Categories Home Inspection

The Truth about Air Duct Cleaning

Air Duct Cleaning

Out of sight, out of mind is the approach many take when it comes to regular home maintenance or big cleaning projects.

If you can’t see it, why bother?

Especially if you know it’s going to take up your entire Sunday to address.

While regular HVAC maintenance is important, there is debate surrounding one specific area: the air ducts.

The general consensus is that frequent air duct cleaning isn’t necessary, but there are some issues that call for a professional air duct cleaning.


Some Air Duct Problems to Leave to the Professionals

  • Suspicion of mold growth
  • Mice or vermin infestation
  • Visible dust coming from the supply registers when air is exiting the vents
  • Dust buildup when changing air filters
  • Black debris around air vent register


What Goes into the Duct Cleaning?

Air duct cleanings should be performed by professionals, as special tools and techniques are required for a proper cleaning.

Additionally ducts may have to be cut for access by special tools; which requires skill and previous knowledge.

It’s recommended to get a professional duct cleaning once every 2-5 years, but of course it’s all boils down to what you feel is best for you and your home.

Some families who deal with allergies or asthma may consider more frequent cleanings.


Preparing for the Cleaning

Site prep is key for a successful cleaning.

While you shouldn’t attempt to do the cleaning yourself, there are plenty of helpful measures you can take beforehand that will ensure a smooth and successful job.


1. Review

Along with your duct cleaning contractor, you’ll want to review and evaluate each step of the process so that there is no confusion.

You should disclose any and all information about remodels or HVAC issues in the past before the cleaning.


2. Make Space

Just like with a home inspection, you’ll want to make sure you clear out the key areas.

Find out ahead of time how much space around the air vent register your contractor would like. Ensure each register is accessible, and you’ll save everyone time.


3. Prepare for Noise

There’s no way around it, duct cleaning can be very loud.

If you have children or pets, consider getting them out of the house for the day as it may agitate them. If it’s not possible for them to leave the house, make sure you have them in a safe area.


4. Safety Plan

Even if you plan to stay in the house, you should go over a safety plan with your contractor.

While it’s uncommon, fires are always possible, especially when handling special equipment.

Be sure that you and your contractor both know where the nearest fire extinguisher and exits out of the house are located.


While there may be debate around the benefits of or how often to have duct cleanings, there’s one thing everyone can agree on—cleanings should always be performed by certified professionals.

If you have any home concerns or you’d like an expert opinion, get in touch with us here! Schedule your own HVAC inspection and see if an air duct cleaning is in the cards for your future.

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Categories Home Inspection

9 Problems You Shouldn’t Overlook in New Homes

New Homes

Many people wrongly assume that new homes don’t need home inspections, because, well, they’re new.

However, that’s not the case! Even the most qualified builders make small mistakes, and city inspectors are only checking that local building codes meet the minimum safety standards—they’re not looking at the quality of construction nor do they care about any cosmetic flaws.

After enduring the long process of finding a home wouldn’t you want to pay a little extra for a private inspection to ensure your new place is in the best condition possible?

Although brand new, here is a list of some common issues in new homes.

1. Foundation

The soil level around the house should be a minimum of 6” below the brick and 8” below siding or stucco.

2. Attic Ventilation

To extend the life of your roof covering and guard against mold and moisture build-up, your attic should be properly ventilated. However, attic insulation is usually installed incorrectly.

3. Misplaced Anchor Bolts

These bolts secure the bottom of the frame walls to the concrete slab or stem walls and are only visible if your home has a crawl space. Often they are placed in wet cement without regard to the placement of doors or windows.

4. Gutter and Downspout Placement

Upper roof downspouts should not drain to lower roofs as excessive water can destroy the lower roof. Downspouts should extend at least 6’ away from the house’s foundation, or you’ll find yourself with a flooded basement.

5. Problems with Stairs

Most common in exterior stairs are the issues with correct measurements and proper run. Additionally, problems can be found with the handrail, which should always be between 30-34 inches.

6. Botched Plumbing Installation

Unfortunately, some plumbers will do anything to get the pipes installed—even compromise the structure of the home to do so. Cuts are made in joists, stud walls and even the foundation; and cannot be seen once the house is completed.

7. HVAC Installation

Whether it was poor planning on the part of the builder or a design flaw made by the architect, improper HVAC installation can have a huge impact on the house’s structure. Structural joists should never be touched unless a licensed structural engineer has assessed it.

8. Electrical Defects

Thanks to the growing size of new homes, miscalculations and confusion can be made when it comes to planning the electrical aspects of the home. New, large homes have special requirements.

9. Bad Luck

Unfortunately, even with the best building and design team, things get confused, and plans don’t match. Home inspections can help you from dealing with the headache of a toilet too close to a door, an electrical outlet near the floor or lights placed too close to the ceiling. These are all cosmetic flaws as well as potential safety hazards.

We Can help

If you just bought a house or are about to buy, save yourself stress and money by scheduling a professional home inspection with us today! Leverage our decades of experience to put your mind at ease when it comes to finding a great and safe home for your family.


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Categories Home safety

Shining a Spotlight on Crawl Spaces

crawl spaces

When you think about home inspections, many things come to mind, like the foundation, HVAC system, or electrical systems.

Although these are key factors in your home, many people don’t consider the importance of the home’s crawl space as it’s a typical ¨out of sight, out of mind¨ situation.

While they’re usually small and seem petty, they can actually host a number of problems that can affect your home inside and out. We’re going to look at some common issues with crawl spaces that you can address before putting your home on the market.

According to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), the crawl space gives inspectors a truly thorough look at the home’s integrity and energy efficiency.

If there were low quality renovation attempts or defects that occur naturally over time, an inspection of your crawl space will reveal them.

Affected Air Quality

If the moisture content of the air is left unmonitored, it can make it easier for mold and rot to attack the insulation or wooden beams under your home.

Thanks to rainy weather or lack of vapor barriers, this mold and rot will flourish and eventually lead to the release of mycotoxins that can make their way into your home via floorboards.

A large percentage of your home’s air comes through the crawl space meaning if you have mold there it can compromise the air quality inside your home.

Fix It

Regular check-ins with your crawl space is the best step in prevention, including insulation checks if you already have it. Also, make sure that downspouts and gutters direct water away from your home’s foundation.

Beginning of Energy Efficiency

The common advice for saving on energy bills is to insulate your attic, but your home’s crawl space can also have a dramatic effect.

An uninsulated crawl space could be costing you big bucks by allowing significant heat to escape your home. Homeowners report saving 30-50% on energy bills after installing insulation. A well-insulated crawl space = a warmer home in the winter.

Fix It

Call a professional and get insulation installed.

Critter Infestation

Even if you think your crawl space is safe from rodents and other pests, the truth is the tiniest hole makes this area fair game for any critter.

Typical infestations include rats, squirrels, skunks, and snakes.

None of these are exactly the cuddly creatures you want to run into at home. Additionally, the little ¨gifts¨ they may leave behind can fester and affect air quality inside your home.

Certain furry friends, like squirrels, can cause more trouble by chewing through insulation, vapor barriers, or electrical wiring.

Fix It

Investigate and seal any entry points, then eliminate all food sources. Don’t store food in your crawl space and be sure to clear out any decomposing plants or animals. If you find that your infestation is serious, you should call a professional.

We Can Help!

Maintain the quality of your home by regularly checking your crawl space, or call us to take a look!

The more proactive you are with this aspect of your home, the less problems you’re likely to run into.

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