Is your home experiencing electrical issues? Do you know what to look for? Most people are aware that things like frayed wires and flickering lights are a clear warning sign that the electrical system needs attention from a professional. But what are some of the other, less obvious symptoms of potential problems? Here are four situations that every homeowner should be on the lookout for.
If you see exposed wire on a connection, it’s possible to fix it as long as you first turn off the power to the device. After that, simply disconnect the exposed part of the wire after removing the main wire from the terminal. It’s usually easy to spot exposed wiring because a certain amount of bare wire will be protruding from the connector.
If these exposed wires come into contact with anything, they can cause a short or an electrical arc flash. Electrical arc flashes can be 30,000 degrees or hotter and have the potential to start a house fire. Remember, if you’re unsure whether a specific piece of wiring is exposed, or if you aren’t comfortable fixing it, call a professional home inspector. That way, you will know whether the problem is major or minor, and you can hire an electrician if necessary.
Any unusual odors coming from walls or floors, unless clearly caused by standing water or other impurities, can indicate a serious electrical problem. Sometimes short circuits can cause wire coverings to burn slowly and emit odd smells. Call a home inspector or electrician if you notice telltale odors like these.
In many cases, if you get shocked when you turn a lamp or other device on or off, the problem is the device itself. It can also be a sign of bad wiring. If you ever get shocked by a device, have an electrician or home inspector take a look at the situation.
Some homeowners notice wiring that has been joined together with electrical tape. This is a common problem in older homes in which previous owners performed unauthorized and dangerous work instead of calling an electrician. Do the smart thing and have an electrician look at any “tape-joined” wiring you discover in your home.
If you spot any signs of potential electrical problems in your home, don’t hesitate to contact a professional home inspector. Licensed, experienced inspectors know what to look for and can often notice things that are virtually invisible to the untrained eye. There’s no reason to take chances with a home’s electrical safety. When in doubt, check it out. After you check to gather more information, leave the final diagnostic work to a home inspection team. It’s the smart way to take care of your biggest investment.
Are you concerned about the electrical system in your home? Make an appointment with Chicagoland Home Inspectors for a home inspection to set your mind at ease!
Ask anyone, and they will tell you that house flipping can be a great way for you to make money. Not only that, but many people find it very rewarding to be able to restore a home back to a livable status. However, many experienced house flippers will also tell you that it isn’t worth doing unless it’s done right. Many individuals who have adopted this attitude have been through a difficult home inspection. Of course, they will also tell you that it doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Here are three tricks you can consider to make this process like a walk in the park:
The key to a successful house flipping is to have a good working relationship with your inspector. Ideally, according to Massachusetts Real Estate Exposure, you want someone that you not only trust but an individual that is not afraid to level with you regarding the house in question. You want to be able to feel comfortable asking him or her questions. You will also want a home inspector that has integrity and is willing to educate you on the more complicated aspects of restoring a home. They will also be able to help you stay up-to-date on all of the latest home construction and remodeling practices.
Having a property to flip doesn’t have to be a nightmare. The key is a little advance planning. One great suggestion would be to get two inspections—one before purchasing the property and one before selling it. You get the inspection prior to buying the property in order to identify any deal-breakers, and you get the inspection prior to selling it to make sure nothing else has gone wrong on the home since you have purchased it. Moreover, you should strongly consider the winter months for your home flipping improvements. According to Do Hard Money, winter is the best time to do home improvements for house flippers because there is less competition, enabling you to focus on doing a better job remodeling the home.
You need an inspector that will give it to you straight. There is nothing more disheartening than a sale that falls through because of some issue that should have been caught. Thus, according to Money Crashers, you need an inspector that will tell you about such things as a damaged foundation, electrical wiring problems, sewer line problems, gas line issues, hazardous building materials, and neighboring structures that were built beyond your property line.
Clearly, it is invaluable for you to have a good home inspection for all of your flipping endeavors. Don’t hate the process. It’s there to help you. Instead, do everything in your power to be as professional as possible. Your home inspections will go much more smoothly.
Here at Chicagoland Home Inspectors, we have some of the best, top-rated home inspectors in the area. If you’re looking to get your home inspected, we are here to help! Schedule an appointment with us today!
If you decorate with wood in your home, you probably love how natural it is. Wood is long-lasting, classic, and beautiful, whether it’s a shiplap wall in your living room or a reclaimed wood table in your dining room. This versatile material is a common and popular choice for many purposes in the home. However, as wonderful as wood is, it needs some special care if it is going to last a long time. If you want your wood to last as long as possible, here are some things that you have to keep in mind.
There are a lot of insects that crave wood. This means that they can deteriorate the wood over time. Carpenter ants will often set up nests in between the walls of a building. Termites like to form colonies within the wood, with some examples of established colonies actually being in the wood of abandoned buildings for generations and having thousands of members. Bark beetles will usually take up residence in a dead tree, but they normally will not damage residential wood. Finally, powderpost beetles will bore into the wood and will destroy it by turning it into dust.
Although there are ways to keep insects at bay, there is no perfect protection for wood that will fix the problem completely. Wood rot will eventually occur to all types of wood. Even fences require regular treatment, despite the fact fences are designed to be outside at all times. There are definitely ways to slow down the decay. Regular maintenance will definitely help the wood to last longer.
The first thing that will happen to your wood would be a deteriorating finish. One of the ways you can prevent this would be through maintaining the finish regularly. There is one main misconception you should be aware of: just because wood is new doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be maintaining it. Once the signs of wear are there, it is going to be much more difficult to restore the wood. This is because wood is often worn down by exposure to human skin. Body oils can break down the wood and turn it dark. Regular staining of even new wood can prevent this from happening.
The gist of this is that you should always maintain your wood and it will be good to you and last much longer. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional inspector who can examine your wood for insect activity or other signs of deterioration.
Selling a home might not seem like the biggest challenge. You just need to advertise, find a good realtor, and negotiate on the price, right? However, your home’s salability could be affected by some major unwelcome surprises. These four issues are things that need to be addressed before your home has any chance of being sold for a decent price.
Your home needs a good foundation to rest on, but, over time, a foundation can lose its integrity. When this happens, your home’s condition can deteriorate to the point that it’s practically uninhabitable. You could have trouble opening and closing doors, start to notice how unbalanced your floors have become, and even have your walls collapse. Any signs of foundation problems need to be handled by a certified foundation repairperson.
If you’ve heard a strange sound emanating from your pipes, you might be dealing with plumbing problems. Vibrating pipes in your home often occur when your pipes are loose or the water pressure is too high. You could end up with significant leaks and further problems caused by water damage. Call a plumber to take a look at your pipes as soon as possible. They may need to tighten them up or take measures to lower the water pressure.
Mold is like an infection in your house, and it can lead to health problems for your family. In a warm, humid environment, such as a basement, mold can start to spread and quickly take over. If heavy rains lead to water getting into your house, you need to dry things up right away to keep mold from forming and spreading. If mold has already taken hold, you should call a remediation service. Before you put your home on the market, have another inspection performed a few weeks after remediation to guarantee that mold is no longer an issue.
Termites feast on wood because it’s rich in cellulose. As they feed on your home, they can ruin its integrity by hollowing out the walls and ruining your floors. You can detect termites by keeping an eye out for scattered wings. Try knocking on your wall and listen closely to hear termites moving around inside the walls. Call an extermination service to inspect your home for termites and ultimately get rid of them.
Real estate is competitive enough without a home seller having to deal with faulty plumbing, infestations, or other domestic nightmares. Take action to fix these problems right away so that you can make your home as attractive as possible to buyers. Let us help you in the process with a sellers/listing inspection.
Dressing up the exterior of your home can increase its outward appeal and market value as well as reflect a potential for indoor beauty. Exterior lighting is a powerful means to draw positive attention to your house. However, there are a few details that you need to address regarding exterior lighting to prevent stumbling blocks.
Before installing landscape or exterior lighting to your home, make sure you have the proper clearance. If you rent your property, you’ll need to check your lease or obtain permission from your landlord. Even if you own your house, make sure you satisfy all agreements and obtain appropriate authorization from your homeowner’s association, if there is one. Although many HOAs welcome exterior lighting as an additional safety measure for residents, they’ll require proper installation to prevent hazardous conditions. DarkSky explains that light pollution or nuisance lighting affects your neighbors. An HOA may regulate where your lights are placed and how bright they can be.
If no such organization exists where you live, you still need to keep these issues in mind. Do your utmost not to infringe on other people’s enjoyment of their property. Exterior lighting concerns include temporary decorations like holiday lights as well. Don’t compromise on safety or consideration for your neighbors. Always use outdoor-rated fixtures, light bulbs, extension cords, and decorative lights. Make sure animals or children can’t get to your transformers, and contact local authorities about underground utilities if you need to dig. Schedule appropriate inspections and safeguard against defective lights, too.
Helius cautions that outdoor lights require careful electrical planning, as even when they’re covered and protected, they have to still deal with more moisture than indoor lighting. This means they can be a common hazard needing inspecting. Refer to the National Electrical Code for guidance. Always use the appropriate wattage light bulbs. Installing bulbs that exceed the maximum wattage recommendations can damage wire insulation because they can overheat. Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters everywhere in your home as well as on your outdoor box. The exception is if you have a circuit breaker or GFCI device higher up in the wiring from your outside box. All outdoor wiring and receptacles need to be weatherproof. Avoid any metal when attaching temporary lighting.
The extreme moisture exterior lighting faces leads to corrosion and safety issues that can go undetected for a long time. Black Diamond warns that corrosion of bulbs and connections can present dangerous electrical concerns. Make sure to perform regular maintenance on your lighting system. Check halogen and incandescent systems at least twice annually. Plan on replacing all bulbs every two years. When lamps burn out, condensation occurs in the socket, which is a primary cause of corrosion. Besides ensuring you promptly replace old bulbs, you can also use dielectric compounds at each lamp’s base to prevent corrosion. Avoid substandard connections because if water gets into the wiring, it will, of course, corrode it. Waterproofing connections will further help to prevent corrosion.
Exterior or landscape lighting can be excellent for home improvement. However, legal and community issues, electrical safety, and corrosion are a few elements to consider before embarking on an installation project.
Sump pumps gather ground water from around the house and move the water away from the house. The goal is to reduce the water pressure on the foundation which will prevent water entry into the house.
I see quite often where the sump discharges into the sewerage pipe. The city limits of Chicago does allow this, but none of the suburbs allow it.
The reasoning I get from the suburbs is that the water from the sewerage needs to be cleaned and treated before it can be returned to Lake Michigan. If all the homes discharged ground water into the sewerage system, the sewer system would be overwhelmed.
We do identify this as something that should be addressed.
We like to use pretty bright flashlights when doing what we do. If you take a bright flashlight and shine it down the side of the wall or ceiling, every deformity shows.
In the photo above you can see where the joints of the drywall are. This ceiling was kinda borderline. I wasn’t quite sure if this was a poor installation or if the roof leaked in the past and these are repairs. We still like to ask our clients to ask the sellers for any and all knowledge regarding who did the install and if it was repaired. If it was repaired, if there are any warranties associated with the work.
It is easy when you see a bunch of repairs.
Most people think that wires should be in conduit to protect the wire.
Although true, the main purpose is to give a way to flow massive amounts of electricity at the breaker that is energizing anything that shouldn’t be energized. This photo here, the wires can energize the fan and the fan will remain energized. There is no way to turn the breaker off and this is when houses can burn or people get hurt. Running wires in the fashion shown in this photo is just plain dangerous.
When replacing a water heater or furnace, it is often necessary to replace the vent connector as well. The vent connector is the pipe that connects the appliance to the chimney.
If the correct size pipe is not present on an appliance, there is a good chance that the combustion gasses from the appliance will not leave the building. This is unsafe.
The draft hood that is supplied by the manufacturer is usually the size the vent connector needs to be. The photo shown above has a smaller draft hood than the vent connector and there is condensation and corrosion on the draft hood. Those stains along with the rust and missing escutcheon plates make me believe this water heater has been backdrafting for a long time.
An important part of being a responsible homeowner is keeping an eye out for any signs of hidden conditions that could damage your property. Catching problems early is imperative when it comes to protecting your home and health from long-term harm. Here are three things to look out for in your home.
One of the more dangerous hidden threats that can lurk in your home is radon. This radiation is naturally produced by the earth, making it far more common than you might think. Additionally, the radioactive gas is both colorless and odorless, meaning that the only way to accurately detect the levels in your home is to test for it.
Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers, making it important to detect. This harmful gas can seep from the ground through the cracks of your home and build up inside, posing a serious threat after extended exposure.
Termites pose another commonly undetected threat to the well-being of your home. While preventative methods, such as keeping the area surrounding your house’s foundation clean and free from debris, can help, sometimes these pests chew their way in regardless.
Since termites frequently cause structural damage in hidden areas, you’ll likely want to enlist professional help in determining whether you have a pest problem. You might find quite a few signs that you need pest control for termites during a proper inspection and, from that point, you should look into getting the problem taken care of by a professional.
Another potential cause for homeowner concern is hidden mold growth. Mold is known for being persistent and difficult to eradicate, and it can cause serious damage by eating away at the surfaces in your home where it grows.
In addition to causing structural damage to your home, mold growth can contribute to a number of health problems as well. Black mold is particularly notorious for aggravating conditions such as allergies, depression and asthma, and extended exposure can even result in death.
Being a homeowner comes with many responsibilities, such as keeping a lookout for hidden dangers in the home. These stealthy threats are more common than you might think, and vigilance is key when it comes to preventing long-term damage. Invest in radon testing, look for signs that you need pest control for termites, and get your home tested for traces of mold in order to maintain a happy, healthy home.
Not 100% convinced that your home needs an inspection? Click here to learn why you might want to schedule one sooner rather than later.