One way of reducing the amount of garbage sent out to landfills and waste management facilities is with the kitchen’s garbage disposal unit. This small unit fitted to the kitchen sink is designed to grind up food scraps into tiny fragments that can then drain easily through pipes and into the sewer or homes septic tank. But, can any kind of garbage be passed through the garbage disposal? No, but let’s see why and what should never go into the unit.
There are many items that will easily damage a garbage disposal unit, not to mention cause problems to a septic system, if you have one. The garbage disposal is designed solely for food items, so be careful of things like bottle caps and aluminum foil etc. which can easily find themselves in the sink. Some other items that are bad for the unit are grease, oil or chemicals. Not all food items are suitable for a garbage disposal unit either. Because the unit uses rotating blades to grind up food, we can see why things like meat bones would be a bad idea as they could damage the blades. Fibrous food scraps like potato peels and corn husks can clog up the unit, so if you decide to place these items down there, only do it in small amounts. Keep the water running for a few seconds after you switch off the unit as well.
Yes, using a garbage disposal unit only for what it is intended for will help prolong the life of the unit and reduce the need for extra maintenance.
Here in Calgary we have had some issues with sinkholes. They have the potential to create huge amounts of destruction to infrastructure, property and most worryingly, human life. So, what are some of the signs you could observe in and around your home that could indicate a sinkhole is forming? Let’s look at some of the indicators.
What might you observe inside the home? One big warning sign is cracks appearing in the floors and walls of the home. You might also find that doors and windows are no longer closing properly. If you have well water, you might notice it becoming cloudy or muddy looking.
There are a number of sinkhole warning signs around the home as well, some very subtle and others a lot more noticeable. Among the more noticeable signs are; rapid ground subsidence, cracks in the ground which form a circular pattern and sudden ground fissures. Some of the less noticeable warning signs are; water accumulation in areas of the property that don’t usually experience this, fence posts or trees might start to list and expose parts normally underground. You might also be observing areas of plant life suddenly starting to die off, this can be due their water supply draining away into a sinkhole.
If you have noticed any of these issues on your property, don’t start to panic and assume it is definitely a sinkhole as these signs could also be indicators of a completely different problem. The best thing to do is have the property looked at to find the real source of the problem. However, being alert to the possibility of sinkholes on your property will go a long way to keeping you and your property safe.
For many people who are advancing in age, getting around isn’t as easy as it once was. Even moving around their own homes can become a challenge. It’s sad to say, but thousands of elderly ones are injured every year from an at home related accident. Among the most common accidents that take place at home are slipping and falling. How, then, can some of these accidents be prevented? Let’s look at a couple of ways:
One of the first steps to take is have a look throughout the home to see what areas have the potential to become trip over hazards. Electrical cords and wiring can be lethal if they are stretched out along the floor of a walk-through area (not only for tripping over but a potential fire hazard as well). They may be stretched out due to a lack of plug sockets where they are needed. One possible solution to this is to rearrange the furniture so that any appliances are close to an electrical socket and don’t need to stretch far. When doing this, it would be a good time to check the condition of these wires etc. to make sure they are not damaged, frayed or have exposed wires.
Another area that causes many accidents are carpets and rugs. While many older ones prefer the warmth and comfort carpeting brings to a home, they can be very dangerous if they are wearing out. If a carpets adhesive has worn out in places, the carpet can loosen making it very easy for someone with limited mobility to trip over. Rugs are also potentially lethal if they are not fitted with a good rubber backing which holds them firmly in place.
While reading this blog, perhaps you have thought of many other areas of your elderly loved one’s home that could be adjusted for safety. Having these steps in mind is a good start to keeping your aging loved ones safe while they are at home.
Any homeowner knows that in order to avoid huge costs down the line, regular maintenance needs to be done on the home. Wood is something that, when used in the home’s construction, could start to deteriorate. One of the reasons it will do this is because of wood decay or wood rot as its known. Wood rot is a form of fungus that affects wood. It is not the same as termite or carpenter ant damage which is a separate problem. Although wood rot thrives in warm and damp locations, its pretty tough and can survive in more extremes as well.
In order to survive wood rot needs 3 things: oxygen, moisture and a food source. There are many places throughout a home that would supply these things, meaning that you should check for wood rot in most areas. Here’s an example of some of the places that would be vulnerable to wood rot:
This is just some of the potentially vulnerable areas to wood decay. If you are worried that your home could be susceptible to wood rot, why not have it inspected by a certified InterNACHI home inspector? This way you can address the issue before it becomes too big.
Home inspectors have to be extra cautious when inspecting certain areas of the home. One of these areas is the crawlspace underneath the home. The reasons for this are obvious as they are dark places and usually remain unchecked for long periods of time. This means that there is the potential for all kinds of hazards to be found there. So, what are some of these dangers that a homeowner should be aware of?
One of these potential dangers are animals and pests. A crawlspace might be home to all kinds of creatures, some of which could be dangerous if they come in contact with a human. The risk is increased because crawlspaces are tough areas to move around in, so you could find yourself face to face with one of these critters and have no easy means of retreat.
Some other issues you might encounter with crawlspaces are standing water or even sewage. Most of us are aware that this can create a variety of health problems and can damage any belongings you have there. Mold and fungus are another cause for concern with crawlspaces as they thrive in this type of dark, damp environment.
If you are uncertain whether the home has any structural problems, make sure you are extra careful when going into a crawlspace. As home inspectors, we are very vigilant when it comes to this. If you need to go into a under house crawlspace, always make sure someone knows where you are and what you are doing. You could easily encounter problems or get trapped so it’s important to have someone else aware of what you are doing. There are many other dangers associated with under house crawlspaces, so remember, if you need to go into one make sure you are wearing the appropriate protective clothing and equipment.
Its hard to forget the terrible smell of sewer gas, especially if it has leaked into your home. While the smell may seem bad enough, should we be worried about any other dangers that could come from sewer gas leaking into your home? There are some serious health risks associated with sewer gas leaks, among them are: risk of explosion or fire, possibility of hydrogen sulfide poisoning which has the potential to be extremely dangerous and, risk of asphyxiation from sewer gases displacing the oxygen in the home.
Its clear to see from this list that if you smell sewer gas in your home, it should be checked out by a professional. There are a few reasons for sewer gas to leak. A very common reason is plumbing fixtures drying out which causes the plumbing traps to also dry out. From a lack of water barrier, sewer gas can then back up into the home. If bathrooms, sinks and toilets are not used very often this can also happen, especially during dryer weather. Some other reasons for sewer gas to leak in the home are cracking in plumbing drains and ventilation pipes, cracks in the home’s foundations, wind and air flowing around the home and plumbing vents that are positioned too close to air intakes.
So, we can see that leaking sewer gas can become dangerous to the home’s occupants. We have also seen that there are differing reasons for this. The important thing, though, is not to ignore this but have the problem looked at by a skilled professional.
We all know that purchasing a home is one of the biggest expenses you can have. Sometimes, though, we don’t expect all the fees and extra costs that go along with buying a house such as closing costs etc. Perhaps you feel that you can cut down on some of these costs and save a bit of money. While this might be good reasoning, there is one thing that you should never skimp on and that’s the home inspection. Why is this such an important part of buying a home?
Because, as we mentioned, buying a home is a massive expense so it’s vital that you know everything about your potential new home before you make the final decision. Wouldn’t it be terrible if, after moving in to your new place, you find out that it needs thousands of dollars of work? The home inspection reveals these kinds of issues before you buy helping you to decide whether the property is for you or not.
Something else to think about is that not all home inspection companies are the same. You may want to go for the cheaper quote but, for the same reasons as before, this might not be the best option. Make sure you choose an InterNACHI certified home inspector for your home inspection. Although it might cost you a few dollars extra, you can feel more confident that you will be getting a thorough, detailed inspection. So, when it comes to cutting costs with your home buying process, think about the long-term consequences. While it might cost you that bit extra now, it could end up saving you a fortune later on.
The exterior look of a home is very important so choosing the right type of exterior cladding is crucial. With so many different kinds available nowadays its hard to know what is right for your home. Let’s consider one cladding type, wooden siding, this has been around for decades, and with good reason. Even among this category of cladding, there are many different kinds of wooden siding. Let’s look at a few of them;
One siding type you will come across is solid wood or lumber siding. This is one of the more common kinds of wood siding. It is durable and attractive in appearance (as long as it’s maintained well) and can be placed horizontally, vertically or diagonally.
Then we have hardboard siding which is a less expensive option. This will generally be comprised of wooden fiberboard, compressed and made using synthetic adhesive. Then it is treated with an EPA approved preservative which helps to prevent decay and insect damage.
Plywood can be another good wooden siding choice. Woods commonly used for this are: Douglas fir, red cedar and yellow pine. Plywood siding can be placed horizontally or vertically and can add support to a home’s structure.
Weatherboard or clapboard usually comprised of overlapping boards installed in a horizontal position are another option. Redwood and cedar are often used for this siding due to their being less prone to decay and strength.
As we can see, there are a variety of choices when it comes to wooden siding and this has just been some of them.
Many of us have to work hard to make our yards into the beautiful landscaped piece of paradise we’re looking for. How frustrating it is, then, to have it attacked by some type of wildlife. Though we have nothing against the extensive range of beautiful animals and wildlife in our area, it can be another matter when they are messing up our property. So, what are some ways that we can control wildlife from entering and causing damage to our yards or homes? While it seems like the obvious choice to spray the area with chemical to get rid of the pest, there are other ways of controlling wildlife on your property without the need for this. What are a few, simple things that can be done?
In order to discourage a rodent, animal or insect, it’s necessary to first identify what type of creature is causing the damage. This way, you can research what types of things repel it. Think, also, about what is drawing it to your property. Most of the time, it is because there is a good source of food or shelter. Identify what food source might be attracting this particular sort of species and try to eliminate the source. This may mean that you cannot use certain types of plants and shrubs for your landscaping that appeal to the pest.
Another option to try is to place some type of barrier that keeps wildlife out. If a barrier doesn’t work, what about some type of repellent around the area? These don’t always have to be of a chemical nature but can also be a visual type of repellent or even a noise that frightens them.
If all these approaches fail, there may be no other option but to capture the animals and relocate them to another area. It’s good to consult with your local wildlife or animal control agent first though, depending on the type of wildlife problem you have. Although there are ways to control unwanted wildlife on your property, it might be good to ask yourself how much damage are they really doing? then determine if it’s even worth the effort.
Over the years we have found out more about the harmful effects of lead, especially for those most at risk, unborn babies, babies and small children. So, if you live in an older home, 40 years or more, or are about to purchase an older home, what are some things you should be aware of regarding lead?
Where might lead be found in an older home? Lead can be found in piping which could possibly affect your households drinking water. Lead is also found in old paint which, in an older home, would have been used both outside and inside, you might even find it in the soil surrounding the home from paint that has chipped.
When it becomes a cause for concern. As lead paint deteriorates it will start to chip or turn to dust, this then covers the home with lead dust. This is when it becomes a problem especially for small children who are much more likely touch and inhale this dust as they play and climb. Even if you do not have an older home but enjoy antique furniture, you could still have problems with lead paint which was used on the furniture. This is something we might not always think about.
So, as we can see, there are times when lead in a home becomes a big problem and that’s when it is starting to deteriorate. It is best, in this case, to have the problem taken care of professionally. It is important that you choose someone qualified and experienced in lead removal.
Dave Graham, Tempest Home Inspection. Calgary Alberta