cloth, around it. These products are available from stores (listed in the telephone directory under “Safety Equipment and Clothing”) which specialize in asbestos materials and safety items.

Removal is usually the most expensive method and, unless required by state or local regulations, should be the last option considered in most situations. This is because removal poses the greatest risk of fiber release. However, removal may be required when remodeling or making major changes to your home that will disturb asbestos material. Also, removal may be called for if asbestos material is damaged extensively and cannot be otherwise repaired. Removal is complex and must be done only by a contractor with special training. Improper removal may actually increase the health risks to you and your family.
Asbestos Professionals: Who Are They and What Can They Do?
Asbestos professionals are trained in handling asbestos material. The type of professional will depend on the type of product and what needs to be done to correct the problem. You may hire a general asbestos contractor or, in some cases, a professional trained to handle specific products containing asbestos.
Asbestos professionals can conduct home inspections, take samples of suspected material, assess its condition, and advise on the corrections that are needed, as well as who is qualified to make these corrections. Once again, material in good condition need not be sampled unless it is likely to be disturbed. Professional correction or abatement contractors repair and remove asbestos materials.
Some firms offer combinations of testing, assessment and correction. A professional hired to assess the need for corrective action should not be connected with an asbestos-correction firm. It is better to use two different firms so that there is no conflict of interest. Services vary from one area to another around the country.
The federal government offers training courses for asbestos professionals around the country. Some state and local governments also offer or require training or certification courses. Ask asbestos professionals to document their completion of federal or state-approved training. Each person performing work in your home should provide proof of training and licensing in asbestos work, such as completion of EPA-approved training. State and local health departments or EPA regional offices may have listings of licensed professionals in your area.

If you have a problem that requires the services of asbestos professionals, check their credentials carefully. Hire professionals who are trained, experienced, reputable and accredited — especially if accreditation is required by state or local laws. Before hiring a professional, ask for references from previous clients. Find out if they were satisfied. Ask whether the professional has handled similar situations. Get cost estimates from several professionals, as the charges for these services can vary.

Though private homes are usually not covered by the asbestos regulations that apply to schools and public buildings, professionals should still use procedures described in federal or state-approved training. Homeowners should be alert to the chance of misleading claims by asbestos consultants and contractors. There have been reports of firms incorrectly claiming that asbestos materials in homes must be replaced. In other cases, firms have encouraged unnecessary removal or performed it improperly. Unnecessary removal is a waste of money. Improper removal may actually increase the health risks to you and your family. To guard against this, know what services are available and what procedures and precautions are needed to do the job properly.

In addition to general asbestos contractors, you may select a roofing, flooring or plumbing contractor trained to handle asbestos when it is necessary to remove and replace roofing, flooring, siding or asbestos-cement pipe that is part of a water system. Normally, roofing and flooring contractors are exempt from state and local licensing requirements because they do not perform any other asbestos-correction work.

Asbestos-containing automobile brake pads and linings, clutch facings and gaskets should be repaired and replaced only by a professional using special protective equipment. Many of these products are now available without asbestos.
If you hire an InterNACHI inspector who is trained in asbestos inspection:
  • Make sure that the inspection will include a complete visual examination, and the careful collection and lab analysis of samples. If asbestos is present, the inspector should provide a written evaluation describing its location and extent of damage, and give recommendations for correction or prevention.
  • Make sure an inspecting firm makes frequent site visits if it is hired to assure that a contractor follows proper procedures and requirements. The inspector may recommend and perform checks after the correction to assure that the area has been properly cleaned.

If you hire a corrective-action contractor:

  • Check with your local air pollution control board, the local agency responsible for worker safety, and the Better Business Bureau. Ask if the firm has had any safety violations. Find out if there are legal actions filed against it.
  • Insist that the contractor use the proper equipment to do the job. The workers must wear approved respirators, gloves and other protective clothing.
  • Before work begins, get a written contract specifying the work plan, cleanup, and the applicable federal, state and local regulations which the contractor must follow (such as notification requirements and asbestos disposal procedures). Contact your state and local health departments, EPA regional office, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s regional office to find out what the regulations are. Be sure the contractor follows local asbestos removal and disposal laws. At the end of the job, get written assurance from the contractor that all procedures have been followed.
  • Assure that the contractor avoids spreading or tracking asbestos dust into other areas of your home. They should seal off the work area from the rest of the house using plastic sheeting and duct tape, and also turn off the heating and air conditioning system. For some repairs, such as pipe insulation removal, plastic bags may be adequate. They must be sealed with tape and properly disposed of when the job is complete.
  • Make sure the work site is clearly marked as a hazardous area. Do not allow household members or pets into the area until work is completed.
  • Insist that the contractor apply a wetting agent to the asbestos material with a hand sprayer that creates a fine mist before removal. Wet fibers do not float in the air as easily as dry fibers and will be easier to clean up.
  • Make sure the contractor does not break removed material into smaller pieces. This could release asbestos fibers into the air. Pipe insulation was usually installed in pre-formed blocks and should be removed in complete pieces.
  • Upon completion, assure that the contractor cleans the area well with wet mops, wet rags, sponges and/or HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) vacuum cleaners. A regular vacuum cleaner must never be used. Wetting helps reduce the chance of spreading asbestos fibers in the air. All asbestos materials and disposable equipment and clothing used in the job must be placed in sealed, leakproof, and labeled plastic bags. The work site should be visually free of dust and debris. Air monitoring (to make sure there is no increase of asbestos fibers in the air) may be necessary to assure that the contractor’s job is done properly. This should be done by someone not connected with the contractor.
Caution! 

Do not dust, sweep or vacuum debris that may contain asbestos. These actions will disturb tiny asbestos fibers and may release them into the air. Remove dust by wet-mopping or with a special HEPA vacuum cleaner used by trained asbestos contractors.

The following items are essential tools, but this list is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to ask a home inspector from John Robinson’s Inspection Group during your next inspection about other tools that you might find useful. 

 
1.  Plunger
A clogged sink or toilet is one of the most inconvenient household problems that you will face. With a plunger on hand, however, you can usually remedy these plumbing issues relatively quickly. It is best to have two plungers — one for the sink and one for the toilet.

Standard plunger

2.  Combination Wrench Set

One end of a combination wrench set is open and the other end is a closed loop. Nuts and bolts are manufactured in standard and metric sizes, and because both varieties are widely used, you’ll need both sets of wrenches. For the most control and leverage, always pull the wrench toward you, instead of pushing on it. Also, avoid over-tightening.

3.  Slip-Joint Pliers

Use slip-joint pliers to grab hold of a nail, a nut, a bolt, and much more. These types of pliers are versatile because of the jaws, which feature both flat and curved areas for gripping many types of objects. There is also a built-in slip-joint, which allows the user to quickly adjust the jaw size to suit most tasks.

4.  Adjustable WrenchCaulking gun

Adjustable wrenches are somewhat awkward to use and can damage a bolt or nut if they are not handled properly. However, adjustable wrenches are ideal for situations where you need two wrenches of the same size. Screw the jaws all the way closed to avoid damaging the bolt or nut.

5.  Caulking Gun
Caulking is the process of sealing up cracks and gaps in various structures and certain types of piping. Caulking can provide noise mitigation and thermal insulation, and control water penetration. Caulk should be applied only to areas that are clean and dry.
6.  Flashlight
None of the tools in this list is of any use if you cannot visually inspect the situation. The problem, and solution, are apparent only with a good flashlight. A traditional two-battery flashlight is usually sufficient, as larger flashlights may be too unwieldy.
7.  Tape Measure
Measuring house projects requires a tape measure — not a ruler or a yardstick. Tape measures come in many lengths, although 25 feet is best.  Measure everything at least twice to ensure accuracy.
8.  Hacksaw
A hacksaw is usefu for cutting metal objects, such as pipes, bolts and brackets. Torpedo levelHacksaws look thin and flimsy, but they’ll easily cut through even the hardest of metals. Blades are replaceable, so focus your purchase on a quality hacksaw frame.

9. Torpedo Level
Only a level can be used to determine if something, such as a shelf, appliance or picture, is correctly oriented. The torpedo-style level is unique because it not only shows when an object is perfectly horizontal or vertical, but it also has a gauge that shows when an object is at a 45-degree angle. The bubble in the viewfinder must be exactly in the middle — not merely close.

10.  Safety Glasses / Goggles
For all tasks involving a hammer or a power tool, you should always wear safety glasses or goggles. They should also be worn while you mix chemicals.

11.  Claw Hammer
A good hammer is one of the most important tools you can own.  Use it to drive and remove nails, to pry wood loose from the house, and in combination with other tools. They come in a variety of sizes, although a 16-ounce hammer is the best all-purpose choice.

12.  Screwdriver Set
It is best to have four screwdrivers: a small and large version of both a flathead and a Phillips-head screwdriver. Electrical screwdrivers areWire cutter sometimes convenient, but they’re no substitute.  Manual screwdrivers can reach into more places and they are less likely to damage the screw.

13.  Wire Cutters
Wire cutters are pliers designed to cut wires and small nails. The side-cutting style (unlike the stronger end-cutting style) is handy, but not strong enough to cut small nails.

14.  Respirator / Safety Mask
While paints and other coatings are now manufactured to be less toxic (and lead-free) than in previous decades, most still contain dangerous chemicals, which is why you should wear a mask to avoid accidentally inhaling. A mask should also be worn when working in dusty and dirty environments. Disposable masks usually come in packs of 10 and should be thrown away after use. Full and half-face respirators can be used to prevent the inhalation of very fine particles that ordinary facemasks will not not stop.

15.  Duct Tape
This tape is extremely strong and adaptable. Originally, it was widely used to make temporary repairs to many types of military equipment. Today, it’s one of the key items specified for home emergency kits because it is water-resistant and extremely sticky.  -by Nick Gromicko and Rob London

Deadly Mistake #1: Thinking you can’t afford it.

Many people who thought that buying the home they wanted was simply out of their reach are now enjoying a new lifestyle in their very own homes.

Buying a home is the smartest financial decision you will ever make.  In fact, most homeowners would be broke at retirement if it wasn’t for one saving grace — the equity in their homes.  Furthermore, tax allowances favor home ownership.

Real estate values have always risen steadily.  Of course, there are peaks and valleys, but the long-term trend is a consistent increase.  This means that every month when you make a mortgage payment, the amount that you owe on the home goes down and the value typically increases.  This “owe less, worth more” situation is called equity build-up and is the reason you can’t afford not to buy.

Even if you have little money for a down payment or credit problems, chances are that you can still buy that new home.  It just comes down to knowing the right strategies, and working with the right people.  See below.

Deadly Mistake #2: Not hiring a buyer’s agent to represent you.

Buying property is a complex and stressful task.  In fact, it is often the biggest, single investment you will make in your lifetime.  At the same time, real estate transactions have become increasingly complicated.  New technology, laws, procedures, and competition from other buyers require buyer agents to perform at an ever-increasing level of competence and professionalism.  In addition, making the wrong decisions can end up costing you thousands of dollars.  It doesn’t have to be this way!

Work with a buyer’s agent who has a keen understanding of the real estate business and the local market.  A buyer’s agent has a fiduciary duty to you.  That means that he or she is loyal only to you and is obligated to look out for your best interests.  A buyer’s agent can help you find the best home, the best lender, and the best home inspector in your area.  That inspector should be an InterNACHI-certified home inspector because InterNACHI inspectors are the most qualified and  best-trained inspectors in the world.

Trying to buy a home without an agent or a qualified inspector is, well… unthinkable.

Deadly Mistake #3: Getting a cheap inspection.

Buying a home is probably the most expensive purchase you will ever make.  This is no time to shop for a cheap inspection.  The cost of a home inspection is small relative to the value of the home being inspected.  The additional cost of hiring a certified inspector is almost insignificant by comparison.  As a home buyer, you have recently been crunching the numbers, negotiating offers, adding up closing costs, shopping for mortgages, and trying to get the best deals.  Don’t stop now!  Don’t let your real estate agent, a “patty-cake” inspector, or anyone else talk you into skimping here.

InterNACHI front-ends its membership requirements.  InterNACHI turns down more than half the inspectors who want to join because they can’t fulfill the membership requirements.

InterNACHI-certified inspectors perform the best inspections, by far.  InterNACHI-certified inspectors earn their fees many times over.  They do more, they deserve more and — yes — they generally charge a little more.  Do yourself a favor…and pay a little more for the quality inspection you deserve.  By the way, the home inspectors at John Robinson’s Inspection Group are InterNACHI-certifed inspectors…just in case you were wondering.  :)

Did you know that home inspectors in California are unlicensed and unregulated and the quality of work inspectors produce varies dramatically?

Hi, my name is John Robinson and I’m the president of John Robinson’s Inspection Group.  If you’re looking to purchase a home and want one of the best inspectors in San Diego to give your prospective home the most thorough evaluation money can buy, then your in the perfect spot.

I’m sure you want to know the answer to this question…Why Should You Choose John Robinson’s Inspection Group For Your Home Inspection?  Keep reading and I’ll explain why:

Our inspectors are so thorough in their evaluation of the property you’re considering purchasing, You Won’t Get Stuck Buying A “Money Pit!”  That’s right, since 1999 John Robinson has personally inspected well over 2500 homes for home buyers just like you and I’ve listened to what they’ve said…

“Don’t Let Me Get Stuck With A Bunch Of Unexpected Post Closing Expenses!”

I’ve listened…and I take my job very seriously!

John Robinson’s Inspection group will protect you from problems like but not limited to:

  • Roof issues
  • Structural concerns
  • Electrical problems and
  • Plumbing leaks

 

Here’s how we protect you…

One of our Certified Home Inspectors will spend 3 to four hours thoroughly evaluating all aspects of the property you’re considering purchasing, from the Roof to the Foundation and all areas in between.

Now, the home seller won’t want us to be there that long but a thorough home inspection takes time and we take our job very seriously! Besides we don’t work for the home seller, we work for you the home buyer!

Then we provide you the “information” you need to make an informed decision about the property being inspected, in a clear, concise professional manner.  We will produce a very easy to read computer generated inspection report that includes color digital photos of the problem spots we’ve uncovered.

In other words, we provide you with true peace of mind.  You don’t want to be relying on bad advice from a cheap, poor quality home inspector when you’re making one of the largest purchases of your life.

So join over 2500 other home buyers just like you and let John Robinson’s Inspection Group protect you from getting stuck buying a Money Pit!

If you have a minute, take a look at one of our inspection reports View Sample Report.

Also, did you know that we have a 100% Money Back Satisfaction Guarantee on all of our inspections?  That’s right; if at the end of the inspection you are not 100% satisfied with our inspection, just turn to your inspector and tell him, and your inspection fee will be refunded on the spot.

If you want to have peace of mind that the property you’re considering isn’t the money pit, then you need John Robinson’s Inspection Group working for you.

So take a couple of minutes right now and schedule your inspection here on our web site Click Here to Schedule or if you prefer, call one of our helpful schedulers at 619-684-1444 and they’ll handle all the details for you!

Please know that we look forward to the opportunity of providing you and your family the peace of mind you deserve!

So Take a minute right now and schedule your home inspection…

John Robinson’s Inspection Group

619-684-1444

john@jrinspections.com

www.jrinspections.com

Carpeted bathroom floors are excellent breading grounds for mold and bacteria growth. However, some home owners choose to install carpet in their bathrooms because they like the way it looks. The home inspectors at John Robinson’s Inspection Group highly recommend avoiding carpets in bathrooms and encourage the use of traditional floor surfaces, such as tile or vinyl.

Advantages of carpets in bathrooms:
  • They make bathrooms appear more warm and inviting.
  • They are softer than tile and many people find them comfortable on bare feet.
  • Bathroom slip hazards are reduced. It’s easier to slip on hard bathroom surfaces, such as tile, than on carpet.
  • Installation is generally quick and inexpensive.home inspector san diego
Disadvantages of carpets in bathrooms:
  • The pad beneath the carpet may soak up large amounts of moisture. Some of the common ways that carpets may come into contact with moisture in bathrooms include:
  1. Steam from the shower will condense on the carpet.
  2. Water splashes from the tub or shower.
  3. Water sheds from the shower/tub occupants as the step onto the carpet.
  4. Water splashes out of the sink.
  5. Water drips from the vanity.
  6. Water leaks from the toilet.

The presence of moisture in the pad will lead to the growth of decay fungi on the wood or orineted strand board (OSB) sub-floor. The sub-floor will be decayed and weakened by mold. Mold also releases spores that can cause respiratory ailments, especially for those with certain health problems. The home inspectors at John Robinson’s Inspection Group use moisture meters to determine if there is excess moisture around these areas beneath the carpet.

  • In addition to potential mold growth beneth the carpet, bacteria can accumulate in carpeting that surrounds the toilet. Bacteria are contained in urine, which can be accidentally deflected onto the carpet.
Recommendations for those of you who are experiencing urine or moisture related problems with their bathroom carpet”
  • Clean the carpet regularly to remove any mold or urine that may be present.
  • Keep the carpet as dry as possible. Various devices exist that prevent water from bypassing the shower curtain.
  • Install a bathroom fan, if one is not installed already. If a fan is installed, operate it more often.
  • Contact John Robinson’s Inspection Group to schedule an inspection. Our home inspectors can inform you about why you are experiencing problems.

 

In summary, capets installed in bathrooms can trap moisture and urine, substances that can cause structural damage and health problems.

Some misconceptions are merely inconvenient. And some – like the many myths that surround the use of fire sprinklers in homes – can be deadly.  The inspectors at John Robinson’s inspection Group hope to shed some light on the subject with this article.

The federal government and more than 400 local governments – not to mention the national model building code authority, the International Code Council – have all recommended that all new homes offer this life safety system. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a business that is not protected by fire sprinklers. Yet misconceptions persist about the cost, convenience and effectiveness of home fire sprinklers, where 80 percent of all fire deaths occur.

 

“As a volunteer firefighter, I regularly see the devastation to families and their property due to home fires,” says Eric Skare of Lakeville, Minn. Skare, who works for fire-safety systems maker Uponor, is a fire safety expert. “Many of these people live right in my own community, and their losses are seared in my memory.”

Whether you’re building a new home or renovating an existing one, it’s important to know the truth behind some common fire sprinkler myths: 

Myth: Installing home fire sprinklers is too expensive.

Reality: On average, installing a stand-alone fire sprinkler system – the kind that runs off a separate, dedicated system of water pipes – in a new construction home adds just 1 to 1.5 percent to the total building cost, according to the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.

That expense drops even lower when adding a multipurpose system, which combines the cold-water plumbing and the fire sprinklers into a single, efficient system. Installation costs for a multipurpose system, like those made by Uponor, averages 57 cents less per square foot than traditional stand-alone systems – a savings of $1,368 for a 2,400-square-foot home, according to the Fire Protection Research Foundation. What’s more, the foundation reports, home insurers give an average premium discount of 7 percent to homes with fire sprinkler systems.

Myth: Smoke alarms alone are enough protection against fires.

Reality: Smoke alarms can alert you to the presence of smoke, but do nothing to put out a fire. Home fire sprinkler systems act quickly to reduce heat, flames and smoke from a fire, giving you valuable time to get out safely. “Sprinklers put out most home fires in seconds, before the fire department arrives and before there’s major damage,” says Jayson Drake of Uponor North America.

Functioning smoke alarms reduce by 50 percent the risk of someone dying in a home fire. That risk decreases by 80 percent when sprinklers are present, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Myth: Fire sprinklers can cause excessive water damage to your home and belongings.

Reality: Fire sprinklers actually minimize damage. Fires cause more than $8.5 billion in direct property damage every year, according to the NFPA. Fire hoses discharge up to 250 gallons of water per minute into a burning home, causing significant damage as firefighters work to control and extinguish the fire. Sprinklers, use just 15 gallons of water per minute. Fire damage is far less in homes with sprinklers; a 15-year study in Scottsdale, Ariz. put the average loss for a sprinklered home at $2,166 compared to $45,019 for a home without sprinklers.

Myth: Home fire sprinkler systems look bad and will ruin the aesthetics of a house. 

Reality: New home fire sprinkler systems are very unobtrusive, and can be mounted flush with walls or ceilings, or concealed behind decorative covers.

Myth: Fire sprinklers don’t add value to a home and aren’t worth the investment.

Reality: Forty-five percent of homeowners prefer a home with fire sprinklers, and nearly three in four think sprinklers increase a home’s value, according to research by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition. What’s more, fire sprinklers can help lower your homeowners’ insurance rates; most insurance companies offer discounts for homes that have the systems.

But the greatest value of fire sprinklers is their ability to help save lives and preserve a
family’s home. In home fires where no sprinklers are present, families lose their homes and all their possessions, even if they escape unharmed themselves. When sprinklers are present, families survive – and so do their homes and possessions. Sprinklers reduce the average property loss by 71 percent, according to the NFPA. – (ARA)

Home improvement projects don’t need to be difficult, and with the right tools and attitude, they can be exciting as you watch your house transform. Summer is the perfect time to look at your home to-do list and get going. Here are some easy ideas you can get started on today.

Outdoors: siding, deck and doors make a house stand out.

Painting the home exterior, sheds, fences or decks can be a challenging task. However, doing a good job now will make your entire home look great for years to come.

 

To ensure a good result, begin by removing dirt and other items such as leaves from the surface to be painted. Look for areas where paint is chipped or bubbled and remove with a wire brush or wide-blade putty knife. Using an electric sander can also be helpful.

When painting, use tools that are made specifically to help ease and expedite the process. The Wagner Power Painters featuring EZ Tilt helps tackle a variety of projects like painting a house, shed or fence and produces quality results. The paint sprayer applies a professional grade paint application. Any way you look at exterior painting, you can’t beat the coverage, speed and finish you get by spraying.

While you already have all your painting supplies out, grab a brush and update small details like the front door and trim.

On a beautiful sunny day, painting your house can be a joy. Throw a painting party and invite your friends over to help out. After the project is done, eat a nice dinner together to show your appreciation. Now for the rest of the year you have a beautiful house to enjoy, inside and out.

Indoors: look at walls, ceilings and furniture.

The first step is to take a look at the inside of your home and analyze which rooms need a facelift. Look at the walls for chipped or dirty paint and the ceiling for stains. Painting is an easy and cheap way to brighten your house fast.

When choosing paint colors, it’s best to look at the furniture and other pieces in the home and try to coordinate appropriately. When in doubt, light colors work best and always brighten a room. If you are feeling daring, think about trying one of the deep and beautiful colors that are popular right now in the color palettes at many paint companies.

Fill in holes and nicks with putty. Sand and prime those areas before painting. Priming helps ensure a professional looking paint job that lasts longer so it is worth your time. After walls have been primed, it’s time to apply paint.

Rollers are the preferred tool for many people because they apply an even coat and hold a lot of paint. If you are painting the ceiling, you will need a roller with an extended handle to reach the high areas and help relieve arm tension.

One roller that really saves you time when painting is Wagner’s TurboRoll battery powered roller. The TurboRoll holds paint in the handle and easily reaches 8-foot ceilings. One fill of the tube can paint an area 10 feet by 7 feet in size. It also has “Power Trigger” technology that allows the user to supply paint directly to the roller by squeezing a trigger so that they don’t have to make repeated trips to the paint tray to load up with paint. This saves time and gets the job done fast with an excellent finish.

After the paint has dried, looking at the floors is the next step. Hard flooring needs to get washed and carpets should be cleaned. Renting a carpet cleaner from your local hardware store is very economical and provides a deep clean. Get the whole family to help out and make cleaning a fun activity you all participate in.

A quick clean and perhaps reorganization of furniture, and you just gave your home an easy facelift for little cost and not a lot of time.

Home improvement and painting your house can be a joy. You can also take pride in the fact that you did it yourself. And better yet – you saved money. After the project is done, invite your friends over to showcase your great accomplishment. Now for the rest of the year you have a beautiful house to enjoy, inside and out. For more information visit www.WagnerSprayTech.com. – (ARA)

With temperatures – and therefore, electric bills – rising, American homeowners are looking for the most effective ways to make the biggest dent in their energy bills, but many may be overlooking some of the most important energy-saving strategies.

Homeowners are more likely to do simple things around the house to conserve energy, according to the Lennox Home Energy Report Card Survey. These steps include changing air filters in a heating and cooling system on a regular basis, swapping out incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs, and turning down the temperature setting on a hot water heater.

While these activities can certainly help save energy and money, Brandon Chase, an energy efficiency expert and product development manager at home heating and cooling manufacturer Lennox, says homeowners need to take a close look at how they heat and cool their homes if they truly want to make a substantial dent in their energy bills.

“More than half of a home’s energy costs comes from heating and cooling the house,” says Chase. “If you can heat or cool your home more efficiently, then you’ll be well on your way to seeing lower energy bills.”

The first step is to have a professional evaluate the age, performance and efficiency of your heating and cooling system to see if it needs to be repaired or replaced. The Lennox survey found that only about half of homeowners have taken the proactive step of replacing an old, inefficient heating and cooling system with a new, energy-efficient model, yet doing so can dramatically help conserve energy and reduce utility bills.

Chase says if the air conditioning system is more than 10 years old or the furnace is more than 15 years old – the average life spans of cooling and heating units – then it’s time to consider replacing the aging system with a new ENERGY STAR-qualified system.

New energy-saving technologies

Significant advances in energy-efficient technologies have recently enabled homeowners to save hundreds of dollars a year on their energy bills. One example is the SunSource Home Energy System – a solar-powered central heating and cooling system – that uses energy from the sun, collected from roof-mounted solar modules, to reduce the electricity consumed by a high-efficiency heat pump or air conditioner.

When the SunSource heating and cooling system is not in use, the solar energy can operate other appliances and electronics. Any excess energy that’s not needed is sent back to the utility company, possibly entitling the homeowner to a credit on their utility bill.

Other energy-efficient ways to cool and heat a home

In addition to replacing an old heating and cooling system, Chase says there are a number of other ways to make heating and cooling your home more efficient. He offers the following energy-saving advice:

* Seal cracks around windows and doors with caulk or weather stripping to prevent indoor air from escaping.

* Keep blinds, shades and curtains closed during the day in the summer to block sunlight from entering the home, but open them up in the winter to naturally warm the house.

* Install a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature at certain times of the day, automatically regulating the temperature when you’re away.

* Add extra insulation to the attic, which will help prevent your home’s heating and cooling system from having to work harder to regulate the indoor temperature. – (ARA)

For more energy-saving tips, visit www.lennox.com.