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home safety essentials

5 Home Safety Essentials That Should Be in Every Home

You want to keep yourself and your family safe and protected from danger. Don’t overlook these basic home safety essentials that should be in every house. Make sure that you have these items in your home and that they are ready to use in case of an emergency.

5 Home Safety Essentials

Whether you live in a house or an apartment, these five home safety essentials should be part of your home.

1. Carbon Monoxide Detector

You probably know that you should have a smoke detector on every floor of your home and near all bedrooms. But, did you also know that a carbon monoxide detector is equally important? Since CO gas is odorless and colorless, it’s undetectable without this device. Carbon monoxide gas sickens between 20,000 and 30,000 Americans each year and kills about 500 of those people. Don’t risk your family member’s lives by failing to have CO alarms in your house.

2. Deadbolt Locks are Home Safety Essentials

If you have concerns about theft or forced entry, a deadbolt lock for your exterior doors should be high on your list of home safety essentials. These locks offer more security than a standard doorknob lock with a steel bolt that passes straight through your door frame. A reinforced door frame makes your door even more secure.

If your family members lose their keys often, it may be time to invest in a smart lock for your door. This way you can add, remove, or change codes as needed so there aren’t stray keys to your home just laying about. Some even let you unlock the door remotely through a connected app.

3. Fire Extinguisher

If a small kitchen flare-up occurs, you want to be able to put it out quickly and safely. Have a multi-use fire extinguisher available in an accessible location. Make sure that your family members know how to operate it. Learn about when you should use a fire extinguisher and when you should just get out of the house. As a rule of thumb, if it takes you longer than 5 seconds to put out a blaze, you should vacate the building.

4. Emergency Ladder

Anyone with a second story or raised level in their home should have an emergency ladder in their home safety essentials kit. They are portable, collapsible, and can help you get out safely from a high window without waiting for rescue personnel with a ladder or jumping.

5. First Aid and Disaster Kit

Although these are technically two separate items, they can easily be combined into a portable and accessible unit. You should have them in your home no matter where you live. Include bandages and basic first aid supplies, bottled water and shelf-stable food, medicines, and flashlights with batteries. Make sure you have enough supplies for every family member to last at least 2 days, including pets.

Gathering these items isn’t hard to do, and the peace of mind that comes with having home safety essentials is worth it.

Elite Home Inspections provides home inspection services. Contact us to schedule an appointment in Louisville and the surrounding areas.

thermal imaging in home inspections finds areas of heat differences

Uses of Thermal Imaging in Home Inspections

Thermal or infrared imaging technology is used by some home inspectors during an inspection. A thermal imaging camera produces a color image showing the amount of thermal energy an object is emitting. This provides a trained inspector with information about the condition of the property. He or she can find problems that are not visible to the naked eye. Thermal imaging in home inspections provides insights to the homebuyer by helping to find certain issues in the home.

Thermal Imaging Helps Find Moisture in a Home

Unless you find a puddle or can see water damage, leaks can easily go unnoticed. With infrared imaging, your inspector can examine a water stain to determine if it’s an active moisture problem or an old stain. A lower temperature might indicate a current moisture problem.

If your home inspector suspects mold, thermal imaging can help find the source by detecting water leaks behind walls that would be difficult to identify without this technology.

Detecting Electrical Hazards With Thermal Imaging in Home Inspections

Infrared imaging can find problems with wiring that may be a potential electrical fire hazard. Your home inspector will use a thermal camera to examine the walls or electrical panel for hot spots. During the scan, dangerous hot spots are displayed as warmer colors on the camera.

Locate Areas of Defective or Missing Insulation

An infrared camera is used to detect uneven heat distribution. It can find areas of missing, defective, or inadequate insulation in a home. Uninsulated or under-insulated spaces will show as cooler areas on an infrared image so the homeowner knows where the insulation needs to be replaced.

Energy Efficiency Issues

Leaky window or door seals can be found using thermal imaging. The camera will register a difference in temperature around doors or windows where there are air leaks. An infrared camera shows the home inspector areas where the seals around doors and windows need to be replaced.

Elite Home Inspections provides inspection services in Louisville and the surrounding areas. If you’re buying a new home, contact us to request an appointment.

reduce humidity with certain houseplants

How to Reduce Humidity at Home

Humidity in the home is uncomfortable and can cause your energy bill to increase. As the humidity levels in your home rise, your HVAC has to work harder to cool the area. Eliminating excess moisture from your home takes time and attention. Here are a few simple steps you can follow in order to reduce humidity at home.

1. Cover Your Crawlspace to Reduce Humidity

The crawlspace is an entry point for moisture in the home. Reduce humidity by covering the dirt floor with a plastic vapor barrier. Make sure there is no standing water or damp soil in your crawl space. Use fans to increase airflow and help keep the area dry.

2. Use Exhaust Fans Throughout the House

Another easy way to reduce humidity at home is to use ventilation fans. Rooms like bathrooms and the kitchen tend to have higher humidity and benefit from the use of exhaust fans. Run the fan when cooking or showering to remove moisture and discourage bacteria and mold growth.

3. Use a Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers are an effective option for excessively humid homes. If humidity levels in your house are 60% or higher, a dehumidifier is a good investment. A portable dehumidifier in a damp living space pulls moisture from the air. Keep the unit clean and empty the reservoir when it is full. Another option is to install a whole-house unit to reduce moisture throughout the home.

4. Grow Plants to Absorb Humidity

Certain plants are natural dehumidifiers. Plants like the Boston fern reduce moisture in the air. You’ll be adding more oxygen as you dehumidify your home. With the plants in the home, you will enjoy a more comfortable environment with cleaner air.

5. Dry Your Clothes Outside or in the Dryer

If humidity is an issue, don’t leave wet clothes to air-dry inside the home. While this may be an inexpensive and effective way to dry your clothes, it also adds moisture to the indoor environment. Reduce humidity at home by drying your clothes in the dryer or on a clothesline outdoors.

6. Take Colder Showers

Hot showers increase the amount of humidity in your home. Cooler showers are more appealing during the summer months and help to limit the amount of moisture that lingers in the air. If you’re showering with humidity levels in mind, take shorter, cooler showers.

Uncomfortable levels of humidity can be resolved with the right tools and techniques. Use the above tips to reduce humidity at home.

Elite Home Inspections offers home inspections to Louisville and the surrounding areas. Use this link to request an appointment.

grilling safety tips

9 Grilling Safety Tips to Follow This Summer

The summer months are the perfect time to host a cookout, but July is also the biggest month for accidental grill fires. Both gas and charcoal grills have risks associated with their use. The next time you use your grill, practice these grilling safety tips to keep your family and home safe.

Grilling Away From the House is an Important Grilling Safety Tip

Many homeowners don’t realize that their home is at risk since flames from the grill can reach nearby structures. Use your grill away from walls, patios, and balconies. Stay away from patio umbrellas and overhanging tree branches as well.

Make Sure That Your Grill is on a Flat Surface

Unstable grills can tip over and cause injury or fire. Make sure your grill is on a flat surface and doesn’t tip over easily. A grill pad will contain any food scraps, protect your deck or patio, and create an even surface that stabilizes the grill.

Clean Your Grill After You Use It

Always clean your grill after use. Use a brush to scrub the grates. Empty accumulated grease from the tray below. If you use a grill that requires charcoal, dispose of the coals in a metal container after they have cooled off.

Check Your Grill For Propane Leaks

If you are using a gas grill, check it for propane leaks. You can easily do so with a soap and water solution. Apply the solution to the fuel line hose, then turn the gas on. If you see any bubbles forming, there is a leak. Another sure sign of a leak is if you smell gas.

Don’t Re-Light the Flame Right Away

Sometimes your flame will go out on a propane grill. When this happens, wait about five minutes before igniting again. Be sure to turn the propane off while you are waiting.

Never Leave Your Grill Unattended

Accidents often happen because of an unattended grill, especially with children or pets present. Always stay close to your grill when you are using it. The grill can stay hot for quite some time after you are finished cooking, so it’s important to keep your kids and pets away from it both during and after grilling.

Starter Fluid Grilling Safety Tips

Only use starter fluid when you are starting a charcoal grill. If the flame goes out, don’t add more fuel. Use a safer alternative like newspaper to re-light.

Grilling Safety Tips for Clothing

When you are using your grill, pay attention to your clothing. Don’t wear flammable items or accessories. Stay away from shirts that have long sleeves or strings hanging from them. Tie back your apron strings. Make sure that nothing hangs over the top of your grill that could catch fire.

Be Prepared In Case Of An Emergency

Emergencies happen, so always keep a fire extinguisher close by. Don’t use water when trying to put out a fire caused by your grill. That can just make it worse. This is one of the most important grilling safety tips to remember.

The summer is a great time to barbecue. However, take proper precautions to keep your family safe when you are grilling out.

Elite Home Inspections serves Louisville and the surrounding areas with home inspection services. Click here to schedule an appointment for our services.

basic tools for the homeowner

6 Basic Tools for Homeowners

Purchasing a home is a goal that many people have, however, homeownership also means you are responsible for maintenance tasks around the house. You will no longer have the luxury of being able to call the landlord to take care of issues around the property. By relying on a few basic tools for homeowners, you can easily make simple repairs.

Six Basic Tools for Homeowners to Include in Their Toolbox

1. Claw Hammer

A hammer is one of the most basic tools that every homeowner should have, and you may already own one. This hammer has a head with a flat side and another with a V-shape designed to extract nails without damaging surfaces. If you do not already have one, choose a quality hammer with solid construction and durability.

2. Screwdrivers are Basic Tools for Homeowners

Screwdrivers are helpful tools to have in your home. Tighten cabinet knobs, open battery cases, and assemble furniture with this basic tool for homeowners. It’s also important to note that screwdrivers come equipped with a variety of screw sizes and heads, so purchase some with multiple head sizes and tips.

3. Pliers are Basic Tools for Homeowners

Generally, there are two types of pliers you will want to have: tongue-and-groove and needle-nose. Needle-nose pliers can be used to grip and bend wires and nails while tongue-and-groove pliers are used more for tasks like crimping and fastening.

4. Level

Whether it’s a laser level or a standard level, this is a useful tool to include in your toolbox. A level helps you install items such as mirrors, shelves, and frames.

5. Staple Gun

A staple gun is great for tasks like securing fabric, installing carpet, and adding insulation. Many homeowners prefer to use manual staple guns because they’re easier to use and less expensive than electric ones.

6.  Cordless Drill

The best perk of a cordless drill is that they don’t require an electrical outlet or cord. A cordless drill is a convenient basic tool for homeowners to have around the house.

When you own a home, stock your toolbox with these basic tools. Even if there are no pressing tasks that need to be completed yet, it’s always a good idea to have these tools for future maintenance tasks that are sure to arise.

Elite Home Inspections serves Louisville and the surrounding area with home inspection services. Contact us to request an appointment.

hints to repel mosquitoes

Helpful Hints to Repel Mosquitoes Around the Home

Mosquitoes are troublesome insects that can disrupt a beautiful evening outdoors. Here are helpful hints to repel mosquitoes around your property.

Repel Mosquitoes Around the Home

One useful hint to repel mosquitoes is to check that the screens on your windows and doors are in good condition. Mosquitoes are small insects, so a tiny tear in the screen is enough to allow them access to your home. Repair window screens to keep the bugs outside.

Treat Your Lawn to Repel Mosquitoes

Have a lawn service apply mosquito repellant around your property. Having your lawn treated for mosquitoes will help keep them away from your home. Depending on how many rainy days you have, your lawn may need to be treated several times throughout the summer.

Plant Natural Mosquito Repellents

Some plants naturally repel mosquitoes and are a beautiful addition to your landscaping. Depending on your particular climate, you can plant catnip, rosemary, lemon thyme, holy basil, feverfew, or citronella to help repel mosquitoes.

Drain Stagnant Water

Mosquitoes need water to lay their eggs. Anywhere that water settles is a perfect breeding ground for them. Birdbaths or unused kiddie pools are common culprits. Keeping an eye out for standing puddles is one of the most helpful hints to repel mosquitoes.

Use Scented Repellents

There are plenty of options for bug repellents. You can find them made from chemical solutions or derived from natural sources.

  • Sprays or lotions are available for your skin.
  • Mosquito repellent candles can be used outside.
  • Use oil repellents in lanterns to repel mosquitoes in larger areas.
  • Mix natural oils like peppermint, citronella, and camphor with water and spray on decks and outdoor furniture.

Hints to Repel Mosquitoes Include Keeping Your Gutters Clean

Your gutters are another area where mosquitoes can breed. Debris that settles inside of your gutters creates damp areas that mosquitoes like. Have your gutters cleaned on a regular schedule to help discourage mosquitoes.

Using these hints to repel mosquitoes, you’ll enjoy being outside this summer without pesky insects biting you.

Elite Home Inspections serves Louisville and the surrounding area with home inspection services. Contact us to request an appointment.

high radon levels in the home

Addressing High Radon Levels in the Home

Radon is a radioactive gas that is created as uranium breaks down in rocks and soil. Radon enters into homes through cracks in the foundation or utility openings. Since houses are enclosed and doors and windows are often shut, radon can build up indoors. Exposure to high radon levels is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers. It is important to test for radon in the home and take steps to lower unsafe levels.

Testing For High Radon Levels in the Home

Radon testing is the first step toward identifying and correcting any issues. The gas is challenging to detect because it does not emit any odor or taste, and it is colorless. Hire a professional to test for high radon levels in the home. Their training, experience, and knowledge will deliver the most accurate results. Also, professionals use superior devices which are more accurate and reliable than DIY home testing kits.

Mitigation for High Radon Levels

Mitigation refers to the process of reducing high radon levels in the home. It’s critical to hire a radon mitigation professional to reduce radon levels because DIY tactics often backfire. Some methods include using pipes to suction the radon away from the home, sealing cracks to prevent more radon from entering, pressurization, and installing heat recovery ventilators.

Dealing with high radon levels in the home can be challenging. Hiring a professional will simplify the process and correct the issues in an effective and timely manner.

Elite Home Inspections provides radon testing to Louisville, Kentucky, and the surrounding area. Contact us to schedule a radon test.

pre-listing home inspection

5 Benefits of a Pre-Listing Home Inspection

Why Order a Pre-Listing Home Inspection

It is common for a home buyer to schedule a home inspection. Sellers can also benefit from having their home inspected before listing the property for sale. A pre-listing home inspection can be used to more accurately price your home, avoid surprises, and help you decide which repairs to make before listing.

1. Avoid Surprises

After living in a home for many years, you know that it isn’t perfect, but you might not know of specific issues and their order of importance. A pre-listing inspection will inform you of potential problems so you can avoid unpleasant surprises when the home is inspected by the buyer.

Problems like a hidden roof defect, foundation issue, or termite infestation can derail a closing. These surprises affect the value of your home, can interfere with the buyer’s ability to get a mortgage, and potentially cause the buyer to walk away from the deal.

One of the primary benefits of a pre-listing home inspection is uncovering potential issues so they can be addressed before the home is shown to buyers. Depending on the results of the inspection, you might choose to make repairs or updates to your home or change the price of your home to account for any issues.

2. Time to Fix Problems

If the inspection reveals items that need to be repaired, it’s best to find out early in the process rather than in the middle of escrow. A pre-listing home inspection gives you plenty of time to fix issues so you can make smarter decisions about home repair. When you aren’t under a time crunch, you can shop around for the best price from a contractor.

3. DIY Repairs are an Option

When the pre-listing inspection turns up minor issues that can impact your home’s value, you have the option to tackle projects on your own. Once you are negotiating with a buyer, they will likely require that you bring in a professional, even for simple fixes. This can cause easy, inexpensive projects to become more costly.

4. Reduce Negotiations

By eliminating surprises and addressing any needed repairs before the home is listed, you can shorten the negotiation process by taking defects off the table. This helps you gain the upper hand in negotiations by removing the buyer’s justification for price reductions, repairs, and other concessions.

5. Accurate Pricing

One of the most challenging aspects of selling your home is choosing a price that is fair and will help your home sell quickly. When your home is priced correctly, you get the most money possible and a quick offer. A pre-listing home inspection helps you set a reasonable price for the property being sold.

Elite Home Inspections offers pre-listing home inspections and other inspection services to Louisville and the surrounding areas. Contact us to schedule your inspection.

keep your home warm

Keep Your Home Warm and Reduce Your Energy Use

When it comes to heating your home, it’s easy to forget about the cost involved when you need to increase your energy use. If you’re looking for a few ways to save extra money during winter, here are a few tips to follow to help keep your home warm while saving energy

Close the Curtains

Use thick blackout curtains to block cold air from coming in through the windows. The curtains will act as an extra layer of insulation and are affordable to purchase. You can also open the curtains in the morning or midday to let sunlight into the house as a free way of heating up your home.

Check for Air Leaks to Keep Your Home Warm

The exterior doors on your house may be drafty, which can increase your energy usage as warm air escapes the building and cold air seeps inside. Caulking the windows and doors will prevent drafts and help keep your home warm. Use weatherstripping tape around the doors to seal up any gaps around the sides or underneath.

Turn Down the Thermostat

Turning the heater off during the day may seem like a good idea, but it’s not efficient and won’t keep the home warm. Opt for turning down the thermostat at night when your family members are sleeping and warm in bed. You can also turn it down when you leave on vacation or when the home is unoccupied throughout the day to increase your savings and reduce your energy usage.

Installing a programmable thermostat is the easiest way to adjust the thermostat based on your routine. A smart thermostat takes it a step further by learning your family’s habits and automatically lowering the thermostat when everyone is away. You won’t have to worry about adjusting the device throughout the day or knowing everyone’s schedule.

Increase Your Insulation to Keep Your Home Warm

If you want to keep your home warm, opt for adding insulation to the attic where heat can escape during the colder months of the year. Go into your attic and check for areas where insulation is missing. Attic insulation can be installed by an experienced DIYer, but it is important to wear protective gear.

Order an HVAC Tune Up

The heating system requires attention before the start of every season that it will be in use. Have an HVAC professional come for a tune-up to help the system run more efficiently by making adjustments and repairs as needed. Also, clean ducts and a fresh air filter will help air move through the home easier and use less energy.

There are many ways to keep your home warm throughout the winter season while also reducing your energy use. By using these tips, you can keep your home comfortable while reducing your energy bills.

Elite Home Inspections serves Louisville and the surrounding area with home inspection services. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

Safely Take Down Holiday Decorations

Five Tips on How to Safely Take Down Holiday Decorations

Many people enjoy decorating for the holidays but few people consider the hazards when undecorating after the New Year. Falls, cuts, shocks, and other injuries are all possible risks when taking down and putting away decorations. Review these tips on how to safely take down holiday decorations.

1. Set Up Your Ladder Safely

Many people hang holiday lights high on the roof without considering the ways to safely take down holiday decorations. When removing decorations from roofs, balconies, and trees, you’ll need to set up the ladder safely to prevent falls. If you are using an extension ladder, lean the ladder against the house at a 75-degree angle. Place the ladder on sturdy and dry ground. Have someone hold the ladder down so it doesn’t move while you’re using it.

2. Test the Lights

Testing your lights is the next step after you safely take down holiday decorations. Before returning the lights to storage, check for broken bulbs and frayed cords that could spark and create fires. You want the lights to work and to know they are safe to decorate with next year.

3. Be Careful With Heavy Items

Do not injure yourself while carrying heavy items. Big holiday decorations can weigh a hundred pounds or more. Set a maximum limit for each box that does not exceed 50 pounds. That is the weight that most people can carry without injuring themselves. Lift with your legs instead of your back.

4. Get Rid of Broken Items

Get rid of broken ornaments immediately after you safely take down holiday decorations. Do not stash them away, thinking that the damages are small and barely noticeable. Cracked bulbs or glass ornaments are still hazardous to children and pets.

Always Consider the Ways to Safely Take Down Holiday Decorations

After the holidays pass, it’s typical for people to remove their decorations quickly and carelessly when storing them. With a little planning and thoughtfulness, you can avoid injury. Remember these tips when you safely take down holiday decorations.

Elite Home Inspections provides home inspection services to Louisville and the surrounding areas of Kentucky. Contact us to book your appointment.