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homeowner tips

What You Need to Know About Faucets
Outdoor faucets are extremely convenient, especially the newest model by Arrowhead Brass & Plumbing. In New England, this is an absolute Godsend as it’s a non-frost-free-faucet. Unlike other faucets, this specific type has a built-in vacuum breaker and no thick neck. The best part is that you don’t need an exterior vacuum breaker.

The only downfall is that the Arrowhead faucet is difficult to winterize. You can winterize an exterior faucet by opening the drain valve to allow air in the pipe. Air essentially replaces water inside of the pipe and water drains out of the faucet. If the drain valve is lower than the faucet, the faucet needs to be winterized by draining water out of the interior drain valve. Air has to be able to enter the exterior faucet to replace water in the pipe.

Non-frost-free faucets can not be used on every application. You certainly don’t want one that is going to interrupt your living space so make sure to investigate before purchasing an outdoor faucet.

How to Properly Clean Your Gutters
Now that fall is coming to an end, your gutters are probably clogged up with leaves. There are some simple solutions to effectively eliminate leaves from your gutters. Keeping your gutters and downspouts clear ensures that water is fully drained.

1. Power wash all leaves from the roof. This ensures that the next time it rains out, new debris won’t go into what you just worked so hard to remove.

2. Begin at the downspout and remove large debris with a towel. Next, dump it into a bucket. Make sure to use suede gloves to protect you from dirt and injury. Leaves are also riddled with bird, pigeon and squirrel droppings along with other bacteria. Please wear gloves!

3. When the gutters are finally cleared, use the hose with full water pressure. Rap the downspout to loosen up the clogs. If this doesn’t work, start from the bottom of the downspout and remove it. Then, flush it with your hose or pressure washer.

Home Inspection Myths
1. Double Tapped Circuit Breakers are Important
This is actually a situation that can be remedied very easily. The safety risk of a double tapped circuit breaker really isn’t that dangerous when compared to other electrical situations.

2. Every Bedroom Needs a Closet
There’s actually nothing in the building code that requires a closet to be in the bedroom.

3. Old Stucco is Dangerous
Old stucco actually isn’t a big deal, but stucco from the early ’90’s should be a concern. Invasive moisture testing should be conducted when purchasing a newer stucco home.

4. Replace a Water Heater to Fix Backdraft
Unless a new power vent is installed, replacing the water heater won’t prevent a backdraft. If a water heater does backdraft this could be due to the vent or the vent connectivity.

5. A Smaller Air Conditioner Can’t Cool the Home Effectively
The physical size of the air conditioner outside of the home won’t actually affect the cooling capacity. The efficiency of the unit is actually the main factor because the cooling capacity is measured in tons.

What are the Hazards of Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber that was commonly used in many homes and businesses. The strength of asbestos and ability to resist heat made this a very useful for construction. However, years later, it was discovered that asbestos caused severe illness. Because individual asbestos fibers can’t be seen by the naked eye, this puts people at a much greater risk.

Asbestos fibers are usually released into the air during any activity that disturbs asbestos-containing materials. Asbestos fibers can then be inhaled and trapped in the lungs. When swallowed, asbestos gets embedded in the digestive tract. Asbestos is well-known to cause cancer, specifically lung cancer.

Where Does the Asbestos Hazard Occur?
Asbestos can be found in the following areas if installed prior to 1981:
  • roofing and siding
  • industrial pipe wrapping
  • heat-resistant tiles
  • automobile brake linings
  • vinyl floor tiles
OSHA offers 3 standards to protect workers against asbestos. Workers have the right to receive information and training about workplace hazards.

Questions to Ask a Home Inspector
If you’re a first time homebuyer and have set up an appointment to have your future home inspected, you may be feeling a bit of anxiety. It’s best to gather some questions that you can ask during the inspection so relieve any worries. This way, everything you want answered will be done immediately instead of it dawning on you later.

1. Ask for a written home inspection
Make sure that the home inspector will provide a report for you during the time of inspection. This allows you to go over everything together and you will know that nothing has been altered.

Tony D’Agati provides  computer-generated reports during the time of the inspection.

2. Ask if there are optional tests 
In some situations, you made need to test underground storage tanks, test water for lead, test for radon gas, etc. At D’Agati Home Inspections, Tony D’Agati offers additional testing such as water quality testing, well volume testing and wood destroying insect inspections.

3. Ask who should fix what
If the home inspector notices an issue such as a leaky pipe or mold, ask them for a reference. See if they know of any contractors with a strong background. Sometimes the issues are minimal and the home inspector can advise you on what to pick up at your local hardware store. Rather than having a laundry list of extensive repairs, your home inspector can inform you that it’s not a big issue and save you hundreds in repairs.

4. Ask the inspector if the item is worth fixing
It is the responsibility of the home inspector to point out every problem that may affect your purchase. The home inspectorwill inform you if anything is on its last leg. He can inform you if something may break tomorrow, a month or even a year from the time of the inspection.

Contact D’Agati Home Inspections for a home inspection in Methuen MA and the surrounding towns.

The Most Difficult Items to Inspect During a Home Inspection
Prior to getting a home inspection, it’s important to know the items that often get ignored.D’Agati Home Inspections, however, never misses anything! Give us a call today at 978.902.0398.

1. Blocked or Damaged Sewer Lines
A partially blocked or damaged sewer line doesn’t show up overnight. This is an issue that arises slowly, over time. Generally, inspectors will determine the type of drain pipe and look for stumps or trees which may be in the line of the sewer pipe.

2. Broken HVAC Equipment
HVAC equipment can be fine and then suddenly break down. Inspectors can bring an HVAC contractor with them, but it’s usually not worth the investment when compared to the cost of new equipment.

3. Electrical Issues
A “visual inspection” is your best bet when it comes to a residential home inspection. Inspectors can always find the root of an electrical problem.

4. Structural Problems
If the roof is sagging or the structural integrity of your home is in jeopardy, a professional home inspector will be able to spot the issue immediately. When it comes to figuring out how much the repair will be, you will need a structural engineer.

5. Leaking
Leaks can be hard to detect because they tend to come out of nowhere. One day your home may be completely dry and then the next, you spot several leaks in the home.  A home inspector will check the drains in cabinets as this is often where leaks occur.

Photoelectric Smoke Alarms
There are 2 types of smoke alarms on the market: ionization and photoelectric. Photoelectric are really beating out their competition as these specific smoke alarms are quick to detect slower fires. These are typically more responsive to smoldering fires.

Photoelectric smoke alarms aim a light source into a sensing chamber at an angle away from the sensor. Next, smoke enters the chamber and reflects light onto the light sensor. This is what triggers the alarm. These types of smoke alarms are perfect for the home because many house fires occur slowly, filling the home with smoke and then bursting into flames. In 2008, the IAFF announced that only photoelectric smoke alarms should be used and dual smoke alarms aren’t acceptable. Ionization smoke detectors are weaker in high air flow environments which make them delayed for an excessive amount of time.

Prior to purchasing a smoke alarm, look out for these features:
  • Seamless installation
  • Battery backup
  • At least a 5-10-year warranty
  • Package of 4-6 smoke alarms
  • Interconnected units
Contact D’Agati Home Inspections for more information!

The Hazards of Exposed Light Bulbs in Closets
While inspecting older homes, home inspectors usually run into open light bulbs in closets which cause a lot of electrical hazards. In the past, if the light bulb was at least 18″ away from the closet shelf it was perfectly acceptable to keep in the closet. Currently, exposed incandescent lights are not allowed in the closet whatsoever.

What Types of Lights Are Allowed in the Closet?
  • Recessed incandescent or LED luminaries
  • Recessed fluorescent lights or surface-mounted
Your best bet is to utilize bare bulb lights that are enclosed in a globe. Since installing lights requires an electrician, there is now a product available that makes the process much simpler: Easy Light.

When it comes down to it, using an exposed light bulb just isn’t a good idea. The light could easily get damaged if it’s not fully protected.

Contact D’Agati Home Inspections for a home inspection in Methuen, Danvers, Billerica, Bedford and surrounding towns.

Mediation is Not for Home Inspectors
A home inspection is a necessity when it comes to purchasing a new home. In order to fully recognize any issues with the home that may not be apparent to the naked eye, a home inspector can take a professional look around. Often times, home inspectors include a clause about a mediation in the contract. However, this is not a smart move.

If a homebuyer has their future residence inspected for termites and the home inspector sees no evidence of these wood biting critters, everything may seem fine. Six months could go by and the owner hits the baseboard with his vacuum, shedding the material only to discover severe termite damage. Now, this homeowner can go to small claims court and sue! The mediator will then pit both sides against each other, making matters work for both parties.

If you need a professional home inspector in Methuen, contact D’Agati Home Inspections at 978.902.0398.

The Dangers of Mold
As everyone knows, mold can be damaging to both the structural integrity of the home along with your own physical health. Mold leads to wheezing, coughing sneezing, watery eyes and respiratory issues. Often referred to as a “hidden danger” because it goes unseen, it can grow on virtually any substance.

In addition to this, mold can grow between 24-72 hours after materials become saturated! Mold remediation must take place by a professional immediately. Remediation not only removes the mold but corrects any damage caused by the mold. Since mold comes in thousands of variations, each with a different level of potential to harm the body, it must be removed immediately.

D’Agati Home Inspections will find mold in your home with our thorough and comprehensive home inspections.

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