Categories Home safety

Seven Things to Know Before Starting Home Improvement Projects

Home Improvement Projects

Construction can be messy.

We know because we’ve seen plenty of mishaps over the years. One thing we’ve come across in our inspections are complications caused by DIY home improvement projects.

If you’re considering tackling a home improvement project in the near future, keep these tips in mind to ensure you’re on the right track.


Things to Keep in Mind

1. There will be problems.

Sometimes there’s no planning for the unexpected.

Considering how messy construction projects can get, you will likely face a few roadblocks.

Staying calm and embracing each situation is essential for not getting burnt out mid-way through a construction project. Stay cool and you’ll come up with a solution to get through any issue.


2. Set a clear budget.

Think about how much money you really have and are comfortable spending long before embarking on any home improvement venture.

The last thing you want is to run into financial troubles while you’re in the middle of remodeling your kitchen.


3. Invest in a contractor.

Hiring a contractor is not an area where you want to try to save money.

Finding one that you really trust is key to a successful project and will be well worth the payment.

Use referrals, read reviews and inquire about their experience to determine if a contractor is right for you. And don’t underestimate the power of intuition: You’ll be spending a lot of time together so go with your gut!


4. Organize your resources.

Know what you have readily available and what you’ll need to purchase or rent — this will also play a helping hand in your budget. Go through and make a list of what you have and you’ll save yourself time and money!


5. Pull out the original blueprints.

Having your original blue prints or any house plans from other home improvements over the years will be very helpful.

Offer these to your contractor and you’ll likely save everyone time, yourself money, and you’ll get the process moving along much faster.


6. Have a contract.

Before embarking on any journey that will impact your finances, you’ll want to have a contract in place.

If a contractor acts shady or refuses when you mention a contract, ditch them! The contract should include the company’s name, address, and phone number, and have start and completion dates, plus estimated cost written into it.


7. Lock down necessary permits.

If you’re taking on a big project, it’s likely that you will need a permit.

The contractor should provide the costs for all permits in your estimate; and usually the contractor is responsible for pulling the permits from local offices unless you agree otherwise.

Home improvements that may require permits include new windows, fences; structural changes, like building a deck; and plumbing and electrical work.

Ask your city council office for information on improvements and projects that require permits.


A clear idea and a little planning will go a long way in ensuring a successful home improvement project.

If you have any concerns or doubts about how a new project will affect your home, get in touch with us here or schedule a home inspection today!


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Categories Home safety

Pet Proof Your Home

pet proof

After years of inspections and seeing thousands of homes, we’ve gotten a firsthand view at some common home dangers for family pets.

We wanted to take the opportunity today to lay out some potential dangers for your furry friends and give you some tips on making your home more pet-friendly.


Common Dangers for Pets in the Home

Various household items can pose a threat for our beloved furry family members.

  • Human medications
  • Certain household plants (azalea, dieffenbachia (dumb cane), lilies, mistletoe and philodendron are toxic to animals. See a full list here)
  • De-icing salts, antifreeze, rodent traps, and poison
  • Holiday décor and lights
  • Fumes from self-cleaning ovens
  • Toys with movable parts
  • Cedar and other soft wood shavings
  • Small objects like batteries, buttons, string, and needles


Making Your Home Safe

We know how curious our furry companions can be. Follow these tips to make sure they’re safe and sound at home.

1. Create a secure space:

Make sure all doors, windows, and patio entrances are securely closed and don’t have problems locking. Pet doors should be the right size and close without issue.


2. Keep toxic substances out of reach:

Put all medications, chemicals, laundry supplies, and cleaners in locked cabinets or high shelves.


3. Don’t forget about the bathroom:

Keep the toilet lid closed to prevent ingestion of any chemicals as well as drownings.


4. Secure wires:

Put all dangling cords, loose wires or cables away! Tie them up or place them out of reach.


5. Check nooks and crannies:

Be sure you regularly investigate those hard to reach places that your vacuum may not reach for harmful objects your pet may have dragged there.


6. HVAC system:

Make sure all vents and heaters have covers.


7. Sharp objects:

Whether it’s in your kitchen or your bathroom, if it can draw blood it should be in a hard to reach place or secure in a pull out drawer.


8. Fireplace:

Never leave your pet unattended around an open fire. Investing in a cover or barrier is a great idea.


9. Child safety locks:

Many pets are capable of maneuvering their way around cupboards and drawers. Consider investing in safety latches to keep them shut for extra protection.


10. Use blockades:

Animals can get trapped behind large units; use blockades to keep them from getting stuck behind appliances like washing machines or refrigerators.


Our furry, feathered, and finned friends not only require our love but also our time and attention. Putting in a little effort can make your home much safer for your beloved pets and relieve you of extra stress and worry.

Try to think like a pet and imagine the areas of the house they spend the most time in, and places they will likely want to explore, including spaces in which they can jump or climb to reach. Your pets will thank you!


What are some precautions you took to pet proof your home? We want to hear!

If you’re worried your home may have a few issues or even some hazards schedule an inspection with us today!


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Categories Home safety

7 Ways Clogged Gutters Damage Your Home

clogged gutters

Clogged gutters usually fall at the bottom of the list when considering potential home problems. However, issues stemming from clogged gutters can do plenty of silent damage that will cost you big.

When left untreated, clogged gutters can lead to expensive repairs for damages ranging from roof leaks to foundation damage.

If you have forgotten to tackle your gutter cleaning this season check out some of the more serious issues your home could face if not done soon.

How Clogged Gutters Damage Your Home

1. Expect roof leaks

When your gutters can’t carry rainwater away, it will sit until it becomes too heavy and eventually make its way inside your home. Water dripping from your ceiling is a telltale sign of gutter issues.


2. Mold accumulation

Standing water will lead to mold — it’s only a question of time. You don’t want to see mold begin to breed inside your roof, attic, or walls of your home. You’ll have a whole new set of problems.


3. Wood damage

Standing water and mold growth will wear away at your home’s wood. It will get soggy and start to rot, which when left too long can eventually deteriorate your home’s structure.


4. Landscape issues 

Clogged gutters can cause water to spill over the sides onto shrubs or flower beds below around the base of your home. All of your hard work will go to waste after just one rainstorm thanks to faulty gutters.


5. Compromised foundation

Pooled water that sits around the foundation can cause cracks over time, and in more serious instance eventually lead to collapse.

In any case, protecting your home’s foundation is essential to having a functioning home.


6. Ice dams

Clogged gutters highly increase the chance of ice dam formation. Ice dams can lift roof shingles (allowing water inside your home), get insulation wet and lead to mold growth, or completely destroy your gutter altogether.


7. Welcomes uninvited guests

Mosquitoes and other pests sure do love standing water. Stagnant puddles are inviting for mosquitoes, termites, carpenter ants, and other unwanted guests.  

They’re likely to lay their eggs there, and you’ll be hosting an entire colony of pests in no time.


Things to Keep in Mind

If you decide to go the DIY route and tackle the gutter cleaning yourself, there are a few items you should consider:

  • Always go with a partner
  • Use a safe/secure ladder
  • Wear rubber soled shoes, gloves, and safety goggles
  • Get a gutter scoop and utilize a garden hose
  • Rake or power wash the roof
  • Watch out for power lines

Even if you have gutter guards there can still be debris trapped underneath.

Professional gutter cleaners will remove all debris from the roof, gutters, and downspouts. They will also do an overall check of the gutters and repair any loose gutter spikes.

Sometimes it’s well worth it to pay a professional to ensure your safety and the job is done properly.


Clogged gutters aren’t just an eyesore; we can see the proof is in the pudding. Don’t leave your gutters unattended for too long or you’ll be facing some serious troubles.


We’re Here to Help!

If you come across anything concerning or you want a professional opinion don’t hesitate to call us today!  

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Categories Home safety

Safeguard Your Home With an Indoor Air Quality Test

Air Quality Test

Most of us strive to include healthy habits into our lives. That could mean exercising, cutting out processed foods, or not using products with certain chemicals.

However, many people fail to recognize an invisible danger in their own home: poor air quality that can put the health of you and your family at risk.

These airborne chemicals are not visible to the naked eye, but are possible to detect with a state-of-the-art test performed by us at EIG.


Why Should I Get the Test?

Whether you’re buying a new home or concerned about the air quality in your current home, there are many reasons to have the test done:

  1. The US-EPA has reported that home air can have 100 times more chemicals than outside.
  2. The US-EPA has also reported that adults and kids now spend most of their time indoors.
  3. The CDC has reported that 20+ million adults have asthma, and the National Asthma Survey has reported that asthma is the most prevalent chronic disease among children.
  4. Mold growth can be present within the home and be hidden behind walls or underneath carpeting or flooring.
  5. The use of Formaldehydes is prevalent in certain building materials.

Indoor air pollution will vary among regions, homes, and even between rooms in a single house.


What Causes Poor Air Quality?

Indoor air quality can be compromised by many things, but some of the most common influencers are: building materials, consumer products, and pets.

You spend most of your time at home, so ensuring it’s a safe environment should be seen as a necessity or even an investment into the well-being of you and your family.


What Are the Consequences of Poor Air?

A single or repeated exposure to any pollutant can result in immediate effects like a sore throat, irritated eyes, headaches, or dizziness. A more alarming result are the long-term effects like respiratory diseases, cancer, or heart disease. The EPA provides a more in-depth look into indoor air quality.


What Can I Do?

After scheduling your inspection there are still a few things you can do around your home to improve air quality.

Consider adding a few plants to your space (home or office), the Clean Air study by NASA provided a list of the best plants to remove certain chemicals from the air:

  • Spider Plant
  • Peace Lily
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Snake Plant

are just a few examples, check out this graphic for the full list!

Aside from adding plants, you can also do a few things around your home like:

  • Regularly changing filters (especially heater, AC, and vacuum).
  • Ditch synthetic air fresheners.
  • Maintain humidity around 30%-50% to keep dust mites, mold, and allergens under control.
  • Find a good vacuum with a HEPA filter, which will catch smaller particles that normal vacuums miss.
  • Switch to eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products.
  • Use dust-mite proof pillows, mattress, and box spring covers.

All of these tips are great ideas to incorporate into your daily life, but it’s important to get the inspection beforehand to know exactly to what you’re being exposed.

Let us give you peace of mind that the air in your home is safe to breathe.

Call us today about performing an accurate, affordable IAQ Home Survey test as part of a complete home inspection service.

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Categories Home safety

Is Your Home Affected by Water Hammer?

water hammer

Have you been dealing with a banging sound whenever you flush the toilet or use the washing machine?

This annoying sound is known as “water hammer”— a surge of pressure that is caused by a sudden change in water’s momentum.

While many think it’s nothing more than a pesky sound, it can actually do some real damage to your plumbing system.


What Causes Water Hammer

Without a doubt, this is the loudest and most annoying plumbing problem found in the home.

Water hammer occurs when a faucet or appliance quickly shuts off the flow of water.

Water moves quickly into the fixture or appliance, causing a shock wave causing the pipes to bang against each other or against wood framing members (wall studs, floor joists, etc.).

It can be caused by any fixture or appliance that uses water, but some of the most common culprits are washing machines and dishwashers.

Thanks to their powerful valves, these 2 heavy-duty appliances shut off the flow of water much quicker than other appliances.


Old School Solution

Water hammer is nothing new, which means there are a few ways people have dealt with it in the past.

Older homes typically have pipefittings called air chambers located on each hot and cold water line at or near each faucet or water inlet valve and are rarely visible.

Air chambers act as a shock absorber for water flowing at a high speed.

However, over time these chambers can fill up with water and will need to be drained.

If you run into this issue, you can recharge water-filled chambers by shutting off the water supply and draining the pipes. This allows air to fill the chambers. It gets trapped there when the water is turned back on.

If you run into problems with the air chambers, then there is an alternative option.


Water Hammer Arrestors

Usually, the best long-term solution for eliminating water hammer is to install a water hammer arrestor on each water supply line that makes noise.

A water hammer arrestor works much like an old-style air chamber but includes an air- or gas-filled chamber is sealed by a diaphragm or piston.

There are various types of arrestors, but the two most common are:

  • Soldered pipe connections
  • Threaded fittings: These twist on and off just like a garden hose and are generally best for solving water hammer caused by washing machines.


Things to Know

The year in which your home was built can give you a good idea of the water hammer protection your house has.

  1. In or before the 1960s: Generally come with air chambers
  2. In the 1970s-90s: Little to no water hammer protection, and you should consider having a professional install arrestors.
  3. 1990s and so on: These homes come with arrestors.

In some cases there are other reasons for banging pipes:

If you have functioning air chambers or water hammer arrestors, you might have a different problem:

  • The straps that connect your plumbing to your home’s wall studs could be loose, causing the pipes to vibrate.
  • High water pressure.


Have you been dealing with banging pipes? Let EIG put your mind at ease with a home inspection so you can address any home problems before they grow into something bigger.


Schedule Your Inspection here!

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