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Archive for October, 2014|Monthly archive page

Buying a House? Have it Inspected! /Remove the Mold Before You Paint / Water Odor

In Uncategorized on October 21, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Buying a House? Have it Inspected!

If you’re planning on buying a house, whether it is previously owned or brand new, you really should have it inspected by a professional private house inspector. The inspector’s job is to let you know what you are purchasing. It is an impartial, objective look at the property and its condition. The inspector is not there to tell you to buy or not to buy, but what you are buying. Remember, he doesn’t know the value of the house or for that matter, what you are paying for it, so it’s possible even a house that needs thousands of dollars in repairs may still be a good investment.

What’s the difference between a private inspection and a city inspection? Well, if the house you are considering needs a new roof or will need one in the very near future, while very expensive to replace, it is not a violation unless it happened to leak on the city inspectors head. Does the basement leak? It’s not a violation. Is there asbestos in the house? You know that old expression, “As I live and breathe”. In some houses it’s becoming a decision. Are there older galvanized or lead pipes? What about foundation problems? Believe it or not, those problems, even though they’re called major stumbling blocks to a new home purchaser, are not violations and generally don’t show up on most city inspections.

By the way, an FHA mortgage or insurance inspection is not for the purchasers benefit either. It’s information that protects those companies’ assets.

So should a home purchaser have the house inspected? You bet! But remember, you’re not pricing out a can of soup so check the companies’ credentials. Are they members of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI – www.ashi.org) or the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI- www.nahi.org)? Do they belong to any trade associations? How long have they been in business? Finally, just because someone is a licensed builder, does not mean they’re qualified to inspect your house. I never met a builder who built a used home.

Q:

We had mold on our garage door, which we painted.

I washed the mold off the door with bleach but it came back in the winter. Can you solve my problem?

A:

If you didn’t remove the mold prior to painting, the mold will grow through the paint. If the mold is surface mold, it may be from running your car in the garage. By doing so, you are adding a tremendous amount of moisture into the garage.

Clean with a solution of Concrobium Mold Control, available at Home Depot for $32.00 for a one-gallon jug. Sand it down and remove any peeling paint. Re-paint the door with Wm. Zinsser’s Perma-White® paint. It is mildew resistant and self-priming so you save that step.

Q:

I notice an odor when we turn on the hot water (not cold) in our house. My water heater is only 3-years old and my son ran some of the water out of the hot water tank and it seemed a little better but now the odor is back, any suggestions?

A:

Inside your water heater is an anode rod (also referred to as a sacrificial rod). The sole purpose of the anode rod is to attract elements in your water. When the rod disintegrates, you get a smell like rotten eggs.

The anode rod can easily be replaced with an aluminum anode rod. Replacement rods are available at most large plumbing outlets.

On the top of your tank is a hex-shaped bolt. With the water and gas (or electricity) turned off to the tank, remove that hex-shaped bolt. Pull out what is left of the anode and replace it with the replacement rod.

Finally, drain some of the water from the tank by connecting a hose to the valve near the bottom of the tank. You can use a bucket or hose, but run the water until it runs clear with no sediment.

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Basement Moisture Problem / Sewer Smell From Laundry Room Drain / Habitat For Humanity Re-Store

In Basement Moisture, Habitat for Humanity, Indoor Air Quality, Leak Problems, Odors, Q&A on October 7, 2014 at 9:34 am

Q:

I moved into my new house last March and noticed a moisture problem around the periphery of the basement above the concrete walls behind the insulation bats. It appears to be condensation. My builder is trying to correct the problem but doesn’t know what to do yet.

The house has 6-inch exterior walls with R-9 insulation; 3/4-inch particleboard sheathing wrapped in “Tyvek” and cultured stone siding mortared to metal lath on all wood surfaces and directly to the concrete in those areas. The basement walls protrude above grade about 3-feet and is also covered with the cultural stone. The upper two thirds of the house is sided with “Hardy Shingles”.

I am about to finish most of the basement but am afraid to proceed until this problem is corrected. Can you offer any solution?

A:

Condensation may be the cause but is it possible the builder failed to install metal brick flashing between the Hardiplank Siding and your cultured stone. If he didn’t install flashing, moisture will travel down the wall behind the exterior walls and manifest itself at the band joists where you’re seeing condensation.

Another possibility is that the Tyvek does not extend down to, and protect the sill plate.

If neither of those are not the case and you do indeed have that much condensation then you certainly have to dehumidify your basement.

Another possibility is the leak could be originating from an improperly installed door or sliding door-wall. Check above that area to verify.

If you don’t correct the problem, in a short time you’ll have rotting, mold and wood destroying insect activity within the walls and to the band joists.

Q:

I read your column all the time but have never seen anything in regard to my problem.

After 47 years, in my less than 1000 square foot ranch, I am getting a sewer smell from the floor drain in my laundry area. The other floor drain is ok. My basement is partitioned off but the louvered door separating both sides is always open. I have poured water and bleach mix into the drain but that does not change anything. I noticed the drainpipe is a reddish orange color and the water level is about 7 to 8 inches from the floor. Do you have any suggestions for me? I am a 75-year old widow and hope this is not too extensive.

A:

Well that’s’ a crock, and I mean that quite literally.

That orange colored drain line is a clue. It means you have old crock drainpipe and it may be cracked. You could also have a venting issue.

Have someone look and listen by the floor drain with a flashlight. Have someone else go upstairs and flush a toilet and if they see the water go up and down and see it move, you have a vent obstruction.

If you hear the water flowing but don’t see it move, the line is broken and part of your basement floor may need to be taken up to repair the pipe.

The good news is Cregger Plumbing can come out and run a camera through the drain and tell you exactly what the problem is and give you an estimate. You can call them at 24

Q:

Many years ago I remember going to “Yards” in Detroit that sold stuff from old wrecked houses. They sold plumbing, windows, and doors etc. Are they still around and where?

A:

Times are changing and those old wrecking yards have grown and matured into “Habitat for Humanity Re-Store”. As a matter of fact, they moved to a new location at 12630 Greenfield in Detroit. It’s right on the corner of I-96. The Re-Store is open from 9 to 5, Monday through Saturday.

Habitat for Humanity Metro Re-Stores are a great place to find incredible bargains on new and used building and home improvement materials, such as cabinetry, doors, windows, lighting, appliances, plumbing fixtures, etc. They also sell home furnishings.

They get their “stuff” from donations made by individuals, companies, corporations and builders/contractors.

Anyone can donate by calling his or her Detroit location 313-653-4890. Remember donations are tax deductible and this helps our communities and neighbors. Best of all, the bargains are incredible. You can save 50-percent and more off retail prices. If you haven’t stopped in and if you like a bargain, you’re in for a real treat!

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