Categories Home Maintenance, Home safety

The Top Five Causes of Water Damage

Have you checked your gutters lately? Chances are it’s been a while. Don’t beat yourself up, it’s an area that most homeowners tend to overlook or flat out ignore.

If done correctly, and regularly, gutter maintenance is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to prevent costly water damage.

Regardless of what condition your gutters are in, here are some of the top causes of water damage and what you can do to prevent it.


Top Five Causes of Water Damage and Why Gutters Matter


1. Leaks and Holes

Even the tiniest of leaks can lead to massive water damage for your home. Try a simple tube of gutter sealant (about $5) for smaller holes and leaks.

In addition, large gaps may require metal patching — luckily most hardware stores offer gutter “patching kits.” Give extra attention to basements and bathrooms when looking for problem areas.


2. Misaligned Pitches

In order for water to flow properly from your gutters, they must be pitched properly. The general rule of thumb is ¼ inch of sloping per every 10 feet.

Not sure if they’re sloped correctly? The easiest way to tell is to check for standing water after some rainfall.

Correcting the pitching can be a big project, potentially requiring you to remove and reattach parts of the gutter. So it may be best to call in an expert to make sure the job is done to perfection and save you from future issues.


3. Clogs

This is the most common cause of water damage.

And it can arise from many problems—twigs, leaves, critters, debris after rain can all get stuck in your gutters and drains. Leave it unanswered for too long and you’ll get sagging gutters, or worse, completely broken ones.

Aim to clean them out once or twice a year, maybe even more if your home is surrounded by trees. Also, take caution after big storms and check your gutters for debris. If you find that clogged gutters is a chronic problem, consider fitting them for mesh screens, grates or porous foam.


4. Sagging

This is potentially a side effect of clogged gutters or simply the passage of time. But whatever the case may be, they can be dangerous.

You will end up with deterioration of the fasteners or hangers, or the fasteners will spread too far apart, and thus be unable to support the weight of the gutter.

Can’t tell if they’re sagging? It’s easy to tell—they should be completely straight, except for exceptionally long gutters, which may have a peak in the middle to encourage water flow.

Notice problems? It’s an easy fix: new fasteners and hangers are easily accessible at most hardware stores for just a few dollars.



5. Downspout Drainage

If your downspout is too close to your home, water will leak straight into your foundation and basement.

Additionally, downspouts can suffer blockage easily; relieve the burden by disconnecting your downspout and seeing if it ejects water a few feet from your home to a sloping surface.

Ideally, downspouts should extend 4-5 feet from your home, and you can purchase them for roughly $20 each.



Don’t get stuck in a water rut! Take some preventative measures to avoid the costly repairs of water damage and protect your home from this silent enemy. Checking and cleaning out your gutters regularly will save you time and money down the road.


We Can Help!

We cover gutter and drainage inspections for homeowners, buyers AND sellers. So schedule an inspection today or get a quick quote!


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Categories Foundation Repair, Home Inspection, Home safety

Walk Away From These Home Inspection Results

We say it all the time: your home is the biggest purchase you’ll make in your life. Therefore getting a home inspection will help you protect your investment.

For many, getting blinded by your love for a home is easy. But the reality is once you get that home inspection report back, there will be a few marks and possibly some that are worrying.

A perfect home inspection report does not exist, as there will always be some marks. And while it’s natural to feel a little anxious about it, it’s totally normal. You’ll need to have an idea of your deal breakers and tolerance level before beginning the search for a home. There will always be issues that some people are willing to stick around and tackle while others would rather cut their losses and continue with the search.

However, there are red flags that both realtors and home inspectors agree on as signs to kill the deal and move on. If you come across these issues, you may want to think twice before proceeding.


1. Major Foundation Issues

Cracks and other irregularities in the foundation can be extremely expensive, upwards of $10,000, to repair. Aside from this, you must consider the fees for landscaping repair to correct the problem if an excavation is necessary.

Although some foundation repairs are minor and only require a couple hundred dollars, you can only be sure after contracting a licensed structural engineer to assess the problem.

Many seasoned home professionals agree that first-time buyers should avoid major foundation issues as they may lack the funds and experience to take on this problem.


2. Buried Oil Tanks

While more common in areas with harsher winters, such as the Northeast, this American tradition is one that could be harmful to your home today.

Before electrical heating, many had underground tanks that sent propane to the house throughout winter. Obviously, there is a handful of possible problems that could come from this. But common ones are leaks (that lead to soil contamination), sink holes, and drainage problems. Much like the foundation issue, a tank removal will cost you well into the thousands.


3. Polybutylene Plumbing Pipes

If this comes across your report, we say make a run for it. These plumbing pipes are a product of the 80s and they should have stayed there.

These pipes were initially favored as cheap alternative to copperbut are more likely to leak and could cause issues like mold, structural damage, or the headache that goes with a burst pipe.

Most homeowners haven’t replaced the pipes if they haven’t personally encountered an issue. Save yourself the trouble from having to deal with this potentially disastrous problem.


Should You Stay or Should You Go?

In the end, the choice to stop the buying process or decision to tackle the issues is your decision alone. Your financial standing, how much you’re comfortable with shelling out, and the amount of time you have will be the biggest factors.

You don’t have to make these tough decisions alone. An expert home inspector can be a huge help! Let a home inspection add an extra layer of security to the biggest investment you’ll ever make.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today!


We Can Help



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Categories Home Maintenance, Home safety

Signs Your Sewer Line Is In Trouble

When it comes to plumbing and sewage, many homeowners take the “out of sight, out of mind” approach. Yet this can lead to some really big problems. Today we want to focus on your main sewer line, maybe not the prettiest part of your property, but it’s certainly important.


Your sewer line is one of the most important parts of your property. And if problems arise, it could not only lead to expensive repairs, but also expose your family to contaminated water. Ensure your home is in good working order and keep your loved ones out of harm’s way by familiarizing yourself with the warning signs of a sewer line clog.



Common Sewer Line Red Flags


Keeping an eye on these common problems can make a huge difference in damage control.

Have you noticed any of these problems in your home?


1. Slow Draining

The occasional clog in your bath, toilet, or sink is normal and will happen, but if ALL of your drains seem to be slow or clogged that could be indicative of a bigger problem.

Pay close attention to slow draining toilets, they are one of the main red flags. Other signs may be water backing up in the toilet or gurgling sounds coming from your drains.



2. Wet Yard

All the waste water that isn’t making it through the main sewer line has to go somewhere else, and unfortunately that place will likely be your yard. Check for wet patches during dry weather periods which may be signs of a partial blockage.



3. Unpleasant Smells

These unmissable odors in or near your home are a sure sign of a main sewer line problem. If you notice this, don’t wait to contact an expert — or you could find yourself in a position you won’t like.



4. Tree Roots

This isn’t so much a red flag as it is a warning: if you’re in an older home you’re more likely to experience sewage blockages due to tree roots. Which is why keeping an eye out for the other warning signs can help you address a problem before it gets worse.

The good news is that tree roots can be removed before they cause a complete blockage.



5. Blocked Clean out Drain

Have you ever noticed a circular plastic or concrete lid near your home? Usually it says “clean out”, this would be your clean out drain. Regularly checking this area by lifting the cap and looking for standing water can save you from the troubles of a blocked sewage line.



What You Can Do If You Have a Sewer Emergency


If you come across any of these red flags, the smartest thing you can do is to immediately turn off your main water supply (typically in a basement/crawl space, a garage, or an area near your water heater).

If you’re not sure where it’s located, your home inspector could assist! After shutting off the water, you’ll want to call in a certified plumbing professional.



The earlier you can find a sewer line clog or breakage, the more in-control you’ll be of this costly problem. We hope these tips will help you as you try to maintain a safe and healthy home.

If you’re concerned about other areas of your home or are overdue for your yearly inspection — we can help!


Schedule your home inspection here with our easy online scheduling tool.





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Categories Home Maintenance, Home safety

Important Tips to Make Your Garage Safe From Fire Hazards

When you think of your garage and hazards, you might think of the sharp objects or chemicals stored in there being dangerous for your children. But your garage is actually much more dangerous than you might imagine.


Look at these statistics for more insight:

  • 6,600 garage fires per year in the U.S.
  • 30 deaths
  • 400 injuries
  • $457 million in property loss


While these numbers are horrifying, we don’t mean to scare you. We want to educate you and show you how you can prevent a fire from occurring in your own garage.


We’d like to give you the tools to make your garage as safe as possible from fires.


Regardless of preparedness, your best bet is to hire a professional inspector to assess the safety of your garage. 


We should mention this article is especially significant for homes with attached garages.


Why Are Garages Prone to Fires?

  • Storage: Garages are typically the storage centers for flammable materials like gasoline, paint, motor oil or other flammable liquids, including paint thinner or brake oil.


  • Cars: Oil and gas can leak, sometimes unnoticeably from your vehicles, eventually leading to igniting a fire, if given a chance.


  • Tools: Garages are often utilized as a workspace for the handyperson in the household. Accidents involving welding, cars or flammable liquids pose a fire hazard.


  • Heaters: It’s not uncommon to find water boilers or heaters located in the garage. They can cause sparks, igniting fumes or fluids.



Preventative Measures for Garage Safety

  1. Hire a professional inspector to assess if your walls are fire-rated. And unless you are trained, it can be difficult for the average homeowner to make this assessment alone. So, it’s better safe than sorry!


  1. Install a hatch or barrier to any access to your attic, if there is an entrance leading to your garage.


  1. Keep the floors clean and devoid of clutter, including bits of paper, rags, oil-stained materials or other flammable materials. Eliminate the opportunity for fire to spread by keeping your garage floor tidy.


  1. Tape down and organize cords and wires, so they are not twisted or tangled.


  1. Avoid overloading electrical outlets, which can cause sparks or smoke.



Things to Consider If You Have a Garage Door Leading into Your Home

Pet doors, especially ones made of plastic, are highly flammable and can unfortunately facilitate an easy spread of fire to your home.

A great security feature is installing a self-closing door in addition to properly and strongly sealing all doors. A professional inspector can assess the safety of your door’s seal and recommend adjustments, as necessary.



Safety Tips for Your Garage and Storage Areas

  • Avoid using any burners or open flames in your garage. This includes propane deep fryers or grills. Thanksgiving Day has seen countless deep-fried turkey disasters, all due to propane accidents!


  • Clearly, label and store flammable liquids above ground. Only store liquids in small amounts and replace, as necessary.


  • Store propane tanks outdoors. They are sturdy enough to withstand the elements and pose the threat of exploding in your garage if triggered.


  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy and safely stored above ground.



Fire safety is all about prevention.

Following these steps and educating your family members will ensure that you’re taking the proper precautions to protect your home and garage from the threat of fire. Make it a habit to regularly run through these tips so that a little accident doesn’t turn into tragedy.

Most of all, remember, we’re here for you! Schedule your inspection today, and we’ll see you in 48 hours or less!

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Categories Home Maintenance, Home safety

Six Signs Your Home’s Air Quality Is Suffering

When you think of poor air quality, your first thought probably isn’t the air in your home. As shocking as it may be, the air quality in our homes can actually be more toxic than the air outside.


We spend 90% of our time indoors, and the EPA reported that our home’s air can have 100 times more chemicals than the air outside.


If you need a refresher on what causes poor air quality and the scary health effects it can have on you and your loved ones, just head over to one of our previous blog posts and catch up.


Since you know about what causes poor air quality and the negative health effects, we’re going to take the time now to identify the signs of a problem.


Signs Your Home Has Poor Air Quality


  1. High Humidity: Too much moisture in the air raises the risk of microbial growth. A central AC system will remove some excess moisture, but depending on the region you live in, it may not be enough to keep up with local humidity.


  1. Increased Dust Levels: Are your shelves or other surfaces covered in dust, soon after you clean them? More dust particles will appear when the air is not circulating properly.


  1. Worsened Health Problems: Have you noticed new or worsening symptoms? Like sneezing, coughing, or waking up congested? While it may appear to be a cold or allergies, a telltale sign is when the symptoms disappear once you leave the house.


  1. Uneven Temperature: If you notice the temperature changes from room to room, you have a problem on your hands. It means your AC isn’t reaching each room properly, and this will lead to air circulation problems.


  1. Stale Odors: Every home has a distinct scent and you likely know which one your home has. But have you noticed the perfume sprayed hours ago is still lingering? Or cooking odors haven’t left the kitchen well after you finished? This is another telltale sign of poor circulation.


  1. Changes in Environment: It’s important to be aware of your surroundings. Are your neighbors remodeling or is there construction nearby? This won’t be a sign of poor air quality in your house necessarily, but it could help you rule out other issues.



We Can Help

Have you noticed one or more of these issues in your home?


Take note and don’t wait to call in a professional. Your indoor air quality is vital to a healthy home and family. And thankfully it’s something that can be identified with the right tools and reversed with a good plan.


If you’re worried that you and your loved ones are breathing in unhealthy air, let us help! At EIG we use a state-of-the-art test that checks for chemicals that can make you sick. We then provide an assessment of the air quality in your home.


Learn more about our indoor air quality testing here. Afterwards, schedule your inspection today by filling out our contact form.





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