Mold & Mildew: How To Clean Black Spots In the Bathroo

how to clean black spots in bathroomBURDUN ILIYA/SHUTTERSTOCK

Have you ever been taking a relaxing bath, only to look up and notice black mold growing on the ceiling? Yuck. It’s a problem no one wants to deal with, but unfortunately is a common occurrence in bathrooms—especially if your home is located in a moist climate. The good news is, you don’t have to live with that mold and mildew forever. Find out how to clean black spots in the bathroom with a few supplies and a little elbow grease.Secret bathroom cleaning tips from the pros.

What Causes Black Mold on a Bathroom Ceiling?

Mold on the ceiling is caused by moisture that has no where to go. Mold loves moisture. Steam from hot showers and bathtubs rises to the ceiling, and without proper ventilation it can settle there. If the moisture remains too long, mold spores begin to grow. In addition to being unsightly, mold can also cause health issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mold can cause “nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation…or skin irritation.” And even more alarming, serious lung infections can occur in people with weak immune systems.
Is black mold deadly? Find out what is true versus what is myth when it comes to mold.

How to Clean Mold From a Bathroom Ceiling

To clean mold from the ceiling, wash the affected area with a store-bought mold cleaner, or a mixture of dish soap and water. Let the area dry. Now it’s time to get out the big guns to kill the mold—bleach. Mix one-quarter cup of bleach with one quart of water and apply the solution with a spray bottle or sponge. Remember when working with bleach to crack a window for ventilation and wear gloves and eye protection. If you prefer to not use bleach, white vinegar can also be effective. Apply straight vinegar to the area with a spray bottle and allow it to sit for an hour, then wipe the area clean and allow it to dry.Are you making these 10 bathroom cleaning mistakes?

How to Clean Mildew From a Bathroom Ceiling

Think of mildew as mold’s less threatening cousin. They’re both fungi, but mildew is not as invasive and is easier to clean because it only lives on the surface. Mildew is usually light gray or white in color and has a flat, powdery appearance. To clean it from your bathroom ceiling, simply wipe it with a damp cloth sprayed with any household cleaner. You can use a bathroom cleaner specially formulated to clean mildew, or white vinegar will also do the trick. Fill a spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water, spray the mildew, and wipe away.Here’s how to use essential oils to get rid of that mildew smell.

How to Clean Mold in the Shower or Bath

Cleaning mold from the shower or bath can be done with the same methods used on the ceiling. Clean the area with a household bathroom cleaner first, then use either a bleach solution or vinegar to kill the mold. To prevent mold from growing in the shower or bath again, keep the bathroom ventilated and control moisture as much as possible. Use a bathroom exhaust fan, crack a window when showering, and make sure to wipe away any leftover moisture with a squeegee. Take further measures by keeping a spray bottle full of vinegar in the bathroom, spray your bath and shower after use to prevent mold growth.Psst! Now that you know how to clean black spots in the bathroom—prevent mold and mildew from growing back with an exhaust fan. Here’s how to clean your bathroom exhaust fan to ensure it’s running properly.

Erica Young is a freelance writer and content creator, specializing in home and lifestyle pieces. She loves writing about home decor, organization, relationships, and pop culture. She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication.
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15 Trees You Should Never Grow in Your Yard

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Furnace Included: Free 90 Day Home Inspection Warranty

Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd, Buyers Home Inspection Rogers, Certified Home Inspector Brainerd, Certified Home Inspector Rogers, Home Inspection Brainerd, Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers, Home Inspection Rogers, Home Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspection Brainerd, Radon Inspection Rogers, Radon Inspection St. Michael, Radon Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspector Brainerd, Radon Inspector St. Michael

Free 90 Day Home Inspection Warranty includes oven, range, dishwasher, built-in microwave, trash
compactor, and garbage disposal, heating/air (HVAC):
furnace, air conditioner, and thermostats.

No matter how thorough the inspection, issues come up after the sale from time to time with previously owned homes.  It’s not the inspector’s fault, nor the agents or new homeowners.  That’s why Home Detective offers a FREE 90 Warranty with any home inspection we do.  Some buyers and agents have used it over the years, ALL with positive reviews.  Every party to the transaction leaves it with peace of mind.For appliances, all claims must be received within 90 days of the inspection or within 22 days of closing, whichever comes later.*For added peace of mind, you can extend it for 18 months.  Seller’s selling old homes, buyers buying old homes love this option.  It often makes deals happen that seemed lost.Schedule a Complete Home InspectionTo schedule a home inspection, contact Reed today online or call (763) 434-3155.  Home Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. Michael 
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The “Price is Right” Distressed Home = Get an Inspection

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No heat, toilet burst

As a rule of thumb, all home buyers should get a complete home inspection before they agree to close on a purchase agreement.  But distressed homes, often times marketed as “fixer-uppers,” are usually vacant or have been for some time, lender/bank owned, and sold “as-is.”  This means there is almost no information or seller disclosure available to the buyer to know what “known” issues may have or is currently affecting the property.  As a result, there is an extra burden on the buyer to find out.  Although fixer uppers/distressed properties are often sold at an attractive price and can be a great opportunity for many would-be homeowners, home buyers should partner with a professional like Home Detective to perform a complete home inspection.In the picture above, the property was obviously vacant with no heat, and the water in the toilet froze and burst.  This will certainly be cleaned up by the listing company, but what else went on there?  What about the water pipes?  Is there a potential for mold?   The questions are endless and Home Detective is professionally certified to help you answer them.

Free 90 Day Home Warranty-Appliances Included

Caveat emptor is Latin for "let the buyer beware” because the principle has been around for centuries.  Buried in small print on most “as-is”
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A vacant home, no heat burst pipes

documents is a version of this “hold the seller harmless” language.  In addition to providing peace of mind with a complete home inspection, Home Detective also provides a FREE 90 DAY Home Inspection Warranty, appliances included, with all of our home inspections*.

 Schedule a Home Inspection

Home Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, with rigorous knowledge and experience requirements that a jack of all trades can’t possibly offer, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).These certifications along with years of experience will ensure you have peace of mind after you purchase your home.  In addition to our credentials, Home Detective offers a Free 90 Day Warranty for all the home inspections we do with the option for an 18 month extended warranty.To schedule your home inspection today or for more information, contact Reed at (763) 434-3155.  Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. Michael
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Guide to Choosing & Changing HVAC Air Filters

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Selecting the correct type of Furnace Filter is important

Routinely changing the air filters for your furnace is an important home maintenance task.  This article discusses: why you should change your air filter; how often to do it; how to choose the right filter; and how to do it yourself.

Why Is It Important To Change Your Furnace Air Filter?

 
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Setting a date to change the furnace filter

Changing your furnace’s air filter is important for two reasons: 1) A dirty air filter makes your furnace’s blower motor work harder, which wastes energy.  Changing your air filter can save you up to $50/year in energy savings; and 2) Over time, your furnace’s air filter gets clogged with the particles that it is made to take out of the air, and as such, as it gets dirty it can’t do its job of cleaning the air in your home.

How Often Should You Change Your Furnace Air Filter?

The frequency of when you should change your air filter can range between once every month, to once every 3 months, and for your particular home it will depend on several factors:
  • If you have someone in your family that has respiratory problems, such as allergies or asthma, then you will want to change your furnace’s air filter more often.
  • If you have a high level of particulates from pets, smoking, construction projects, etc., then you will want to change your air filter more often.
  • The recommended frequency will also depend on the efficiency of the filter that you use.  Higher efficiency filters do a better job of removing smaller particles from the air, but they also get clogged faster and therefore need to be changed more often.
 

How To Choose the Right Furnace Air Filter?

Similar to how often you should change your filter, the choice of the right air filter for your particular home and living situation depends on a number
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Periodically check the furnace filter before is gets like this

of factors.The first thing to consider in choosing the right filter is knowing its size. To find the size of the filter you need, just check on the side of the current filter that is in your furnace. Most filters will have the size written right on them (see types, costs, and reviews of furnace air filters).  However, if you have any doubts as to whether the correct size was originally installed, then it is best to check with your furnace’s manufacturer.The next thing to consider in choosing the right filter for your home is the MERV rating of the filter.  Merv ratings are used to rate the ability of an air filter to remove dust, pollen, mold spores, bacteria, etc. From the air as it passes through the filter.  Merv ratings range from 1 to 16, and the higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particle that the filter can trap. Some of the most common filters found in residential use only have a MERV rating of between 1 to 4.  These are relatively inexpensive, but they do NOT do a good job of filtering the air, because they will not stop particles smaller than 10 microns.  Filters with MERV ratings of between 5 to 8 are a better choice, and these filters will catch particles as small as 3 microns.  Filters with a MERV rating of 9 to 12 will stop particles in the 1 to a 3-micron range, and these filters are a great choice for homeowners who want the best particle control possible.  And finally, the most efficient filters have MERV ratings of 13 to 16 and will stop particles as small as .3 microns. These filters are used in hospitals and other super-clean environments.IMPORTANT: If you decide to use a high-efficiency air filter with a MERV rating of 9 or higher, then it is very important that you remember to check the filter each month (which is easy to remember if you have signed up for your free reminders from Home-Wizard.com!).  And replace the filter if it looks dirty, otherwise, it can become blocked and cause your furnace blower to have to work harder, which will cost you more energy to operate it. So don’t get higher MERV rating filters unless you are sure that you will be replacing them often.The various types of filters include electrostatic, pleated, HEPA and activated carbon. Some are disposable and some are washable. But what really matters is the MERV rating, as described above.

How To Do-It-Yourself?

Replacing your furnace air filter is one of the easiest do-it-yourself tasks there is, once you learn how.  Here is a short YouTube video that shows the typical location of your furnace filter and how to replace it: replace the furnace filter.And here are the steps to follow for replacing your furnace filter:Step 1: Find out where your existing filter is located and read the size that is written on the side of it.Step 2: Decide what MERV rating is appropriate for your home situation (see above).Step 3: Purchase your filter. You might want to consider buying enough to last you the entire year, so you have them available as needed, without having to make extra trips or online orders.Step 4: Turn off your furnace. This is best to do right at the breaker, but you can also do it at your thermostat.Step 5: You will want to check the existing filter to see which direction the “airflow” arrow is pointing on it, as you will want to install the new filter in the same direction.  Most filters will have an airflow arrow printed right on it. However, if you are not 100% sure the direction is correct (for example if you have just moved into the home), then you can do what is called the “string test”: tie a string firmly to your finger, then turn your furnace blower on; next, bring your finger with the string on it near the opening where your filter opening is, and see which direction the air causes the string to flow. . . this is your air flow direction.  Just be sure to tie the string FIRMLY to your finger, so it doesn’t get sucked inside your furnace!Step 6: Remove your old filter.Step 7: Install your new filter, with the proper air flow direction.Step 8: Write the current date on the side of the new filter (in case you forget when it was changed).Step 9: Clean up any dust, debris, etc. Around your furnace.Step 10: Turn your furnace back on.Hopefully, this article has helped you understand why you should change your air filter; how often to do it; how to choose the right filter; and how to do-it-yourself.

For a Home Inspection

Home Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, with rigorous knowledge and experience requirements that a jack of all trades can’t possibly offer, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).These certifications along with years of experience will ensure you have peace of mind after you purchase your home.  In addition to our credentials, Home Detective offers a Free 90 Day Warranty for all the home inspections we do with the option for an 18 month extended warranty.To schedule your home inspection today or for more information, contact Reed at (763) 434-3155Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. Michael
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Air Registers: Better Air Quality & Saving Energy

Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd, Buyers Home Inspection Rogers, Certified Home Inspector Brainerd, Certified Home Inspector Rogers, Home Inspection Brainerd, Home Inspection for Sellers RogersIf you have air registers in your home for either air conditioning or heating, then you have what is called "forced air ventilation ductwork" in your home. And with this comes special issues for saving energy and ensuring healthy air quality.This article discusses what you can do to save energy and improve your indoor air quality from the forced air ventilation systems in your home.Your forced air ventilation ductwork has two types of systems: 1) distribution; and 2) supply. The supply system of ductwork draws air from places around your home, and delivers it to either your furnace or your air conditioner . . . Or in some homes, to both. The distribution system of your forced air ventilation ductwork takes the cooled (or warmed) air and sends it to other places around your home. When your air conditioning or heating system is running, you can put your hand over an air register and tell if it is supply or distribution duct by feeling which direction that the air is flowing.

SAVING ENERGY

Home Inspection Rogers, Home Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspection Brainerd, Radon Inspection Rogers, Radon Inspection St. Michael, Radon Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspector Brainerd, Radon Inspector St. MichaelTo save energy with your forced air ventilation system, you should check the unfinished areas of your home (for example in your attic or basement), and see if any of your ductwork connections are leaking any air. Any air that is leaking is air that is not getting distributed properly for your home and is wasting energy. Instead of using duct tape to seal these duct leaks, instead use duct mastic, which is more effective and permanent (see cost and review of duct mastics). And while you are reviewing your ductwork, you should also check to see if there is any loose or missing insulation, especially in your unfinished areas. Without proper insulation, you will be again wasting energy.You will also want to be sure that none of your air registers (either supply or distribution) are being blocked by furniture, drapes, rugs, blankets, etc. Obstructing these vents prevent proper circulation of the air into or out of your room, and as a result, you have to run your air conditioning or heating system harder, which wastes energy.On the other hand, if your forced air ventilation ductwork is ONLY used for heating or cooling, then you will want to consider seasonally blocking the registers off completely when the system is not being used, especially if your ductwork goes through unfinished areas of your home. This helps keep out hot air in the summer, and cold air in the winter. And if you want to get a really tight seal on your registers, then in addition to closing the registers, you can also cover them with magnetic covers, or by even taping cardboard or paper over the registers.If you notice that some rooms in your home are too hot or too cold, you can "balance" the system by adjusting registers and duct dampers. An unbalance forced air ventilation system can waste energy by getting you to run your heating or air conditioning system too hard to serve the areas that are being “starved” for capacity.And of course, you can also save energy by frequently changing (or washing, depending on the model) your system's air filters. A dirty air filter means your blower has to work harder and therefore wastes more energy.

HEALTH

Especially if someone in your family has allergies or asthma, then you will want to properly care for your forced air ventilation system.First, you will want to routinely clean inside of your air supply registers with a vacuum extension and remove any objects or debris that may have fallen in floor registers. Next, you will also want to vacuum the area around where your air filters are installed. If you put your hand around where your filter gets inserted, you will likely feel air being drawn into the spaces around the filter. If your furnace or air conditioning unit is in a dusty, unfinished area of your home, then dust that builds up in the area around your filter can get drawn into your ductwork and distributed around your home. And this is why you will want to routinely vacuum the dust and dirt from these areas.You can also improve the air quality in your home by upgrading the type of filter you use to one that is higher-efficiency, which will capture more pollutants and pollen. Filter efficiencies are measured by their MERV ratings, and you can read more about selecting the proper MERV rating filter in our article here: Guide to Choosing & Changing Your HVAC Air FiltersAnd finally, you can improve the air quality in your home by having your ductwork professionally cleaned to remove dust and mold.For a Home InspectionHome Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, with rigorous knowledge and experience requirements that a jack of all trades can’t possibly offer, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).These certifications along with years of experience will ensure you have peace of mind after you purchase your home.  In addition to our credentials, Home Detective offers a Free 90 Day Warranty for all the home inspections we do with the option for an 18 month extended warranty.To schedule your home inspection today or for more information, contact Reed at (763) 434-3155Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. Michael
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Getting Rid of Winter Dryness

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Itchy Skin from a Dry Home

During the wintertime, the relative humidity in your home can drop below 15%, causing a variety of health, comfort and woodwork damage problems for your home.  Itchy skin and bloody noses plus hardwood floors literally separating at the seams are common to a number of homeowners.  But, these side effects don’t have to be.  And prospective home buyers should be mindful of this when they purchase a home when they inspect it.  This article discusses options for increasing the humidity in the home you live in and/or in the one you are thinking of buying.
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Dry Homes Can Cause Bloody Noses

In the wintertime, as the outside air temperature drops, air loses the capacity to hold water vapor, and as a result, the relative humidity level drops. And then when the air in your home is heated up, it expands, and therefore the relative humidity of the air in your home drops even further. Most people find a humidity level of between 30-50% to be comfortable, but when the relative humidity in your home is too low, it not only feels uncomfortable, but it can also cause a number of other problems that we will discuss below.

Increase Wintertime Indoor Humidity 
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Itchy Skin is Common with Dry Homes

If your home is too dry in the winter, here are some suggestions for ways to increase the relative humidity levels in your home:
  1. Rather than using your bathroom fan after a shower, instead use a room fan to push the damp air out into the other rooms of your home. In addition to adding humidity, this will save you energy both by not having to heat the air to replace the air which would have been going out of your home from your exhaust fan.
  2. Rather than using the drying cycle on your dishwasher, leave the dishwasher door open to air dry the dishes. It not only will add humidity to your house, but it will also save you energy.
  3. Rather than using your clothes dryer, hang damp laundry inside your home on laundry racks. You might even want to use a room fan to increase drying time and to spread the humidity faster around your home. Not using your dryer will both save you energy and increase your home’s humidity.
  4. Water houseplants regularly and keep them well sprayed with water.
  5. Place shallow pans of water near heating vents and sunny windows.
  6. Use a water spray bottle to spray the air in your rooms with a fine mist (see types, costs, and reviews of spray bottles). Be careful not to spray more than what can evaporate quickly, or else you may damage your carpets, furniture, bedding, etc.
  7. Purchase a room-style humidifier.
  8. Have a whole-house humidifier installed.

ROOM-STYLE HUMIDIFIERS

Room humidifiers are made for adding humidity to a single room of your house and require that you continually add water to them. You can see examples and cost for various types of humidifiers at Amazon.com: humidifiers.Find out Energy Efficient Way to Better Indoor Air Quality.As you will see, there are 4 basic styles of room humidifiers:Evaporative Humidifiers: Evaporative humidifiers are the most common and simplest in design, and provide the most basic level of service and features. They have just a few basic parts: a reservoir, wick, and fan. The wick is an absorbent material that draws up water from the reservoir and provides a large surface area for it to evaporate from. The fan blows air onto the wick to aid in the evaporation of the water.Vaporizer: A vaporizer style room humidifier boils water, which thereby releases steam and moisture into the air. A medicated inhalant can also be added to the steam vapor to help reduce coughs. Vaporizers cay is healthier to use that evaporative style humidifiers because steam is less likely to convey mineral impurities or microorganisms from the standing water in the reservoir.  But of course, boiling water requires significantly more energy than other room humidifier styles.Ultrasonic or cool mist: An ultrasonic humidifier, or sometimes called a “cool mist” humidifier, doesn’t use a wick or steam but instead uses a small metal diaphragm vibrating at an ultrasonic frequency to break the water down into tiny water droplets. And then when they are blown by the fan, they become a fine vapor mist. These humidifiers are relatively quiet and use very little electricity. They also don’t require replacement filters if you use distilled water in them.Impeller Humidifier: An impeller humidifier uses a rotating disc that flings water at a diffuser, which then breaks the water into fine droplets that float into the air.Evaporative humidifiers are relatively inexpensive and easy to use, and these humidifiers can typically cover larger areas than other styles of room humidifiers. Steam vaporizers can be dangerous around children and pets because they can cause burns. They also have the highest energy costs, however, there are significantly less bacterial or mineral concerns with this style. Impeller and ultrasonic designs have low energy costs but raise two concerns. First, if the water gets stagnant, these designs will disperse bacteria into the air in your home. This is why it is so important to clean the tank regularly and refill it with clean water. Many high-end ultrasonic units, therefore, have antibacterial features built in, and some units use ultraviolet light to kill bacteria. The second concern with these style units is minerals in the water. Impeller and ultrasonic designs send these minerals into the air. As such, the EPA recommends using low-mineral water (such as distilled water) in your humidifier. And many ultrasonic models feature a demineralization cartridge that filters minerals out of the water.Typical problems that can arise with room style humidifiers include:
  • Since they use reservoirs, water may stagnate and give rise to mold and bacteria.
  • The wick may become moldy.
  • A vaporizer humidifier may be a source of fires if the heating element is poorly designed.
To keep room humidifiers operating properly, it is important to regularly clean the reservoir and wicks to deter the growth of mold and bacteria. It is also best to use distilled water so that minerals from tap water do not get dispersed into the air. And every week you should rinse the reservoir with bleach or white vinegar.

WHOLE-HOUSE HUMIDIFIERS

If your home uses forced air for heating or if you have central air conditioning, then you might want to consider using a whole-house humidifier. Whole house humidifiers are installed connected with your forced air heating or cooling system, and use your existing ductwork system to distribute the added humidity throughout your house. There are two basic type styles of whole-house humidifiers: reservoir and flow-through.Reservoir type: there are two styles of reservoir type humidifiers: “drum style” and “disc wheel” style.Drum Style: With a drum style reservoir whole-house humidifier, a pipe brings water directly to a reservoir (a pan) in a unit that is attached to your home’s ductwork. The water level in the pan is automatically controlled by a float valve, similar to the float system in the back of your toilet tank. The wick that carries the water is typically a foam pad mounted on a drum which is driven by a small motor. Hot air enters the drum at one end and then passes through the sides of the drum. The system turns off and on based on a humidity sensor which can be set at your desired level.Disc Wheel style: A disc wheel style of reservoir whole-house humidifier is similar in design to the drum style humidifiers, but this style of humidifier replaces the foam drum with a number of plastic discs with small grooves on both sides. This creates a large evaporative surface area without requiring a great deal of space. And unlike the drum style humidifiers, the disc wheel does not need to be routinely replaced. This style of humidifier is fairly low maintenance, is high output due to its large evaporative surface area, and can be installed in hard water situations. It also maintains its efficiency throughout its lifespan.Flow-Through type: There are two styles of flow-through type humidifiers: “bypass flow-through” style and “spray mist” style.Bypass Flow-Through style: In this style of a flow-through humidifier, a pipe brings water directly to an electrically-controlled valve at the top of the humidifier. Air passes through an aluminum "biscuit" which is similar to coarse steel wool. The biscuit has a coating of matte ceramic, resulting in a large surface area within a small space. When the humidity sensor calls for humidity, the valve is opened and causes a spray of water onto the biscuit. Hot air is passed through the biscuit, causing the water to evaporate from the pad and be carried into your forced air ductwork. This style of humidifier is somewhat higher cost, but it's advantages include less risk of mold formation (since there is no pan of stagnant water) and reduced routine maintenance requirements.Spray Mist Type: In this style of a flow-through humidifier, a small plastic tube brings water directly to an electrically-controlled valve in the humidifier. Water mist is sprayed directly into the supply air, and the mist is carried into your forced air ductwork by the air flow. These tend to be lower cost and are smaller in size, so it can fit in areas where other styles can’t. Like the bypass flow-through style unit, it has less risk of mold formation since it does not use a pan of stagnant water, and it is fairly low maintenance. However, the spray nozzle can get clogged if you have hard water.Because of the materials and machinery used in the drum style, you’ll have to regularly clean your water reservoir and change your belt in order to prevent mildew, mold, bacteria and mineral buildup. Flow-through systems address the problems of a standing water reservoir by using a rectangular foam or aluminum pad, but the pad can get clogged if it isn’t replaced or cleaned regularly. Regarding the reservoir style humidifiers, both the drum style and disc wheel style are relatively inexpensive to maintain. The foam drum in drum style needs to be replaced regularly, while the disc wheel does not need routine replacement. Disc wheel style humidifiers also have higher output due to a larger evaporative area and can be installed in hard water situations. As mentioned above, the flow-through style humidifiers do not use pans, and therefore the risk of stagnant water and mold is greatly reduced. Flow-through styles tend to use less electricity.

SUMMARY

During the wintertime, the relative humidity in your home can drop below 15%, causing a variety of health, comfort and woodwork damage problems for your home.  Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand the various options for increasing the humidity in the home you live in and/or in the one you are thinking of buying.

For a Home Inspection

Home Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, with rigorous knowledge and experience requirements that a jack of all trades can’t possibly offer, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).These certifications along with years of experience will ensure you have peace of mind after you purchase your home.  In addition to our credentials, Home Detective offers a Free 90 Day Home Inspection Warranty for all the home inspections we do with the option for an 18 month extended warranty.To schedule your home inspection today or for more information, contact Reed at (763) 434-3155.  Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. Michael   
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January is Radon Awareness Month

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The danger of radon gas in our homes

Radon, a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that causes cancer, can build up to unsafe levels in any home at any time of year. With many Americans spending more time inside their homes during January, however, there is no better time to make sure our homes are radon-free.  That is why EPA starts every new year encouraging Americans to get their homes tested for radon.  (re-post courtesy of the National Association of Realtors, https://www.nar.realtor/washington-report/january-is-radon-awareness-month).“If a high radon level is found, the good news is that this serious environmental risk can be reduced by using simple, proven techniques comparable to the cost of other minor home repair or improvement projects,” said Bill Wehrum, Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.Millions of homes in the United States have elevated levels of radon. Because radon gas is invisible and odorless, the only way to know if a house, school or other building has a radon problem is to get the building tested.Although testing for radon is easy and inexpensive, only one in five homeowners has tested their homes for radon. EPA and states are encouraging Americans to test their homes for radon and to fix elevated levels during January as a common-sense step to prevent lung cancer.

Radon gas in the home is more common than most people think, and it can enter a home through many different openings. We’ll check your:

  • Floor Drains
  • Sump pump openings
  • Pores in the walls and concrete
  • Well water
  • Wall and floor joints in basements
Don’t delay in testing your home during National Radon Action Month. A simple and low-cost radon test can help save a life in your family.For radon or a complete home inspection, don't hesitate to contact Home Detective today.Home Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, with rigorous knowledge and experience requirements that a jack of all trades can’t possibly offer, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).These certifications along with years of experience will ensure you have peace of mind after you purchase your home.  In addition to our credentials, Home Detective offers a Free 90 Day Warranty for all the home inspections we do with the option for an 18 month extended warranty.To schedule your home inspection today or for more information, contact Reed at (763) 434-3155.  Home Inspector Rogers | Pre-listing Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection for Sellers Brainerd | Home Inspection Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection St. Michael 
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Energy Efficient Way to Better Indoor Air Quality

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Good Air Quality Reduces Allergies

According to the EPA, indoor air quality inside a home is typically 5 times worse than outdoor air quality. New technologies have been developed for indoor air exchangers (sometimes called heat recovery ventilators or energy recovery ventilators), which can give you all the benefits of having open windows, but without losing all of the energy.We’ve all heard about the problems of air pollution in the environment, but most people are shocked to find out that the air quality in their own homes is actually a much greater problem. There are a number of reasons why the air quality in your home is so much worse than outside air:
  • VOC (volatile organic chemicals) being released from carpets and furniture.
  • fumes from household cleaners and paints.
  • mold from damp bathrooms and basements.
  • naturally occurring radon gas which seeps up through the foundation floors.
  • fumes from cooking and smoking.
  • pet dander.
To improve the quality of air in your home, you can open your windows. But of course, in the wintertime, you will not want to do this. And in the summertime, you will not want to open your windows when you are running your air conditioner.This is where an indoor air exchanger can be so helpful. By bringing in fresh outdoor air while capturing up to 80%
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Air Exchanger

of the potential heat loss, these units can significantly improve your indoor air quality in an energy efficient manner. And models which are energy recovery ventilators can actually transfer the humidity between the air streams, keeping the humidity in your house when you need it in the winter, and keeping humidity out in the summertime when you don’t want it.You can see examples of various models of indoor air exchangers online on Amazon.com: indoor air exchangers.As you will see, the prices for the units can range from about $350 to $1,400, depending on the style, capacity, features, etc. And then you will need to add the costs of the installation. Further, in addition to the initial cost of installing the unit, there are also the operating costs for electricity and routine maintenance. Electricity costs will vary according to the size of the unit you get and your local electric rates. For some models, the energy use can be as low as about 60 watts (about the same as an average light bulb), but of course, you can be saving 900 watts of heat that would have been lost through an open window.Some models of air exchangers can be mounted in a window or wall opening, much like a room air conditioner is installed. These are designed to handle the ventilation for an individual room, such as a kitchen, living room, work studio, etc. Larger units are designed for the whole house and provide fresh air to all the rooms of your home. These larger units are easier to install if you have central heating or air conditioning ductwork to which the units can be connected.Your choice of air exchanger will depend on factors such as:
  • the volume of air exchange you need for your home.
  • the configuration of your home’s ductwork.
  • the humidity of the region of the country where you live.
  • how tight the construction is of your home.

HOW THEY WORK

As shown in the diagram here, the way an indoor air exchanger works is that the air ducts for the intake air are intertwined with the air duct for the outflow air in the mixing chamber. As a result, the air flows do not mix, but the heat (or cooling in the summer) from the two air flows are exchanged. As a result, fresh air from the outside can come in without losing all of the heat (or cooling) from the inside air, thereby saving up to 80% of the energy.The key elements of a typical air exchanger include:

Air Ports

: From one port, fresh air is drawn from the outside, and from the other port, indoor air is ducted and expelled out.

Exchanger:

The exchanger is a chamber where the separate air channels mix while separated from each other by highly conductive metal, which allows efficient heat transfer between the two air streams.

Filter:

A material made of foam, metal, etc. which removes dust and dirt particles from the outside air intake.

Damper:

A flat blade inside the air exchanger, which controls the amount of airflow.

Ductwork:

Channels in your house where the air flows through.

Drain pan:

A reservoir here water condensation is collected.

Condensate pump:

If the air exchanger is located in a basement below grade, then it will need a pump to eject the water condensate.

WHAT CAN TYPICALLY GO WRONG:

Most of the problems with an air exchanger can be related to humidity. If you do not have the right size or type of unit for your particular home and weather environment, you can find problems such as:
  • The air exchanger will not turn on often enough, because it is limited by the humidity of the outside air.
  • The unit is undersized for the volume of air in your home.
Other typical problems are poor unit efficiency and motor failure, which can be a result of not doing the proper routine maintenance.

ROUTINE MAINTENANCE:

Routine maintenance for an air exchanger will, of course, depend on the specific model that you have. But typical maintenance tasks for an air exchanger will include washing or replacing the filters on a regular basis, cleaning the exchanger chamber, and ensuring that the vents are clear and operating properly.

SUMMARY

If you are buying or selling a home, Home Detective can help you determine the air quality for peace of mind.  If you need a solution, indoor air exchangers are a great innovation for improving the quality of air in your home for you and your family, on an energy efficient basis. However, you will want to carefully choose which model is appropriate for your particular home situation, and if you already have one, you will want to do the proper routine maintenance for it.Home Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, with rigorous knowledge and experience requirements that a jack of all trades can’t possibly offer, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).These certifications along with years of experience will ensure you have peace of mind after you purchase your home.  In addition to our credentials, Home Detective offers a Free 90 Day Warranty for all the home inspections we do with the option for an 18 month extended warranty.To schedule your home inspection today or for more information, contact Reed at (763) 434-3155. Home Inspector Rogers | Pre-listing Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection for Sellers Brainerd | Home Inspection Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd
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Carbon Monoxide Detector Placement: Where to Place CO Alarms in Your Home

Home Inspector Rogers, Pre-listing Home Inspection Rogers, Home Inspection Rogers, Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers, Home Inspection for Sellers BrainerdCarbon monoxide alarms help save lives every day.  Learn what they do, how to install them, and where you should place CO detectors. (This is a re-post courtesy of https://www.safety.com/carbon-monoxide-detector-placement).

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is known as the “silent killer” because it is odorless, tasteless and colorless.  It’s also toxic since the gas can prevent your body from properly transporting oxygen. If inhaled in high concentrations, carbon monoxide poisoning can happen quickly; it can also occur slowly if toxic gas levels build up slowly over time.

What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

People who have been exposed to carbon monoxide experience a range of symptoms that may include headaches,
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Carbon Monoxide is a "silent killer" because it is odorless.

confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, burning eyes and loss of consciousness. An acute case can result in brain damage and death. Note that children, seniors and people who have pre-existing respiratory or heart conditions are often more sensitive to the effects of carbon monoxide.

What are possible sources of carbon monoxide in my home?

Carbon monoxide is a natural by-product of many home appliances. If you use charcoal, gasoline, kerosene, wood, propane, natural gas or heating oil to create energy or heat – hot water heaters, grills, furnaces, fireplaces, stoves, room heaters, etc. – then there is potential for carbon monoxide in your home. It’s important to have these products installed by a professional, since proper installation, ventilation, and maintenance will reroute any carbon monoxide emissions out of your home to keep your family safe.

What are carbon monoxide alarms?

Carbon monoxide detectors, also known as CO alarms, function similarly to smoke alarms. If carbon monoxide levels are present in your home, the detector will emit a sharp beeping sound to alert you to the danger. Like smoke alarms, it is important to change your CO detector batteries regularly; I like to schedule new batteries for Daylight Savings time change since they make it easy to remember this twice-yearly swap.
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It is preferable to install a Carbon Monoxide Detector at knee level

How do I install a carbon monoxide alarm?

Heat and smoke rise, which is why we place smoke alarms high on the wall or ceiling. Carbon monoxide, however, mixes with the air. For this reason, it is preferable to install CO alarms at knee level – the approximate height of a sleeping person’s nose and mouth.If you have young children or pets that could tamper (play) with your detectors, you can move them up to chest height. Another option is to place them in a hard-to-reach area, where even curious hands and overzealous tails would have a hard time reaching. Bear in mind that a CO detector should never be blocked by furniture, curtains or other objects, as restricted airflow can affect its function.

Where should I place carbon monoxide detectors in my home?

Since we are most vulnerable to the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning while we sleep, it is important to place
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Suggested Locations

alarms near your family’s bedrooms. If you only have one CO alarm, place it as close to everyone’s sleeping area as possible.Ideally, you should have carbon monoxide detectors placed throughout your home, as you do smoke alarms. You should place a CO detector in each major area of your home: in the kitchen, in your living/dining room, in your bedrooms, and the office. If you have children or elderly family members living with you, provide extra protection near their rooms. If you live in a multi-story home, be sure to place at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level.If your furnace is located in the basement, be sure to place a CO detector there, as well. Likewise, if you have a gas clothes dryer, put an alarm in the laundry room. Place one in the garage, if you park your cars there. Wherever you have a solid fuel-fired appliance – anything that could produce carbon monoxide – you should also have a CO alarm.For more information on the TOP 5 Highest Rated Carbon Monoxide Detectors, visit https://www.safety.com/carbon-monoxide-detector-placement.In addition to checking carbon monoxide detectors, Home Detective will also inspect fire detectors to ensure they are in proper working order for peace of mind.Home Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, with rigorous knowledge and experience requirements that a jack of all trades can’t possibly offer, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).These certifications along with years of experience will ensure you have peace of mind after you purchase your home.  In addition to our credentials, Home Detective offers a Free 90 Day Warranty for all the home inspections we do with the option for an 18 month extended warranty.To schedule your home inspection today or for more information, contact Reed at (763) 434-3155.  Home Inspector Rogers | Pre-listing Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection for Sellers Brainerd | Home Inspection Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd
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