Ah, Spring!  What a great time of year!  The weather is warming up, leaves are starting to return, and flowers are starting to bloom.  Just go outside and breathe in the fresh air…and try not to sneeze!  For about 50 million Americans (around 15% of the total population), allergies make spring a time of runny noses, headaches, and medicine.  In this series of posts, we’ll share some of the common allergy issues, causes of allergies in a house, and how Nest Egg Home Inspections can help.

Ah, Spring!  What a great time of year!  The weather is warming up, leaves are starting to return, and flowers are starting to bloom.  Just go outside and breathe in the fresh air…and try not to sneeze!  For about 50 million Americans (around 15% of the total population), allergies make spring a time of runny noses, headaches, and medicine.  In this series of posts, we’ll share some of the common allergy issues, causes of allergies in a house, and how Nest Egg Home Inspections can help.

 

According to the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America, allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the US.  For children, specifically, it is the most common health issue.  Normal symptoms include a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, or a cough.  Skin allergies add to this list with rashes, swollen eyes, or even stomach issues.  And this comes at a financial cost too of approximately $18 billion a year, including doctor visits, medication, etc.!

 

The most common allergens around our area are trees, weeds, and grass pollen.  But other allergens come from mold spores, dust mites, and cockroaches.  Also included are our family pets – cats and dogs – which, by some estimates, affect as many as three in ten people.  (By the way, cat allergies are more common than dog allergies.)

 

Outside of finding a miraculous cure for allergies, the question is – how do we deal with it? The options are either through medical help or by controlling the allergens themselves.  While we can’t help with the medical side, we do have some advice and help on controlling the allergens.

 

Generally, here is a list of things you can do to help control allergens in your house:

    -proper ventilation through the use of windows and a clean running HVAC system    

    -indoor air cleaners

    -control dust mites 

    -vacuum regularly

    -prevent pet dander

    -reduce moisture in your house

    -fix leaks immediately

    -clean any organic growth (often mold) if found

    -control cockroaches

 

Through this series of posts, we will look at this list and discuss what you can do as a homeowner.  We’ll also look at what we at Nest Egg can do to assist you in keeping your home healthy.

Today, an incandescent light bulb can last up to 3,000 hours. Some LED bulbs can last up to 25,000 hours! Quite an improvement. People were amazed, and often terrified of this new technology. When electricity was first installed in the White House in 1891, President Benjamin Harrison and his wife were afraid to touch the switches lest they be electrocuted. That job was left to White House staff. Now, children operate light switches, and we are annoyed when a light does not turn on immediately after operating the switch.

Burned out bulbs are not just an annoyance; they can pose safety hazards depending on where they are located. Rooms without windows as well as staircases and basements can be dangerous to walk through without lighting. Exterior lighting is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also aids in entry, exit, and home security. Not surprisingly, this is another of the common findings in a home inspection – lights that do not work. The overwhelming majority of the time, it is simply the result of a burned-out bulb. But, during an inspection, it is not always possible to determine that it is the bulb and not an electrical or wiring issue.

An inspection report will usually report a light that does not work as ‘non-operable,’ with an explanation that the cause cannot be determined. As a seller (or homeowner), the easiest way to eliminate this possibility during an inspection is to go through your home and check all the lights. Make sure they all operate properly. Make sure dimmer switches work. If not, change the bulbs before the inspection. This seems a small item, but it is easy. And it goes a long way toward making your home more inviting and visually appealing.

Finally, just a note of safety. Be careful with broken bulbs. You can be cut by the broken bulb. A bigger concern is being electrocuted. Do not stick anything in the socket that will cause a shock. There are safe ways to get a broken bulb out of a socket. Make sure you remove it safely. One of the easiest ways to keep your home safe and reduce the number of items that show up on an inspection report. This is a do-it-yourself job.