April 2018: Spring Tips for the Home

Ask The Inspector

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.

How to Clean a Clogged Showerhead in 6 Easy Steps

There’s nothing more annoying than a clogged showerhead. But don’t rush out and buy a new one just yet! You can easily clean your old showerhead for a spray that feels like new with just a few household items.

Why Do I Have a Clogged Showerhead?

First, let’s talk about what’s clogging up your showerhead. Because water passes through showerheads daily, the calcium and other minerals that are naturally found in our H2O supply slowly build up over time, causing clogs. Many other water-spouting devices are susceptible to this very same phenomenon, including regular faucets and coffee makers (and luckily, our cleaning tips apply to all).

Don’t Use This Harsh Cleaner!

Browsing the aisles of your local home improvement store, you’ll likely come across several products that claim to remove calcium and mineral deposits from showerheads. CLR, or Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover, for example, is one such solution that’s touted for the purpose of cleaning household water sources. While it might indeed do the trick, keep in mind that CLR includes harsh cleansing agents that can be harmful to health.

We all know that we should never breathe in fumes or risk exposing our skin when working with tough household cleaners. But once the hot water starts flowing, breathing in vapors and exposing the skin to CLR residue is practically unavoidable if you’ve recently cleaned your showerhead with it. That’s why we’re suggesting a much more natural solution: vinegar.

How to Clean a Clogged Showerhead

To clean your clogged showerhead, you’ll need:

  • a plastic bag large enough to fit over the showerhead
  • a twist tie
  • an old toothbrush
  • distilled white vinegar

Step 1

Fill the plastic bag halfway with vinegar. Be sure not to fill it up completely to avoid the vinegar pouring out once you attach it to the showerhead.

Step 2

Place the bag over the showerhead so that it’s submerged in vinegar.

Step 3

Use the twist tie to secure the plastic bag to the showerhead. You can also use the bag’s handles to further secure the bag.

Step 4

Let the showerhead soak in the vinegar anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight. We recommend waiting at least a few hours just to be sure you’re giving the vinegar enough time to do its work.

Step 5

Carefully untie the bag and turn the water on. Let the shower run for a few minutes to flush out any mineral deposits that might be stuck inside.

Step 6

Use the old toothbrush to scrub the area of the showerhead where the water comes out. Then turn the water on again to do a final flush out. You may need to scrub the showerhead and turn the water back on several times until you can’t see any more residue. And you’re all finished!

BONUS TIP: If you have a removable showerhead, you can skip the plastic bag! Simply remove the showerhead and place it in a saucepan or plastic container of vinegar facedown to submerge the area where the water comes out. You can repeat all other steps as usual.

For help with your most pertinent home maintenance questions, call National Property Inspections. Our highly trained inspectors have the expert knowledge to inspect your home’s major systems and help you make the best investment decisions.