Fall 2009

All In One Home Inspection Newsletter

Clients For Life

Fall Newsletter Fall 2009
In This Issue
* Welcome
* Indoor Pool
* Fall Checklist
* Blog by Home Inspector Joseph Fleming III, PE

Joe action

Joseph Fleming III, PE – Owner – Home Inspector  

Joseph Fleming is a licensed Home Inspector in NJ and NY and a Professional Engineer. He is a member/director of the Garden State Chapter of the  American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

Mike Hoyt – Home Inspector 

Mike Hoyt is a licensed NJ Home Inspector.  He is a member of New Jersey Association of Licensed Professional Home Inspectors (NJ-ALPHI).  He has been in the construction field for over 20 years.

Quick Links

Welcome 

Welcome back to our seasonal newsletter! Fall is a busy season for most people. Schools and after school activities have begun. Besides that, it is the season of Halloween and Thanksgiving and getting ready for Holidays. Fall is the season in which you have to make sure that your home is ready for winter. Try to do as much as possible outside your home now that it’s still warm outside. But it’s also wise to check inside your home. We offer you our seasonal checklist to help you out. Our blog is written by owner Joseph Fleming III, PE.

Enjoy reading our newsletter!

 Indoor Pool 

Pool
This picture was taken in the attic of a Civil War-era home. Of course, the disclosure said the roof didn’t leak.  Not only was the kiddie pool catching water from a roof leak, but an elaborate gutter had been fabricated from aluminum coil stock.

                                                                    Source: ASHI Reporter Magazine February 2009 
If anyone has an interesting picture to share, please send it in.

 Fall Checklist 

Now that fall is here, a few things you want to check to make sure your home is ready for fall and winter. 
Use these checklists to make sure your home is ready for fall. Visit our website for a more detailed check list.

Inside the house:

 

System

Check

– Heating

Run the heating system before it gets cold out to see if there are any problems that need repair.

– Oil Heat

If you have oil heat, make sure you have oil scheduled for automatic delivery for the winter.

– Humidifier

If you have a furnace with a humidifier, now is the time to check it and turn it on for fall and winter.

Air Filters

If using disposable filters in your furnace, this is a good time to put in a fresh filter.

High and Low Supply Registers

If you have high and low heating registers in your home, set the registers for winter.

– Sump Pump

Test the sump pump to make sure it is still in operating condition.  Remember that it is still Hurricane season.

– Clothes Dryer

Clean any lint build up in the dryer exhaust duct. 

– Fireplace

Visually inspect wood burning fireplace fireboxes, dampers and flues prior to having the first fire of the season.

Outside the house: 

  

System

Check

– Yard Clean Up

As leaves fall from the trees try to avoid letting leaves build up against basement windows or the siding of the home.

– Air Conditioning

Cover the top of the exterior AC compressor unit to help keep leaves and debris out of the enclosure during the fall and winter.

Gutters, Downspouts and Leaders

Keep gutters clean and free of debris.  Install gutter screens to help keep leaves out.

– Electrical Outlets

Check the exterior wires, outlets and cover plates for wear, weathering and looseness.  Check to see that power is available at the exterior outlets.

– Roof

Inspect the roof for damage from trees, wind and vermin.  Look up at the roof from all angles at ground level.  

– Roof Vents

Check the gable vents, thermostatically controlled vents and passive attic vents for torn screens, old birds nests, abandoned bees nests and signs of leakage.  

– Chimney

A flue cap should be in place at the top of the chimney flue to keep out vermin, debris and moisture.

– Exterior, general

Visually check caulked and painted surfaces. Make repairs where caulk or paint is weathered or flaking off.

– Weather Stripping

Check and repair weather stripping on windows and doors. 

– Exterior, grounds

There should be no puddling or running water against the foundation during rain storms to help prevent leakage to basement areas.

– Plumbing

Turn off water to exterior spigots with their interior cut-off valves and drain the piping by opening the exterior valves. 

– Sprinklers, irrigation

Have the sprinklers professionally decommissioned for the season before temperatures go below freezing.

 Window & Wall AC Units

Remove window AC units and seal up wall mounted AC units to minimizes cold drafts from openings.

– Swimming Pool

Have a professional service perform the fall decommissioning to properly secure the pool and water conditioning systems.

For more seasonal maintenance tips, check the website from How to Operate Your Home. If you need help, call us for a referral (201-263-0040).

 Blog by Home Inspector Joseph Fleming III, PE 

Its been an interesting year.  As homeowners we survived the granite countertop and Chinese sheetrock scares discussed in earlier newsletters.  Both issues turned out to be non-events as most granite emits next to nothing for radiation or Radon gas and the sheetrock from China was imported mostly in the southern states. 
 
As a home inspector what do I see that concerns me in homes?  Humidity and moisture control in basements.  Its a fact that basements generally have higher levels of humidity than other parts of the home.  The earth around the home is always moist or damp.  The foundation cement or block is porous by nature and it tends to absorb the moisture or dampness of the surrounding earth.  The only place for the moisture or dampness to evaporate is on the inner wall of the foundation into the basement or crawlspace area.  This is where the trouble begins in the form of moisture damage and mold buildup in basement areas.  Generally, protecting a basement area from mold buildup is an exercise in moisture and humidity control.
 
Moisture control starts outside.  Make sure that gutters are clean and that there are leaders connected to downspouts that move rain water away from foundation areas.  There should be no puddling or running water against the foundation during rain storms.  Water that puddles or soaks into the soil next to the foundation will lead to leakage through cracks and crevasses or areas of elevated humidity.  You may need to regrade soil, walks or driveways where water puddles or runs against foundations.

If moisture comes into the basement periodically then consider having a French drain installed around the interior perimeter of the basement to catch and remove water trying to enter the home.  A French drain is a good idea if you plan to finish your basement.  The French drain will help protect your investment.
Avoid mounting wood paneling or sheet rock on foundation walls.  Build a stud wall 6" to 12" off the foundation wall to leave a gap for humidity to breath out from behind the wall.  Again, block or mortar foundation walls are porous by nature and will tend to hold a similar moisture content to the earth surrounding the foundation. 
Moisture captured in the foundation wall will evaporate into the interior spaces of basement causing a buildup in humidity.  If paneling or sheetrock is mounted directly on the foundation then the humidity will be trapped behind the finished wall which usually leads to damage from moisture, rot and the build up of mold. Moisture stains on the paneling and a musty moldy smell near the walls would be the first signs of moisture and mold build up behind finished surfaces.

Avoid installing carpet on cement basement floors.  Cement floors have a tendency to absorb moisture.  That moisture will evaporate through the carpet into the basement space causing moisture damage and mold build up in carpets. Ceramic tile floors and area rugs tend to work better.  The tile floors will let the moisture pass through to evaporate into the basement and area rugs are easily discarded if they become damaged from moisture or mold.

Avoid storing valuable items on basement floors or against walls to help prevent moisture and mold damage to those items.  Use shelving and plastic storage containers when possible. 

And, finally use a dehumidifier in basement areas to help keep humidity levels minimized.   Run the dehumidifier 24/7 and keep adjusted for humidity levels in the 50% to 60% range.  Dehumidifiers will not stop moisture from coming through the walls, but they will help keep humidity levels lower to help prevent mold growth.  Mold needs a food source and moisture.  Mold growth on biological surfaces (wood, paper and leather) tend to be minimized when humidity levels can be held below 65%.

Thank you

We’re always happy to help you with any questions or problems. Please keep referring us to your family, relatives, friends and neighbors. If you would like to read our previous newsletters, take a look at our website. If you have any suggestions for blog topics, please let us know.

All In One Home Inspection provides the following services:

  • Home Inspections
  • Commercial Inspections
  • Radon Tests
  • Wood Destroying Insect Exams
  • Air Quality Sampling (Mold Testing)

Area of Coverage:Area of Covergae

We cover the following counties in New Jersey: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Union and WarrenWe also cover Rockland county and the 5 boroughs of New York.

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Our philosophy is clients for life.

Contact Info

All in One Home Inspection, LLC
35 1ST AVENUE
WESTWOOD, New Jersey 07675
201-263-0040
www.allinonehomeinspection.com

Developed and maintained by Martha Schokker (rieneke_schokker@hotmail.com)

 

 

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