The Top 10 Areas Commonly Checked by Your Home Inspector

Here is a list of some common areas checked during home inspections. This list is intended to inform homeowners about the need to have these areas checked for possible problems and the need for upgrades or repairs, if any.

  • Smoke detectors sometimes are missed out during the inspection process.
  • Electrical fixtures and wiring, which are often embedded in between double walls or embedded in concrete.
  • Backflow prevention devices should also be carefully considered, since this helps prevent any untoward flooding in the event of plumbing and waterline leakage.
  • Basement bathrooms and laundry tubs are sometimes also missed in the process because not all homes have these areas and fixtures in their basements.
  • Dryer vents, on the other hand, should also be considered
  • Electrical grounding, since improper grounding could cause major problems from accidental electric shocks or even cause house fires.
  • Flexible gas connectors, valves and uncapped gas lines, should also be of paramount concern since the slight indications of gas leakages can be tragic and disastrous.
  • Indoor furnaces not functioning properly. This should also be checked since problems could range from gas leakage to defective firing systems that could also cause a house fire if left unchecked.
  • Water heaters need to be checked to make sure that they are installed properly. Pressure release valves must be working properly along with the important copper run off device that should always be checked.
  • Garage door openers or extension cord wiring being used as permanent wiring for fixtures.

Affordable Lighting Upgrades You Can Do Yourself

Affordable Lighting Upgrades You Can Do YourselfInside or outside your home, simple lighting upgrades can make a huge difference in the appearance of your home. A change in lighting fixtures or bulbs might seem like an almost too simple answer to small home renovations, but they can really change the entire mood and atmosphere of your home.

  1. Outdoor Lighting

Simple and affordable lighting upgrades can make a huge difference. Certain fixtures can dress up and beautify what might otherwise be a simple décor.

  • Fixtures

Depending on the décor style of your home, there are many styles of fixtures for outdoor lighting. For a more updated and modern look, chrome or metal colored spotlights and track lighting can brighten up your outdoor areas. If you’re looking for a more traditional or rustic style, there are lamps and sconces for literally every décor scheme.

  • Motion Sensors

For security as well as convenience, motion sensors are an excellent upgrade that every home should have. Motion sensors can be placed at every entrance to the home as well as fence gates and other dark or shadowy areas of your home and yard.

  • Path ways

For sidewalks, driveways, or other paths, lighting can be added along the sides for both safety and aesthetics. Simple fixtures along both sides of your driveway not only guides vehicles safely to your home, but also creates a beautiful atmosphere and adds character to your home.

  1. Indoor Lighting

In every room of your house, the lighting makes the biggest difference to the atmosphere and décor. If it is too bright or too dim can change the outcome of your color scheme and decorative additions that you have spent time and money working on.

  • Kitchen and Bathrooms

In most homes, kitchen and bathroom lighting is meant to be bright and inviting. In the kitchen especially, the light needs to be bright enough to see everything you need to without coming across as too clinical.

  • Living Areas

Consider using a dimmer for the your living areas. A dimmer can allow you to set just enough light, and change the mood of the room as needed. Decorative lighting should also not be overlooked. Adding small lamps and spotlights around your house, especially near art or decorative pieces, can really update your home.

Simple and affordable lighting upgrades can change the overall look of your home, inside or outside.


6 Secrets of Lowering Home Electric Bill

lower electric bill

Energy has made our lives pleasant at all times without any difficulty. Today, it is quite hard to live without energy consumption for daily work. Sufficient energy is available for a lifetime but it does not mean that there is no need to conserve it. Numerous ways have been derived for lowering home electric bills. Here are a few examples.

6 Secrets of Lowering Home Electric Bill

  1. Good roof coating helps in deflecting heat. This ensures that your home would significantly maintain temperature on the inside.


  1. The well insulated attic will facilitate you in keeping your entire house cool. Attics are one of the significant parts of any house especially in relation to the cooling system.


  1. Securing leaks around your house will also aid you in controlling energy lost. So, make it sure that leaks are sealed well. Consequently, less work is done by cooling and heating system of your house. Eventually, it cuts down your house electric bill.


  1. Reduce the thermostat to save a lot of money. 1°C equates the 5% of electric bill savings. So, always keep your thermostat at low temperature. You can keep it further low during sleeping or when you are out of home for saving more money. 68 °F is an ideal temperature of thermostat during winter season.


  1. Water heaters also utilized a large amount of energy. Therefore, try to limit its use. It is the second largest energy consumer after cooling/heating system of your house.


  1. Use of energy efficient materials and appliances around your home is another way to save your money at energy bills. These commercially available items would considerably add to the reduction home energy bills.


Squeak Be Gone Remedies

Squeaking doors can be a really irritating problem. Although many would consider it to be a major problem, it isn’t! In fact, it’s a minor house problem that even you yourself can fix, and here’s how to.squeky Doors

Stop, Look And Listen

First, you should know where that squeaking sound is coming from. You can do this by stopping, looking and listening carefully. You should perform the “swing test” first before you go off buying a whole new door. Start off by making sure that your surroundings is quiet. Then, you should stand on the side of the door in which you remember that the squeak was loudest. When you’re in position already, swing the door in a gentle manner, covering its complete arc. Do this action repeatedly and try to vary the speed while doing so. While swinging the door, you should take note of some factors. Try to note exactly where the squeak comes from. Then try to note when it is loudest. See whether it is loudest when you swing the door fast or slow. Then lastly, find out why exactly the squeak is happening. Finding out why is a very crucial factor, since this dictates what remedy you should use.

General Remedy

Once you’ve determined where the squeaks are, you can do two general remedies. First, tighten all the screws in the hinges. Then, get a flat-headed screwdriver. Carefully tap its blade in between the hinge body and the hinge-pin head to separate them. After doing this, get a 3-in-1 sewing machine oil and squeeze in a few drops of it into the small space between the pin-head and the hinge body. If you don’t have sewing-machine oil, you can also use a WD-40, and
spray some into the same space.

By applying some lubricant in the space, you enable the lubricant to seep in into the remaining length of the pin, which is inside the hinge body. Thus, you give the best lubrication coverage that you can give for the hinge. Doing this would generally resolve your squeaking problems-if you were accurate on determining the source, that is. However, if you pinpointed the wrong
source, then most probably your squeak would still be there.

All Hope Is Not Lost

If you pinpointed the wrong source of the squeak, don’t worry then! By this point in time, you have determined that the hinges are not the problem. Then, most probably it’s a wood on wood kind of squeak problem. To solve this kind of squeak, you would have to do the squeak test again. After which, you have to release the bind, since the problem may be the hinge binding on the wood. While performing the swing test, heed on how the door’s hinge-side settles into the door-jamb.

Also, take note of how it makes a final contact with your door-stop. This is when stop, look and listen wouldn’t be enough, since you would have to make use of touch. If you feel that it has springy feel, when the door is approximately in the closed position, odds are very good that it is hinge-bound. This can be the cause of the squeak since the door is forced to rub with the jamb material. To repair this kind of problem, you need to remove your door by removing the screws on the hinges’ jamb side and leaving the hinges intact with the door itself. Then, you need to chisel out some hinge recesses towards the direction of the hinge barrel. Then, reinstall the door and perform the swing test again. If this doesn’t solve your problem, try chiseling out
more recess. It can be a trial and error process. However, it can be fixed.

Self-Closing Doors

Self-Closing Doors

Do you have a door that constantly closes on its own when you want it to stay open? This can be a real annoyance.  It was probably not hung correctly to begin with. The door is not level or has twisted slightly.

What to Check:

The first thing to check is whether or not you have a loose hinge. Try tightening the screws. This may solve the problem.  Consider replacing the screws with longer ones to help keep the problem from coming back.

If the door is still closing on its own, it may be that the hinges are out of alignment. Start by standing in front of the door and see if the hinges are vertically in line. If one or more of the hinges are set deeper than the others, you will have an issue with the door swing. Additionally, if you stand in the doorway and look at the hinges from this angle, they should line up vertically again. If they vary to the left or to the right, this could also be the cause of the problem.

The easiest fix is to try and increase the tension of the hinge pin to create more friction. First remove a hinge pin from the door. We recommend removing the middle one using a hammer and a small Phillips head screwdriver or large nail. On a solid surface such as a driveway or sidewalk, tap the side of the pin with the hammer.  You may need to put one end on a small rock so that it will bend just slightly. They bend pretty easily, so don’t hit it too hard.  The goal is to create a very slight bend in the pin. Once you have a slight bend, replace the pin in the door. This bend will create enough friction to keep the door from closing on its own. If this does not work at first, try again on another pin.

If all else fails, try to insert a shim. Remove all the screws from the bottom hinge. Let the door hang loose.  Cut shims the same size as the hinge from a cereal box. You may need to cut two or three to fill the space created when you remove the screws. Put the screws back in and you should be good to go.

Know Where Your Shut Off Valves are Located & How to Operate Them

Know Where Your Shut Off Valves are Located & How to Operate Them

It is important as a homeowner to know where your all the shut off valves for your home are located and how to operate them.


For your water supply lines it is important to locate your main shut off valve.  Simply turn your shut off valve till it is perpendicular to the pipe. This will stop the flow of water to the entire house. You should be familiar with the individual shut off valves in your home as well. They are known as isolating valves and they are at your washing machine, sinks and toilets. You will want to know how to shut off these valves in case of a leak or if water starts shooting out of a pipe. The sooner you stop the water the less damage may occur. Exterior faucets may also have isolating valves but because of their exterior nature these valves may not be located by the valve itself. Instead they can be located near an interior sink or by the main shut off valve.


You should also know the location of your gas shut off valve. However if you notice a gas leak you should leave your house immediately and call your utility company. In many homes the shut off valve for your gas is located at the meter. A wrench is needed to turn the gas off and on. Some homes have a second gas shut off valve that is similar to water shut off valve. Isolated gas shut off valves have a lever that rotates ninety degrees. When the lever is in line with the pipe the gas is flowing. When it is perpendicular to the pipe the gas is shut off.  There may also be smaller levers that will feed to individual appliances in your home.


Some of your appliances may also have shut off valves at the units themselves. If you shut off the gas supply on appliances keep in mind that the pilot light will go out. This includes furnaces, gas fireplaces and hot water heaters. Once you turn the gas back on you will need to relight the pilot light on each appliance.

How to Fix Nail Pops

How to Fix Nail Pops

If you notice small bumps protruding from your wall this is likely what contractors call a nail pop.  As new homes settle drywall shrinks causing nails or screws to protrude from the drywall.

Here is a list of supplies needed to fix nail pops.

  • Phillips screw driver
  • nail punch
  • hammer
  • quick dry spackling compound
  • putty knife
  • sanding block
  • painting supplies

You need to first find out if the protrusion is caused by a screw or a nail.  You can do this by pressing a Phillip’s screw driver into the center of the protrusion.  If it’s a screw the screwdriver will set into the head of the screw and turn letting you know it is a screw.  Simply turn it until it is slightly recessed into the wall.  If the pop is caused by a nail take your nail punch and press over the opening and tap the end of the nail punch with your hammer until the nail is slightly recessed into the wall.

Next apply a layer of quick dry spackling compound over the surface.  Allow this to dry and then sand the surface.  You may need to apply another layer of compound and sand it again.  Once you have allowed this to completely dry you can apply fresh paint over it.

If the nail pop is in the ceiling you will need to set the original nail and then drive in a second nail approximately one inch from the old one or the nail pop could reoccur.

How to Find a Stud in the Wall

How to Find a Stud in the Wall

As a home owner you will often times need to know how to find the studs are located in your walls. Generally studs are spaced sixteen to twenty-four inches away from each other.

Different Methods for Locating Your Studs

There are a few different methods to locating your studs. The most accurate way is with a battery operated stud finder. First make sure your stud finder is calibrated. Hold down the calibration button while sliding it along the wall until the lights are green and it quits beeping. Slowly slide it along the wall, when it starts to beep it is the beginning of the stud and when it stops you have crossed over. You should slide this over the area a couple of times until you locate the center of the stud and then mark it.

Another way is to place a flashlight on its side against the wall.  Look for where the light changes or you see a slight difference in the wall texture. This indicates where the drywall seams are screwed into the studs. You can follow that seam down the wall and the line should be consistently there and may run into the baseboard.  You can check this by the nails in the baseboards that they may have been filled in with wood filler.

If you do not have either tool you can knock on the wall. It will have a hollow tone. As you knock over a stud, the sound will become denser.

How to Adjust a Toilet for the Best Flush

How to Adjust a Toilet for the Best Flush
Do you have a toilet that always seems to be running? This is sometimes caused by a fill valve that has been set too high, which causes the water level to be higher than the overflow tube.

Toilet Fill Valves

Toilet fill valves control the flow of water from the supply lines to refill the tank between flushes. Fill valves typically come in two types. One contains an arm with a float connected to the top of the valve. The other type contains a floating cylinder that moves up and down the valve body.
All fill valves are adjustable. Some can be adjusted with a screwdriver and some by moving the float up or down manually. Sometimes there is a spindle you can screw up or down to adjust.

Water Level

If the water level is too low, it may cause a weak or improper flush. You’ll want to check to see that the water fills to the appropriate line in the tank and readjust if needed. Sometimes the fill valve is adjusted too low and the tank does not fill up with enough water. Those same adjustments you made to lower the water level will fill the tank to the correct height for a good flush.

Water Supply

Check to see if there is an adequate water supply to the toilet. Check the outlet on the angle stop to see if it is a ½” iron pipe connection. A toilet flush requires the additional water that enters the tank once the flush begins. When the water supply lines are too small, they restrict new water from entering the tank fast enough to aid in the flush.

Finally, sometimes the toilet starts to flush but during the process it stops suddenly when a flapper valve reseals onto the flush valve seat. If this happens, usually the flapper valve is not buoyant long enough during the flushing process. Replacing the flapper valve should fix the problem.
Sometimes after all of the adjusting that you can do, you still have a flush that is not strong enough to clean the bowl. Try this. Pour a five gallon pail of hot water into the toilet bowl. Add some Drano. Then go to the water tank and add some Dawn dish washing liquid into the fill valve. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes and flush. If it is still too weak, you may have to do it again.

Changing a Furnace Air Filter

air filter

Regularly changing the air filter in your furnace can improve the air quality in your home and improve your HVAC system efficiency.  It is recommended that you change your air filter every three month.  However, if you have pets, smoke or have allergies you should change your filter more frequently.

Location of filter:

Before you purchase your replacement filter you need to determine the location of your filter. You then need to determine what type of filter and the size of the filter you need. The most common location of the filter is between the furnace air handler and the return air vent. Some furnaces have filters inside the air handler and the least common location is in the return air vents. The size measurements of the filter should be on the side of the existing filter. If they are not then you will have to use a tape measure and measure it.  You will need to measure the length, width and depth of the existing filter. Be sure to write the measurements down.

Type of filter:

There are several different types of filter available. Either the light weight or the high efficiency filters. For even better quality there are filters with the HEPA filtration and allergy reduction technology. These filters come in one inch as well as thicker two to four inch versions.  Less common types are electrostatic and re-useable washable filters.

When to change filter:

When you are ready to change your furnace filter turn your furnace thermostat to the off setting. Remove the old filter being careful to not knock the old dust off of the filter. Before you install the new filter write the date on it for a quick reference in the future. Insert the new filter and make sure the arrows are pointing in the direction the airflow flows through the system. Make sure your filter is secure and then turn your furnace thermostat back on.