June is National Safety Month

June is National Safety Month


A home inspection is a great way of allowing homeowners and home buyers to learn about minor and major issues within a home. In honor of National Safety Month in June, we want to highlight some important safety factors that are commonly documented during a thorough home inspection.
 

 A home inspection not only exposes obvious defects found in a home, but also focuses a great deal on aspects of a home that can become a safety hazard for the residents if periodic evaluation or maintenance is neglected.  Problems like electrical issues, elevated radon levels, faulty equipment, mold growth, water quality and lead-based paint can cause serious health risks and safety issues for residents—and often go unnoticed to the untrained individual.  

Here are just a few safety issues a qualified home inspector will identify to help protect and ensure the health and safety of you and your clients.  

  • Electrical Risks:  According to research by Electrical Safety Foundation International 51,000 fires are caused due to electrical failure and malfunction. Many issues, including faulty outlets and outdated or improper wiring in electrical panels, can wreak havoc if not properly identified and addressed. Having defective electrical components in the home can also lead to increased risk of fire that can cost a homeowner thousands of dollars and worse, can also put residents at risk of getting seriously injured.

    A qualified home inspector will check electrical panels, wiring and other electrical components of the home to ensure the equipment is safe and performing properly. 

    Radon Gas:  This radioactive gas is found in numerous U.S. households due to several factors, including Uranium deposits in the soil and well water. Colorado’s terrain ranks 7th highest in the US in regards to finding high levels of radon with nearly 7 out of 15 homes subject to levels above the EPA recommended acceptable standard of 4.0pCi/L.

    The presence of Radon can prove to be fatal to the residents of the house, which is why identifying the problem at its earliest is extremely important.  Radon gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the world, followed by smoking. A radon test is highly recommended with most transactions or to ensure the safety of your residence.

     

  • Smoke Detectors:  A smoke detector is another crucial safety device that should be installed according to current standards in all residential and commercial structures. Thousands of deaths occur each year due to smoke inhalation and fire.

    The placement of smoke detectors also plays a critically important role in the safety of residents. A single smoke detector/fire alarm in the living room will not immediately alert you about the fire in the kitchen or elsewhere in the home.  It is critical to test your smoke detectors on a monthly basis. Smoke detectors are recommended by the U.S. Product Safety Commission to be installed inside each bedroom and adjoining hallway and on each living level of the property and basement level.  A qualified home inspector will check to ensure that your smoke detectors are placed and working properly. 

     

  • Carbon Monoxide: Carbon monoxide is produced when most common fuel sources are burned. Whether it’s a grilling session with the family or to fuel your car or truck, carbon monoxide is always present.  Carbon monoxide can be fatal to people and animals once it makes its way into the home’s breathable air.

    Carbon monoxide detectors are used to alert residents to the presence of this gas. Many newer models combine both smoke and CO detection.  No matter the combination, a quality home inspector will evaluate for the presence and functionality of these important safety devices.  

    Carbon monoxide detector(s) should be placed within 15 feet from each sleeping area where they can wake occupants from sleeping in the event of a leak.  Placing additional detectors on every level and in every bedroom of a property provides extra protection. Property owners should remember not to install carbon monoxide detectors directly above or beside fuel-burning appliances, as appliances may emit a small amount of carbon monoxide upon start-up. A detector should not be placed within fifteen feet of heating or cooking appliances or in or near very humid areas such as bathrooms. 

     

  • Mold:  Mold is a type of fungus that grows in our natural environment when exposed to excess water. Mold spores–tiny microscopic seeds–can be found virtually everywhere, including in homes. They waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually and can grow on home and building materials and furnishings. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting. When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or un-addressed. The key to preventing mold growth is to control moisture intrusion. 

     
    Axium’s certified mold inspectors will perform a visual mold inspection, utilizing sophisticated moisture detection equipment to determine areas in your home that may be conducive to mold growth. They then take the proper types of samples in the proper locations within your Colorado home and provide the most accurate mold testing lab results. 
     

  • Lead Testing:  Older homes are notorious for lead-based paint and the use of lead in other areas.  Lead is toxic to everyone with babies being at the highest risk for health issues.  A few additional concerns with lead exposure include: learning and behavioral disabilities, slowed growth, hearing issues and premature birth in pregnant women.  A qualified Lead Inspector will have the necessary training and equipment to determine whether a home or business is safe from the dangers of lead paint.  

     

  • Water Quality: Colorado homes utilize wells in many areas and Well Water Testing is essential to these homes. Ensuring your water quality is high is important for your health and your pocket. A qualified inspector can provide tests to make sure your water is not contaminated with improper levels, coliform bacteria or even radon.

For More Information:

Axium offers a large menu of ancillary services in addition to home and commercial inspections.  

Call us at 720-740-2338 to schedule an inspection today!

Have You Had Your Home Tested in The Last 2 Years For Radon Gas?

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WHAT IS RADON GAS and WHY SHOULD I PERFORM RADON GAS TESTING?

Radon gas testing is imperative for home health. However, one of the questions I frequently get asked is “What is Radon?”. One of my biggest concerns is the lack of general awareness surrounding this dangerous gas. Radon is a radioactive, cancer causing gas that is odorless, tasteless, and colorless. It is completely undetectable except through approved testing techniques. Friends, families, and clients often have elevated levels for years before thinking better of it and testing their home. Radon is caused by the breakdown of uranium in the soils. This creates the radioactive gas – radon – that is attributed to causing almost 21,000 deaths per year according to the EPA. Radon gas is classified as noxious throughout the U.S.A. Your home acts as a trap for radon gas, allowing it to build up and preventing it from dissipating into the air naturally. Radon can enter through unsealed crawl spaces, cracks in floors and foundation, and also through the water supply. Something I often hear is that a new home shouldn’t have radon. However, I will tell you from experience in my own home, it doesn’t matter how old or new, radon levels vary from property to property. Radon levels at or above 4.0pCi/L are harmful over long periods of time in your home, and the EPA recommends mitigation at or above these levels. The EPA and Surgeon General issued a health advisory stating the potential life-threatening risk of radon, and the importance of testing your home.

“You should test for radon. 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.”

– EPA, “A Citizen’s Guide to Radon” The sooner you start your testing process; the sooner you can fix the problem if you have it. You may not notice, but your home could be giving you lung cancer, and as your neighbor, I hope you will make the call to get tested, even if it’s not with my company. For more information on radon, visit EPA.gov/radon or my company’s website: AxiumInspections.com, or feel free to call the office, and we would be happy to answer any and all questions you may have.

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WHY SHOULD I PERFORM RADON GAS TESTING EVERY 2 YEARS?

Many people will perform radon gas testing when they are purchasing their home. When the find the levels are low, they won’t think they have a problem. However, every year things in your home change. From your foundation settling, to new cracks, there are many things that can cause your levels to increase. 

The EPA recommends retesting every two years. You should test even if you have a mitigation system. We utilize a third-party tester, The Radon Testing Company, who would be pleased to provide you a test. 

7 Common Defects We Find In A New Home

We continuously get new home owners ask about why they would need a home inspection for a brand new home. While buying a new home guarantees you will have less problems, it NEVER means you have will have none. Building is not a perfect science. While builders know what they are doing and are generally great at it, it is easy to make big mistakes which have huge monetary and safety impacts. This is also true during times of a 1-year Warranty Inspection.

Read Below To View Our List of Common Defects

All of which are found in new homes and during a 1-year Warranty Inspection.

Without getting your home inspected, you set yourself up for numerous hassles. You will have to call the builder and arrange for them to come out and look at defects. They come out. They need to arrange a subcontractor, arrange with you to be home, let them in, maybe take off work. You don’t want to be calling the builder every day, having them come in multiple times to fix all of the small repairs needed in your house. You don’t want to have to deal with this every week of the first year in your new home. We’ve had clients who’ve had to do this once a week. If you find 30 defects during the first year, that’s a lot of calling and time off.

Instead, get your home inspected throughout the building process and before the one-year warranty is up!

New Home Construction
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Structural Issues

Structural issues are costly and dangerous. We have inspected many homes with structural issues you would never expect to look for. Many times, the builder is installed an AC or furnace system and they can cut attic trusses are structural beams. When workers need to run a heating duct or pipe, they could accidentally cut through a floor joist or an I-beam, or even move a support that is in the way of their piping.

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Roofing, Flashing, and Wall Issues

We find issues with roofing and flashing often when inspecting new builds and homes that are one-year old. These issues are not apparent until damage is too extensive to be a quick and easy fix. Leaking into your attic and home from issues with roofing can cause not only costly repairs, but health issues including mold.

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Engineered Wood Floors

Engineered wood floor improperly installed in a basement can cause MAJOR cost to you if you do not catch it before issues arise. The concrete floors can be improperly sealed and not with the right number of coats underneath. This has a high potential for moisture to intrude and create cupping and curling in the wood. More seriously, it can become a breeding ground for mold. This will be found during a new build inspection and a 1-year Warranty Inspection. Another issue we run into with hardwood flooring is the finish being improperly done. This means the builder had to come back out to resand, refinish, and revarnish the entire floor of the home. All furniture will have to be moved out, and you and your family will have to find some “great” in-laws to stay with.

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Safety Issues

Structural and cosmetic issues are one thing, but mistakes made during the building process could put your family’s safety at serious risk. On multiple occasions, our inspectors have found flue pipes disconnected in the walls. This emits carbon dioxide and other gases into your home’s attic, closets, basement, mechanical rooms, and more.

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Electrical Hazards

When inspecting new homes, we have found wires left cut or unsecured; these can spark and cause a fire.  Main electrical disconnect pipes have been inspected and confirmed they have settled. A coupler disconnected from under the service panel & putting stress on the main electrical panel can create arcing and huge issues. These items all happened after the electrical inspections and could have been a major fire hazard.

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Elevated Levels of Radon

Many homeowners assume that only old homes have elevated levels of radon. This is far from the truth. The soil new homes are being built on often contributes to high levels in these communities. Plus, Colorado is a Zone Red State, meaning ALL counties and homes have the potential for elevated levels – whether the home is not even finished being built or 100 years old.
Your family’s safety is important to protect. If you don’t know you have high levels, you can’t protect them.
If you get a radon test and the results come back elevated, you can often get it subsidized by your Builder if it is before your one-year warranty is up. Don’t delay. Protect your family, and get your home tested for radon today during your 1-year Warranty Inspection.

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Small, Costly Long Term Issues

There are numerous issues we find that don’t automatically equate to immediate problems or necessary repairs. Issues like small flashing areas being forgotten on roofs or exterior walls can build up and years later you will find rotting siding, ceilings, and structural wood, along with mold. This among many other issues present commonly without the homeowner’s awareness until it is too late. To prevent this, you have to get a new home inspected and opt for a 1-year Warranty Inspection.

View Pricing for New Build and 1-year Warranty Inspection

Post-Inspection Tips for Buyers

Post-Inspection Tips for Buyers

Post-Inspection Tips for Buyers

So your home inspection results are in and now’s the time to start making decisions! You might be appalled at all the hidden things in need of repair, or you might be relieved that your biggest fears didn’t come true.

But before you get ahead of yourself, remember that buyers have several options available to them at this point in the process:

  • Request that the seller make repairs
  • Request that the seller pay for you to make repairs
  • Don’t do anything and accept the home “as is”
  • Back out of the deal

Unfortunately, negotiating repairs can turn into emotional debates and hard feelings that can kill the sale. Here are some post-inspection tips for buyers to keep in mind.

Ask A Lot Of Questions

Buying a home is a huge investment, and you should feel free to ask as many questions as you want…even if you think they might be obvious or silly. Part of a home inspector’s job is to answer your question and explain the repair issues to you, and that’s what you’re paying him for!

Pay Attention to Plumbing

Plumbing issues are some of the most common repairs needed, so ask your seller about the history of plumbing repairs in the home and if any warranties exist. Make sure your home inspector pays attention to the condition and age of the hot water heater, toilets, sump pump, and leaks in the faucets, refrigerator, toilets, and showers.

Contact a Specialist about Other Concerns

A home inspector’s job is to check out the foundation, exterior surfaces, grounds, roof, attic, electrical system, plumbing, appliances, HVAC system, basement and garage. However, there are a few important things that the standard home inspection leaves out.

Some of these things include lead paint, toxic mold, asbestos, radon, termites, and swimming pools. If you are buying an older home or have concerns based upon your observations, contact a specialist right away to protect yourself and avoid costly repairs down the road.

Price Out the Repairs

Carefully review the inspection report and make a list of the repairs that you need fixed and a list of the repairs that it would be nice to have fixed. Then take a trip to your local home improvement store and start pricing out the major components. Although you can get expert advice on estimated prices as well, this is a good exercise to understand how repair costs add up.

Ask for Credit to Make Your Own Repairs

For just a moment, put yourself into the shoes of the seller and think about how you would feel if you had to make a slew of costly and time-consuming repairs right when you’re ready to move out and move on. Is your seller has already packing and thinking of moving into his new home? If you feel like your seller is in a rush to get out, ask for a credit to make the repairs yourself so that they get the time and attention they deserve.

Remember the Other Potential Buyers

Until the contract is signed, the deed is transferred, and the money sent, your dream home is still in limbo. Don’t get so caught up in the repair negotiations that you forget about competing with other potential buyers for the house.

According to Brendon Desimone, author of Next Generation Real Estate: New Rules for Smarter Home Buying & Faster Selling, “Prior to signing the real estate contract, your main concern is that you may be competing with other buyers. Once you’re in escrow and doing inspections, however, it’s just you and the sellers. Stay on your toes. Otherwise, you may risk losing out on further viable negotiation opportunities, which could lead to buyer’s remorse.”

Keep a Poker Face

Keep a “poker face” during the post-inspection negotiations – especially in the presence of the listing agent. Resist the urge to gush about how much you love the house and don’t mind fixing it up, because your words could be used against you and cost you in repair credit. If you plan on renovating certain parts of the home, keep it to yourself. Sellers may not be as willing to credit you for repairs if you’re just going to redo it later anyway.

 

Nicole DeLeon is with HomeCity Real Estate and is writing for Axium to provide us the inside scoop on the real estate transaction.