How Technology Has Changed Home Inspections

There’s a lot to be said for good old-fashioned hard work sense, using a good old ladder and flashlight in home inspections, But the truth now is that technology and its use in home inspections is moving at a blistering pace. Staying on the cutting edge of technological advancements is now a non-negotiable pre-requisite for any professional home inspector. It doesn’t mean that we are turning our back on the long-standing proven value of honest hard work. But it does mean that we recognize the importance of technology being able to make our home inspections more precise, more productive, and more efficient. Making sure that any home inspector you hire is well versed in modern technology is critical to the quality of inspection you are going to receive. Here are some of the cutting-edge technologies that we offer to our clients when do home inspections:

 

Computers and Software

From modern cloud-driven computer software to automation in scheduling, digital reporting that incorporates 4 G images and high definition video, today’s consumer expectations are all about creating a convenient and efficient environment that allows individuals to tailor a home inspection to fit their needs, schedule, process payment and access their report. All at the touch of a button.

 

Thermal/Infrared Imaging Cameras

   

Infrared or thermal imaging cameras now allow home inspectors to detect defects that otherwise could not be observed with the naked eye. A thermal imaging camera collects the infrared radiation from objects in the environment and creates an electronic image based on information about the temperature differences. This technology allows us to detect water intrusion, hidden moisture, mold growth, plumbing leaks, electrical hot spots, lack of insulation, home energy loss, and much more.

 

Infrared Temperature Guns

Infrared temperature guns have expanded the ability of home inspectors to accurately measure temperatures. This technology is a necessity in determining performance issues in multiple home mechanical systems such as HVAC, Appliances, hot water heaters, plumbing, home energy assessments, and much more.

 

LED Scope Video Cameras

Modern WIFI enabled led inspection scopes allow home inspectors to access and video areas which could not safely be assessed before. These high-tech lighted instruments are non-negotiable in today’s home inspection venue.

 

Electric Voltage and Current Testers

Today’s array of high-tech testers are essential for determining safety in your home’s electrical system. From the main electrical drop, main panel, service distribution, branch wiring, GFCI outlets – and much more – these tools enable home inspectors to give you an accurate assessment of your home’s electrical system.

 

Moisture Detection Devices

Being able to detect and identify water intrusion and moisture retention is critical for today’s home inspections. Having the latest technology available enables a home inspector to readily identify problem areas that are past or current issues with a home or circumstances that can easily develop into severe long-term damage concerns.

 

Aerial Roof Inspection / Imaging Drones

One major area that is revolutionizing home inspections is the emergence of drone technology. Never, have home inspectors been able to inspect and photograph dangerous, unsafe, non-walkable roofs with the closeness and detail that is possible with drones. Our state-of-the-art drones are high-resolution camera & video-equipped, allowing high-quality images and videos of rooftops and other hard-to-reach detail areas of the property with “ZOOM IN” capability. These images record the close-up details of a roof far better than the human eye could ever capture. Drones get a great close up view of roof conditions such as leaks, moisture, punctures, blow-offs, tenting, billowing, ponding water, improper repairs, shrinkage, blistering, hail damage, wind damage, algae, mold, age, wear, and much…much more.

*Note: It is illegal for anyone to operate a drone for home and commercial roof inspection purposes unless they hold a current FAA Part 107 Un-Maned Aircraft License for commercial drone operation, and they must be fully insured. Anyone who engages in this activity without being fully licensed and insured is engaging in a reportable offense. If anyone tells you, they can do so without having proof of license and insurance – walk away fast!

 

Virtual / 3 D Imaging

There was a time when all home inspectors used was a small handheld camera to take images of home deficits so the client could see the issue. Those images were usually printed out on hard copy paper stock and stapled to the 30 – 50-page report. Not anymore. Today high-resolution digital imaging and video capabilities enable inspectors to incorporate these images into the body of an interactive report that you can easily access and view. As if this hasn’t transpired quickly enough, now home inspectors on the cutting edge of technology can embed 360 degree and 3 D images and video into your home inspection report to give you a virtual presence of each room inspected in your home.

 

Indoor Air Quality / Mold Spore Sampling Equipment

Today’s professional inspectors should be fully equipped with the latest technology to conduct a comprehensive assessment on indoor air quality and mold inspections to ensure your new home has a “clean bill of health” before you commit to signing on that dotted line. This is especially true in Southern Regions of the Country – like South West Georgia – due to high humidity levels, which if left unchecked, can produce the “perfect storm” for potentially toxic indoor air and mold growth. Make sure any home inspector you choose fully trained and certified by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors and the International Association of Certified Indoor Air Consultants to conduct full Indoor Air Quality & Mold Inspections. Professional inspectors will also have all samples certified and verified by a nationally accredited laboratory to ensure there is no dangerous scenario for you and your family.

 

Radon Testing Equipment

 

Today it is essential to be equipped for testing Radon gas levels in any home. Radon has no smell or color so a test must be done to detect it. In fact, the U.S. Office of the Surgeon General and U.S. EPA recommends that all homes be tested for radon, especially if you are buying, selling, or building a home. Make sure your inspector is certified to test for Radon gas and has the latest equipment for reliability and accuracy in measurement.

 

Digital Air Flow Meters

Digital Air Flow Meters are now a necessary technology for home inspectors to have available in their tool inventory. Digital air flow meters assist the inspector in being able to measure air velocity or airflow for a variety of testing scenarios such as HVAC performance or venting effectiveness.

 

Crawl Space Rover Technology

This cutting-edge technology is available to inspect hard to reach, flooded, collapsed, or unsafe areas contained in shallow crawl spaces or basements under your potential home. This allows us to inspect and photograph these areas revealing accurate conditions.

 

Many Other Inspection Necessary Tools

Truth is – there is a litany of technology and tools available for the home inspection venue and it continues to develop at a blistering pace.

 

Not all home inspectors are equally equipped and

 

not all home inspectors stay on the cutting edge of technology.  

Why should you care?

Because in today’s home inspection venue what a home inspector uses to inspect your home makes all the difference in the world in whether – or not – you get the safest, least intrusive and most comprehensive home inspection available.

 

Never assume that if you’ve seen one home inspector – you’ve seen them all.

That assumption can come back and bite you really quick.

 

If you allow Sentry Home Inspections, LLC to inspect your home, you can rest assured that you are getting the most current technology available in the home inspector profession and you are getting the best inspection possible.

We Got Your Back!

 

 

Can you Fail a Home Inspection?

In much the same way that you can not really “Fail” a physical, regardless of how bad your health may be – a home really can not Fail an inspection.  A home inspection is a detailed visual examination of a homes structure and major systems reporting on their overall condition at the time of the inspection. The inspection identifies what issues have been identified and what is required to remedy or correct the issues.

Even though most professional certified inspectors follow different check list – typically the home inspection will cover the following general areas: Roof, Attic, Chimney, Flashing, Overhang, Soffits/Venting, Gutters, Lot Drainage, Foliage / Trees, Exterior, Heating & Cooling Systems, Electrical System, Plumbing System, Windows, Doors, Interior, Walls, Ceilings, Floors, Major Appliances, Water Heater System, Foundation, Structural Components and Insulation.

While there are no set “issues” that automatically disqualify a home from being purchased, there are an array of critical issues that swing a buyer’s decision either way depending on the individual buyer. For example if the home inspection report identifies critical issues with a homes plumbing that might require major repair or replacement, the buyer might easily decide to back out of the purchase. Or the buyer might simply love the house so much that they decide they will use their available resources to address this issue. Another example might be serious or critical discovered during the home inspection, that will require a new roof to be put on. If the seller refuses to address the need, the buyer may very well decide not to purchase the home out of overall concern. Each situation depends on the comfort level of the buyer.

While your home inspection will not tell you if your home has “passed” or “failed“, if it is done by a professional certified inspector, you will have all the information you need to make an informed investment decision.

So, if your are looking for the best home inspection in Albany, Leesburg or Southwest Georgia let Sentry Home Inspection Services inspect your home for your peace of mind…

At Sentry Home Inspection Services – We’ve Got Your Back!

What You Need to Know About Water Heaters

The Department of Energy has mandated that starting on April 15, 2015, all water heaters must meet new energy efficiency standards. Most manufacturers have met these new standards by increasing the size of water heaters as well as adding additional insulation and changing the insulation type. So, why does this matter to you? After the current backlog of already produced water heaters are all sold – many models are being discontinued. Make sure any water heater you purchase is a new model and not a discontinued close out.

Most people don’t know a lot about hot water heaters, and that’s to be expected. They can be rather complicated depending upon style and model. Regardless however, any water heater takes cold water and through a system of conduction – heats and stores hot water – making it available for your use on demand. Here is a basic information list of everything you need to know about water heaters:

When to Replace Them

All water heaters give out several tell-tale signs when they need to be replaced. Age is one factor; the Department of Energy suggests that you start doing research on a new water heater if yours is over seven years old. If your hot water heater is leaking, or if you notice that you’re just not getting as much hot water out of it as you used to, these might also be signs of pending failure. Other indicators of problems are slow recovery, noisy operation, calcium buildup, rust, leaking or no hot water at all.

Lifespan

A traditional hot water heater typically lasts between 10 to 15 years. However, the lifespan of any water heater is going to vary depending on use, routine maintenance and repairs.

The Importance of High-Efficiency

Water heating for your home makes up approximately 12 -17% of your overall energy bill. According to the Department of Energy, an average family will spend between $400 to $700 yearly on heating water and use around 64 gallons daily. Having a high-efficiency hot water heater is very important because it can significantly reduce the amount of energy required to heat and store hot water.

Current Efficiency Rating

Regardless of the type of water heater you have, each water heater is given an Energy Efficiency Rating or an Energy Factor. The Energy Factor of a hot water heater is a calculation of its efficiency when run under normal conditions for 24 hours. The Department of Energy calculates the Energy Factor by running a lab controlled simulated use test on each model of water heater. Thus – the higher the rating – the less energy it uses. Energy efficiency ratings are generally identified by a tag or label on the outside of the water heater.

How to Make It More Efficient

One of the easiest ways to make your hot water heater more efficient is to keep it regularly serviced and maintained. Regular maintenance can also increase your water heater’s life span. Regular maintenance includes periodically flushing your tank of water and replacing anode rods. Don’t wait until you no longer have hot water to start thinking about your hot water heater. Start a routine of monthly inspections right now. Have it professionally inspected and maintained at least once per year.

Choices

There are literally hundreds of different water heaters out there. The first thing you need to determine is what type of energy you use to heat your home. Electricity? Natural gas? Propane? Solar? Fuel Oil? If you have more than one option available or are thinking about switching your power source – consider which would be the most cost effective for you. After determining fuel type, you can decide what type of hot water heater would be best for you. The two main options are either a traditional (with a storage tank), or a tank-less system. Each of these two systems have both advantages and disadvantages but you should choose what you think will save you money in the long run.

The more you know about your water heater – the less you can spend on your maintenance, repair, or replacement needs.

 

How a New Home Warranty Inspection Can Save You Thousands

 

For homeowners in Albany, Leesburg and Southwest Georgia who have bought newly constructed homes, you may think you shouldn’t have to worry about any issues. Truth is – there is no such thing as a home that is in perfect condition.

Even newly constructed homes have errors, accidental omissions or just out right shortcuts and cutting corners in construction can result in unseen issues that can develop into future problems if left unchecked. Unfortunately for many new homeowners, these problems don’t usually surface until the 1-year building warranty has expired and you are left holding the bag for replacement or repair cost.

Here is how a 11th Month Warranty inspection can keep this from happening to you, and ultimately save you thousands of dollars.

WHAT IS A 11TH MONTH HOME WARRANTY?

A 11th Month or 1-year home warranty is typically for new homes that have just been built, and they assigned to the first owner of the home as part of the buying process. Once the home is purchased, the warranty is good for one year from the date of purchase.

During this warranty period, the contractor or builder will cover things that go wrong with the home, such as structural issues, foundation problems, electrical problems, plumbing issues, HVAC issues and many more items. Just about anything that has to do with the way the home was built is covered under this warranty.

But once this one-year period has passed, the warranty is expired and any problems with the way the home was built that the buyer discovers will be the responsibility of the homeowner to pay for and repair.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I SHOULD FILE A WARRANTY CLAIM?

Sadly, most new homeowners really don’t know what could be wrong with their home because they don’t know what to look for or how to even begin checking. The quickest and most accurate way to figure out if your new home has these defects so that you can file a claim with the builder before the warranty is up – is to get a 11th Month Warranty inspection by a certified professional home inspector.

WHAT IS A 11th MONTH HOME WARRANTY INSPECTION?

A 11th month warranty inspection is very similar to the home inspection that you would get before purchasing a home. The only difference is that the inspector will specifically look for common issues that are submitted in a new home warranty claim. These are typically issues with:

Foundation

Roof

Electrical and wiring systems

Plumbing

Patios, driveway, and surrounding sidewalk

Doors and windows

Garage

Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning units (HVAC)

Siding and exterior of the home

Etc…

 

Because these are all things involved with the building process, they should be covered by the warranty. The builder should be liable for these issues, because they do not occur within a year from normal wear and tear.

HOW CAN A 11TH MONTH HOME INSPECTION SAVE THOUSANDS?

Getting a 11th Month Warranty inspection in the time before the warranty is up can pay off big time. While the house might not need repairs at that very moment, the report may find that there is an issue with the way sidewalks, patios or driveways were poured.

In five years when your driveway is totally cracked and you need to get it replaced, you can pull out the home inspection report and show the contractor or builder that this problem was found while the home was under warranty, and they will pay for the driveway to be fixed.

So, contact us today to schedule your 11th Month Warranty Inspection now!

8 COMMON MISTAKES NEW HOME BUYERS MAKE

If you are buying a home in Albany, Leesburg or Southwest Georgia avoiding these simple 8 mistakes can make your home buying experience more enjoyable and increase your buying options:

Not Getting Pre-Approved Before You Shop

The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a house that is way out of your price range. Avoid this heartbreaking experience by getting a fully underwritten pre-approval for a mortgage. It’s important to know what you can afford and what the mortgage payments will be. A competent mortgage broker can figure this out for you. Knowing what you can afford will also make your decision process much easier and help you make a comfortable offer. Being pre-approved also makes your offer more credible to a selling party and can prevent losing out in a tight competitive real-estate market.

Only Talking to One Lender

Many new home buyers get approved by a single lender and get caught up in the excitement of being able to buy a home and jump on it. Unfortunately, limiting yourself to one lender or broker results in tunnel vision and could cost you potentially thousands of dollars. There are many players in the home mortgage marketplace and the more you shop around – the more opportunities you have for securing a better mortgage. Many responsible mortgage brokers often recommend that you talk to at least three different loan sources to gain better insight on what’s available before you make a final decision. On many mortgages you can put as little as 3 %. Some government-insured loans require 3.5 percent down or zero down, in some cases. Plus, check with your local or state housing programs to see if you qualify for housing assistance programs designed for first-time buyers. Make sure you check out government-insured loan programs backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA loans), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA loans) and U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA loans). You never know how much you might very well save. What do you have to lose – except money?

Not Seeking Advice from an Experienced Professional Realtor

Even though today is the information technology age with an abundance of information available online, you should still seek the advice of an experienced professional realtor early in the home-buying process. Why? Realtors can educate you about the entire home buying experience. They are very knowledgeable about who to consult, getting a home inspection, negotiating contingencies and who would be a good attorney for closing and signing. Realtors can give you valuable information on price ranges of homes in neighborhoods, information on public schools, mortgage lenders, types of loans and current interest rates, etc. A realtor can be another set of eyes in locating exactly what you are looking for. Finding a realtor, you trust and are comfortable with is a very important aspect in having a pleasant buying experience instead of a nightmare buying battle.

Trying to Move Too Fast

Buying a home can be a very complex process, particularly when you get deep into the mortgage process. Jumping on the first home you see and rushing the home buying process can wind up costing you more in the long run. Many times, new home buyers don’t plan far enough in advance for purchasing a home. Rushing the home buying process means you might be unable to save enough for a down payment, cover all closing cost, address items on your credit report, or make sound informed best decisions.

Many professionals recommend that you plan out your home purchase at least one year in advance. Remember, it takes more time to repair poor credit reports, settle outstanding balances and still save for a sizable down payment. All these things will work toward boosting your credit score and put you in a much better position when you do start looking for that perfect dream home.

Buying More House Than You Can Afford

It’s very easy to get lost in the lights and fall in love with homes that might stretch your budget or exceed it. Overextending yourself is never a good idea and with home prices still rising that is easier said than done. Buying a home that exceeds your budget can put you at higher risk of losing your home if you fall on tough financial times. You’ll also have less wiggle room in your monthly budget for other bills and unexpected expenses. In stead of overextending yourself focus on developing a sound budget. Consider all your current obligations – including those that don’t show up on a credit report when determining what kind of payment and how much house you can afford. Remember, just because you can get qualified for a $500,000.00 loan in today’s market – doesn’t mean you can afford one.

Miscalculating the Hidden Costs of Home Ownership

New home buyers often underestimate the ancillary cost associated with home ownership. A home comes with property taxes, utilities, homeowner’s insurance, hazard insurance, home warranty insurance, mortgage insurance, repair/maintenance cost, etc., which will cost you thousands of dollars. Not having adequate finances to meet all these needs and ensure you can maintain a “rainy day nest egg” can quickly wreck your finances.

Your realtor or mortgage broker can quickly help you crunch numbers on these expenses to help you plan. Make sure you shop around for insurance coverage’s from multiple agents to compare competitive quotes. Next – most experts recommend that you set aside at least 3% of your home’s purchase price annually for repairs and upkeep. Buying your first home comes with the need for sound fiscal management practices and a sound comfortable realistic budget. Without these – you may very well find yourself in a situation where you have buyer’s remorse after purchasing your home.

Making a Purely Emotional Purchase

Buying a home is one of the biggest lifetime milestones most of us will ever achieve. A home is that special place that is yours. It is a place for dreams, memories, and families are born. It is very easy during the home buying process to get too “attached” to a house that is not yours and make a totally emotional decision. This is especially true in a strong sellers’ market where demand exceeds supply and it takes longer than usual to find what you are looking for. Many new home buyers also get caught up in such circumstances and making an emotional rather than an informed investment decision can often lead to not only overpaying for a house but also stretching your budget to unreasonable lengths. Sure, you have found a home that meets all your requirements and you love the home. But what about the community it is in? How far is it from your workplace? What sort of traffic runs through or near it? What sort of crime statistics does the area have? Is it Safe? Is it conveniently located for your lifestyle? Is it convenient for public transportation? How do the present homeowners in the neighborhood interact with each other? Truth is, there many variables you need to carefully consider other than just liking the house before you pull the trigger and buy any home.

Never Drain Your Savings

Many new home buyers make the mistake of draining their savings to make the down payment on a new home. Draining your savings is never a good idea and places you in a very vulnerable situation should unexpected expenses suddenly occur. Make sure you have enough money for a down payment and still be able to maintain a fair amount in your savings account. Again, making a sound budget and sticking to it reduces the risk of financial disaster.

 

When you have found that home and you are ready to have it inspected – call Sentry Home Inspection Services Today!

Sentry Home Inspection Services Is Certified In COVID 19 For Home Inspections

 

Sentry Home Inspection Services Is COVID 19 Nationally Certified To Protect Your Family’s Safety & Security. We Utilize All Mandated PPD Equipment and Sanitize Each Surface We Come In Contact With During Our Home Inspections. To help you and your family stay safe – here are some useful facts about COVID 19:

 

Although COVID 19 is a new virus and not much is yet known about it – the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
  • Maintaining good social distance (about 6 feet) is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus.

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious, like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, which means it goes from person-to-person without stopping.

  • The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading very easily and sustainably between people.
  • Information from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic suggest that this virus is spreading more efficiently than influenza, but not as efficiently as measles, which is highly contagious.

The CDC recommends people practice frequent “hand hygiene,” which is either washing hands with soap or water or using an alcohol-based hand rub. CDC also recommends routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.

An additional intervention which seems to reduce the spread of the virus is the use of a face mask such as 3M’s N95 style mask.

Other interventions such as Social Distancing and Shelter In Place Directives have also proven to reduce or diminish the spread of the virus from person to person contact.

 

At Sentry Home Inspection Services we practice industry safe precautions during all of our home inspections. We utilize TYVEK disposable body suits, shoe wraps, medical grade disposable gloves, N 95 face masks and we disinfect surfaces that we touch. We take the health and safety of your family seriously.

At Sentry Home Inspection Services – We’ve Got Your Back…. Call Us Today To Book Your Home Inspection!

 

 

10 Tips From The EPA On Mold

If you own a home in Albany, Leesburg or Southwest Georgia these 10 Tips from the EPA concerning Mold are important to know!

  1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.

 

  1. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture in the home.

 

  1. If mold is a problem in your home, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.

 

  1. Fix the source of the water intrusion problem or leak to prevent mold growth.

 

  1. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.

 

  1. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

 

  1. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.

 

  1. Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.

 

  1. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).

 

  1. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

 

Have your home inspected by Sentry Inspection Services for Peace of Mind Today!

 

 

For More Information on Mold and Mold Related Concerns Visit the EPA Website:

 

Is Your Family’s In-Door Air Quality Safe?

In today’s environment the issue of indoor air quality is more important than ever before for you and your family. If you are a seller of a home, or a buyer considering buying a home in Albany, Leesburg or Southwest Georgia, the presence of active mold bio-toxins or air pollutants can negatively affect the transaction. A full comprehensive mold and indoor air quality inspection is the best way to make sure that your new home has a “clean bill of health” before you commit to signing on that dotted line. If you are a home owner you want to make sure that the indoor air quality of your home is secure and safe for your family’s health and safety. This is especially true in Southern Regions of the Country – like South West Georgia – due to high humidity levels and water intrusion, which if left unchecked, can produce the “perfect storm” for potentially toxic indoor air and mold growth. So, how do you know if your home is toxic mold active and mold spores are spreading throughout your home? You need to have a professional inspection performed.

WHAT IS MOLD AND HOW DOES IT GROW AND SPREAD?

Mold is everywhere in our environment and life. Mold can grow on almost any substance when moisture is present. Molds reproduce by spores, which are carried by air currents. When spores land on a moist surface suitable for life, they begin to grow. A simple way to think about it is mold will travel similarly to dust particles, therefor anywhere dust can go mold can go. Mold is normally found outdoors and indoors at levels which do not affect most healthy individuals. However, when concentrated inside, especially in hot humid damp climates – like South West Georgia – many people become sensitive to the presence of mold spores, which can lead to health-related issues. The longer an environment is left undetected and untreated the stronger the risk of mold cross contamination into other rooms. Often cross contamination occurs through the HVAC system, which readily spreads mold spores throughout the home.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE FIRST SIGNS OF MOLD & OTHER TOXINS IN INDOOR AIR?

Some of the first common signs or indicators of early exposure to mold and toxic air include:

  • Headaches, Eye Irritation, Coughing, Sneezing, Itching, Skin Redness and Skin Rashes

The longer you are exposed to mold spores and toxic air – the more advanced the symptoms become and can include:

  • Breathing Disorders, Nose Bleeds, Ear Infections, Chronic Sinusitis, Chronic Bronchitis, Pain in Muscles and Joints, Asthma, Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Coughing up Blood or Black Looking Debris, Neurological Disorders, Nervous Disorders, Heart Palpitations, Blurred Vision, Swollen Glands, Weight Loss, Chronic Fatigue, Loss of Appetite, Depression, Open Skin Sores or Lesions, Fungal Nails (Hands or Feet), Sexual Dysfunction and Thyroid Conditions.

WHAT IS A MOLD & INDOOR AIR QUALITY INSPECTION?

A mold & indoor air quality inspection is a multifaceted inspection performed by a certified professional inspector who has the latest in cutting-edge technology, tools and sampling equipment to determine whether or not mold and air born toxins are present in your home. If so, you need to identify the source of water intrusion or moisture build up that is causing the mold growth. These items can identify active mold growth and potentially harmful air born spores or pollutants that might present a dangerous scenario to you and your family. This inspection visually inspects your home for any signs of mold or mold growth and if found – mold surface samples are taken to identify if the mold is active and what type of mold it is. In addition, air quality samples are also taken. These samples are sent to a certified environmental analytical laboratory to ensure accurate results.

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE TEST SHOW ACTIVE MOLD GROWTH?

Once you know if the mold is active and what type of mold it is you can reasonably determine what if any remediation is necessary to eliminate the mold and prevent spreading. Not all mold remediation has to be comprehensive or extensive. It depends on the specific circumstances. In addition, knowing what has been causing the water intrusion and moisture build up and having that addressed can often help remedy the mold issue. Finally, using an anti-fungal or anti-microbial element product can effectively kill most mold and prevent it from reoccurring.

Insuring that your home is mold free is essential to ensuring that your family’s health is safe and secure. Exposure to mold and other environmental toxins – especially in today’s environment can result in extreme health issues and in long term exposure cases – even mortality. If your home has never been inspected for mold or toxic indoor air quality and you would like the peace of mind in knowing that your family’s health is safe and secure, contact Sentry Home Inspection Services today for your professional Mold & Indoor Air Quality Inspection for your peace of mind.

10 GREAT REASONS FOR KEEPING YOUR GUTTERS MAINTAINED!

If You Are Buying or Own a Home in Albany, Leesburg or Southwest Georgia – This Is Why You Should Worry About Cleaning Out Your Gutters!

It certainly isn’t at the top of most people’s Fun Weekend Activities List and Yes, it does take a bit of effort, but keeping your home’s gutters clean can prevent serious problems and extend the lifespan of your home. People don’t often stop to think of the issues that can arise from clogged gutters, quite frankly, because they are out of sight – out of mind. But if water is not able to adequately and properly flow away from your house, then damage can very quickly result in several different locations, from your roofing down to your foundation. There are number of reasons to make sure that your gutters get cleaned out well at least annually if not semi-annually.

  1. Roof Damage

Clogged guttering and downspouts result in restricted water flow that can cause water to flood over the gutters. When this happens, you can end up having issues with water rot or mold and algae buildup on your roofing.

  1. Damage to Fascia Boards

Water overflow and backup can damage to your home’s fascia boards that provide the very support for your guttering system.

  1. Damage to Guttering & Brackets

Water flooded guttering adds a significant amount of additional weigh to your guttering system as well as your home. This can cause bent or corroded support brackets and warped or bent guttering.

  1. Flashing & Drip Edge

Water overflow and backup can cause water to get behind your roof’s drip edge and flashing – causing flooding to the very things that are designed to help keep water out.

  1. Foundation Flooding

Water overflow and backup can cause water to spill over guttering and fall right next to the home’s foundation. This can cause long term problems with exterior rotting or deterioration. Left unchecked, excessive water that may pool or drain against your foundation is creating an excellent breeding ground for wood destroying inspects as well as mold growth.

  1. Basement Flooding

Water overflow and backup that can cause foundation flooding can also be a significant problem for a home’s basement area. Even installed drainage systems that move water away from a home are present, the increased volume of water spilling over can easily cause excessive moisture if not flooding.

  1. Foundation Settling & Cracks

If water overflows and pools along your home’s foundation, it can cause settling cracks in your home’s foundation. In cold enough winter weather, it can also cause expansion and contraction cracking.

  1. Soil Erosion

Water overflow and backup can cause water to spill over guttering and fall right next to the home’s soil along its foundation. This can cause long term problems with soil erosion or can cause increased pooling of water around your foundation.

  1. Over-watering Flower Beds & Landscaping

Excessive water can damage the health of your landscape plants and flowers. Over-watering can be as harmful – if not more so – than under watering.

  1. Insect Nesting

Clogged up gutters can attract a wide variety of insects that are attracted to a wet or damp dark environment. You could easily wind up with a significant infestation.

 

At Sentry Home Inspection Services – We’ve Got Your Back!

 

 

WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN HIRING A HOME INSPECTOR IN SOUTHWEST GEORGIA?

Over 75% of the real estate contracts in Albany, Leesburg or Southwest Georgia contain contingencies that were discovered during home inspections. This translates into millions of dollars saved by home buyers, who had professional home inspections conducted. Here are some suggestions that might be very useful for you if you are considering having a home inspection completed to help remove the stress of this process:

 

         

WHAT ABOUT TRAINING, CERTIFICATIONS AND QUALIFICATIONS?

It is important for you to check the training, education and qualifications of the home inspector that you use. Each state has their own requirements and nationally, the largest accreditation associations: InterNACHI and ASHI can readily attest to the professional certifications of their members. Specifically look for certifications and advanced certifications in at least the major systems areas of your home: roof, structure, exterior, electrical, plumbing, heating & cooling, crawlspaces, Etc. You may also want to check for certifications in energy efficiency, water quality, air quality, mold, radon, water quality, chimneys, wells, pools, decks, etc.… and other areas that are of importance to you that you would like to have covered during the home inspection process.

WHAT ABOUT CUSTOMER REVIEWS / RATINGS?

It is important for you to do some research and check out the reviews and ratings on the home inspection service. This can give you a good idea of the professional level of service they provide and can help you get a feel for what kind of experience previous customers had hiring them to do their home inspection. Most professional home inspection services will have ratings on Google / facebook / Yelp, Etc…

 

WHAT ABOUT TOOLS AND TECHNOLOGY?

Don’t make the mistake of assuming all home inspectors have and use the same tools during a home inspection – that is simply not the case. Make sure the home inspector you hire is on the cutting edge of technology, modern tools, training and certifications for the home inspection business. These things can make a big difference in the quality of both the inspection you receive as well as your report.

WHAT ABOUT THE PROFESSIONAL STATUS OF THE HOME INSPECTOR?

 

                                 

 

It’s important to know that your home inspector is an established professional business with strong ties to your local community or service area. Look for a home inspection business that is a member of the local Chamber of Commerce and of course the Better Business Bureau. Why? This likely means they are not a “here today – gone tomorrow” operation and will be around should you ever need their services again. It also means they will back their business to guarantee customer satisfaction. These businesses also invest back into your local communities and demonstrate a strong sense of social responsibility in making communities better places to live.

WHAT ABOUT INSURANCE?

A home inspector generally is not required to be bonded and insured, however, it’s very wise to find one who is.  Why? That means that the home inspector has been back-ground checked and has been determined to be professionally certified by the insurance company providing coverage. Hiring a home inspector who is bonded and has Errors & Omission insurance coverage provides an extra level protection for you as a client of the home inspector.

WHAT ABOUT THE HOME INSPECTION REPORT?

Don’t assume that if you’ve seen one home inspection report – you’ve seen them all. There is nothing further from the truth today. Does the home inspector utilize modern technology in internet cloud-based services and digital reporting that you can access with a click of a button? Make sure the home inspector uses a report that is easy to read and follow and has high resolution images and video (if applicable). Make sure the report is readily available and can be sent electronically or printed out in hard copy if needed. The more user friendly your report is – the better position you and your agent will be in to seek contingencies during the negotiation stage. A great report can save you and your agent so much time and effort. While a bad report can mean drudging through dozens and dozens of pages with very complicated and confusing wording.

 

WHAT ABOUT COST?

Truth is – there is no set price range for a real professional home inspection. Why? Every home is different and unique. Many factors come into play when you look at pricing a home inspection: square footage, stories, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, age of the home, basement, crawlspace, fireplaces/chimneys, roof type, roof pitch, garages, other free-standing building or structures, Ect… Does the home have a pool or spa? Do you want to have the air quality checked? Do you want your water quality checked? Would you like a Mold or Radon screening completed? Do you want the inspector to conduct an advanced comprehensive thermal imaging inspection? Does the home come with a well or septic system or would you like a sewer scope inspection completed? Would you like aerial images of your home? Is your home an older home and your concerned about the presence of lead-based paint? Home inspections can be as comprehensive as you want them to be to provide you with unbiased information to help you make an informed decision about the home you are thinking about purchasing.

The worst mistake many home buyers make is assuming that if you see one home inspector – you’ve seen them all – and try to find the cheapest inspector out there. That is the worst thing you could possibly do. Think about it for a minute. If you are considering investing thousands and thousands of dollars into a home – don’t you think it makes sense to hire the best home inspection services available to you instead of just trying to find the cheapest service out there? Truth is anyone can buy a magnetic sign, screwdriver and ladder and call themselves a home inspector. You will find inspectors out there that will undercut prices because they try to make up the difference by doing a larger volume of home inspections. Or they may be amateur and are having trouble finding clients. Ask your self – who would you rather hire – someone who is the cheapest one available – or someone who is really going to do a comprehensive inspection and keep your best interest at heart – no matter how long the inspection takes? As is true with most things in life – trust us – you will get what you pay for.

In the grand scheme of things, the amount of money you spend on a professional home inspection – regardless of who does it – is going to be a penance compared to the money you will be investing in your dream home. In most instances, the amount of money you spend on a professionally completed home inspection is going to be minute compared to the amount of money you could possibly save based on contingencies discovered during a comprehensive inspection by a professional home inspection firm. On most occasions – a professional home inspection more than pays for itself.

ANYTHING ELSE?

Make sure you hire a home inspector who will take the time to walk you through the inspection and make sure you understand all the discovered deficiencies. While any professional home inspector will always welcome you to be present for the inspection process itself – the truth is there are many things that you cannot accompany the inspector on during the inspection process for insurance and liability reasons. If you can make it to the house – at least at the end of the inspection – you should always do so. However, there may be circumstances that prevent you from doing so. If so, make sure that the home inspector takes the time to go over the inspection report with you at least. That way you have an opportunity to ask any questions you might have. Don’t be shy – make sure the home inspector explains everything to you so that you have a comfort level with the inspection findings.

One last suggestion for you: If you find a home inspector who tells you they can also do the repairs on the deficiencies they find in the inspection – or makes specific recommendations on who you can call to get the work done – RUN. You should look for a home inspector who only offers inspections, not repairs. There is a direct conflict of interest scenario. So, if your looking for a professional home inspection service that is going to do a thorough competent home inspection and put you and your family’s health, well being & safety first – we invite you to consider Sentry Home Inspection Services.