Important Home Health Items

As a REALTOR®, I help my buyers ensure they are taking the appropriate measures to validate that the home they are buying is safe for their family.  Typically this involves an inspection by a certified inspector during the transaction period.  As standard practice, the inspector will do a whole-home inspection, but there are often optional add-ons to test for items that can cause serious health concerns.  Being aware of a few key items that can be of concern is important so you can ask the right questions to the inspector, request the right tests, and be knowledgeable moving forward living in your home.

Here are three important items to be made aware of:

#1 ~ Lead

Homes built before 1978 have a high likelihood of containing lead-based paint.  Lead can be dangerous if not managed properly and disturbing surfaces with lead-based paint or removing lead-based paint improperly can increase the danger to your family.  If you are buying, renting, or renovating a home built before 1978 and have children under the age of 6, you may want to have it checked for lead-based paint.  Lead is especially dangerous to children under the age of 6 because their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.  However, be aware that lead-based paint is usually not a hazard if it is in good condition and if it is not on an impact or friction surface like a window.  Always keep painted surfaces in good condition to minimize deterioration.

Visit here for more info on lead.

#2 ~ Asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral substance whose fibers were mixed into many products, including building materials.  In the 70s and 80s, reports started to emerge that inhaling the small fibers of asbestos could cause health complications including lung cancer. Since then, the US government has restricted the use of asbestos, but that still leaves us with many homes that were built with materials containing asbestos.  The top 5 products that you can find asbestos in are:

  • Popcorn ceilings
  • Asbestos ceiling tiles popular between 1950s – 1980s, often found in kitchen ceilings or remodeled basement areas
  • Vinyl floor tiles – the most commonly produced vinyl tile product containing asbestos was the 9×9 inch tile that was sealed to floors with adhesive.
  • Heating duct pipe wrapping – asbestos insulation was widely used on heating pipes and sometimes on water pipes.
  • Vermiculite –  a popular attic insulation material used in houses built from 1900-1940s

Be aware that asbestos is not considered harmful unless it is damaged or disturbed in some way, which could release the dangerous fibers into the air. As the EPA states: “Asbestos-containing materials that aren’t damaged or disturbed are not likely to pose a health risk. Usually, the best thing is to leave asbestos-containing material alone if it is in good condition.”

Visit here for more info on asbestos.

#3 ~ Radon

Radon is toxic gas that is derived from naturally decaying uranium in the soil. Uranium is naturally found in our soils all across the nation, and is especially prevalent in Colorado.  Uranium can be found below homes both new or old and as it decays, it releases radon gas.  The radon gas rises to the surface and can rise through gaps and cracks in a homes foundation or walls.  It is odorless, colorless, and tasteless and can only be detected with radon testing equipment.  It is considered to be carcinogenic by the World Health Organization (WHO) and a leading cause of lung cancer.

The Environmental Protection Agency sets radon safety levels at 4.0 pCi/L (pico-curies-per-liter) and if a home is found to have radon levels at or above this, it is advised to do radon mitigation.  Since radon can be found below homes both new or old, it would be a wise safety measure to always do a radon test within the inspection period.

Visit here for more info on radon.

If an inspector does uncover any of these items during the inspection period, you can speak with your realtor about options on how to move forward.  Most important is that you are aware of the concerns and can make a smart decision on how you want to move forward.

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If you need assistance from a REALTOR® to help in your Boulder-Denver area home search, I would love to help!!  Please reach out via email at beth@goodacreproperties.com or through the contact info below.


Early Fall Home To-Do List

As the days start to get a little cooler and there is a chill in the evening air, most of us can’t help but think about the fall days ahead.  With that comes cozy warm layers, hot drinks, comfort foods, and the start of the leaves changing colors (my favorite time of year!).  However, with this transition also comes a home to-do list you will want to consider to prepare your house for colder days ahead.  Read below for some key things to plan for.

  1. Do an initial check of your roof & gutters.  It’s generally fine to wait until the majority of the leaves have fallen to clean out gutters and downspouts, but now is a good time to check for debris, fallen sticks, or seals that look worn-out.  Make sure you don’t see obvious signs of damage or wear on your roof, especially around vent pipes and chimneys.  If you do, schedule repairs before the harsh winter starts as worn seals or damage could cause house leaks.IMG_1080
  2. Schedule chimney clean-ups. Make sure your fireplace is clean & safe for the upcoming year, especially if you have a wood-burning fireplace.  A dirty chimney can be a fire hazard. Creosote, the sticky substance that remains after a fire, is highly flammable.  A chimney sweep is an easy & relatively cheap maintenance item you should not avoid.  
  3. Touch-up exterior paint.  One of my first blogs was about how important it is to stay on top of exterior paint.  Review your exterior for chipping paint and prioritize touching-up areas where you know snow may accumulate in the winter.IMG_0049
  4. Schedule a tune-up for your heating system.  Make sure your heating system is working optimally by scheduling a tune-up.  Depending on the age of your system, you may only need one every other year.  Ask your heating professional how often to schedule so you are aware moving forward.
  5. Cover-up or remove A/C Units.  September is the time to remove A/C window units – it is ideal to remove them vs. putting on a cover as it minimizes winter heat loss if you can close the window.  If you have central A/C, you’ll want to turn the system off to avoid it flipping on in an unusually warm winter day.  Hose or blow off the air conditioning unit to remove leaves, small branches, dirt and dust. Ensure it dries completely and then cover the A/C unit with a protective cover for the season.  You may want to call a local HVAC company to see if there are other preventative items you should do to keep your system in good condition over the winter.
  6. Order Firewood.  If you have a wood-burning fireplace, now is a good time to order a delivery of firewood for the season.  If you can, don’t store large quantities of wood directly against the house, which can encourage bugs & pests, but do keep it covered from moisture such as rain and snow.  IMG_0848
  7. Schedule to winterize your sprinkler system. When temperatures start to fall, it’s time to winterize your sprinkler system. Your lines must be drained or blown out before the first hard freeze as the sprinkler system can be damaged from below-freezing temperatures. 
  8. Add weather-stripping.  For old, drafty windows and doors, weather-stripping can help retain heat and stop drafts.  Check old weather-stripping to ensure it is working properly and help ensure window & door gaps are as sealed as possible for the upcoming cold days.

After all your hard work, plan to enjoy the wonderful season of fall!  Go buy a new candle (I love Yankee Candle’s Autumn Leaves) and plan a foliage drive to see the gorgeous changing leaves in your area.  Enjoy!

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Real Estate Tip: Properly maintaining your HVAC systems, roof, & chimney will help avoid costly surprises at inspection objection if you are trying to sell your home.  If you have any questions related to preparing your home for sale, I would love to help.  Please contact me below.


Reminder: Winter Home Maintenance

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With a lot of the country dealing with bitter cold & figid temperatures, it’s a good reminder to make sure your home is ready for winter.  We have had a few personal experiences that made us realize we hadn’t planned ahead for some of these items: drafty windows in below zero temps, leaves in the gutters that didn’t allow snow to appropriately melt, and not keeping a close enough eye on trees in heavy snowfall.  We learned our lesson with that one and had the worst case scenario happen to us last year with a tree falling onto our house in a big snowstorm.  Luckily, damage was only minimal and to our defense, it was a tree on Boulder County property – not one of ours!  I do come from the standpoint that you learn from your mistakes, but it would probably be best to try to avoid major issues in the first place because burst pipes or chimney fires are not something to joke around about.

Houzz & Huffington Post both have checklists that are worth a read: Your Winter Home Maintenance Checklist and Winter Home Maintenance Checklist.  To me, it’s worth paying attention to things that you think may affect your home and addressing those as soon as possible.

Happy winter, folks!