Posts

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.

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. Today, we have a few easy solutions for how to remove static from your home and your person.

What is static electricity?

Static electricity occurs when electric charges build up on an object’s surface. To understand what causes static, we have to get a little technical. Materials are typically considered neutral because they have an even number of positive and negative charges. When two materials come into contact, electrons can move from one surface to another, causing an imbalance of positive and negative charges—an excess charge on one surface and a negative charge on the other. The imbalance of electric charges will remain on the surface of the object or material until it finds a way to be neutralized, usually through contact with another object.

Why is static worse in winter?

Static grows significantly worse in winter because the air is drier. In the summer, when humidity tends to be higher, the moisture in the air helps dissipate electrons and keeps static electricity at bay. With almost no humidity in the brisk winter air, static electricity has a chance to build up on a variety of surfaces. And the fuzzy knitted sweaters we tend to pile on when it gets cold definitely don’t help! Add dry skin and hair to the equation and it’s no surprise that we become static magnets.

How to Remove Static from Your Home

To keep static electricity to a minimum in your home, you need to put moisture back in the air:

Boil a pot of water on the stove. You might think of this method as a short-term DIY humidifier. Boiling a pot of water on the stove for a couple hours a day a few days a week can help combat static in the air. Just be sure to keep an eye on it and don’t over-rely on this method since it can lead to damage to both your pot and stove.

Use a humidifier. Humidifiers can run for several hours a day, making them a great solution for winter static. If you have a newer furnace, you may even have a humidifier built right into your HVAC system!

Treat carpets. Commercial-grade liquid anti-static treatments are available for carpets in a wide price range for your home’s needs. Be sure to spray them in high-traffic areas where static is most likely to generate, hitting entryways, hallways and common routes through your home.

Rub upholstery with dryer sheets. Besides leaving your clothes smelling extra fresh, a primary purpose of dryer sheets is to add a little moisture to them while they tumble dry, reducing static electricity. It makes sense that they would do the same for any furniture that’s particularly susceptible to static.

Get houseplants. Leafy plants help add moisture to the air and improve overall air quality. Plus, they’re lovely to look at, especially when the weather gets bleak.

How to Remove Static from Your Body

Getting rid of the static in your home will drastically improve things, but here are a few more ways to really safeguard yourself against annoying shocks:

Reduce friction. The key to keeping annoying static shocks away from your person is to cause as little friction as possible. This mostly means you’ll need to be mindful of what you wear, especially on your feet. A key source of friction is carpet. When we shuffle along the carpet, in, say, a pair of thick, fluffy socks, friction tends to build up. It’ll come as no surprise that the best way to avoid friction, and therefore, static electricity buildup from carpet, is to go barefoot.

Wear natural fiber clothes.
Synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon are the worst offenders when it comes to static electricity. It’s not because they create more static electricity. It’s actually because they tend to retain more static electricity. Natural fibers, on the other hand, tend to absorb more humidity from the air. We recommend sticking with cozy cotton.

Moisturize skin regularly.
Static charges occur on dry skin for the same reasons they occur in the air—lack of moisture. Since static loves dry skin, the best way to avoid shocks is to add moisture. It’s a good idea to apply a body lotion right after a shower when your skin is still damp. The moisture will improve overall absorption and create a longer-lasting effect.

Use a leave-in conditioner. If your hair is starting to look like a science experiment from all the static, the name of the game is still moisture. Wetting your brush is a quick fix, but once you step outside, all that moisture will get zapped and you’ll be back to square one. Instead, try a leave-in conditioner to lock in long-term hydration. Available in super convenient sprays you can spritz on damp or dry hair, a few quick passes over your head before styling can help keep static at bay all day.

Call NPI for Your Home Inspection Needs

For your home or commercial property inspection needs, call National Property Inspections. Our inspectors have the knowledge to keep you and your home safe and healthy.

March 2018: Advice for the Home

Ask the Inspector

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.