Learn more about some of the common issues that could affect your home.
You can’t see radon.You can’t smell it or taste it. But when it gets into the air you breathe, it can cause cancer. Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. . Radon can be found all over the U.S. and can get into any type of building. Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon. Maryland's Montgomery County recently approved a bill that will soon become law which will require home sellers in the county to test their homes for radon. You should test when you are considering buying a home, also when you make an lifestyle or structural changes to your home.
There are two types of homes: those that have termites, and those that will eventually have them. Termites are insects that destroy wood - especially wood that has become soft due to exposure to moisture. Termites only need a tiny entry point to infiltrate a home - gaps as small as 1/32". In the US, termites cause $1.2 billion in damage every year. Test your home for termites once a year.
Mold may grow indoors or outdoors and thrives in damp, warm, and humid environments. Mold can be found in essentially any environment or season. Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as as "black mold") is a greenish-black mold that can also be found indoors. Stachybotrys grows on household surfaces that have high cellulose content, such as wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint. Many molds, especially stachybotrys, can cause health and respiratory problems. If your house smells musty or shows signs of excessive moisture or water damage, it should be tested for mold.
One quarter of U.S. homes have septic systems. Neglected septic systems can cause environmental contamination and pollute groundwater for you and your neighbors. 10% to 20% of septic systems cause problems every year. As a homeowner, you are responsible for maintaining your septic system. Proper septic system maintenance will help keep you and your neighborhood healthy. Your septic system should be inspected every year.
WATER QUALITY TESTING
Your water may look clean and pure, but is it? Your water might originate from a clean source, but in some cases that water has to travel through many miles of pipes before reaching your home. Some of these pipes may be very old, corroded and leaky. Ground water can enter these pipes, adding any number of contaminants. Any home built prior to 1990 probably has water pipes joined with lead based solder. In certain circumstances, the lead from that solder can leach into your water supply. If you are on a municipal water supply, take a look at your last water bill. In several communities, a lead warning is printed on the water bill!
WELL WATER TESTING
The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) recommends well owners test their water at least annually for bacteria, nitrates, and any contaminants of local concern. More frequent testing should be considered: 1) if there is a change in the taste, odor or appearance of the well water, 2) if a problem occurs like a broken well cap, inundation by flood waters, or a new contamination, like a septic system malfunction, 3) if your family or house guests have recurrent gastrointestinal problems, 4) if you have introduced an infant into the home, or 5) to monitor the efficiency of home water treatment equipment.
SWIMMING POOL INSPECTION
Swimming pools and spas that are often connected to the pool are a great deal of pleasure but unfortunately also involve a good deal of knowledge and maintenance to keep them functioning properly and safely. There are pool services who take care of all of the details for you, but because these services are expensive, many pool owners do it themselves or neglect the needed maintenance. When considering a home with a pool, it is extremely important to know its condition. A professional pool inspector will perform a multi-point inspection to determine if a pool is safe and healthy.