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

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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Categories Home safety

Avoid Theses Holiday Home Hazards


It’s the happiest time of the year and many of us put our joy on display with extravagant holiday decorations.

Between the holiday happiness, family gatherings, and some downtime from the hectic ways of daily life it can be easy to let your guard down.

However, there are quite a few potential hazards that are more common at home during the holidays.

We’re going to give you some insight into the common issues so that you can keep an eye out for and make sure you and your family don’t run into any problems this holiday season.

Overloaded Power Sockets

It’s not uncommon to go a little electricity “crazy” during the holidays. You have lights on the outside of your home, up the bannister and on the tree! Totally normal, but also a potential danger. Power sockets can overheat and send sparks flying or a nasty shock.

Solution: Pull out the extension cords and use them to distribute electricity use across various sources.

Christmas Trees

While an essential part of many families’ holiday celebrations, Christmas trees can be extremely dangerous. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an average of 240 home fires begin with Christmas trees each year.

Additionally, if you have a large tree, you must make sure to invest in a proper tree holder so that it is not unstable; which could lead to an accident with pets or children.

Solution: Keep your tree properly watered, no brown needles and check water level to ensure the tree is “drinking” enough each day. If you go with an artificial tree look for one with a label that says it is fire-resistant.


Hanging decorations on the outside of your home or in high places, like over the stairs, look great but can be a hazard. Accidents from falling, strangulation, or choking are all possible.

Solution: Never attempt to put up decorations alone or place ladders in awkward places. If you are unexperienced, it’s a good idea to pay a professional to do the work.

Holiday Plants

This may seem a little extreme, but if you have small children or pets, common holiday plants like Holly and Mistletoe can actually be toxic or a choking hazard.

Solution: If you have little ones in the home stick to larger, artificial plants or switch to other decorations.

Chimney and Fireplace

Apart from giving Santa a clean chimney to slide through, this is a good reminder to get your annual chimney sweep and maintenance. Regular checkups can prevent creosote buildups and potential fires.

Solution: Get your regular maintenance, by a professional, and avoid placing any plants or other decorations near or inside the fireplace. Make sure the flue is open!

We Can help

We hope that these quick tips will help you have a safe and accident-free holiday with your loved ones! If you have any doubts about potential hazards or you want to knock out some yearly home inspection maintenance over the holidays—give us a call!

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Categories Home safety

6 Common Home Hazards and How to Avoid Them

Home Hazards

Taking care of your home is important, of course, but what’s more precious are the loved ones that live there; making our house a home.

Most of us have a common priority, providing a safe home where our family can thrive. Unfortunately, no matter how diligent we are there are always hazards lurking around the corner and even a few smaller ones that you wouldn’t expect.

Today we are going to go over some of the common dangers found in homes and give you some tips on how to avoid any issues with them. Some common home hazards include:

1. Falls

This could entail slipping getting out of the shower or falling down the stairs.

Falls in the home are the leading cause of home injuries.

To minimize risks in your home, you’ll want to stabilize staircases: make sure handrails are steady, fixed to the floor, under sufficient lighting, and have baby gates if there are small children in the home.

Doing things like installing safety rails on showers or bathtubs and placing mats outside of the shower can also prevent injury. Clear stairwells and steps of all debris, toys, etc. and make sure kids have adequate space to store toys.


2. Fire Hazards

Reduce the risk of accidental fires by installing fire alarms, never leaving candles or irons unattended and unplugging appliances when finished using. Avoid overloading outlets and regularly check for frayed wires.

You should also have at least one fire extinguisher in your home.


3. Choking Hazards

Choking is the U.S.’ fourth leading cause of accidental deaths, and the biggest household hazard for choking comes from small toys. To prevent disaster, regularly inspect your children’s toys for loose parts and use a baby monitor to listen for signs of choking (even if your little one isn’t a baby anymore).


4. Poisoning

Cleaning and home maintenance supplies present a huge risk. Proper storage and handling of these chemicals is so important in the home, especially ones with small children.

Medications should be properly stored, and unused or expired pills should be disposed of. Paint and household chemicals should be kept out of reach and never left unattended while in use.

Detergents, especially pods, should be locked away from kids and pets as they pose a huge threat to our little ones.


5. Strangling

Cords from blinds or curtains present a common hazard for kids. Never place a crib or bed under a window with a hanging cord. Additionally, trim or tie up hanging cords and secure electrical cords in a way that they can’t be pulled out.


6. Drowning

In the last decade drowning deaths in bathtubs have increased by 70%. Thankfully there are some easy steps you can take to prevent these tragedies.

Put buckets away, don’t leave bathing children unattended, and put a gate entrance to your pool or always keep doors leading to pools locked.

Did you find yourself worried while reading this? How many of these hazards have you noticed in your own home? If you found yourself shaking your head in disbelief, don’t worry!

Each of these risks has a simple prevention solution and only requires a little more attention.

If you’re unsure about some hazards in your home, give us a call today! Let us put your mind at ease with a thorough home inspection.


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