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Pillar To Post Newsletter Volume 21, No. 4

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postnotes

NEWS AND INFORMATION

VOLUME 21, NO. 4

HOUSE WISE

Don’t Skip The Home Inspection!


With so many homes selling “as-is” these days, a home inspection is truly a must-have. There is simply no better way to get to know a home, learn about any issues and understand its features. The inspector will objectively evaluate the home’s major systems and components and note their findings in your inspection report. Accompanying the inspector during the process is strongly encouraged so you have the opportunity to ask questions along the way.

Already settled into your new home? Even after the sale has closed, a home inspection will provide peace of mind about the home’s condition and safety. Know what you’re buying by getting a complete, professional home inspection!

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

5 Tips For Your Summer Garden


Your garden is established and growing great. Keep it going strong by staying on top of these summer garden tasks:

  1. Water thoroughly where needed. Container plants normally dry out faster than plants in the ground, so you may need to water them daily when the weather is very hot and/or dry.

  2. Practice smart pest control. Some offending insects, like aphids, can be washed off with a blast from your garden hose. Familiarize yourself with both harmful and beneficial insects and worms in your area so you know who to target and who to leave alone.

  3. Deadhead faded blooms and trim dead or wayward growth. Removing dried flowers keeps your plants looking good and can help certain types reflower.


  4. Mulch for maximum benefit. A 3”-4” layer of mulch helps keep weeds down, promotes moisture retention in the soil and makes your garden look clean and neat. Keep mulch at least a few inches away from the base of the plant to allow for good air circulation.

  5. Fill in bare spots in beds with summer annuals or mulch to keep things looking fresh

COLOR YOUR WORLD

Pick Your Palette: Choosing Exterior Paint Colors


You’ve decided to update your home with fresh paint in a new color. Here are some guidelines that will help you find colors you’ll love now and in the years to come.

  1. Look around. Take photos of homes with colors that catch your eye, and check out design websites for inspiration. This is the easiest and most direct way to start narrowing down your options.

  2. Take a good look at your home. If it has existing brick, stone or other surfaces that won’t be painted, you’ll need to take their tones into account when selecting your new colors. Avoid clashing tones by painting sample swatches next to these materials. The color of your roof may need to be considered as well.
  1. Get outside. Be sure to look at color swatches outdoors before you decide on paint samples. Outdoor light is much brighter than inside your home and has a significant effect on how colors look.

  2. Test, and test some more. Paint colors will appear very different depending on the time of day, direction of exposure, and in full sun vs. shade. Be sure to view painted samples under all of these conditions tomake sure you’re happy with what you see.

A fresh, new color palette will make you fall in love with your home all over again.

SEASONAL SENSE

Beat The Heat!


House heating up? Try these practical ideas to cool off
in comfort.

  1. Close window coverings on south- and west-facing sides of the house until dusk.

  2. Switching ceiling fans to the summer rotation setting (usually counterclockwise) creates a downward breeze and makes the room feel cooler.

  3. Give the stove a rest and opt for the microwave and outdoor grill instead.

  4. Use a programmable or smart thermostat to raise the AC temperature when you’re away from home. Be sure to raise the temperature overnight, too.

  5. Take a break for an ice-cold drink or a frozen treat. Enjoy!

HEALTHY AT HOME

Lead-based Paint – Should You Worry?


If your home was built before 1960, it probably has some lead-based paint. If built between 1960 and 1990, there is likely to be lead-based paint on the exterior. A home built after 1990 is unlikely to have lead paint because household paints in the U.S. and Canada were no longer manufactured using lead.

How can I learn if my home has lead-based paint?

An approved testing kit provides instant results, or you can sent a sample to a lab for testing. The most common areas where lead-based paint is found is on walls and interior trim, door jambs and window frames.

If my house has lead-based paint, should I worry?

Lead poisoning doesn’t happen overnight, so there’s no need to panic. But living with lead should not be an option, especially if there are very young children in the home. You can have your children tested for lead poisoning with a simple blood test by your family physician.

What can be done about it?

Painted surfaces that are in good condition with no flaking or chipping can be painted over with two coats of high-quality paint to encapsulate the underlying paint. Wear surfaces can be replaced rather than encapsulated. For example, you can remove and replace door jambs with new wood.

When encapsulation or wood replacement is not practical, the paint can be removed using chemical strippers. This should only be done by a professional contractor since proper containment of the lead material is essential.

Experience the Pillar To Post difference. Schedule your next home inspection today!

Pillar To Post Newsletter Volume 21, No. 3

HEALTH & SAFETY UPDATE


As North America moves closer to
turning the corner on the pandemic,
Pillar To Post remains committed to
providing the highest quality home
inspection while adhering to the
safety and cleanliness guidelines
provided by the CDC and local
governments. We are taking the
following measures with the health
and well-being of our clients in
mind

  • Inspectors are prepared with PPE to keep everyone safe
  • Home Inspection Reports can be presented virtually or printed
  • Your clients can choose not to attend or only attend the last hour of the home inspection
  • Online and/or contactless payment options are available on request

While our processes may have changed, our commitment to ensuring confident home ownership has not. Our job is not complete until you no longer have questions concerning the home you have asked Pillar To Post to inspect.

outdoor patio

MAINTENANCE 101

Your Summer Place


Summer will be here before you know it! Here are a few suggestions for homeowners to get their home in shape and help protect their investment.

  1. Service the air conditioning system to ensure good operation.

  2. Pressure wash decks and patios (carefully!) to remove dirt and grime.

  3. Close the chimney flue to keep insects out and cool air in.

  4. Remove window screens and clean with a soft brush and soapy water, then reinstall.

  5. Make sure downspouts direct water away from the foundation.

Do a couple of these tasks each weekend and you’ll be ready for summer in no time!


SUMMER SMARTS

Get Splashing!


It’s almost pool season, so use these tips to splash into a safe and fun summer:

  1. Anyone using the pool should know how to swim. An experienced swimmer should always be present if anyone is still learning to swim.

  2. For younger children, an adult should be at the immediate poolside at all times. It is not enough to simply look out a window or door to check on them. Tragically, injuries and drownings can happen within moments.

  3. Enclose the pool with fencing a minimum of 4’ high. Gates should self-close and self-latch, with the latch inaccessible to small children. Local requirements for pool enclosures may be stricter or have additional specifications.

  4. To avoid possible injury, keep children away from pool filters and drains. Walk, don’t run, near the pool to avoid slips and falls.

  5. Keep rescue equipment nearby and easily accessible. For added peace of mind, consider having family members learn CPR skills.

From all of us at Pillar To Post Home Inspectors, enjoy your summer!

pool
fire pit

HOME IMPROVEMENT

Backyard Fire Pits


Thinking of adding a fire pit to enhance your backyard setup? Keep these recommendations in mind if you decide to make the move.

Portable or Permanent?
Portable fire pits are made of metal and should be set on a stable base of pavers, concrete, brick or gravel. Fire pits can be built from a kit, or custom designed to complement your house and landscaping.

Gas or Wood?
Natural gas, propane or wood are the most common fuels for fire pits. Gas fire pits are easy to light and extinguish, but lack the classic crackle and smoke of a wood fire. Before deciding on a wood-fueled fire pit, check to see if your community allows them.

If a fire pit is in your future, keep these safety tips in mind:

  1. Place seating areas a safe distance from the flames, and keep children and pets away
  2. Have a hose or fire extinguisher close by
  3. Avoid wearing loose-fitting sleeves
  4. Never use lighter fluid to light a wood fire
  5. Be sure firewood is seasoned and dry
  6. Periodically check gas connections for leaks or damage

A fire pit can make a great addition to almost any backyard. Enjoy!


HOME SENSE

Don’t Throw Money Out The Window


Heating and cooling typically use almost half of the energy in the home. So it makes sense to look at one of the leading causes of energy inefficiency in the home: the windows.

Old and/or poorly constructed windows can mean heat loss in the winter, overheating in the summer, and higher energy bills. The average home may lose up to 30% of its heat or cooling through the windows. Properly installed energy-efficient windows can go a long way toward improving this situation.

Many factors affect a window’s energy efficiency. Whether they are single- or multiple-paned, gas filled, Low-Emittance (Low-E) coated, and even the material of the window frame all contribute to a window’s performance. One excellent resource is efficientwindows.org, which provides detailed information on these specifications and how to select windows appropriate for various climates. An experienced window contractor can also be a good source of information and recommendations.

Homeowners should check with their local utility provider to find out about possible rebates and other incentives for the purchase of new, energy-efficient windows.

Of course, replacing windows is not always a viable option. Making sure existing windows are properly caulked, keeping weather stripping in good repair, and using storm windows will help. Window coverings are another good way to reduce heat loss in winter and avoid overheating in summer.

Improving window energy efficiency means greater comfort as well as cost savings for homeowners in any climate.

Experience the Pillar To Post difference. Schedule your next home inspection today!

Pillar To Post Newsletter Volume 21, No. 1

postnotes

Volume 21, No. 1


OUR COMMITMENT

During this time of Covid-19, Pillar To Post remains committed to providing the highest quality home inspection while adhering to the safety and cleanliness guidelines provided by the CDC and local governments. We are taking the following measures with the health and well-being of our clients in mind:

  • Inspectors are prepared with PPE to keep everyone safe Home Inspection Reports can be presented virtually or printed on-site
  • Your clients can choose not to attend or only attend the last hour of the home inspection
  • online and/or contactless payment options available on request

While our processes may have chanced, our commitment to ensuring confident home ownership has not. Our job is not complete until you no longer have questions concerning the home you have asked Pillar To Post to inspect.

man by truck
Middle-aged man setting up his radon equipment

Safe at home

Is Radon On Your Radar?

Colorless and odorless, naturally occuring radon gas seeps into homes from underground. Elevated levels of radon can build up inside the home, endangering your family’s health. Here are the facts.

  • Radon is the #2 cause of lung cancer after smoking
  • Radon can cause cancers in pets, too
  • An estimated 1 in 15 homes in the US and Canada has an elevated level of radon
  • Any home can have a radon problem – old or new, drafty or snug, with or without a basement

Testing is the only way to know if a home has excessive levels of radon.

Your Pillar To Post Home Inspector conducts radon testing using continuous monitoring technology, then reports on the results and recommends steps to reduce excessive radon levels if found.

For peace of mind, schedule a radon inspection for your home today.

winter blues

Personal Best

Banish The Winter Blues


Many of us are spending much more time at home these days. Here are some ideas on how to help you and your home look and feel cheerful during these winter months:

1. Have each family member create a personal playlist of their favorite music and ask everyone to take turns as digital DJs

2. Potted flowering plants will brighten up your coffee table or dining area

3. Set up a hot chocolate bar for the family. Don’t forget the marshmallows, peppermint bits, whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles and anything else you like!

4. Use pillow covers in bold patterns or colors to change up the look of the sofas and beds

5. Don your brightest sweaters and coats for an instant pick-me-up

Inspection Insights

Are You In The Know??

Take Our Quiz!


1. A pre-listing home inspection:

A. Helps sellers decide about making specific repairs and improvements

B. Can help with setting the asking price

C. Helps agents with marketing the home

D. All of the above

2. TRUE or FALSE?

Radon gas doesn’t affect homes built after 2001.

3. You’ve just learned that your home contains lead-based paint. You should:

A. Scrape off as much as possible and paint over it

B. Use a chemical paint stripper to remove it

C. Call a qualified professional to assess the conditions and advise about removal

D. Regularly wipe down affected surfaces with a micro-fiber cloth

4. The Pillar To Post Premium Home Inspection includes:

A. Infrared Scanning to detect signs of moisture and electrical overheating

B. Appliance Recall Safety Check to help keep your family and property safe

C. Lifetime Maintenance Advisory Service to help you care for your home

D. Enhanced Customer Satisfaction Commitment to ensure your complete satisfaction

E. All of the above


Answers

1. D. A pre-listing can do all this and more. Be sure to ask your Pillar To Post Home Inspector about getting a home inspection before the home goes on the market.

2. False. Radon can affect homes of any age or construction type. You can learn more about radon right here in this newsletter!

3. C. A qualified professional will be able to determine how to address lead-based paint. If removal is recommended, trying to do this yourself can create a much bigger problem by spreading lead dust around your home. Leave it to the pros!

4. E. These are just some of the reasons our Premium Home Inspection is our most popular offering. Ask about it when requesting your next home inspection!

Home Sense

Improving Indoor Air Quality


Our homes harbor more than just our families and posessions. Home is also where pollutants, allergens, and other irritants accumulate and thrive, with possible harmful effects on our health. Here are some ways to improve indoor air quality while increasing your comfort and well-being.

HANDLE HIGH HUMIDITY

High Humidity is one of the main contributors to mold and dust mite growth, both of which adversely affect indoor air quality. Keeping indoor humidity below 50% will help prevent further infestation, although once mold gets established it can continue to grow even at lower humidity levels. Use exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms, make sure the dryer is properly vented to the outdoors, and address any leaks or condensation issues. A dehumidifier can help in especially humid locations such as basements.

COLLECT THE DUST

Dust is more than just dirt! It can contain pollen, mold spores, lint, animal dander, bacteria and more. While it’s impossible to completely rid a home of dust, there are ways to help control it. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter that traps small particulate matter. Change or clean the furnace filter regularly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. High quality furnace filters are more expensive than ordinary types, but are more effective at filtering dust, pet hair, and other particles.

GO AHEAD AND VENT

Open doors and windows whenever possible. Your home will have better air circulation and “breathe” more easily, and of course it’s great to enjoy fresh air on a nice day.

mother and her baby

CHEMICAL REACTION

Choose cleaning products with environmentally friendly formulations. Many of these cleaners and detergents do an equal or better job than their conventional counterparts. Dispose of old paint, pesticides, solvents and other products so they aren’t leaking fumes into your home. Check local requirements on how to properly dispose of such items.

Discover the Pillar To Post difference. Schedule your next home inspection today!

Pillar To Post Newsletter Vol. 20 No. 6

Covid-19 update


Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is always committed to the health and well-being of our clients. This is especially true during this time of Covid-19. We remain committed to providing the highest quality home inspection while adhering to the strict safety and cleanliness guidelines provided by the CDC and local governments.

  • Inspectors are prepared with PPE to keep everyone safe
  • Home Inspection Reports can be presented virtually or printed on-site
  • Your clients can choose not to attend or only attend the last hour of the home inspection
  • Online or contactless payment options are available on request

While our processes may have changed, our commitment to ensuring confident home ownership has not. Our job is not complete until you no longer have questions concerning the home you have asked Pillar To Post to inspect.

SEASONAL SENSE

Home For The Holidays?


If you’re sticking close to home this holiday season, that’s even more motivation to create a cozy and festive feeling. Try these ideas for a dose of holiday cheer!

  • There’s nothing like freshly baked cookies to fill your house with the scent of the holidays. Freeze cookie dough in portions so you can bake up a batch anytime.
  • Winter-flowering bulbs like amaryllis and paperwhites are easy to grow indoors. Place them throughout the house to enjoy the color and fragrance at every turn.
  • String holiday lights indoors around door frames and archways to add sparkle to your evenings. Color-shifting types are optional!
  • Group battery-powered pillar candles on a table or mantel for a soft glow without the flame. Many flicker realistically and some can even be controlled remotely.
  • Simmering mulling spices on the stove will add a homey touch and a fragrance that says “holiday!” Cinnamon sticks, cloves and orange peels are a classic combination.

Now you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your holiday home.


SAFE AT HOME

7 Tips For Holiday & Winter Fire Safety


Taking some simple precautions around the home can help keep your family safe during the holidays, especially when it comes to decorating.

  1. Always use non-flammable decorations both indoors and outdoors.
  2. Check holiday light strands for damaged or broken wires and plugs. Enjoy indoor lights only while someone is at home and turn them off before going to bed.
  3. Live Christmas trees should be kept in a water-filled stand and checked daily for dehydration. Dried-out trees are extremely dangerous and should be discarded immediately.
  4. Candles add lovely ambience to your holiday home. Place them in stable holders and keep them away from flammable items, drafts, pets and children.
  5. Children should not have access to or be allowed to use matches, lighters or candles.
  6. Keep space heaters away from bedding, curtains, paper—anything flammable. Never leave a space heater unattended while in use.
  7. Busy with holiday cooking and baking? Kitchen fires are a leading cause of house fires. Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher within easy reach and know how to use it.

Here’s to enjoying
a happy and safe
holiday season!

KNOWLEDGE BASE

Smoke Alarms 101


Smoke alarms are an important defense against injury, death and property loss in house fires. Nearly two-thirds of home fire fatalities occur in homes with non-working or missing smoke detectors. An early warning can save lives!

  • Smoke alarms should be in installed every bedroom, outside every sleeping area, and on each level of the home.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement. High, peaked ceilings have dead air space at the top, so smoke alarms should be placed no closer than 3 feet from the highest point.
  • Near the kitchen, use an alarm with a “hush button” that will silence nuisance alarms reacting to cooking smoke or steam. Or install a photoelectric alarm which will not be triggered by cooking. Never remove the unit’s battery to stop or prevent nuisance alarms.
  • Test each unit monthly. Put a reminder in your calendar to do this on the first or last day of the month, for example. This is also an ideal time to dust off the unit so that it continues to work properly.
  • Replace the batteries at least once a year. A common rule of thumb is to do this when changing to or from Daylight Saving Time in fall or spring. Many alarms now come with 10-year lithium batteries that eliminate the need for new batteries, but the unit itself must be replaced after its lifespan.

HOME IMPROVEMENT

Pillar To Post Cost Guide


Spending more time at home has lots of homeowners eyeing new projects and home improvements. Sound familiar? Whether you’re considering an upgraded bathroom, new flooring or replacing a fence, our popular Cost Guide provides estimated cost ranges for repair and/or replacement of the major systems and components in a home. It also includes general guidelines for the life expectancies of those systems.

Request complimentary copies of the Cost Guide from your local Pillar To Post Home Inspector or download it at pillartopost.com/cost-guide.

HOUSEWISE

Home On The Range


Your kitchen range is one of the hardest-working appliances in your home. Taking care of it might not make you a four-star chef, but it will perform better and last longer. Here’s how:

  • Wipe up spills from the cooking surface and around the burners daily.
  • Clean the inside of that grimy oven window with a paste of baking soda and a small amount of dish soap to dissolve grease. Do this when the oven is cold.
  • Check the oven seal and replace if it’s damaged or very dirty. Source the replacement part online to make it an easy DIY job.
  • If you regularly use only one oven rack, store the others in a pantry or closet to keep them clean.
  • Remove the control knobs and clean them in hot, soapy water, using a gentle brush to remove tough spots. An old toothbrush works well for this.
  • On gas stoves, make sure the burner channels are clean and clear for best performance. Leveling the stove will help the burners flame evenly.
  • Make sure the anti-tip mechanism is properly in place to avoid possible injury.

Experience the Pillar To Post difference. Schedule your next home inspection today!