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Louisville Home Inspector "Are You Putting Your Foundation at Risk?"


You might not know it, but the integrity of your roof and gutter system can pose serious risks to the rest of your home.

That’s right, something as simple as clogged gutters can lead to major foundation damage that will endanger your home, personal belongings and most importantly, your family’s health. Anything and everything from that new pool table in your basement to those perfect spring flowers or your ability to breathe clean, mold-free air is put into jeopardy.

Louisville Home Inspector Talks Radon in Your Louisville KY Home


According to the EPA, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers in the United States and can be linked to up to 20,000 lung cancer deaths a year.

Although many homeowners have likely heard of radon, they do not necessarily know what it is or how it can harm their family. 

Spring Maintenance Checklist from Your Louisville Home Inspector

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18 things for you (or the handyman) to tackle now to help prepare your home for the warmer months and keep it in top shape.

If you’re still trying to catch up on that precious hour of sleep you lost last weekend, you’re probably not thinking too much about starting those annual spring cleaning chores—and there are plenty.

As you go about your annual spring-cleaning ritual, take a few additional steps to save money on energy bills this summer, improve your home's appearance and ward off big-ticket repairs later. 


Louisville Home Inspector Shares 4 Termite Prevention Methods


Termites cause over $5 billion in property damage each year.

Who hasn’t heard of termites? Sometimes they tunnel in through your home’s foundation. Sometimes they burrow through the walls. Full-blown infestations require expensive professional exterminators on top of repair costs. Steps can be taken to avoid these costs by preventing the wood-damaging pest from entering your home in the first place.

Here is some good advice every homeowner should follow. 

Find and fix water leaks both inside and outside your home. Like many living things, termites are drawn to water sources. Not just because they need it to drink, but because moisture can turn structural lumber into a food source. Any leaks around your home are going to make it easier for an infesting colony to thrive. Make sure you keep your gutters and waterlines clean. Also check for signs of roof leakage regularly. If leaks are repaired promptly, surrounding wood will dry up before it has a chance to rot.

Keep trees and shrubbery away from your home. Every termite’s favorite meal is decaying wood. Heavy vegetation breeds moisture, and it can be difficult to spot dead or dying vegetation if you let your shrubs get out of hand. When you notice dead branches on the trees in your yard, cut them off. You don’t want termites setting up camp anywhere near your home.

Don’t leave firewood or lumber supplies lying around the yard. If you lack indoor space for storing these things, create barriers to keep the wood from touching the ground. Using concrete slabs or metal stands are two examples. Specialized concrete supports are available at home improvement stores.

Avoid placing mulch too close to homes. Mulch provides both water and food for termites. Placing it too close to homes makes it that much easier for termites to infest your walls. Rubber mulch is an alternative to wood mulch. It has the look, feel and function of traditional mulch without being of any use to wood boring insects. It’s available at home repair stores. 

Termites are great at sneaking into human dwellings. While wooden structures are at higher risk for infestation, homes built of bricks and other materials should not be considered immune to termite damage.  They often rely on wood for rafters, framing and support beams. If you take steps to prevent termites from getting into your home, you won’t ever have to worry about getting rid of them. If you do ever come across termites in your home there are several pest control companies, such as Terminix, to provide extermination.   

Special thank to our guest blogger, Maya Rodgers, at maya@petsandpests.com for her great preventative information.

Louisville Home Inspector Shares How to Install a Ceiling Fan

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With just a little time, tools and know-how, installing a new fan yourself is a task that’s not out of reach.

Installing a ceiling fan in a room can provide a much needed breeze in the warm summer months as well as push heat down from the ceiling in the colder winter months. With all of the ceiling fan options available today, they are not only functional but decorative.
What you will need 
  • Proper size ceiling fan for the room
  • Ceiling fan mounting kit – may be included with the fan
  • Ladder that is tall enough to allow the installer’s head to reach the ceiling
  • Tools: wire cutters/strippers, screwdrivers, pliers
  • Wire nuts – often referred to as wire connectors
  • Electrical tape
  • Electrical tester – to make sure the wires are not “hot” when you’re working with them
  • Safety glasses
Determining the Correct fan Size

There’s nothing worse than having a fan that’s too small for the room it is in. In order to make sure you are getting the correct size fan for the space you will need to measure the length and width of the largest part of the room. 
  • For rooms 12 feet or less use a 36-inch fan
  • For rooms that are between 12 feet and 15 feet use a 42-inch diameter fan
  • For rooms that are over 15 feet use a 52-inch fan
Preparing for Installation
  1. Remove the old fixture or existing ceiling fan. It is a good idea to turn off the power to the fixture prior to beginning the process. If possible, place a tag on the electrical panel to ensure others know why the power is off.
If you are planning to install a ceiling fan where there is not an existing fixture, you may need to enlist the assistance of a professional electricianas additional wiring will need to be run to the location you have chosen. In addition, a professional electrician will be able to determine whether or not any additional electrical repair is needed prior to beginning the installation process.
  1. Remove the new ceiling fan from the box and display the parts in an area where they are safe. Use the included instructions to remove the mounting bracket from the motor of the fan, according to the instructions. The mounting bracket will be placed on the electrical box in the ceiling and secured using screws. Prior to screwing the mounting bracket in place, make sure the electrical wires have been pulled through the bracket.
  2. Choose the mounting hardware. Is the fan going to be installed on a downrod or close mounted to the ceiling? Follow the package instructions to install the downrod. For close mounted fans, the following applies:
  3. Make sure the screws and washers are removed from the top of the decorative mount that will be flush with the ceiling.   
  4. Run the wires through the decorative mount and secure the mount or canopy to the mounting bracket with the screws that were removed in step 1 above.  
  5. Attach all wires to one another, following the instructions that were included with the fan. Normally, same-colored wires will be connected to one another. Secure all connections with wire nuts or wire connectors. 
Make sure all connections are secure and all screws are tightened.

Now it’s time to attach the blades to the fan. Begin by screwing the bracket onto the blade, and then screwing the bracket into the correct position on the fan. Repeat the process for every blade. Ceiling fans that have lights will need to have the globe or globes and light bulbs installed as well. Make sure the bulbs are the appropriate wattage for the fan.Turn the power back on and check that the fan works. If the ceiling fan is not working you will need to check the ceiling fan wiring.
Installing a ceiling fan is a great project for the do-it-yourselfer. With a few tools and a little time, a ceiling fan can add a touch of class to any room.

Special thanks to our guest blogger, J Five Electric has a team of electricians in Plano, TX that specialize in ceiling fan installation, rewiring, and other electrical repairs.

What a Home Inspection Can Do For Your Louisville Home

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What a home inspection can do for you

A inspection of the house you want to buy helps identify not only safety concerns and failing structural elements but faulty mechanical systems and areas that soon may need maintenance.
You'll pay around $300 to $500 for an inspection, which can take two to three hours. The cost can vary based on your geographic region, and the size and age of the home. Requesting other services, such as septic and radon testing, will add to the fee.
"An inspection is money and time well-spent," Montanaro says. "If your inspector finds things that should be repaired, you can use that report as leverage to have them fixed or negotiate a lower price."
To help get the most from a home inspection, Salomon and Montanaro advice you to follow these steps:

Do your homework: Many contracts include a home-inspection deadline, so start shopping for an inspector when you qualify for a mortgage. This gives you time to find a qualified, professional inspector.

Look for the inspection clause: Before you sign a contract, make sure it includes a clause that makes your purchase contingent on the findings of an inspection with the inspector you choose. This can provide a way out of the contract if the inspector finds a major problem the homeowner won't address.
Make sure the clause is included even if the contract specifies an as-is sale, meaning the seller does not agree to make repairs. “If a seller's not willing to let you inspect the house, that's a big red flag,” Montanaro says.
Hire a pro: Shop around. Ask friends, neighbors and real estate agents for recommendations. For help online, check a national organization like the National Associaton of Certified Home Inspectors or the American Society of Home Inspectors has a database of its certified inspectors. 
Ask to see a sample report: Inspectors fill out reports, following checklists for different areas of a house. It should be clear and informative. Reports longer than 25 pages filled with lots of legal print — usually meant to protect the inspector against liabilities — raise a red flag. By the same token, a few pages aren't enough.
Accompany the inspector: Take notes and ask about maintenance issues you'll need to address, such as waterproofing the deck, caulking the siding, changing air filters and other matters.
Review the report: The inspector will send you a written report detailing his or her findings. Read it closely and ask questions to make sure you understand the condition of all areas of the home.
If your inspector finds a leaky roof, a faulty water heater or some other problem, you may have the right to ask the seller to correct it to your satisfaction or to lower the price. If the seller refuses, you may be able to break the contract without penalty. If a seller agrees either to make the repairs or offer to lower the price, take the money and then fix the problems yourself.

Special thanks to our friends at Brandpoint for information on this article. 

HomeMD Inspection Services offers a suite of home inspection services. Call us or visit us today at www.homemd.com 

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10 Ways to Protect Your Home from Burglars this Holiday Season


DIY Home Defense: 10 Ways to Protect Your Louisville Home From Burglars

Based on numbers from the FBI's annual crime report, there were an estimated 2.1 million burglaries in the United States in 2012. What's more, nearly 75% of those crimes took place at residential properties. And, while those statistics reflect a slight drop in burglary rates, the numbers are still a wake-up call for every safety-conscious renter and homeowner in the country.

In 2012, for the Louisville metropolitan area, there were over 55,000 property crimes, burglaries and larceny-theft crimes alone in 2012.
Surprisingly, most burglaries aren’t random. Rather, thieves use an active and careful selection process to target homes with specific vulnerabilities. Since the best defense is a good offense, now is the time to do a security check of your own home and look for weaknesses that might make it attractive in all the wrong ways.

And as you do, keep in mind these 10 DIY ways to protect your Louisville, KY home from burglary.

1. Beef Up Doors

As a rule, all exterior doors should be solid wood or metal-clad with a wood core. Anything less doesn't offer protection against break-ins. Burglars can easily kick in hollow-core or thinner wood-panel doors, completely compromising your home's security. Refer to the The Family Handyman's step-by-step guide on replacing an exterior door for details on installing a more secure exterior door. (See also: A Cheap Alternative to a Home Alarm System)

2. Deadbolt It

A quality door deserves a quality lock, and that starts with a deadbolt. Deadbolts are more difficult to tamper with and offer an essential first line of defense against intruders gaining access to your home. According to home security tips from The Blog by Allstate, homeowners should install a deadbolt to each exterior door and make sure that the bolt portion of the lock has at least a one inch reach inside the door frame. The DIY Network offers a great guide on how to install a deadbolt lock yourself.

3. Reinforce Glass Near Entry Points

  1. Doorways framed by narrow and tall windows are an attractive design feature in many contemporary homes, but they're not great for home defense. 
  2. Glass near entryways can be broken and provide easy access to locks and other security devices. 
  3. Security professionals suggest bulking up these types of windows by adding quarter-inch clear Plexiglas panels attached securely to the wall or solid window frame.A safety note here: Reserve the Plexiglass shields for windows around doorways or other non-essential decorative windows. Installing them throughout your home can interfere with exit points if there's a fire.

4. Add Motion-Sensitive Lighting

Take away burglars' biggest advantage — the cover of darkness. Motion-sensitive exterior lighting is activated by even the slightest movement, serving to surprise intruders and provide a visual alarm to the rest of the neighborhood.

5. Landscape Defensively

Make your home less appealing to burglars by keeping vegetation trimmed. Trees, shrubbery, and tall grasses close to your home provide the perfect camouflage for intruders— offering ideal places to hide and cover the traces of a break-in. Pruning shrubs is a free offensive move and the results are immediate. Reserve a few hours next weekend to strategically cut back overgrown hedges, trees, and other greenery.

6. Cover It Up

Burglars often shop their targets before break-ins, peeking in windows to gauge the value of what's inside. Shutting blinds and drawing drapes, especially when no one's home, can help keep the contents of your home away from prying eyes.

7. Stash the Trash

One of the burglary prevention tips from Houselogic.com urges homeowners to be more aware of the trash they set at the curbside. Burglars are busy on trash day, scouting for boxes and other packaging that may signal expensive new purchases. Don't advertise that new 50" flat screen TV you bought by displaying the box curbside. Instead, break packages down, seal in garbage bags, and mix with other refuse.

8. Add Interior Timers

Again, home security advice from The Blog by Allstate stresses the importance of making your home look occupied at all times. Typically, burglars want to avoid a face-to-face confrontation, instead targeting homes where there's an obvious vacancy. Connect timers to interior lights, TVs, and radios. Set lights to come on about hour before sunset and have TVs and radios activate periodically throughout the day.

9. Watch Your Paper Trail

Just as boxes from big ticket items advertise what's inside your home, mail and newspapers piling up advertise that you're out of town. Keep your comings and goings low-profile by holding your mail and stopping and newspaper delivery while you're out of town. If you have a sudden trip and don't have time to prepare, ask a trusted neighbor to collect these deliveries for you and hold them until you return. 

10. Get to Know Your Neighbors

There's safety in numbers. Work to build a sense of community between your neighbors. Without being intrusive, get to know names, recognize faces, identify cars, and become familiar with general schedules, etc. Understanding the pattern and flow of your neighborhood can help everyone notice the anomalies that sometimes indicate trouble. (See also: How to Boost Your Neighborhood and Your Home's Value)Home defense doesn't have to cost a fortune. There are some simple and valuable measures every homeowner can take to make their spaces more secure. With a critical eye, some basic planning, and a few weekend projects, you can make your home safer and build a bit more peace-of-mind in the process.

There are a lot of tips for home and neighborhood security available at the National Sheriff’s Association Neighborhood Watch website, including a checklist for keeping your home safe while you’re away on vacation. And good ol’ McGruff the Crime Dog has a whole section of his website devoted for home security tips for kids.

Remember to use good common sense when leaving your Louisville, KY home. Lock those doors, leave your porch lights on at night, look out for your neighbors and for their property....No matter what Louisville neighborhood you live in.
Special thanks to Kentin Waits for the useful guidelines for protecting our homes and the Louisville Police Department crime point data for identifying areas of concern.

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15 Essential Tools Every Homeowner Should Own

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15 Tools Every Homeowner Should Own

The following items are essential tools, but this list is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to ask an InterNACHI inspector during your next inspection about other tools that you might find useful. 
1.  Plunger
A clogged sink or toilet is one of the most inconvenient household problems that you will face. With a plunger on hand, however, you can usually remedy these plumbing issues relatively quickly. It is best to have two plungers -- one for the sink and one for the toilet.
2.  Combination Wrench Set
One end of a combination wrench set is open and the other end is a closed loop. Nuts and bolts are manufactured in standard and metric sizes, and because both varieties are widely used, you’ll need both sets of wrenches. For the most control and leverage, always pull the wrench toward you, instead of pushing on it. Also, avoid over-tightening.

3.  Slip-Joint Pliers
Use slip-joint pliers to grab hold of a nail, a nut, a bolt, and much more. These types of pliers are versatile because of the jaws, which feature both flat and curved areas for gripping many types of objects. There is also a built-in slip-joint, which allows the user to quickly adjust the jaw size to suit most tasks.

4.  Adjustable Wrench
Adjustable wrenches are somewhat awkward to use and can damage a bolt or nut if they are not handled properly. However, adjustable wrenches are ideal for situations where you need two wrenches of the same size. Screw the jaws all the way closed to avoid damaging the bolt or nut.

5.  Caulking Gun
Caulking is the process of sealing up cracks and gaps in various structures and certain types of piping. Caulking can provide noise mitigation and thermal insulation, and control water penetration. Caulk should be applied only to areas that are clean and dry.
6.  Flashlight
None of the tools in this list is of any use if you cannot visually inspect the situation. The problem, and solution, are apparent only with a good flashlight. A traditional two-battery flashlight is usually sufficient, as larger flashlights may be too unwieldy.
7.  Tape Measure
Measuring house projects requires a tape measure -- not a ruler or a yardstick. Tape measures come in many lengths, although 25 feet is best.  Measure everything at least twice to ensure accuracy. 
8.  Hacksaw
A hacksaw is useful for cutting metal objects, such as pipes, bolts and brackets. Hacksaws look thin and flimsy, but they’ll easily cut through even the hardest of metals. Blades are replaceable, so focus your purchase on a quality hacksaw frame.
9. Torpedo Level
Only a level can be used to determine if something, such as a shelf, appliance or picture, is correctly oriented. The torpedo-style level is unique because it not only shows when an object is perfectly horizontal or vertical, but it also has a gauge that shows when an object is at a 45-degree angle. The bubble in the viewfinder must be exactly in the middle -- not merely close.

10.  Safety Glasses / Goggles
For all tasks involving a hammer or a power tool, you should always wear safety glasses or goggles. They should also be worn while you mix chemicals.

11.  Claw Hammer
A good hammer is one of the most important tools you can own.  Use it to drive and remove nails, to pry wood loose from the house, and in combination with other tools. They come in a variety of sizes, although a 16-ounce hammer is the best all-purpose choice.

12.  Screwdriver Set
It is best to have four screwdrivers: a small and large version of both a flathead and a Phillips-head screwdriver. Electrical screwdrivers are sometimes convenient, but they're no substitute.  Manual screwdrivers can reach into more places and they are less likely to damage the screw.
13.  Wire Cutters
Wire cutters are pliers designed to cut wires and small nails. The side-cutting style (unlike the stronger end-cutting style) is handy, but not strong enough to cut small nails.

14.  Respirator / Safety Mask
While paints and other coatings are now manufactured to be less toxic (and lead-free) than in previous decades, most still contain dangerous chemicals, which is why you should wear a mask to avoid accidentally inhaling. A mask should also be worn when working in dusty and dirty environments. Disposable masks usually come in packs of 10 and should be thrown away after use. Full and half-face respirators can be used to prevent the inhalation of very fine particles that ordinary facemasks will not stop.
15.  Duct Tape
This tape is extremely strong and adaptable. Originally, it was widely used to make temporary repairs to many types of military equipment. Today, it’s one of the key items specified for home emergency kits because it is water-resistant and extremely sticky.

Special thanks to Nick Gromicko from 15 Tools Every Homeowner Should Own - InterNACHI http://www.nachi.org/15-tools.htm#ixzz2jmHUCabH

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7 Signs You May Have a Drainage Problem in Your Louisville Home


Finding drainage problems when they’re smaller and easier to fix can save you thousands of dollars and plenty of headaches down the line.

You don’t have to be a geophysicist to know that puddles in the basement or a lake on the front lawn are signs of drainage problems. But many drainage problems aren’t so obvious. Here’s how the pros at Houselogic read some of the more subtle signs of bad drainage, and why you’ll save big bucks if you tackle these problems now instead of later.

How Old is Your Home and the Stuff in It?



Often when we buy a home, we can fairly easily ascertain when the home was built and even when additions or renovations were made, but how can you tell the approximate age of many household components and appliances in the home? Here are some tricks you may not know about that can help you determine the age of the "stuff" in your house.

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