The photo above is NOT one of the three, however one in five Americans suffer from allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). As the 2013 allergy season begins, experts warn that it may be one of the worst in recent years, with people experiencing an unusually strong reaction due to increased tree pollen.
But little attention is paid to the impact of indoor air on allergies, asthma and general health. We spend an average of approximately 90 percent or more of our time indoors, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA reports that “indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times higher, and occasionally more than 100 times higher, than outdoor levels.”
How does this impact your next home improvement project? A survey by Angie’s List revealed Americans spend more than $300 billion annually on remodeling projects. Yet these endeavors typically focus solely on a home’s aesthetics while ignoring one important consideration: Is your home healthy?
Start at the bottom
We all want beautiful floors in our homes. Many people, however, don’t realize that some new flooring can threaten your indoor air quality. When flooring is installed, you may notice an odor for a few days or even weeks. The odor might mean noxious gases are emitting from the materials used during installation. And these emissions, particularly those resulting from volatile organic compounds (VOCs), could potentially have serious, long-term effects on your health – as well as an immediate impact on the health of family members with asthma or allergies.
The good news is gorgeous flooring options are now available that are certified “asthma and allergy friendly” by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. In 2010, Tarkett Flooring committed resources toward developing flooring solutions which help people breathe easier. The company’s FiberFloor is the industry’s only residential flooring currently certified by the AAFA. To earn this certification, the flooring underwent rigorous testing by the AAFA and successfully met the following criteria:
* Installation of the flooring does not result in elevated levels of chemicals.
* The flooring has a low capacity for retaining allergens.
* The recommended cleaning of the flooring will not result in exposure to airborne allergens.
Additionally, other flooring options offered by Tarkett, such as its luxury vinyl tiles and planks and laminates, are FloorScore-certified by the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) together with Scientific Certification Systems for better indoor air quality.
Tarkett’s “iSelect” program simplifies flooring options and introduces customers to an interactive, multi-faceted shopping experience.- The system begins with six inspirational color families: Champagne Celebrations, Hushed Conversations, Earthy Connections, Evening Receptions, Fireside Chats, and Warm Gatherings – each offering its own feel and color space to help you find the perfect floor to meet your design, durability and health needs while also coordinating with your existing furnishings and adjoining floors.
Spring for PVC-free accessories
Did you know that your shower curtain can be one of the greatest sources of noxious gas in your home? Many homeowners purchase PVC shower curtains and liners because of their functionality and ease of cleaning. However, according to “Practically Green,” a website for people interested in green living, a recent study “found that 108 different volatile organic compounds, including those known to cause developmental, liver, nervous system, respiratory and reproductive damage, were released into indoor air by PVC shower curtains.” Replacing current shower curtains and liners with PVC-free products are quick and inexpensive fixes that will make your bathrooms healthier for the whole family.
Manage mold and mildew
If you’re noticing moisture or mold building up on your windows, have your home checked by an energy rater or a building analyst. To prevent moisture from getting in your windows, select windows made with double pane, insulated glass to create an insulating barrier and keep moisture, mildew or mold from developing. For added energy savings, you can opt for a Low Emissivity or “Lo-E” coating to keep heat from radiating beyond the side of the window where it originated. You’ll save on your heating and air conditioning bills while also minding your health.
Home improvements should be a proud reminder that your home is your castle and you treat it well. This year, consider investing in simple projects that can also improve the health of the castle’s residents.
Sprucing up your home’s curb appeal brings new energy and life, not only to your property, but also to the entire neighborhood. It creates a welcoming and appealing environment, while also making it a better candidate for resale, if that’s in your near future.
Curb appeal improvements can range from giving your home a facelift with a new paint color to changing out the landscaping for a fresh look. Here are some curb appeal projects you can take on this summer to highlight the wonderful qualities of your home:
* Enticing lighting – Lantern-lit walkways, under-shrub lighting and even soft twinkle lights illuminating a front porch all provide a welcoming atmosphere that invites visitors to your front door. Lighting can also help increase safety outside a home, as it brightens dark corners of your yard and reduces tripping hazards along walkways. Evaluate your home from the street at night and look for ways you can improve the lighting.
* A fresh new color – Everyone loves the look of a new coat of paint and whether used on your front door, shutters, trim or siding, it can really impact the look and feel of your home’s exterior. “When homeowners are planning to paint the exterior of their home, they want to make sure to use the very best paint to achieve a beautiful color that lasts,” says Scott Richards, senior vice president of marketing for Behr Paints. “We harnessed the most advanced technology to create BEHR MARQUEE Exterior Paint & Primer, our top-of-the-line exterior paint designed to achieve a freshly painted look that lasts a long time. It not only repels dirt, which can make your paint finish look dull, but it also provides early rain resistance, so it repels rain showers as early as 60 minutes after application.” BEHR MARQUEE Exterior Paint & Primer is available exclusively at The Home Depot and comes in 64 unique new colors and can be tinted to any color in Behr’s existing palette of 2,000 hues or custom color-matched. Visit colorfullybehr.com to read about everything color – from contrasts to the latest coloring techniques.
* Green and growing beauty – For green thumb gardeners, incorporating beautiful flowerbeds in strategic areas like around the mailbox, next to the driveway, along the sidewalk to the front door and around the front of the home, is a great way to add beautiful curb appeal. Continue to rotate new flowers into the flowerbeds as the seasons change, allowing you to vary the accent colors in your yard frequently.
If you don’t have the time or interest in flower gardening, however, you can create more perennial landscaping beds using hardy plants that require little maintenance. Check with your local garden shop for information about low-maintenance perennial plants, trees and shrubs to incorporate into your landscaping.
With these changes, your home’s curb appeal will invite visitors – or potential buyers – to stop and admire your house from the street. Whether you decide to DIY or hire a professional, you’ll be able to enjoy the transformation for many years to come.
During the warm summer months, having an outdoor deck for barbecues and gatherings with family and friends is a great addition to any backyard. The approach of cool weather may signal the end of barbecue season, but homeowners can still use their deck after the warm temperatures have passed.
“Although decks are generally a summer attraction, there are ways to make them accessible during the winter as well,” says Stephen McNally, TAMKO Building Products Inc.’s vice president of sales and marketing.-
There are many ways to make your deck functional and enjoyable during the winter, no matter where your home is located. –
Step 1 – Warm up your deck
The addition of a fireplace can transform your deck into an outdoor gathering spot and a scene-stealing area for those cool nights. The type of fireplace you decide on for your deck can add beauty and charm as well as complement your existing color scheme and deck furniture and decorations. Outdoor fireplaces can be made from stone, brick, tile or even granite, so the color options are endless.
“Outdoor fireplaces can be big, beautiful and elaborate, but there are other options for homeowners who prefer to keep their outdoor living space simple,” McNally says.
If a large outdoor fireplace is not for you, but you want to enjoy your deck on cool winter nights, consider the addition of a fire pit, fire bowl or even a chiminea.
Structural safety and potential fire hazards are serious considerations when deciding on a fireplace, so having your deck inspected before you begin installing an outdoor fireplace is suggested. If you install an outdoor fireplace of any kind, make sure that it is done to the manufacturer’s standards.
For more information on TAMKO EverGrain products and ideas for year round deck aesthetic appeal and maintenance, visit www.tamko.com.
Step 2 – Reducing summer dirt and grime
As the summer months come to an end, your deck is due for a well-deserved, thorough cleaning. Fall is a great time for this necessary chore because other outdoor tasks, like gardening and mowing, usually begin to decrease.
“Semi-annual cleaning of your deck is part of the required maintenance that reduces dirt, dust, grime and other residue build-up that the summer months have left behind,” McNally says.-
Use a garden house to rinse your deck. A fan-tip nozzle works best, but make sure the pressure from the hose does not exceed the manufacturers regulations. Ensure that you have removed all food and trash particles from the summer so that they do not contribute to build-up over the winter. For TAMKO’s EverGrain decking products, use a nozzle with pressure that does not exceed 1,000 psi.
While rinsing your deck can reduce dirt and grime buildup, water alone will not remove the stains that have appeared on your deck. Cooking oil, suntan oil and other greasy substances can stain your deck over the course summer use. But before applying cleaner to your deck, make sure to test it in an inconspicuous spot to ensure that it will not change the coloring of your deck boards.
Step 3 – Spice up plant life
When it comes to enjoying outdoor living, beauty is everything. A well-installed deck can offer a certain aesthetic appeal by itself, but plant life can make a big difference, even in the winter time.
When the cool temperatures of late fall start to move in, you can help your plants extend their life. Move them closer to your house, ideally under a roof, to delay when they are hit by frost. If you have time before a frost sets in, help protect your plants by covering them with lightweight blankets or plastic sheets overnight and uncover them in the morning.
If you want to decorate with plants during the cool months, there are a variety of colorful, cool vegetables that make handsome pot-fillers. Consider plants with purple and dark-green leaves like beets, Chinese cabbage, kale, mustard, spinach or even herbs. Mixing several types of plants together in the same pot can have a nice effect and the addition of garden art statues can add a pop of color.
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-300 Point Inspection
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Call Us Directly to schedule your inspection appointment or you can Schedule Online 24/7 from our website. You select the date and time. All prices are able to be viewed right Online! No waiting for a price quote! No calling all over town to coordinate the inspections that you need.
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Phil Gribbons is a Certified Master property inspector serving the Orlando Florida and surrounding areas. The company, AmeriHome Inspection Services, conducts professional residential property inspections for home buyers, home sellers, home owners, local building contractors, banks, and construction companies. Visit us for relevant information and additional strategies to improve the market price of your home. Just click here Schedule Online to schedule your residential property inspection or give us a call at 407-745-0439 or 407-765-0276
300+ Point Inspection
As part of our continuing improvement program, AmeriHome Inspection Services is certified to provide Infrared Thermography services. Limited services are automatically included in our “Value Added” inspections. A full house Thermography can be ordered independently as an Add-On service to our normal Home Inspection.
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See this Video for what to expect from an infrared camera assisted home inspection.
What We Inspect & What You Can Expect
We Inspect homes of all sizes! We also offer an array of Home Inspection choices from Interior only inspections for Condos to Full Comprehensive Home Inspections for Townhomes and Single Family Homes.
Details on what we Inspect can be found below…
AVAILABLE SERVICE AREA
Providing Home Inspection Services in Orlando, East Orlando, Apopka, Longwood, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Debary, Deltona, Casselberry, Winter Springs, Oviedo
“Most Inspections pay for themselves by what Is Found that needs Repaired or Replaced!”
While it appears to be a fairly large investment for a report, most home buyers don’t realize the hundreds of hours of study and practical experience it has taken an inspector just to become licensed. In addition, the services provided can in many cases pay for itself ten-fold if serious defects are discovered. A typical home inspection takes from 2 to 4 hours of physical observation in addition to preparation and travel time to the property prior to the inspection. The inspection report can take up to an additional 2 hours to prepare prior to review and uploading the report. In most cases, inspectors are under paid for their services and the value that they bring to the table.
In a typical home inspection, an inspector generally goes through the house looking for visual and obvious problems. This can and should be done by both the inspector and the home buyer. It’s the non-obvious items that are included in the inspection that you are really paying for or can save money by having the defects disclosed. Often the seller will pay for the repairs or lower the purchase price to compensate for the discovery; however this is not always the case, especially with Bank owned properties.
Even if the repairs are not paid for by the Seller, it is still good to have a list of defects that will need to be taken care of down the road. Not all defects will require immediate attention.
For many, the main reason to purchase a Home Inspection is for “Peace of Mind”. While it may seem like a lot of money to pay for a little piece of mind, just think how you would feel if you do not order a home inspection and defects are discovered shortly after you move into the property that ends of costing you thousands of dollars. Granted, a home inspector will not catch everything and likewise is not required to catch everything as many items are hidden or outside the scope of the fee paid inspection.
The most important reason to have a home inspection should not be to see what works or doesn’t work so you can ask the seller to credit you some monies to fix items – although that is an important issue. The most important reason to have a home inspection other than “Peace of Mind” is so that you can add up the costs of all the anticipated repairs that you will want to do in the near future and determine if the house is selling at a fair market price after deducting all those estimated costs. Unfortunately, the typical inspection report does not provide costs estimates. It is your responsibility to go through the inspection report or go through the property in detail and get realistic estimates and costs to repair or replace defected items. This results in your time spent, which in itself costs you more money.
Some items that may need replaced in the future should be obvious and your inspector should be able to provide you with some average life expectancy of major items such as the Roof, HVAC system, Water heater and Appliances. If you want to add new flooring, counter tops, upgrade the bathrooms or kitchen, are you adding up all these costs? They won’t be in the report, but you need to know those estimates as well.
Adding up all the costs is your responsibility. Once you have your total, then you can make a decision if the property price is fair, or if you need to renegotiate the price, or if you should cancel the purchase altogether.
It’s Worth Paying A Professional Several Hundred Dollars For Their Expertise…
The InterNACHI promotes and upholds a high standard of professionalism, business ethics, as well as inspection procedures. InterNACHI members follow a standard Code of Ethics as they perform their duties as inspectors and all throughout the course of their business. This Code of Ethics lists down an InterNACHI member’s duties to the public, to the profession, and to themselves through continuous education.The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) promotes a high standard of professionalism, business ethics and inspection procedures. InterNACHI members subscribe to the following Code of Ethics in the course of their business.
Duty to the Public
- The InterNACHI member shall abide by the Code of Ethics and substantially follow the InterNACHI Standards of Practice.
- The InterNACHI member shall not engage in any practices that could be damaging to the public or bring discredit to the home inspection industry.
- The InterNACHI member shall be fair, honest, impartial, and act in good faith in dealing with the public.
- The InterNACHI member shall not discriminate in any business activities on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, sexual orientation, or handicap and shall comply with all federal, state and local laws concerning discrimination.
- The InterNACHI member shall be truthful regarding his/her services & qualifications.
- The InterNACHI member shall have no undisclosed conflict of interest with the client, nor shall the InterNACHI member accept or offer any undisclosed commissions, rebates, profits or other benefit, nor shall the InterNACHI member accept or offer any disclosed or undisclosed commissions, rebates, profits or other benefit from real estate agents, brokers or any third parties having financial interest in the sale of the property nor shall the InterNACHI member offer or provide any disclosed or undisclosed financial compensation directly or indirectly to any real estate agent, real estate broker or real estate company for referrals or for inclusion on lists of preferred and/or affiliated inspectors or inspection companies.
- The InterNACHI member shall not communicate any information about an inspection to anyone except the client without the prior written consent of the client, except where it may affect the safety of others or violates a law or statute.
- The InterNACHI member shall always act in the interest of the client, unless doing so violates a law, statute or this Code of Ethics.
- The InterNACHI member shall use a written contract that specifies the services to be performed, limitations of services and fees.
- The InterNACHI member shall comply with all government rules and licensing requirements of the jurisdiction where he/she conducts business.
- The InterNACHI member shall not perform or offer to perform, for an additional fee, any repairs or associated services to structure on which the member or member’s company has prepared a home inspection report, for a period of 12 months. This provision shall not include services to components and/or systems which are not included in the InterNACHI standards of practice.
Duty to Continue Education
- The InterNACHI member shall comply with InterNACHI’s current Continuing Education Requirements.
- The InterNACHI member shall pass the InterNACHI’s Online Inspector Exam once every calendar year.
Duty to the Profession and InterNACHI
- The InterNACHI member shall strive to improve the Home Inspection Industry by sharing his/her lessons and/or experiences for the benefit of all. This does not preclude the member from copyrighting or marketing his/her expertise to other Inspectors or the public in any manner permitted by law.
- The InterNACHI member shall assist the InterNACHI leadership in disseminating and publicizing the benefits of InterNACHI membership.
- The InterNACHI member shall not engage in any act or practice that could be deemed damaging, seditious or destructive to InterNACHI, fellow InterNACHI members, InterNACHI employees, leadership or directors. Member(s) accused of acting or deemed in violation of such rules shall be reviewed by the Ethics committee for possible sanctions and/or expulsion from InterNACHI.
- The InterNACHI member shall abide by InterNACHI’s current membership requirements.
- The InterNACHI member shall abide by InterNACHI’s current message board rules.