When you think of air quality and pollution your mind probably sees industrial smokestacks, trucks spouting out dark smoke and cars packed together at rush-hour. But, did you know that the air quality within your home may actually be worse than outdoor air quality?
If you’re like most Americans you spend a significant amount of your time, upwards of 90% indoors, where, according to the EPA, pollutants can be as much as two to five times higher than outdoor particulate concentrations. These pollutants can lead to respiratory problems such as allergies and asthma as well as increased headaches, lack of focus, and fatigue.
Here are 7 ways to improve air quality in your home:
Keep Moisture Levels in Check
Mold, especially black mold, not only leaves behind a bad smell and looks unsightly, but it can also be very dangerous. Toxic black mold is more likely to appear in warm, humid, and damp locations within your home. As such it is important to pay special attention to areas that are likely to see water leaks such as where water pipes connect, under your sinks, behind your toilet near and around your shower, around windows, and in your basement. If you find a leak, small or large, clean up what you can and repair the area.
Dust gathers in some of the most inconspicuous areas of your home, meaning that you may have dust pockets you don’t even know exist. For instance, when was the last time you dusted the top of your kitchen cabinets, bookshelves or blinds? Over time this dust will slowly be released into the air causing a nearly endless supply of allergens.
Add Indoor Plants
Many people don’t realize how well indoor plants can improve your home’s indoor air quality through air purification and increasing your home’s oxygen levels. For many people this air purification provides an additional benefit with improved sleep. Here are some plants that are suggested to help the overall air quality of your home and help you sleep.
Ventilation is important as it removes stagnant air and keeps your home with consistently fresh air which helps keep particulates from gathering. This means opening screened windows when it is nice outside and keeping your AC and heating units running properly. Installing or having portable fans available will also help.
Get a mold inspection
It’s interesting how many people will see the signs of mold, but not get a mold inspection to identify areas of your home that can be affected by mold. Mold can be dangerous and from minor allergies to significant respiratory problems your health can be at risk. You should get a mold inspection if your allergies or asthma worsen, the air seems damp, or you can smell a musty odor.
Keep your air conditioners and filters clean
In addition to good ventilation it is important to maintain your ventilation units by replacing air filters. Your AC will keep air-flow in your home, keep your home dry, and help to remove pollens, impurities and particulates. But unclean filters can become so congested that it prevents what the unit is designed to do.
Buy Beeswax Candles
One unique way to remove impurities from the air is to burn beeswax candles. As these candles burn, they release negative ions which causes the positively charged ions of dust and pollutants to either be released from suspension in the air or become attracted to the candles.
Clean Your Linens Regularly
It’s important to keep your home clean so that dust and particulates don’t gather, but how often do you clean your couch, chairs and other fabrics in your home? From animals who leave behind dander to dust mites that cause respiratory irritations it is important to keep your home fabrics as clean as you do your own clothes.
The World Health Organization estimates that 10% to 50% of residential homes and commercial buildings have damp conditions. That means up to 50% of buildings worldwide could provide ripe environments for mold to grow and thrive.
Mold can slowly destroy your home and your belongings. If you have a mold allergy, you can expect uncomfortable symptoms like nasal congestion, watery eyes, and more. Plus, it’s just plain gross to look at.
Of all the rooms in your home, having mold in your bedroom is one of the most high-risk, simply due to the significant amount of time you spend in there asleep, exposing yourself to mold.
Whether you own or rent your home, it’s up to you to protect yourself from mold exposure by preventing mold growth and removing it promptly whenever you find it. Keep reading to learn more about mold, how to prevent and remove it from your bedroom, and how to recognize the symptoms of mold exposure so you can enjoy mold-free sleep.
What is mold?
DEFINITIONMold is a type of fungus. It can live outdoors or indoors, any time of year, as long as it has a damp, warm environment. All it needs to thrive is humidity.
Due to their high levels of moisture, bathrooms and basements are the most likely rooms in a home to harbor mold, but mold can grow anywhere – including your bedroom.
When mold reproduces, it forms spores that travel through the air, enabling mold to spread throughout the area. These spores can survive even when they’re in a dry area not conducive to growing mold. Once the area develops moisture, the mold will grow.
There are different kinds of mold, but the ones you’re most likely to encounter at homeinclude cladosporium, penicillium, aspergillus, alternaria, and stachybotrys chartarum.
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A home inspection and appraisal are two inevitable steps in almost every real estate transaction.
Picture a licensed expert combing through your house, taking note of its size and amenities, jotting down remarks about its condition. So, which one is this? Is it an inspection or is it an appraisal?
Without a doubt, these two processes can cause some confusion. One can easily be mistaken for the other.
Colleen Harding from Income Realty Corporation, a local real estate and property management company, explained what’s the difference between them. Keep reading to find out.
What Is A Home Inspection?Simply put, a home inspection is an assessment of the home. The inspection is carried out by a qualified and trained home inspector.
A home inspection focuses on the performance of the home, rather than cosmetic, code or design issues. It’s often but not always performed at the time of the sale of the home.
It looks at the features a buyer or seller may be considering, including structural issues, foundational issues, and those areas a flipper or rehabber may be trying to hide.
The following are common issues a professional inspector looks at:
For this reason, many buyers require these inspections to be done prior to buying a home.
This inspection checks the chimney for top to bottom for cracks, defective flashing, broken caps, creosote, and soot build-up. Inspectors also check for leaks.
Leaks occur around the chimney’s base, but holes in the chimney also permit the chimney to leak.
A radon test is another inspection a buyer has the option to perform when buying a home. The test checks the air levels to determine if any radon gas is present.
Generally speaking, home inspections last anywhere from three to four hours. The inspector then creates a report and sends it to the clients within 24 hours upon completion of the service.
Depending on such factors as age and size of the home, inspections can cost anywhere between $300 and $550.
What Is A Home Appraisal?A home appraisal is a fair market value of a home’s worth. All lenders order a home appraisal during the mortgage loan process so that there is an unbiased and objective way to measure the market value of a home.
All the lender wants is to ensure they have sufficient assets in case the borrower defaults on their loan obligations.
Most appraisers start with a property observation of the home’s interior and exterior. They take note of the condition, the floor plan, and size of the home, functionality, and overall appeal.
They also look at comparative properties in the neighborhood as well. Then, similar to an inspector, the appraiser will write an appraisal report detailing his findings.
Appraisal reports usually take longer to generate than inspections, often taking between two to seven days. An appraisal report usually includes:
What are Main Differences?Now that you understand what an inspection and an appraisal are, let’s take a look at the obvious differences between the two.
It’s something that no one wants to hear, but something that every homeowner should be cautious of. Most Americans are aware of the toxic effects of mold, but many aren’t sure how to detect it.
Oftentimes, many ask:
Signs Why You May Need Moisture and Mold Testing1. Mold growing on your furniture or on items in your closet.Mold thrives in areas that are cold and have little to no ventilation. A good area that perfectly fits this description is the space in your closet. Often, closets are near plumbing, against an exterior wall, or stuffed to the brim with items you barely move around or use.
Also, you may frequently find mold growing on the back of the furniture. Warmth and moisture oftentimes are the cause of this. It can be devastating to find your favorite furniture speckled with mold spots.
2. Water from rain or sprinklers puddling up against your wall.
Sure, exterior walls act as a barrier to the surrounding environment. But, with continuous dampening, walls will soak up the water. Over time, the moisture together with warm interior conditions will lead to mold growth.
To avoid this, ensure water from rain and/or sprinklers drains away.
3. Your pets getting sick.Pets can also be a good indicator of the indoor air quality. Toxic mold doesn’t just hurt humans; it harms household animals as well.
Animals often suffer from the same symptoms we do when exposed to toxic mold. Symptoms include asthma, sinus infections, congestion, watery eyes, constant runny nose, and itching and scratching where no fleas are present.
4. The building feels damp to you.House mold cannot exist without a source of moisture. If your home feels damp, chances are mold is present. If you notice your home is unusually damp, have it inspected.
5. Your allergies or asthma is worse when you are inside.
Allergy symptoms happen when your immune system reacts to something harmless, like pollen, pet danger, or mold. In the presence of an allergen, your body sees it as an invader and attacks it, giving you itchy eyes or runny nose.
You may not always see mold. It may grow indoors without you smelling or seeing it.
6. You have had a water leak, or the neighboring unit has had a water leak.To grow, mold needs moisture or water, which is why water leaks usually contribute to its growth.
Most times, mold is already a problem before it is discovered. It can easily grow within 12-48 hours and will begin to colonize in 1 to 12 days. That’s why it’s important to get the water leak repaired as soon as possible.
7. You smell a musty or moldy odor that is stronger when the doors and windows have been closed.
Mold smells even before it becomes visible to the naked eye. And by the time it becomes visible, it’s usually made up of thousands of tiny mold spores. That’s why it’s important to have a mold inspection immediately when you smell it.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of smelling mold, it smells stale. But on a home’s interior, it smells damp and musty. The smell, however, can differ depending on the source of moisture, the surface on which is growing on, and the type of mold.
8. You are buying or moving to a different house or building.For most Americans, a home is their largest financial asset. That’s why you want to properly inspect it prior to signing on the dotted lines.
If moving to a rental property, you have to sign a lease or rental agreement. Before doing so, it pays to inspect it beforehand. You wouldn’t want to sign the rental agreement only to discover mold problems days after you’ve moved in. Inspecting the property prior to moving in is much easier than breaking the lease before the fixed terms.
9. You begin experiencing mold symptoms.
Exposure to harmful agents inside your home can have profound effects on your health. There are various types of mold. They include Cladosporium, Aspergillus and Stachybotrys atra (also known as black mold).
Black mold is known for causing the most damage to our bodies due to skin-affecting mycotoxins. Common health symptoms associated with mold include:
If you have noticed any of these problems, it’s a telltale sign that you need a mold inspection. It’ll determine the amount of risks, the type of risks and where the risks are located on your property.
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Your home is your largest asset. That’s why, when the time comes to list it, you should make sure that you have maximized its resale value. Our DIY tips will help you do just that and ensure that you show your home properly so that you can sell it for top dollar quickly.
1. Install High-End Ceiling Fans
According to HouseLogic, one of the best DIY projects to undertake to increase the resale value of your home is installing new ceiling fans to replace old, outdated ones. Potential buyers like to see refreshed rooms with crisp, new paint and quality ceiling fans that help save on energy costs. Fortunately, most homeowners who know how to use a screwdriver, needle-nose pliers, and a cordless drill can replace outdated ceiling fans in a short amount of time. Keep in mind that it’s easier to replace a ceiling fan than to install one in a location that did not previously have one.
Remember to hang the fan seven to eight feet above the floor, choose the largest Energy Star-rated fan for the size of the room, and opt for a high-end fan that accentuates the room and provides better cooling with less noise. If you install a fan on a low ceiling, choose a ceiling-hugging model that is flush-mounted.
2. Improve Your Window Treatments
Potential home buyers will not be impressed by windows with dingy, inexpensive blinds, shades, or curtains. While you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on custom window treatments, you should consider installing plantation shutters, wooden blinds, or quality drapes that add a pop of color to your rooms. Updated window treatments freshen rooms and give your home the finishing touches that appeal to buyers and entice them to spend more.
3. Give Your Bathroom a Makeover
Buyers expect to see updated bathrooms, and you need to deliver to maximize your resale value. Unless you are a plumber who can turn an old tub/shower combo into an amazing tiled double shower, you probably need bathroom makeover ideas that just about anyone can tackle DIY style. That’s where the budget bathroom tips from In My Own Style come in.
Consider adding a beadboard frame painted the same color as your walls to help a modular shower enclosure blend into the background. Make your mirrors look built in by adding wooden frames and molding. If you have woodworking skills, or if you enjoy using power tools and have time to practice your skills, consider adding crown molding, wainscoting, or board and batten treatments to your walls to update the bathroom and give it a sophisticated look. Don’t forget to update your faucets and hardware on your doors and vanities, too.
4. Make Sure Your Home Is Ready for Walk-Throughs
When you are ready to put your home on the market after completing these valuable upgrades, make sure that you are prepared for showings. There are a few home-showing etiquette rules to follow that will help maximize your resale value and entice buyers to make offers.
First, you need to leave the property during a showing. Buyers get uncomfortable when sellers are present for showings. They also have a more difficult time picturing themselves in your home when you are there. The best policy is to coordinate showings with your realtor to ensure you won’t be home.
Be sure your home is staged in a way that it will help potential buyers picture it as their own. Remove at least one large piece of furniture from each room to create a more open, welcoming space, and remove any items that have personal touches, such as framed family photos. Lastly, stow away anything that might be a turn-off to those who view your home, like politically-themed items or artwork that contains anything that might be considered vulgar. If the act of home staging requires you to clear out a lot of your belongings, opt for keeping them in a self-storage unit rather than a closet or your garage. They can be rented inexpensively, and you don’t want to transfer clutter from one space in your home to another when you’re trying to sell it.
Also, remove all signs of your pets in your home. Some buyers will be turned off if they see pet hair, toys, or remnants of food or treats on the floor. Remember to clean dog waste out of your yard, take your pets’ food dishes and toys with you, and hide their beds and crates. If a showing is scheduled while you’re working, board your dog for the day. This way, you won’t worry about him crying, whining, or barking while strangers visit, and you won’t dissuade potential buyers from making an offer.
Before you list your home for sale, tackle DIY projects that you can handle. If you have old ceiling fans, replace them with quality ones. Then, improve your window treatments and update bathrooms. Prepare for showings by leaving beforehand, staging your home and removing all signs of your pets.
Moving into a new home is one of life’s most stressful experiences. You’ve packed up everything you own and tried to get as organized as possible for the big day. But that’s just part of the picture. Your new space needs to be in good shape ahead of time and ready for you to make it your own. Your goal should be to make the process go as smoothly as possible. Remember that moving is all about preparation and paying careful attention to detail so that nothing gets overlooked—troubleshooting is the last thing you want to do in the middle of a move. Hiring professional movers will make things easier, but there’s a laundry list of details to check off beginning well in advance of moving day.
Suddenly realizing you need to do some painting after you’ve moved in isn’t ideal. Take a good look around your new digs, identify walls that need a fresh coat of paint, and get it all done before you move in if at all possible. That’ll give you time to decide on a color scheme before you get down to the business of rearranging your life. You’re making a fresh start in a new space, so you might as well start making it yours before all your belongings are in place.
Get familiar with your new home
Spend a little time in your new home, taking pictures and measurements so you know where all your furniture will fit. Have a good idea of where your biggest items will go so you don’t have to do a lot of last-minute guessing and rearranging. If possible, draw up a diagram indicating exactly where your couch will go, how coffee tables will be arranged, and where the TV and stereo equipment will be set up. And don’t forget to measure all doorways. You don’t want any nasty surprises, like finding out that your beautiful antique chest of drawers won’t fit through the door of your master bedroom. Assign bedrooms in advance so you or your movers know exactly where to put boxes as soon as you arrive. Don’t underestimate the importance of a home inspection. Buying a new home is a huge investment, and you want a professional taking a very good look at your roof, plumbing, and wiring before you get too far along with moving plans.
Once you’ve moved everything in, you’ll be busy bringing order out of chaos for a while. There’s box after box to unload and items to put away in closets and drawers. If possible, focus on putting your new house together for a day or two before you worry about hauling in the really big stuff. Put off moving in big appliances and furniture for a couple days, like that huge dining room table or your oak armoire. Know where each object will go and keep that space clear. It’s a good way to avoid having to push heavy objects aside as you move the smaller stuff around. Your muscles and blood pressure will benefit.
Label your boxes
Clearly label all of the boxes as you pack them up. Write down whose bedroom each one is going to and if they’re intended for the living, dining, or family room. Write clearly on the top and on each side so you don’t have to move each box around trying to find out where it should go. You’ll save a lot of time not having to play a guessing game or slicing into boxes trying to figure it out as you go. Everyone wants to get through the moving-in process as quickly as possible. You can take a big step in that direction by having everything organized before you even load the moving truck.
Coordinate with the movers
If you’ve hired professional movers, meet with them beforehand to plan your moving day carefully, and make sure you understand all moving-associated costs. Make sure everyone is clear about what time you’ll get started and by what time you want to be finished. Go over any fragile or high-value items so the movers know what to look for and if they need to take any special precautions in advance. If you’re moving into a rental or condo community, there may be restrictions on how and when you can move, information your movers need to have in advance.
You’ll be busy packing and getting your home cleaned up before you move out. Don’t forget to prepare your new house before you start moving in. Get organized ahead of time so moving day doesn’t become one long debate over what should go where.
Courtesy of Pixabay
One of the most attractive advantages of being a home owner is that, as we live, love and play each day, our home’s value appreciates. “Appreciation” is the best reason for buying a home and staying put – it’s money in the bank each year.
Home improvements add even more to our home’s value, as well as increasing our comfort level and our over-all feeling of satisfaction and pride in our home.
Among all home improvements, replacing or updating windows brings major rewards: utility bills drop, Dad’s recliner by the big picture window is actually a cozy and warm spot, and when you do sell your home, nothing impresses a buyer more than the lure of good windows.
What are double-glazed windows?
Double-glazed windows consist of two panes of glass separated by a layer of air, or inert gas, and then sealed. The glass and the air act as insulators. In addition to two layers of glass, and the sealed air pocket, the exterior layer of glass, the one that faces the interior of the room, has a specially coated surface. This coated surface reradiates or reflects heat in cold months, as well as reducing some heat gain during hot weather.
Why are some double-glazed windows better than others?
Double-glazed windows with an inert gas between them (usually Argon) are considered a better insulator than just the sealed pocket of air. Gases have a higher density level than air, allowing less heat to escape, or less cold to enter.
The choice of glazing film makes a compelling difference. No matter your climate, new technologies of low emissivity (low-e) films can further reduce energy losses by about 25 to 50 percent. The interior of your home can benefit from a reduction of fabric-fading UV rays, as well as reduced condensation resulting from warmer interior window surfaces.
What are storm windows?
A storm window is a separate window that is removed and stored at the end of the season. The storm window is purchased either as an outside window attaching to the exterior existing window frame, or as an interior storm window, installed from the inside of the house. Storm windows are generally made of glass, plastic, or plastic sheets. Plastic options are Plexiglas, acrylic or polyethylene, all of which are generally less expensive than glass. While glass offers more clarity, it is also more fragile. Plastics are lighter but less durable than glass and are susceptible to scratching and yellowing.
When are storm windows a good option?
Storm windows are feasible when cost is the determining factor. According to the U. S. Department of Energy, storm windows are not a good insulating factor, but they do significantly reduce air leakage.
Which is best: Interior or Exterior Storm Windows?
Interior storm windows are easily cleaned and removed from the comfort of inside your home. Exterior storm windows must be very sturdy, and able to resist the elements of your climate. Interior storm windows have no outdoor exposure so there is less maintenance and less need for durability.
The interior storm window works by preventing the air, in your already cozy room, from exiting out the window. The exterior storm window prevents the outside air from penetrating the exterior window and entering your cozy room.
Interior storm windows usually utilize weatherstripping to create a superior seal. Exterior storm windows cannot use weatherstripping as it absorbs and traps moisture from the outside elements. Exteriors use a tiny “weep hole” to allow moisture to escape, which may slightly compromise the efficiency of the exterior storm window.
Both double-glazed and storm windows will add a measure of security to your home environment. Each additional layer of glass or plastic is a disruption for an intruder. Add home security to the increased “coziness” factor” and the importance of reduced energy bills, and the need to update single-paned windows becomes clear.
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Home renovation or remodeling is rarely a small undertaking. As a homeowner, you’ll be counting the cost in dollars and in disrupted living and inconvenience. One of your biggest considerations should be the return on investment (ROI) of any upgrade. But the reality of remodeling is that despite the chaos, at the end of the day, it will add to your family’s quality of life and increase the value of your home.
Remodeling is a big undertaking, so it’s best you pick the upgrades that are going to give your home the best resale value possible. Knowing that the project will be adding to your home’s value takes some of the sting out of the costs.
Probably the two best home improvement projects to make your home most attractive to buyers are renovating your kitchen or bathroom. After structural soundness, buyers consider these two rooms to be the most important factors in buying a home.
The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in your house, and a bathroom upgrade is a great choice for a home improvement project. Bathroom renovations give some of the highest resale profits.
These are some of the most popular bathroom upgrades that can greatly add to a home’s appeal:
Bathroom upgrades run the gamut from relatively easy projects you can tackle yourself, all the way to full-blown renovations where you’ll need to hire a professional.
Kitchens deserve to be front and center in your remodeling plans. After all, the family kitchen is the room most used by everyone. It truly is the heart of the home.
The most cost-effective kitchen fix is what the experts call a minor remodel. This gives an older kitchen a whole new look with cabinet refacing, up-to-date countertops, and the latest in energy-friendly appliances.
Whether to do major remodels versus minor remodels is a decision only you will be able to make. Guidelines for financial considerations depend on the size of your project, with HomeAdvisor putting the average price of a kitchen remodel at $10,640 - $28,986. The timeline for this project is two to three weeks.
Most people have personal reasons for tackling a renovation. Long before the financial considerations kick in, you will have some unique renovations you want to make, so you’ll be willing to endure the dust and turmoil of a remodeling project.
It’s important to consider if you will be remodeling for your own use. In this case, you should be planning accordingly for the upgrades you will personally enjoy.
On the other hand, if the property is going to be listed on the market shortly and you are intending that the renovation will bump up the home’s value, a different set of parameters apply. The upgrades that you undertake should be popular improvements that will add to the home’s appeal.
This is your home and castle. If you’re not planning to sell in the immediate future, timely upgrades will greatly enhance your day-to-day enjoyment. If you are planning a move soon, a home renovation project becomes a creative endeavor that can boost your bottom line.
A lot of people who have automatic dishwashers don't use them, but they might save money on water and electricity if they did.
Even though 68 percent of homeowners own dishwashers, about 20 percent use them less than once a week, suggesting people are hand washing dishes.
Many reasons could account for this, but one of them should not be cost. Dishwashing by hand uses 3.5 times more water than a modern dishwasher and three times as much electricity, according to a 2011 study by the University of Bonn.
Appliance maker Bosch says more than 40 percent of families argue about the proper way to load a dishwasher.
About 60 percent agree about whether to pre-rinse. Nearly 39 percent of the arguers say they disagree on whether knives should point up or down, while 30 percent argue about where plastic containers should go.
General Electric Co. has defined three main types of dishwasher loaders:
Dishwasher manufacturers and home style maven Martha Stewart agree on some basics for the right way to load a dishwasher:
According to home expert Martha Stewart, the following items should never be put in the dishwasher: Acrylics and plastics, aluminum, antiques, blown glass, bronze, cast iron, china with metallic decoration, crystal, any item with bone or wood inlays, gold-plated flatware, iron, knives (they get dull), nonstick pans, milk glass, pewter, rubber tools, tins, wooden spoons.
Is pre-rinsing really necessary?
Doesn't everyone pre-rinse dishes?
Maybe they do, but they don't have to, according to soap and dishwasher manufacturers.
Except for removing large particles of food, pre-rinsing can actually hinder dishwasher cleaning, says the makers of Cascade. Enzymes in Cascade are designed to attach to food particles. Without particles, they have nothing to attach to, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Dishwashers made by Whirlpool have 'TargetClean' options in which sensors detect soil on dishes. Jet sprays focus on those casserole dishes and power off baked on food.
The Samsung Zone Booster setting puts more water pressure on one side where especially dirty dishes are stacked.
Recently we at Infinity Home Inspections inspected 9 houses in a 3 day period and found 7 Houses of the 9 had Mold!
That's Incredible, 7 out of 9 houses had Mold, think about that number for a moment. It's a high ratio.
What is Mold?
If you suspect there is Mold in your home, stay clear of it and call someone to do an Inspection to determine if you have Mold and how to rectify the situation. Mold can be toxic and cause allergic reactions, everyone has a different reaction to Mold.