Premier Home Inspection, LLC

"Be Advised, Not Surprised!" 615-481-7293

What is Radon?

Did you know, according to the EPA, radon kills over 20,000 people each year (2017)? It is also the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. You can’t see it, taste it, or smell it, but it is there and prolonged exposure is deadly.

Radioactive.pngRadon is the natural by-product of uranium breakdown in the ground. This means it is radioactive, emitting alpha radiation similar to plutonium (Radon Facts). It is found in almost every house, seeping in through cracks in the foundation. In fact, our homes can act as a vacuum, pulling the harmful gas inside (How Radon Enters).

Radon is also water-soluble. For those with a private well, any actions that disturb the water, such as washing dishes or doing laundry, can release the radon gas into the air. According to the CDC, 30-1,800 deaths are caused by radon in household water per year (2015).

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Considering these facts, the U.S. Surgeon General (2005) and the EPA (2017) recommend mitigation measures be taken on homes with radon levels at or above 4 pCi/L. The EPA predicts most of the counties in Middle Tennessee are in zone 1 for radon levels. This means they predict the radon levels in these homes are on average above 4 pCi/L (EPA Radon Zones).  The only way to detect radon is by testing the levels in your home. Contact Premier Home Inspection today to schedule your radon test: 615-481-7293.

 

 

Resources:

EPA Radon Zones. EPA. Retrieved from https://geopub.epa.gov/Radon/

Health Risk of Radon. (2017). EPA. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/radon/health-risk-radon

How Radon Enters Your Home. Elliot & Associates – Radon Mitigation. Retrieved from https://www.radonillinois.com/radon-mitigation/how-radon-enters-your-home/

Radon and Drinking Water From Private Wells. (2015). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/private/wells/disease/radon.html

Radon Facts. Radoncom. Retrieved from http://www.radon.com/radon_facts/

Surgeon General Releases National Health Advisory On Radon. (2015). Alabama Public Health. Retrieved by http://www.adph.org/radon/assets/surgeon_general_radon.pdf.

Happy Independence Day!

The 4th of July always brings me fond memories of playing in sprinklers and having water balloon fights while the adults play volleyball and grill out, and then of course ending the day with an amazing and colorful display of fireworks. Even though this year a hot spell has delayed our dazzling neighborhood shows for awhile, it’s still a great time to spend with family and friends. I hope that you and your families have a good and safe time together celebrating today.

With this heat and the wild fires in Colorado, we know about the fire hazards that threaten our parched ground. But we are all about your home and below we’ve gathered some important information and tips to keep your home and your family safe from house fires.

Most home fire safety talks consist of making sure your stove is turned off and your smoke alarms are functioning properly. This is a good place to start, because the number one cause of a house fire is cooking. However, the number one cause for injury/death in a house fire is labeled unintentional or careless so, in addition to your stove/oven, always make sure that your other appliances are turned off, unplugged, and cooled down before you put them away. This includes everything from your toaster to your hair straightener. And if you’ve seen the Farmer’s Insurance commercial of the giant lint ball vs the flame thrower, you know more than 15,000 house fires a year are caused from dryer vents. Even though you use this appliance often it’s easy to forget about the maintenance it needs to work both efficiently and safely.  Visit Dryer Vent Wizard to learn more about how to protect your home.

Hopefully you know about smoke alarms, but if you don’t here’s a video and an information page. (Actually even if you do know about smoke alarms the page is worth a look, not once did the fire safety talks at my school tell me there are two types of smoke alarms that detect different kinds of smoke!) If you don’t have smoke alarms in your home, at least one on every floor and outside sleeping areas, contact your local fire department. Some fire departments will come to your home to give you and install smoke alarms for free or at a discounted cost.

Now that we’ve covered those basics, did you know every year more than 3,500 Americans die in fires? Failure to have emergency escapes causes many of those deaths. Remember it only takes minuets for a house to be fully engulfed in flames. Make a plan today to help keep your family safe.  Visit the U.S. Fire Administration for more details and download their free grid to design your fire escape route. (While the fire department is there installing your smoke alarms, ask them to look over your fire escape route.)

If you have children be sure they understand their part in your family’s plan. Talk them through it, help them draw their own diagram, walk them through the steps and practice your plan with them often. Let them know what the house might look/smell like if there was a fire. Of course you don’t want to scare your child, but you want to help them understand what will happen and what they should/shouldn’t do. Click here for the U.S. Fire Administration’s infant and toddler fire safety campaign.

The last fire hazard I want to tell you about are electrical fires not caused from the already listed appliances. Electrical fires take the lives of about 280 people and injure almost a 1,000 each year in America. Some important causes are old/aging wiring, incorrectly installed wiring, and overloaded circuits. That means make sure that your TV, stereo, video game console, computer, etc are plugged in safely and don’t overload your circuits. Click here for information and tips. Also, as your home ages, its wiring can be damaged or wear out. Check out this article on This Old House about some wiring problems and fixes, but I recommend talking to an electrician first.

There is even more information on U.S. Fire Administration’s site. Here’s a link to all their home fire safety topics.

Be Advised, Not Surprised!

April

Tammy Nauman – 30

May

Chris Day – 8    Josh Anderson – 19    Mark Yeargin – 20

Julie Perkins – 21    Chrissy Kirkwood – 24

June

Alex Brandau – 2    Valencia Phillips – 20    Von Dotson – 24

Teresa Kidd – 29

July

Dan Elam – 2    Frank Miles – 2    Joi Sherrill – 4

Debra Waters – 8    Shelia Lunsford – 16    Jack Jernigan – 19

Anna Ashton – 21    Misty Sexton – 22

If your birthday isn’t listed, please let us know so we can celebrate it!

PHI Welcomes Reg!

We would like to introduce Reggie Patton to you! Reg is friendly, professional, and a phenomenal inspector! We are very excited and blessed to have him as a part of our team!

Reg is a native of Ohio but has lived in Murfreesboro for the last 3 decades. He has been serving the Middle Tennessee area with home inspections for almost 8 years. You can count on Reg to be prompt, professional, and proficient.

Spring Cleaning!

Let the cleaning commence!

Spring officially begins March 20th. Time to roll up the sleeves and get to work.

Spring is a great time to sell your home. Everything looks so beautiful with budding flowers and trees full of green leaves. But it can be overwhelming trying to get your home ready for buyers. This printable Spring cleaning checklist from Martha Stewart.com (it has some great tips on for window screen repair) is a good starting point for making your home fresh and ready, especially if you’ll still be occupying it before it sells.

Some things to look for and fix before they cause damage:

  • Check your roof for damaged shingles, look in the attic at the rafters for water stains or discoloration.
  • Look for cracks and imperfections in your home’s foundation and warped window panes.
  • Check the A/C system’s condensate drain hose, especially since we live in a humid climate. The hose can become clogged with algae and sediment, you can use a wet-vac to suction any blockage out from it.

If you want a more in depth to-do list for your home’s structural elements and systems; such as roof & attic, foundation, electrical system, plumbing, heating & air systems, etc., give us a call for a pre-listing inspection. We can give you a heads up on any issues or maintenance and give you recommendations and knowledge about how to take care of them. Not selling your home? We can still do an inspection for you to give you the knowledge to maintain your home and it’s value. 615-481-7293 or www.premierinmspectiontn.com

Keeping your home safe from mold this Spring.

Seasonal water damage isn’t as obvious as you may think. It doesn’t take a severe flood to do water damage to your home just increased saturation. March is the perfect time for a spring maintenance inspection. Spring’s rainy season can cause excessive household moisture exposure. One of the hazards of excessive moisture in a home is the growth of mold.

Follow these tips to keep the water out of your home.

  • Clear gutters and downspouts of debris ensuring that water will be pulled away from the roof and your home.
  • Fix those damaged shingles, warped window panes, and cracks in the foundation mortar are spots where moisture could seep into your home.
  • Drainage and slopes should flow away from the home’s foundation.

These tips are intended to be a first line of defense against the development of mold in your home. Following these steps – and reducing the amount of indoor moisture and humidity in your home – will help safeguard against the threat of mold.

Identify potential maintenance issues now before they become major repairs, but more importantly, family health issues. Call Premier Home Inspection today to test your home for Spring Moisture.   615-481-7293 or www.premierinmspectiontn.com

January

Brianna Morant 7th     Pat Edwards 17th

John D. Smith 27th     Dave Patton 23rd     Jerri Boldin 29th

Tish Alexander 31st

February

Shauna Mason 7th     Melissa Raymond 12th     Shanon Brusse 17th

Tiffany Fyke 18th

March

Kenny Silva 1st     Charlie Yates 14th     Debbie Bailey 14th

Debbie Flowers 18th     Mike Stuteville 18th

If your birthday isn’t listed, please let us know so we can celebrate it!

January= Radon Awareness Month!

The following information is taken from the EPA’s website.  For more information visit their website: http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/hmbyguid.html#1.a.

If you are concerned about Radon and would like to have your home tested please give us a call.  615-481-7293.  If you mention this blog you will receive $25 off!

Radon Has Been Found In Homes All Over the U.S.

Why should I test for Radon?

Radon is a radioactive gas that has been found in homes all over the United States. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Radon can also enter your home through well water. Your home can trap radon inside.

Any home can have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements. In fact, you and your family are most likely to get your greatest radiation exposure at home. That is where you spend most of your time.

Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the United States is estimated to have an elevated radon level (4 pCi/L or more). Elevated levels of radon gas have been found in homes in your state. Contact your state radon office for information about radon in your area.

b. EPA and the Surgeon General Recommend That You Test Your Home

Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon.

Test your home

You cannot predict radon levels based on state, local, and neighborhood radon measurements. Do not rely on radon test results taken in other homes in the neighborhood to estimate the radon level in your home. Homes which are next to each other can have different radon levels. Testing is the only way to find out what your home’s radon level is.

In some areas, companies may offer different types of radon service agreements. Some agreements let you pay a one-time fee that covers both testing and radon mitigation, if needed. Contact your state radon office to find out if these are available in your state.

U.S. Surgeon General Health Advisory

“Indoor radon gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and breathing it over prolonged periods can present a significant health risk to families all over the country. It’s important to know that this threat is completely preventable. Radon can be detected with a simple test and fixed through well-established venting techniques.” January 2005

Falling Back!

Don’t forget to set your clocks back an hour this Saturday night!  We gain an hour Sunday, yeah! 

Oh, the signs of fall….cooler temperatures, shorter days, and beautiful leaves!  Right behind fall is Old Man Winter!  Are you ready? Or better question is your house ready for winter?  Having an annual home maintenance inspection can help ensure that there is not deferred maintenance that causes problems for you down the road.  Give us a call and we can do a thorough inspection on your home to give you a comprehensive list of items that need to be address in order to keep your home safe and in tiptop shape.   The following tips borrowed from Signature Title will help you save money and protect your home during the upcoming winter months.

Those beautiful leaves we mentioned earlier are pretty to look at but can cause problems if they are clogging your gutters and downspouts.  Take time to clean out your gutters and downspouts to make sure that all water and snow this winter will be properly diverted away from your house.

Add insulation in your attic – Do you have enough insulation in your attic? The US Department of Energy has some helpful recommendations on insulation levels at their website. They even have a calculator that will tell you based on your zip code how much you should have in your home. When adding new insulation atop old insulation, don’t use the kind with paper backing. It forms a vapor barrier that can cause moisture problems in the existing insulation.

Maintain your ducts – You can lose up to 60% of your heat through ducts. If you’ve had your system for awhile, consider hiring a professional heating and cooling contractor to locate and seal areas where you may be losing warm air. If you’re in an especially cold climate and your ducts pass through unheated spaces like a basement, insulate them.

Reverse your fans – If your ceiling fans have reverse settings, run them in cold months; they’ll push warm air downward, circulating it throughout the room.

Block drafts – Cold air coming from beneath doors can waste up to 30% of your energy bill. Stuff a necktie or a scrap of fabric sewn into the shape of a tube with sand (or just roll up a towel) and lay it at the base of the door.

Lower the thermostat – For every degree you lower your thermostat, you can save up to 3% on your monthly heating bill.

Replace filters – Clogged air filters restrict airflow and add to your energy bill. Replace them once a month during the winter. Better yet, with reports suggesting that disposable filters trap as little as 10-40% of debris, consider replacing yours with a HEPA filter. HEPA filters can remove up to 99.97% of airborne particles.

Buy an energy monitor – There are two kinds of energy monitors. Smart Plugs plug into an individual outlet and calculate the amount of energy being used by a single appliance. Energy (or power) monitors for the whole house track energy usage at your breaker panel. You can find out in real time how much energy you’re using, how much it’s costing you, and how much you’ll save just by turning off an extra light or any appliances like laptops and televisions that have standby modes. Research has shown that people who use power monitors naturally become more aware of – and reduce – their usage. Shop your local home appliance store for an energy monitor and save on your overall power bill this winter.

And as we always say…. “Be Advised, Not Surprised!”

 

Summer Has Arrived

Summer brings lots of family fun, but two areas that are a big part of Summer are the Heat and Vacations! Premier Home Inspection would like to provide you with some tips for your home during the Summer months.

SUMMER HEAT IS HERE

The heat has arrived!  Half of the energy used in homes goes toward heating and cooling. Air conditioning systems are especially overworked this time of year, so it is important to check them on a regular basis to make sure they are in good condition and are functioning in an energy efficient way.

A central air conditioning system must be periodically inspected and maintained in order to function properly. While an annual inspection performed by a trained HVAC professional is recommended, homeowners can do a lot of the work themselves. So it is good idea for homeowners to keep an eye on their properties while also keeping some unique and helpful hot weather maintenance tips in mind. Here are a few items to put on the home maintenance checklist for the especially hot and humid time of year:

Clean the Exterior Condenser Unit and Components

The exterior condenser unit is the large box located on the side of the building that is designed to push heat from the inside of the building to the outdoors. Inside of the box are coils of pipe that are surrounded by thousands of thin metal “fins” that allow the coils more surface area to exchange heat — after turning off power to the unit!

Inspect the Condensate Drain Line

Condensate drain lines collect condensed water and drain it away from the unit.  They are located on the side of the inside fan unit. Sometimes there are two drain lines—a primary drain line that’s built into the unit, and a secondary drain line that can drain if the first line becomes blocked. Homeowners can inspect the drain line , which take very little time and require no specialized tools.

Clean the Air Filter

Air filters remove pollen, dust and other particles that would otherwise circulate indoors.  A dirty air filter will not only degrade indoor air quality, but it will also strain the motor to work harder to move air through it, increasing energy costs and reducing energy efficiency. The filter should be replaced monthly during heavy use during the cooling seasons. You may need to change the filter more often if the air conditioner is in constant use, if building occupants have respiratory problems, if you have pets with fur, or if dusty conditions are present.

 Make sure air vents are not blocked by drapes, carpeting or furniture.

• Anytime the unit makes loud noises or shows signs of rust, have it checked by an HVAC contractor to make sure it is working properly. If the unit is too old replacing it may be the right thing to do because inefficiently working air conditioners create much higher utility bills.

Protect your Investment!    Be Advised …Not Surprised!

 

GET YOUR HOME READY FOR VACATION

The car’s loaded, and you are ready to head off on your summer vacation.  Then, you begin to wonder, if you left the coffee pot on.  When you’re trying to get ready for vacation, taking some extra time to thoroughly prepare your house means you can enjoy your vacation without worrying about anything more than a sunburn and family fun.

However, according to the FBI, more burglaries are committed during the vacation months of July and August and during daylight hours.

A check list to prepare your home may include:

  • Contact a trusted friend to check your mail at least every two to three days and put it inside your house.
  • *Suspend your paper delivery for the length of your vacation. A pile of newspapers that have not been picked up off the front lawn is a sign for criminals.
  • Provisions for the cat/ dog/ plants left behind such as adequate water and food.
  • *Have an extra house key made to give to a family member or trusted friend who lives nearby in case of an emergency.
  • Unplug appliances including computer, TV, toaster, microwave and coffee maker while you are gone.  These appliances are still using power when you are away.  This will reduce your bill and avoid any hazards from a possible storm or power surge.
  • Turn your thermostat up as well to reduce energy use while away.
  • Alert your security company of your vacation dates.  Also, be sure and give your approved visitors (caring for your mail and pets) the security code and actions to take incase alarm accidentally goes off.
  • Finally, the walk through to confirm all windows and doors locked, lights off except the ones for security (always leave a light on for security).  Check all appliances and take out the trash. 

Have a safe summer!

Premier Home Inspection, LLC    www.premierinspectiontn.com

Be Advised, Not Surprised     615-481-7293

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April, National Home Inspection Month…Spring Issues

April is National Home Inspection Month

April showers bring May flowers….or flooded crawl spaces and basements! Seasonal water damage isn’t as obvious as you may think. It doesn’t take a severe flood to do water damage to your home just increased saturation. April is the perfect time for a spring maintenance inspection. Spring’s rainy season can cause excessive household moisture exposure. One of the hazards of excessive moisture in a home is the growth of mold.

Follow these tips to keep the water out of your home.

  • Clear gutters and downspouts of debris ensuring that water will be pulled from the roof and your home.
  • Look for damaged shingles, a warped window pane or cracked foundation mortar – spots where moisture could seep into your home.
  • Drainage and slopes away from the home’s foundation.

These tips are intended to be a first line of defense against the development of mold in your home. Following these steps – and reducing the amount of indoor moisture and humidity in your home – will help safeguard against the threat of mold. 

Identify potential maintenance issues now before they become major repairs, but more importantly, family health issues. Call Premier Home Inspection today to test your home for Spring Moisture.   615-481-7293 or www.premierinmspectiontn.com

HOME SAFETY FOR THE ELDERLY

Aging In Place Inspections

There is a saying “You get better with age.”  Does this apply to your home, a parent’s home or a grandparent’s home.  We tend to take care of all our daily needs but overlook the home. Our home should be a place where we can be safe from accidents and injuries. Statistics show that nearly one million people over age of 65 are treated in the hospital emergency rooms from accidents that have occurred in the home. You can make your home a safer more comfortable place to live.

Premier Home Inspection, LLC can provide a professional assessment of the condition of your home. We help you find any problem areas and potential hazardous concerns.  Taking some simple steps to correct these findings  may prevent an accident or injury.  Our inspectors may recommend corrections to adapt the home to improve accessibility, maneuverability and safety for occupants with special needs.

Changing Needs!

“Be Advised, Not Surprised”…Call us today! 615-481-7293

Is your attic access safe?

Typical Attic Access

Do you have an access point to your attic? Is yours like the one in the picture (left)? If so, you are not alone.  This is very common in single story homes, in garages, and even in two story homes.

It was a typical home inspection in every sense of the word.  Small house, less than 1700 square feet, built in the late 80’s on a crawlspace with a pull down ladder for access to the attic!  I am sure the owners have used that drop down ladder a before without incident but on this day it was a deadly accident waiting to happen.

On this particular day our inspector manages to get in the attic without a problem it is on the return trip down that the malfunction took place.  Just as he settled his second foot on the the top step the entire system, framing and all, fell completely out of the ceiling leaving the inspector dangling above the floor.  It was by the grace of God and his quick reflexes that he was able to catch himself by grabbing the rafters and prevent him from falling the 8 feet to the floor along with the pull down ladder system.  Thankfully he only suffered a minor cut and bruising.

Actually we see it all too often, that the attic access hatch is not properly installed.  Unfortunately you have to be in the attic before you can determine that it as improperly installed.  The scary scenarios of “what if” are endless.  What if a mom was climbing down with arms full of Christmas decor while the kids were running around below?  We don’t want to even think of those things.  Being able to detect and report such potentially harmful failures is why we do what we do.  From now on PHI will never use the attic access pull down ladder systems.  We will use our own ladders that are set secured in place!

If you are concerned about your attic access or other home maintenance issues please call us and ask us about our home maintenance inspections.  Maybe you are too busy, don’t know what to look for, or don’t want to take that risk (see pic right)!  Our inspections will generate an easy to read report giving you all the information you need to maintain a safe and sound home!  They say “Experience is the best teacher”, so let us put our experiences, even the scary ones, to work for you!  Call us today: 615-481-7293!