Carbon Monoxide Still Possible During Summer

Carbon Monoxide When owning a home, there are many cautions that should be taken to keep you and your family safe. Carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless toxic flammable gas, is often emitted as part of the fumes of fuel. Difficult to detect, this poisonous gas can be leaked from cars, stoves, fireplaces, grills, furnaces and more. Many people believe that carbon monoxide build up is primarily a concern in the winter months when doors and windows are closed, but deadly levels can build up in the summertime, too.

According to the Daily Herald of Utah, two patients at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning in 2012 after using a gas-powered concrete saw in their basement without proper ventilation. When using gas-powered equipment in an enclosed space, symptoms like headaches, dizziness, nausea and light-headedness can appear quickly which helped these individuals recognize that there was a problem.

Although carbon monoxide poisoning notoriously occurs indoors, many don’t realize it can happen outside as well. During the summer months, you may notice poisoning symptoms if you breathe in the toxins from the back of a boat, sit too close to a campfire or use gas or propane stoves in or near a tent. Even though it seems like carbon monoxide poisoning should take longer when you are outside, it can happen within as little as 15 minutes, experts say.

If you think you’ve been exposed to carbon monoxide, you should go to the ER immediately. A doctor can treat the poisoning by flushing out the toxins in a hyperbaric chamber, but ultimately prevention is the best course of treatment.

Since poisoning is unpredictable, you should purchase a carbon monoxide detector for your home. As well, it could be prudent to have a professional inspect your home to make sure you and your family are safe.

The Benefits of Buying a Foreclosed Home

Foreclosed Homes Perhaps the best benefit of buying a foreclosed home is its price. Because it’s foreclosed, someone or some entity, like a bank, is trying to get rid of it. Therefore, they’re willing to sell it at a bargain price. Many people have enjoyed buying foreclosed homes that were once selling for, say, $400,000 for…$150,000. Now that is a bargain! It’s a way to move into a desirable neighborhood for a fraction of the price others had to pay to be there.

Most foreclosed homes are sold “as-is,” so the new owner may have to pay to fix some things. It’s a good idea to hire First Choice Inspectors to come inspect a foreclosed home on your behalf, so you know what you’re “getting into.”

Why have a foreclosed home inspected? Well, typically foreclosed homes have been unoccupied for quite some time. Because no human beings have lived there, some things might have gone wrong over time. When people live in a home they use the sinks and toilets regularly. They open and shut doors and windows. They take care of the place. Foreclosed homes, though, don’t have people doing such things, which is exactly why you’d want to get the home inspected. It’s better to have a professional set of eyes look at the state of the home than to just buy it “as-is” not knowing important details of its overall condition.

Foreclosed homes can be a great bargain. Just be sure to hire a good home inspector to check for any defects first, if possible, so you can make an informed buying decision. Spending a couple hundred dollars for an inspection can ultimately save you thousands of dollars down the line.

First Choice Inspectors can inspect foreclosed homes in Chicago and surrounding areas. Call 773-429-9711 to schedule an appointment.

Signs It Might Be Time For a New Roof

New RoofWhat are some signs you need a new roof? Well, for starters, consider the roof’s age. Most roofs last between 20 and 25 years, so if the roof hasn’t been replaced in several decades, it might be time to call First Choice Inspectors to come take a look and see about a possible replacement.

Have you noticed shingles are missing, darker in some areas, curled or buckling? Shingles aren’t meant to last forever, and they sure do take a beating over time thanks to wind, rain, sunlight, snow and ice. If you’ve noticed any inconsistencies with your shingles, or granules from shingles have become loose and are collecting in your gutters, it might be time for a new roof.

Perhaps the biggest sign that you need a new roof is when there’s a hole in it such that light (and rain) come inside your home. The roof is supposed to protect you from the elements. If there’s a giant hole– or even a small one–then the roof isn’t fulfilling its purpose. Holes in the roof can lead to water damage in the attic and walls of your building. They can also let in birds, insects, rodents and wild animals.

Finally, most neighborhoods have homes that were built around the same time, so if your neighbors are getting roof replacements, chances are you should too.

First Choice Inspectors can check your roof to see if everything is in order, or if there are problems with the chimney flashing, vents, drainage or shingles. First Choice Inspectors can offer a full inspection service complete with a comprehensive report. People in and around Chicago trust First Choice Inspectors to go up on their roofs, examine them, and then climb back down with details about its specific condition. Call First Choice Inspectors at 773-429-9711 to schedule your professional roof inspection today.

 

Location of Cracks can reveal what is happening to your Foundation

Leader-Telegram publishes can article about how the location of cracks can reveal what is happening to your foundation.  Wall cracks appear as the result of overloading, settlement or heaving, which may give you information on what is going on with the foundation.  Vertical cracks are often caused by “settlement of the home, soil compacting and soil washing away under the footings.”  This occurs when an upward force is next to a downward force, while angle cracks occur when the up force and down force offset each other.  This can appear when there is a difference in the soil under the house from one another, which causes the soil to push up.  Horizontal cracks can be caused by pressure from the outside, which can be attributed to pressure against the wall, improper backfilling, and surface problems.  “Skrinkage cracks appear on the foundationwalls as part of the curing process. These cracks can appear because there was too much moisture in the concrete when it set.”  This could be caused by mortar set in cold weather that froze and later expanded before having a chance to cure.

 

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Home-building Industry poised for Green Future

Mike Holmes from Leader-Post speaks about the current trend is definitely moving towards green products and options. The green movement is still so new that it is hard to know which regulations and certifications are the legitimate ones.  This is still so new that the one green move that is full proof is the switch to energy efficiency and durability.  Building an energy-efficient home is becoming the standard for homeowners.  “It’s a way of thinking that says it’s better to invest in more insulation than a granite countertop. It’s cool to have solar panels, energy-efficient appliances and a green roof. These features are becoming the new eye candy of the modern and contemporary home.”  Since energy costs are rising we, as homebuyers and homebuilders, must begin to turn to energy-efficient elements.  As we move forward we will begin to see more homeowners choosing renovations that will bring their homes to higher performance levels.  There are a few options that don’t require too much restructuring:

  1. Increase and/or replace old insulation in the attic.
  2. Always purchase energy star appliances.
  3. Install a programmable thermostat that can regulate the temperature of your home between day and night.
  4. Replace old toilets with ones that are low-flow to save 30 to 50 per cent of the water normally used.
  5. Install a domestic hot-water recovery system that can recapture heat gathered from hot water used during dishes, showers, etc.

 

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Don’t Forget a Home Inspection with a New Construction Home

Dan Steward from RIS Media writes about the importance of not forgetting a home inspection after the construction of a new home.  Many homebuyers have the false belief that new homes should be flawless, when that is never the case.  The issues found in new homes are different than the problems with resale homes.  When assessing a resale home, the problems sit with older systems that are nearing the end of their self-life; while the complications with new homes is typically incomplete work, damaged systems, or missing pieces of key materials.  Hiring a home inspection company before closing on a new home can help save homebuyers money due to unexpected home repairs down the road.

New home construction problems fall into four categories:

  1. Incomplete work: Many new home constructions are not completed properly.  “A home inspection company will uncover these issues prior to the move-in date.”
  2. Damaged systems and finishes: New homes often experience damage during construction due to rain, snow, and storage damage.
  3. Missing elements: Oversights during construction due to human error are more common than many realtors and homebuyers think.
  4. Imperfect or sloppy workmanship: While everyone would love perfect workmanship, that is not ideal; any number of things can go wrong during the construction of a new home.

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How to select a Home Inspector

In a column in the Chicago Tribune Ilyce Glink and Samuel Tamkin write about a crucial aspect of home buying, How to select a Home Inspector.

“Question: What is best way to select a home inspector? What criteria should I use to select a good inspector? I want to make sure the house I buy is in excellent condition.”

Searching for a home inspector is like looking for a good lender, ask friends, get referrals, speak with your real estate agent and get some recommendations. Perform a complete interview with an inspector; ask what the process includes, how long it takes, what the expertise is, and what kind of paperwork or information you will be receiving. It is also important to customize your home inspector around the property you have purchased and do not just take his/her credentials as fact, do a little bit of research before making a choice. Avoid getting referred to other specialists by asking your inspector what inspections he does not perform in the home, which will give you a better idea about who to choose. “Any inspector can miss a broken faucet or toilet, but you don’t want your inspector missing a large crack in the foundation of the home, mold in the attic…a roofing system that needs replacement, or a basic structural problem.”

 

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