Moving With Pets

Family + House_shutterstock_59577916Moving can be a stressful time for the whole family, and especially for your four-legged family members. A little forethought can help make the transition to a new home easier on your pets.

Visit your veterinarian before you make the move. Make sure to get copies of your pets’ records, including vaccination records. You also may want to check state/province and local laws in the area you are moving to. Some areas may require additional vaccinations or specific information for licensing.

During the moving period, try to keep your pet’s schedule as familiar as possible. Don’t change foods or introduce new foods if you can help it. And, if you have dogs, try to walk them every day as usual, even though it may be difficult to remember while you’re busy preparing for the move.

Avoid leaving pets alone in a parked car. On warm days, temperatures can reach over 120° F (48° C) in just a few minutes. When moving, either bring pets to the new house first and then close them in a bathroom, or close them in a bathroom at the old house and move them last. This will prevent your furry friends from getting lost or injured while you’re loading and unloading boxes and furniture. Place a large, “DO NOT ENTER,” sign on the door and inform anyone helping you to avoid that room.

Finally, make sure your pet wears identification at all times. Open doors and trips in and out of the house during a move are the perfect time for pets to escape. A collar with identification tags and a microchip may help find your pet faster.

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Don’t Let Dirty Windows Dull Your Home

Empty RoomNow is the perfect time to clean the winter grime off your windows and let the sunshine into your home. Here are some tips to help you get gleaming windows.

  1. Remove the window screens. Lay them on a flat surface. Wet the screens thoroughly and scrub lightly, being careful not to bend the material in the screen. Repair any holes in the screens.
  2. Clean windows from the inside of your house using window cleaner and a soft towel or newspaper. Did you know that newsprint works wonders for a streak-free shine? It does, so put those old newspapers to good use. To clean the exterior side of windows, you may need a ladder. If you have second-story windows or very high windows, you may opt to use a window cleaner that attaches to your garden hose. These cleaners are available at any home improvement store and offer an easy, affordable way to clean hard-to-reach windows.
  3. You should also open any weep holes that are clogged by sealant, dirt or paint. This will help pull moist air out of your home and prevent mold and mildew.
  4. Reapply weather stripping or sealant around the window. Vacuum any debris from inside the sill and then replace the screens. You can use a fine steel wool to clean the window tracks to prevent sticking.
  5. Reassemble the windows and enjoy the terrific natural light.

If you can, clean and repair windows on cool, cloudy days. Warm, sunny days tend to cause windows to dry too fast, leaving behind streaks and spots.

If you are using a ladder to reach exterior windows, it might be a good time to check the gutters and downspouts for build-up, debris or damage. Clean out any leaves, twigs or other items that may be clogging gutters. Be sure to follow proper ladder safety guidelines at all times.

Did you know that your local NPI or GPI home inspector can provide you with a copy of our seasonal home maintenance guide? Call or email your local inspector if you’d like one.

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Tips for Moving Into Your First Home

By Hunter Newell, NPI Property Inspector, Milledgeville, Georgia

Couple + Moving Boxes_shutterstock_154243535Buying your first home is an exciting, though sometimes stressful, experience. It is easy to overlook some things while you are caught up in all of the paperwork, stress and deadlines. Here is a list of things you may have forgotten:

Debug Before the Move: If at all possible, consider scheduling a pest exterminator to set off a “bug bomb” before you move your stuff into the house. This can be incredibly helpful and one less thing you have to deal with after your belongings arrive.

Change Your Address: It is important to notify your local post office whenever you move into a new home. You can pick up change-of-address forms at your local post office. Also be sure to notify friends and family, your bank, your credit card company and your subscription services of your new address.

Take Inventory: As you pack, make an inventory list of everything you are moving. After everything has arrived at the new house, check the list to make sure all of your belongings are present. When moving an entire home’s worth of belongings, it is easy to lose a thing or two.

Unpack Methodically: It may seem overwhelming when staring at the fort of boxes in front of you. That’s OK, everything needn’t be unboxed at once. Locate the essentials, such as bed and bathroom accessories, and unpack them first. Take everything else at a slow pace and organize it as you go. It’s OK to take days, weeks and even months to unpack everything. Be sure to enjoy your new home.

Remember, moving can be an exciting experience, but don’t stress yourself out. Congratulations on your new home!

Newell PhotoHunter Newell is professionally trained NPI property inspector working for franchise owner/inspector Buddy McKenzie in Middle Georgia. If you live in the area, call 478.412.6741 to schedule your home inspection with Buddy or Hunter.

Before you move, make sure to have your house inspected by an NPI or GPI home inspector. Visit the links below to find an inspector near you.

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Today’s Tip: Freshen Up Your Garbage Disposal

Kitchen Faucet_shutterstock_85457362The kitchen is a source of odors in the home. Some, like apple pie, are pleasing. Others, like the odor emitting from a kitchen drain, can hit you right in the gut.

To clean and freshen your drains, pour the juice from half a lemon and a handful of baking soda down the drain. Flush well with hot water.

Garbage disposals are another part of the sink that can get stinky. To freshen your garbage disposal:

  1. Cut a lemon in quarters.
  2. Run cold water down the disposal.
  3. Turn on the disposal and drop in one piece of lemon.
  4. Follow with a second piece.
  5. Once both pieces of lemon clear the disposal, add a handful of baking soda.

Remember to keep your fingers away from moving parts at all times. While the disposal runs, use the other lemons to make refreshing drinks.

Cold water should always be used with a garbage disposal because it helps congeal the fats and grease that may be in the disposal. Warm water will liquefy these items, but could cause them to congeal and block the plumbing before they are completely flushed from the system.

Although the garbage disposal itself generally requires little maintenance, the area under the kitchen sink is prone to leaks. Every month, be sure to open the cabinet doors, remove all of the items and check carefully for dampness or drips. Stopping leaks early can prevent expensive fixes later.

If your house has a septic system, there may be something you may not have thought of: If you have a garbage disposal, you likely will have will to clean the septic system more frequently because of the build-up of solid foods and grease from the disposal.

Your local NPI or GPI home inspector can provide you with a full assessment of your home’s systems and condition. To find an inspector near you, visit one of the links below.

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What’s the HWBB Heating Pipe Doing in the Attic?

By Lawrence Englehart, GPI Franchise Owner, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Englehart_Kitec

My client was wondering why their house’s addition above the garage was so difficult to heat during our Canadian cold winter season, and why their heating costs were so high. I guess that’s what happens when an incompetent contractor (nine years ago) installs the Kitec hot-water baseboard (HWBB) heating pipe on top of the attic insulation, which runs for more than 20 feet in an unconditioned space! The attic was relatively warm on the day I inspected it, about 0° C (32° F), versus this pipe at 70° C (162° F).

Englehart PhotoLawrence Englehart is a professional Global Property Inspections home inspector in Halifax, Nova Scotia. If you live in the area, call 902.403.2460 to schedule your home inspection with Lawrence.

NPI and GPI home inspectors have the tools and knowledge to assess your home. Consult with your local NPI or GPI inspector for an inspection of your home or a home you are planning to purchase.

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Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

Spring House_shutterstock_63824962Welcome to spring, everyone! Now is the perfect time for our spring home maintenance checklist. Whether you’re a seasoned home owner or a first-time home owner, here are some of the things to check and prepare around the house as the weather warms up.

  • Check and change the furnace filter.
  • Check the electrical panel for any scorching or burn marks. Call an electrician if you find any.
  • Clean the clothes dryer exhaust, duct, damper and space under the dryer.
  • Check the basement or crawl space for dampness, leaks and evidence of termites.
  • Check to make sure the sump pump (if present) is operating correctly.
  • Check the attic for proper ventilation and insulation.
  • If you have multipane windows, check them for fog, which indicates a broken seal.
  • Inspect around the foundation for signs of termite infestation.
  • Inspect the roof for potential leaks.
  • Check for damaged, raised or missing flashing and shingles.
  • Check vents, louvers and chimney caps for bird’s nests and debris.
  • Check the underside of the roof in the attic and under the eaves for water stains.
  • Examine the exterior of the chimney for cracks and signs of damage.
  • Check for overhanging tree limbs, and trim if needed.
  • Inspect gutters for signs of sagging, damage or rust. Also, clear debris from gutters and downspouts.
  • Check windows for loose or missing putty/glazing, broken glass, and damaged screens.
  • Check the grading around the house — the ground should slope away from the house for proper drainage.
  • Move firewood stored close to the house. Firewood should be stored at least 18 inches off the ground at least 2 feet from the house.
  • Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage.
  • Clean leaves and other debris away from an outdoor air conditioning unit.
  • Remove vines growing on the house, siding, brick or mortar.
  • Check for soft mortar joints or missing mortar.
  • Check your siding:
    • Check brick veneer for cracks that are wider than 1/16 inch.
    • Check vinyl and aluminum siding for cracks and damage.
    • Check wood siding, window trim and frames for peeling paint and damaged wood.
  • Check wooden decks for deterioration and repair or seal when necessary.
  • Repair all cracked, broken or uneven driveways, patios and walks.
  • Check gas- and battery-powered lawn equipment and tools to be sure they are ready for spring and summer use.

Your local NPI or GPI home inspector can provide you with our seasonal home maintenance guide. Contact your inspector to receive a copy of this useful manual.

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Talk to Your Home Inspector

By Ken Roleke, NPI Franchise Owner, Tucson, Arizona

Inspector + Client + Fireplace10Because I am an old-fashioned Jack-of-All-Trades to the extreme, I did not always understand the need for home inspectors. I was a builder, general contractor and property manager, and the people I interacted with the most were in construction and property maintenance.

I was surprised a couple of years ago when my neighbor pointed at his electric meter and asked me if it was the water meter or the electric meter. Then, last year, a home inspection client complained to her Realtor that I did not show her where the utility shut-offs were and how to turn off the water and electricity in case of an emergency. Because I’ve spent so many years in the construction industry, I didn’t realize that many people don’t know the basics about their homes. Just as other people have their areas of expertise that I know little about, most people don’t know much about home construction or building systems.

Until I worked with that client, I pointed out items needing repair during the inspection walk-through with home buyers. Now, I also point out the water shut-off valve and the circuit breakers. I explain the heating and cooling to home buyers. I also discuss the mostly frame stucco exteriors and the concrete slab on grade foundations we have here in southern Arizona, especially when I know the clients are moving from a cold climate where homes are constructed differently than here.

Most of all, I encourage my clients to ask me questions. There are things I take for granted about home and building construction that they may not. Every client has concerns, whether it’s the amount of attic insulation, the irrigation system or the roof. So, talk to your home inspector. Ask questions, and let him/her know what about the house is important to you. Your inspector wants to do a good job for you, so don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions.

Roleke PhotoKen Roleke is a professional National Property Inspections home inspector in Tucson, Arizona. If you live in the area, call 520.870.2341 to schedule your home inspection with Ken.

 

NPI and GPI home inspectors have the tools and knowledge to assess your home. Consult with your local NPI or GPI inspector for an assessment of your home.

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Where Should Your Thermostat Be Located?

Thermostat_shutterstock_92965054Thermostats control the operation of heating and/or cooling systems in your home. Proper location, maintenance and operation of your thermostat keeps indoor temperatures comfortable and can save on utility costs.

Your thermostat should be located on an interior wall near the center of your home. It should not be in direct sunlight or near radiated heat from fireplaces, radiators or other heat sources. Generally, the thermostat is placed outside the kitchen. It should also be away from doors and windows that open and close frequently. Thermostats are generally located about five feet above the floor so they can be read or adjusted easily, and they may be controlled by a gauge, a dial or digitally with a panel of buttons. Thermostats should be assessed as part of a home’s general mechanical system during a home inspection.

Most thermostats for gas-fired appliances also have a variable anticipator to help prevent overheating. The anticipator “fools” the heating unit into shutting down just before the room hits the set temperature so the heat remaining in the furnace finishes the job.

Whenever changing a thermostat or performing routine maintenance, it’s a good idea to make sure the settings for the anticipator are correct.

NPI and GPI home inspectors have the tools and knowledge to assess your home. Consult with your local NPI or GPI inspector for an assessment of your home.

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Your Appliances May Be Trying to Tell You Something

Appliance PlugDoes the circuit breaker trip every time you start your microwave? Did your toaster give you an unexpected shock this morning? When an appliance repeatedly trips a circuit breaker, blows a fuse or gives you a shock, it’s not just a fluke — something is wrong with the appliance.

Prevent further and possibly more dangerous malfunctions by immediately unplugging the appliance. Don’t use it until you have it checked out and repaired by a professional electrician or repairman — although in some cases, it may be less expensive just to replace the appliance.

NPI and GPI home inspectors have the tools and knowledge to assess your home. Consult with your local NPI or GPI inspector for an assessment of your home.

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Did You Know: Common Causes of House Fires

burn-baby-burn-1229975-1600x1200Believe it or not, house fires frequently share common causes. Knowing the common causes of house fires should help prevent such potential fires through education. Reader’s Digest recently posted a slideshow of the top 11 causes of house fires and how to avoid them:

  • Cooking: Grease fires can start in just two to three seconds. Never leave the kitchen while cooking.
  • Heating equipment: Too often fires start when people are just trying to stay warm. To avoid a hazard, have furnaces and fireplaces inspected annually. Keep portable heaters away from other flammable items, such as clothing.
  • Smoking: If you’re a smoker, don’t smoke in bed or in any position that you could fall asleep. Smoking outdoors is a safer, keeps your home smoke-free and reduces the risk of falling asleep.
  • Electrical equipment: Don’t overload electrical outlets or extension cords. Check regularly for frayed or worn wires, and don’t run cords under rugs or heavy furniture.
  • Candles: Don’t leave burning candles unattended around pets or children. Burn candles in fire-safe holders and place them on level surfaces. Extinguish all candles when you leave the room.
  • Children: Prevent children from accessing lighters or matches in the home.
  • Inadequate wiring: Warning signs that your electrical wiring may be insufficient and/or unsafe are dimming lights, frequently tripping breakers or blowing fuses, and having to unplug an appliance to use another.
  • Flammable liquids: Don’t store flammable liquids near an open heat source or hot temperatures. Store them outside in a cool environment, in proper containers.
  • Live Christmas trees: Keep live trees watered and away from heat sources and televisions. Check light strands for frayed wires.
  • Barbecues: Clean your grill with soapy water and always use it outdoors. Make sure to place the grill so that flames are away from decks, trees, flammables, etc.
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