January 2019: Happy New Year

Ask The Inspector

Ask The Inspector

Add Value to Your Home with These Improvements

You probably have a long list of remodeling projects you want to get around to, and sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. We’ve compiled the four best home upgrades that will put the most money in your pocket when it comes time to sell. Learn more

How to Survive Winter: 7 Genius Snow Hacks

Snow is stressful, but just because it’s the dead of winter doesn’t mean you should be left out in the cold. We’re here to make it easier with these seven brilliant snow hacks you can add to your winter routine right now. Learn more

Expert Advice

Expert Advice

How to Remove Salt Stains the Easy Way

If pesky salt stains are getting in the way of keeping your floors sparkling, you’ll want in on this secret: vinegar. Find out how this inexpensive household staple can help you get rid of winter salt stains in a flash. Learn more

How to Remove Static from Your Home

It’s that time of year again. . .you can’t walk across a room without feeling an irritating little zap.  Read on to learn about a few easy solutions for removing static from your home and your person. Learn more

DIY Countertop Repair for Scratches and Scuffs

If you cook a lot, chances are your countertops have seen better days. Every scratch and chip tells a story, from that pan you dropped to the knife that slipped. The good news is that there are some simple countertop repairs you can do yourself to make your counters look like new and save some money in the process. Learn more

Snapshots From The Field

Most of us have dreamt of having our very own indoor pool at one point or another. Many determined homeowners are willing to DIY their way there, no matter what it takes. So what’s wrong with this picture?

Snapshots from the field

Answer: it’s hard to know where to start! This 45,000-gallon aboveground pool was installed in a home by the owner. Though he didn’t get a permit, he had a lot of things technically “right.” Lights are rated for a wet environment, an exhaust fan helps keep humidity levels at bay and the pool’s surroundings are perfectly dry. What makes installing an indoor aboveground pool so problematic is the risk.

In addition to humidity from a pool potentially wrecking your home’s foundation, the humidity can also wreak havoc on the rest of your home—even all the way up to the attic! And it doesn’t stop at just water. A pool’s chemicals can slowly erode a foundation and cause metal corrosion over time. Though the lights check out for a wet environment in this case, the electrical outlets aren’t protected, leading to risk of electrocution and injury. And we’ll go ahead and throw out the obvious, too: if this pool fails in any way, it could lead to flooding, severe water damage and/or a collapsed floor.

Take it from us: as tempting as it is to swim indoors all year round, installing an aboveground pool in your home is simply not worth it!

Maintenance Matters

Maintenance Matters

Your Crash Course in Dryer Vent Cleaning

It’s hard to believe that your home’s dryer vent is also one of its most dangerous fire hazards. Luckily, preventing safety issues is easy as long as you keep the area free of debris. Learn more

The Best Electrical Outlets for Your Needs

As long as they’re functioning properly, electrical outlets are something most of us don’t even think about. But believe it or not, certain outlets are better for certain purposes. Find out how to protect your home and connect to all your devices with this quick outlet guide. Learn more

 

5 Ways to Know if You Need a Gutter Replacement

Healthy gutters are an integral part of any home. With winter in full force and spring on the way, gutters become more important than ever for keeping your house free of water damage. Look for these five telltale signs to determine if it’s time for a replacement. Learn more

 

Monthly Trivia Question

Question: How many times a year should you swap out your thermostat’s batteries?

Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbucks’s gift card. Submit your answer to NPI inspector to find out if you’ve won.

October 2018: Autumn

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Everything You Need to Know About Attic and Roof Ventilation

We all understand the importance of a healthy roof for keeping a home in great condition. But what’s one often overlooked area that plays a huge role in a roof’s performance and efficiency? Ventilation. Here, we’ll go over how to determine whether you need better roof and attic ventilation. Learn more

The Overly Disclaimed Home Inspection Report

Because home inspectors may be held responsible for damage or problems that are visibly present at the time of inspection but not included in the inspection report, some inspectors include an overabundance of disclaimers in their pre-inspection agreements. Here’s how to navigate disclaimers. Learn more

Benefits of a Pre-Listing Home Inspection

When you’re trying to sell your home, should you hire your own home inspector? As it turns out, there are a lot of great reasons to get a pre-listing home inspection before a buyer makes an offer. We’ll tell you everything you need to know below for a smooth, hassle-free sale process. Learn more

Expert Advice

Folding Fitted Sheets Made Easy

Here’s a familiar sight—your sheets are fresh out of the dryer, and now everything needs to be folded. You take care of the flat sheet, no problem. Pillow cases, easy. Fitted sheet? They may be unruly, but there’s a better way to fold them that’s a snap to learn. Stop crumpling once and for all. Learn more

Wet Bar vs. Dry Bar: Which One is Right for You?

If you’ve been thinking about updating your basement or patio by putting in a bar, you have a lot of options, starting with whether you want a wet bar or a dry bar. But what’s the difference? Read on to learn the difference between wet bars and dry bars and which one will suit your home best! Learn more

How to Organize Your Garage in One Weekend

The garage is one of those spaces that often serves as a “dump” zone. Not only does it house bikes, tools and lawnmowers, anything that can’t be stored inside tends to get shuffled off there. We have a few tips to help you organize your garage in a stress-free way that makes sense. Learn more

Snapshots From The Field

Our inspectors are always sharing interesting finds from the field.

What’s wrong with this picture?

You’d be surprised by how common this one is! Pictured here is an overhead light and electric ceiling fan in a bathroom . . . that’s been installed over a shower and tub.

Installing a suspended light and fan over an area where showering and bathing occurs is incredibly dangerous. Since electricity and water are a lethal combination, even a minor malfunction could lead to electrocution. While overhead lighting is obviously a must in every room of the house, including the bathroom, it must be well out of the way of the shower and/or bath, and preferably “wet” or “shower-location” rated by a professional. Local codes can vary when it comes to clearance, so be sure to do your research.

Maintenance Matters

How to Flush Your Hot Water Heater the Easy Way

We’ll bet on the fact that you haven’t thought about flushing your hot water heater in awhile—if ever. But, while it’s one of those tasks that’s easy to forget, it’s necessary for maintaining an efficient system that lasts for the duration of its life expectancy (about eight to 12 years). Learn more

What You Need to Know About Sandblasting

Sandblasting is the process of sanding a surface to remove rough edges or foreign materials. Sandblasting makes sanding much easier, as it is pressure-driven and easily reaches hard-to-sand areas like nooks and crannies. Learn more about the best uses for sandblasting. Learn more

 

Monthly Trivia Question

Question: True or False: The difference between a wet bar and a dry bar is that a dry bar has a sink built in.

Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbucks’s gift card. Submit your answer to find out if you’ve won.

September 2018: End of Summer

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Ask The Inspector

Building Permits: Why You Need One and How to Get It

As a home improvement guru, you might have the idea that building permits are a nuisance. While it’s true that building permits can be a pain, they actually serve a very important role that makes the process worthwhile. We’ll explain why building permits are a thing, why you need one and how to get one. Learn more

5 Signs You Might Have a Foundation Problem

Foundation issues can easily be one of the most expensive things you’ll deal with as a homeowner. Since literally everything rests on your foundation, you can see subtle signs that might spell trouble all over your house—you just have to know where to look. Learn more

How Long Your Appliances Will Last

Whether you’re getting ready to move into your new home with its own set of aging appliances, or you’re just taking stock of the ones you already own, it’s helpful to know just how much life is left in them. Here’s a breakdown of how long each appliance should last and how you can lengthen their lifespans. Learn more

Expert Advice

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How to Remove Paint from Wood

Removing paint from wood can be painstaking, but it’s definitely worth it for the results. We’ll show you the best tools and techniques to make the process as easy as possible. Learn more

Your Guide to the Humble Hammer

Few tools are more essential and multifunctional than a hammer. Hammers aren’t as simple as they look, though—there’s a variation for every job you can think of, and using the wrong one can be a waste of time and material, or even dangerous. Here’s a handy guide to some of the most common types of hammers and what they’re used for. Learn more

How to Tell If You Have Hard Water

Hard water. Soft water. If you’re not sure what the difference is, or what that difference means for your home, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll explain everything you need to know about hard water and how to tell if it’s an issue in your home. Learn more

Snapshots From The Field

What’s wrong with this picture?

Pictured here is the entrance to the attic in a brand new construction. But there appears to be something blocking the doorway—a roof truss!

When building or repairing a home, blocking any entry point should be avoided at all costs, but trusses present an especially big challenge. Since attic trusses support your home’s structure and help bear the weight of the roof, they play an endlessly important role in your home’s overall condition. Some trusses are more crucial than others, but it’s difficult to tell exactly what the “workload” of each truss is. To keep your home and family safe, you should never cut or attempt to remove a truss without a consultation from a professional engineer.

As for whether the truss blocking access to the attic in this new home will present a problem, it’s still up in the air. At worst, if any mechanical systems have been installed in the attic, it could be impossible to remove them for maintenance or replacement down the road without cutting the truss. At best, the partially obstructed access could prove an annoyance for the homeowners when it comes to placing items in the space for storage or other maintenance matters.

Maintenance Matters

Ask The Inspector

Do I need a new roof?

If you’ve asked yourself the question, “Do I need a new roof?” you might be wondering exactly how you can tell. Since it’s far better to get your roof replaced on a regular 20- to 25-year schedule than to wait until you experience leaks, we’re here to help you determine if it’s time for an overhaul. Learn more

8 Cleaning Tasks You Might Be Overlooking

Keeping a neat and tidy house is no easy task, and you’ll inevitably overlook a few much-needed cleaning duties from time to time. Here are eight oft forgotten jobs that are worth the extra effort for a healthier, happier home. Learn more

 

Monthly Trivia Question

Question: Which type of furnace typically lasts longer by up to three years, gas or electric?
Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbucks’s gift card. Submit your answer to find out if you’ve won.

July 2018: Ready Your Home

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Prune Your Trees

How to Prune Your Trees: The Beginner’s Guide

Trees are a beautiful part of your home’s landscape design, but they need care to look the best they can. Whether you want to prune your trees for aesthetics or because of safety concerns, we’ll show you the tools and techniques you need to do a great job. Learn More

The Best Way to Clean a Glass Cooktop Fast

Glass cooktops are nice, but they can also be hard to clean if something you’re cooking boils over. To save yourself some time and elbow grease, here’s the best way we’ve found to clean your glass cooktop fast. Learn More

How to Save Water: 4 New Ways to Cut Back

Turns out, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to water conservation and keeping your bills low. Learn more about how to save water, save money and be kinder to the planet with these four new tips and tricks. Learn More

Monthly Trivia Question

True or False: Running your dishes through the dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand.

Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbucks gift card. Submit your answer to find out if you’ve won.

June 2018: Summertime

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Opening Your Pool for Summer: A Definitive Checklist

Opening your pool for the summer can certainly seem like a daunting task, but we promise it’s not so bad! We’re here to give you a quick refresher course and break the process into manageable chunks. Learn More

10 Barbeque Tips That’ll Save Your Eyebrows

Grilling out is the quintessential summer pastime, up there with baseball and slip n’ slide. But because it involves fire, it can also be dangerous. Avoid mishaps by following a few simple barbeque safety tips. Learn More

Expert Advice

6 Remodel Ideas for an Easy-to-Clean Bathroom

Nobody likes a germy bathroom, and luckily you don’t have to put up with one if you remodel with the right materials. Here are six remodeling ideas that will help you keep a clean and sparkly bathroom. Learn More

7 New Homeowner Tips You Need Right Now

Owning your first home can be an exciting time, but there’s a lot we wish we’d known coming in. Here are seven new homeowner tips that will get you started on the right foot. Learn More

Snapshots From The Field

No matter how many homes our inspectors assess over the years, they’re always finding new and interesting finds in the field. The following equipment was found in the attic of a house built in 1955.

So what is it, exactly?

This is a relay box, likely used for an early radiant heating system. Radiant ceiling heat first became popular in the mid-1950s and continued to be favored well into the 1970s. Relay boxes were placed in walls, floors and ceilings to “see” or “sense” objects, including people and furniture, and then slowly transfer heat to them. The air in the room would then slowly get warmer due to the objects giving off heat. The sensation a radiant heating system provided is comparable to being gently warmed by the sun.

The concept of radiant heat slowly fell out of favor over time due to the rising cost of electricity. The systems could also be difficult to access since they were always located among insulation behind walls, ceilings and floors.

Modern radiant heating systems are still available today. Just keep in mind that the installation process is quite involved and that it’s better to build a new construction with radiant heat than it is to replace an existing system with it.

Maintenance Matters

Your Simple Spring Lawn Care Guide

Everyone wants a lush, green lawn when springtime comes around, and fortunately, it’s easy to accomplish. Read on to discover the lawn care guide you need to follow to have the best grass in the neighborhood. Learn More

8 Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home This Spring

For many, spring and early summer means allergy season and dealing with irritating symptoms for weeks on end. Luckily, you can create a more allergy-proof home during pollen season and beyond by making a few minor adjustments. Learn More

Finally: The Best Way to Clean Windows

Ever thought you did a great job washing your windows, only to return to streaky glass once everything is dry? Say goodbye to stripes and get a perfectly clean finish every time with this easy method. Learn More

Solid vs. Hollow: A Quick Primer on Door Types

There’s more to buying new doors than choosing the best color and style. You’ll also want to know about the different door types and which one is best-suited for your home’s needs. Learn More

Monthly Trivia Question

Q: How far away from your home should you keep your gas grill when in use?

Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbucks gift card. Submit your answer to find out if you’ve won.

 

May 2018: The Outdoors

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Outdoor Kitchen Ideas to Plan Your Dream Cookout

Could your grill setup use a refresh? If you’ve been checking out your neighbor’s slick outdoor kitchen, we’ll show you the key things to keep in mind when planning your own. Learn More

The Best Birdfeeders for Every Backyard

When it comes to birdfeeders, there are a surprising number of options for attracting (and repelling) the right flock. Here, we break it down for you so you can choose the best type for inviting a variety of colorful birds to your backyard. Learn More

Expert Advice

Your Deck Railing Height and Other Safety Stuff That Slipped Your Mind

Is your deck up to the challenge of all those backyard barbeques that are just around the corner? We’ll show you everything you need to know to get your deck up to safety standards just in time for Memorial Day. Learn More

Low-Maintenance Landscaping Ideas for Any Yard

If you’re sick of devoting most of your free time to yardwork, it may be time to reevaluate your approach. Here are a few low-maintenance landscaping ideas that will help you have a beautiful yard with half the upkeep. Learn More

Snapshots From The Field

Our inspectors are constantly coming across interesting finds in the field. Sometimes they help us identify potential safety hazards, and sometimes they illustrate a maintenance DIY that didn’t quite go as planned. This month’s Snapshot from the Field is the latter.

What’s wrong with this picture?

The skylight on this 20-year-old metal roof was leaking like crazy. That’s because the homeowner attempted to seal it with the yellow spray foam insulation you see around the perimeter in order to keep bats out of the house. This caused significant damage to the flashing around the skylight and entire roof panels to pop up as a result!

This homeowner had the right idea when it comes to dealing with bats—every gap does need to be sealed up in order to prevent their entry into a home. But spray polyurethane foam is not recommended for use on roofing materials, nor is it recommended for use in such large quantities. The homeowner would have been better off ordering an inspection of the roof to discover any holes and then using a sealant recommended for use on roofing materials. Check and double-check your labels, and when in doubt, call a professional for advice.

Maintenance Matters

Speed Cleaning Tips for Your Busiest Days

Who has time to clean every day? Not us! Shave hours off your chore list with these room-by-room speed cleaning pointers. Learn More

How to Clean a Leather Couch in 4 Steps

When it comes to upholstery, leather is one of the most durable options out there. And while it doesn’t require a lot of routine maintenance, it does still need a little extra TLC from time to time. Find out how to clean your leather couch like a pro with these four simple steps. Learn More

How to Hang a Hammock

While we can’t promise that hanging your hammock will be as relaxing as actually laying in it, we’re here to make the process go as smoothly as possible. Here’s how to hang a hammock on your property for the ultimate spring resting spot. Learn More

Painting Upholstery: Easier and More Effective Than You Think

We have to admit, the idea of transforming a piece of furniture with paint seems too good to be true. Believe it or not, painting upholstery actually works! Learn how to achieve a soft, crack-free finish and the best results with the right technique. Learn More

Monthly Trivia Question

Question: What is the minimum height required for a deck railing on a residential deck, according to the most widely accepted code?

Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbucks’s gift card. Submit your answer to find out if you’ve won.

April 2018: Spring Tips for the Home

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Understanding Your Home’s Phantom Load

What if we told you your home is full of phantoms? Your home’s phantom load, or the amount of energy that appliances consume when they’re turned off, can be scary for your electric bill. Luckily, you can cut back phantom usage with this quick guide. Learn More

3 Tips for Child Safety at Home

While home is often the safest place to be, your house could pose unseen threats to your family. Here are some ways you can prevent accidents around your home and have a healthier, happier household. Learn More

Expert Advice

Flipping Houses 101

If you’ve already mastered homeownership, you may be looking for your next investment. Here’s how to know if flipping houses is right for you, as well as the best types of fixer-upper homes to look out for. Learn More

Why Does My House Smell?

Sometimes previous owners can leave things behind. And sometimes, those things aren’t tangible items, like plates and furniture – they’re smells. Before you walk away from your dream home, use these tips to pinpoint the source of odors and be on your way to breathing easy. Learn More

Snapshots From The Field

Every day on the job, our inspectors come across safety hazards that you and your family should know about. Here’s one that’s far more common that you might think, and fortunately there’s an easy fix.

A clogged dryer vent is one of your home’s most dangerous fire hazards. Each year, more than 2,900 house fires originate in clogged dryer vents. While we cover the topic a lot, this photo from just a few weeks ago proves that it never hurts to keep spreading the word!

Remember, when it comes to your dryer vent, it doesn’t end with cleaning the lint trap (though that’s definitely part of it). You’ll also need to periodically clean the vent itself. Here’s how to go about cleaning if your vent is less than three feet long and leads outside:

  1. Empty the lint screen like you normally would after a load of laundry.
  2. Unplug the dryer, then move it away from the wall to access the vent.
  3. You’ll notice a tube leading from the back of your dryer to a hole in the wall—this is the vent, and the tubing will have to be detached from the back of the dryer in order to clean it. It’s generally attached to your dryer with a set of four screws, which can be removed with a normal flat or Philips head screwdriver.
  4. Using the nozzle attachment on your vacuum cleaner, vacuum as much lint as you can, as far as you can down the tube and into the vent.
  5. Hook everything back up.
  6. Going outside, locate the escape vent and make sure it’s also clear of visible debris. Once the vent is clear, run the dryer and make sure hot air is flowing freely to the outside.
  7. You’re done!

If your vent is long and doesn’t vent directly outside, just give a call your nearest professional.

Maintenance Matters

How to Remove Scratches from Wood Floors

We all know that replacing hardwood floors can be time-consuming and expensive. Before you start looking for a contractor, try this simple technique for fixing scratches, pet damage and more. Learn More

Your 7-Item Checklist for an Efficient Air Conditioner

Whether you run your A/C year-round or you’re gearing up for warmer temperatures, you can perform this easy checkup on your system to make sure that it’s running as smoothly as possible. Learn More

How to Clean a Clogged Showerhead in 6 Easy Steps

There’s nothing more annoying than a clogged showerhead. If your water pressure has been feeling weak lately, try this simple, chemical-free trick for unclogging a blocked showerhead. Learn More

Dos and Don’ts for Pet Stains in Carpet

If you’ve ever been frustrated that a pet stain hasn’t fully disappeared no matter how hard you scrub, this article is for you. We’ll tell you everything you need to know to get your carpets looking fresh and new again. Learn More

Monthly Trivia Question

How much electricity (in U.S. dollars) do modern appliances on low power mode waste each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency?

A. $1Million
B. $5 Million
C. $4 Billion
D. Over a Trillion

Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbucks’s gift card. Submit your answer to find out if you’ve won.

March 2018: Advice for the Home

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Advice for the home

How to Remove Caulk the Right Way

We’re not going to beat around the bush – removing old caulk takes time and patience . . . in spades. But today we’re sharing a few tips that will make the job much easier in the long-run. Learn More

Your Crash Course in Dryer Vent Cleaning

It’s hard to believe that your home’s dryer vent is also one of its most dangerous fire hazards. Luckily, preventing safety issues is easy as long as you keep the area free of debris. Learn More

5 New Ways to Save Energy

So you have your thermostat set to the perfect temperature and you’ve checked and re-checked your windows and doors for drafts. . .and you’re still cold. It may just be time to think outside the box. Here are five more ways to save energy and keep a warmer home through the coldest months of the year. Learn More

Expert Advice

Spend Your Gift Card on These Home Improvement Tools

If you still have a gift card from the holidays burning a hole in your wallet, we’re here to give you some ideas to spend it on. Here are some of the best home improvement tools you wouldn’t think to buy for yourself, but won’t know how you lived without. Learn More

How to Remove Static from Your Home

It’s that time of year again. . .you can’t walk across a room without feeling an irritating little zap.  Read on to learn about a few easy solutions for removing static from your home and your person. Learn More

Snapshots From The Field

Our inspectors are always coming across interesting finds in the field. Here’s one of the latest.

We’re all familiar with that age-old question, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” This case is similar, only here, we’re left wondering, “Who installed first, the electrician or the plumber?”

Probably the electrician. Water and electricity never, ever mix and installing a toilet so close to an electrical panel presents a major fire hazard. While there doesn’t appear to be a sink or shower present in the space, even the small amount of water in the toilet bowl could be dangerous for anyone called on to inspect the electrical panel (it being in such close proximity as to necessitate leaning over it), or even anyone using the toilet in the event of a leak. We would advise removing the toilet to be on the safe side.

Maintenance Matters

DIY Countertop Repair for Scratches and Scuffs

If you cook a lot, chances are your countertops have seen better days. Every scratch and chip tells a story, from that pan you dropped to the knife that slipped. The good news is that there are some simple countertop repairs you can do yourself to make your counters look like new and save some money in the process. Learn More

Your Quick Guide to Winter Gardening

While you might consider your garden a dormant part of your yard until spring, there are still plenty of ways to give it some much-needed attention in winter. How you go about winter gardening will depend largely on the climate and weather in your region, but here are a few ideas to get you started. Learn More

Monthly Trivia Question

How many house fires a year are caused by clogged dryer vents?

A. 2,900
B. 500
C. 10,000
D. 1,500

Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbucks’s gift card. Submit your answer to find out if you’ve won.

February 2018: How To Survive Winter

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How to Survive Winter

How To Survive Winter: Seven Genius Hacks

Snow is stressful, but just because it’s the dead of winter doesn’t mean you should be left out in the cold. We’re here to make it easier with these seven brilliant snow hacks you can add to your winter routine right now. Learn More

How To Remove Salt Stains the Easy Way

If pesky salt stains are getting in the way of keeping your floors sparkling, you’ll want in on this secret: vinegar. Find out how this inexpensive household staple can help you get rid of winter salt stains in a flash. Learn More

Expert Advice


The Best (and Worst) Firewood to Burn This Winter

Whether you’re new to the world of wood-burning stoves and fireplaces or a seasoned veteran (pun fully intended), it helps to know the right woods to use. Read on to find out the best firewoods, as well as a few you should avoid altogether. Learn More

How to Get Organized Around Your House

The start of the year is the perfect time to set goals and priorities. And a big part of hitting the reset button is getting a handle on your possessions. Here are four proven tricks for paring down, sorting out and organizing your stuff for a stress-free home. Learn More

Snapshots From The Field

Our inspectors are always coming across interesting things in the field: new home trends, common repair issues—and sometimes even a few throwbacks.

This little light panel may not look like much, but at one time it was considered cutting-edge technology! Now a household rarity, solenoids once allowed us to turn on the lights in almost any room of the house from one centralized location. No stumbling into a dark kitchen—you could simply flip a switch in your bedroom on your way down the hall.

These days, the panels are considered outdated and have been replaced with “smart” devices like the Amazon Echo. This means they have the potential to warrant costly repairs for a home’s wiring down the road. If you own or show a home that features solenoids, we recommend having a specialist check them over.

Maintenance Matters

gutters

5 Ways to Know if You Need a Gutter Replacement

Healthy gutters are an integral part of any home. With winter in full force and spring on the way, gutters become more important than ever for keeping your house free of water damage. Look for these five telltale signs to determine if it’s time for a replacement. Learn More

 The Best Electrical Outlets for Your Needs

As long as they’re functioning properly, electrical outlets are something most of us don’t even think of it. But believe it or not, certain outlets are better for certain purposes. Find out how to protect your home and connect to all your devices with this quick outlet guide. Learn More

Monthly Trivia Question

Q: How long does it take oak to season in order for it to be suitable to use for firewood?

Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbucks’s gift card. Submit your answer to find out if you’ve won.

5 Ways to Know if You Need a Gutter Replacement

1. You can see visible damage.

The quickest way to know if you need a gutter replacement is to examine your gutters up close. If your gutters are damaged, you may be able to see visible cracks, rust and holes, especially along the bottom. If the wear and tear is minor, you should be able to make repairs yourself with a little sealant. But before you make a decision about how to proceed with a potential DIY project, it’s important to look for the following signs. If you see any of these, chances are you’ll need a full-blown gutter replacement.

2. There’s water damage on your home’s siding.

The state of your home’s siding can give you great insight into many other aspects of the house’s condition, including its gutters. Another sign you may have a gutter replacement on your horizon is the presence of discolored water marks right below the gutters on your home’s siding. Water marks can indicate that gutters are leaking or overflowing. If your home is made of brick or another material, you’ll need to take a look at the fascia and soffit for water damage.

3. Your gutters pull away from the house.

Sagging gutters that pull away from the house indicate major drainage problems. If gutters get weighed down with water, they can sometimes drop or fall off the home altogether. Sometimes, sagging gutters are unavoidable due to heavy rainfall or freezing snow, but often, they can be prevented by cleaning out the dirt and debris that might be blocking water flow. Just be careful not to cause additional damage to gutters when leaning your body weight or a ladder against your home.

4. Your basement is flooding.

They say that if your basement is flooding, you should start at the top of your home and work your way down to diagnose the issue. This is where gutters come into play. You might experience basement flooding from time to time when your gutters can’t carry water away from your home fast enough. If water isn’t carried away, it can end up right below your eaves as it slides off your roof, seeping into your basement and causing water damage that ranges from wet patches on the ground to inches of standing water. Sometimes, basement flooding is unavoidable, especially in areas of heavy rainfall where gutters overflow often. Often, though, it means your gutters are significantly damaged.

5. You can spot mildew on your foundation.

If your home is experiencing foundation issues, the gutters may be your last area of concern. But they can actually play a big role in the health of your home’s structure. This is because the primary job of gutters is to carry water away from the home. If you can see water pooling around the foundation and signs of mildew, you could be dealing with a major gutter issue. Sometimes, simply cleaning your gutters will help get rid of any plugs, but you could also need a replacement.

If you need help determining the condition of all aspects of your home, NPI can help. Whether you’re buying, selling or just looking for a three to five year checkup, set up an appointment with our highly trained and qualified inspectors.