Below are some links that can take you to more information about elements
that are sometimes found in homes. Your home inspection may or may not include
these inspections or testing. It is recommended that you review your contract
with our company to determine what additional services (if any) were
Here's what they recommend:
As a general rule, if a home has less than 11 to 12 inches of insulation in the attic or crawlspace, it could probably use more. Use batt or blown insulation for best results. Check with a Lowe's expert to determine the proper R-value of insulation for your home.
Conserve heat and energy by swaddling your water heater with an insulation blanket kit or faced
fiberglass insulation. Insulate hot water pipes with preformed foam pipe insulation sleeves if they pass through an unheated area or run under your
home. Seal leaks, cracks, openings in the home
Remove screens and install storm windows.
Make sure the damper closes as tightly as possible when a fire is not burning to minimize heat loss.
Zip up your home's winter coat by caulking, sealing and weatherstripping around all seams, cracks and openings.
Pay special attention around windows and where siding or bricks and wood trim meet. Seal areas near electrical boxes and plumbing penetrations as
Look for cracks or air leaks in ductwork and use duct tape to seal them. Improve indoor air quality
Change forced air heating system air filters monthly. Make a clean break into winter with a fresh filter instead of using last year's used goods. Air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators - Regularly dusting off these heat sources will improve the energy efficiency of your
To save energy during colder weather, activate the reverse setting on your ceiling fans to circulate hot air that rises to the ceiling and blow it back down.
Fertilize grasses such as ryegrass, fescue, and bluegrass in or before early November.
Plant hardy bulbs in milder climates in the earlier part of November.
Clean and prepare beds for next season's planting.
Rake and remove leaves left on the lawn to discourage disease.
Perform annual maintenance before storing.
Store to avoid harsh winter elements.
Drain before season's first freeze.
Regularly clean and refill feeders for winter's feathered friends
Molds produce tiny spores to reproduce. Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods. When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or un-addressed. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
If you have IAQ and mold issues in your school, you should get a copy of the IAQ Tools for Schools Kit. Mold is covered in the IAQ Coordinator's Guide under Appendix H - Mold and Moisture .
Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skinirritation. Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have more severe reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs.
EPA's publication, Indoor Air Pollution: An Introduction for Health Professionals , assists health professionals (especially the primary care physician) in diagnosis of patient symptoms that could be related to an indoor air pollution problem. It addresses the health problems that may be caused by contaminants encountered daily in the home and office. Organized according to pollutant or pollutant groups such as environmental tobacco smoke, VOCs, biological pollutants, and sick building syndrome, this booklet lists key signs and symptoms from exposure to these pollutants, provides a diagnostic checklist and quick reference summary, and includes suggestions for remedial action. Also includes references for information contained in each section. This booklet was developed by the American Lung Association, the American Medical Association, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the EPA. EPA Document Reference Number 402-R-94-007, 1994.
Pollution: An Introduction for Health Professionals section on: Animal Dander, Molds, Dust Mites, Other Biologicals .
"A major concern associated with exposure to biological pollutants is allergic reactions, which range from rhinitis, nasal congestion, conjunctival inflammation, and urticaria to asthma. Notable triggers for these diseases are allergens derived from house dust mites; other arthropods, including cockroaches; pets (cats, dogs, birds, rodents); molds; and protein-containing furnishings, including feathers, kapok, etc. In occupational settings, more unusual allergens (e.g., bacterial enzymes, algae) have caused asthma epidemics. Probably most proteins of non-human origin can cause asthma in a subset of any appropriately exposed population.
Consult the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website
The EPA publication, "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home" , is available here in HTML and PDF formats. This Guide provides information and guidance for homeowners and renters on how to clean up residential mold problems and how to prevent mold growth. A printed version will be available soon.
Biological Pollutants in Your Home
This document explains indoor biological pollution, health effects of biological pollutants, and how to control their growth and buildup. One third to one half of all structures have damp conditions that may encourage development of pollutants such as molds and bacteria, which can cause allergic reactions - including asthma - and spread infectious diseases. Describes corrective measures for achieving moisture control and cleanliness. This brochure was prepared by the American Lung Association and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. EPA Document Reference Number 402-F-90-102, January 1990. Moisture control is the key to mold control, the Moisture Control Section from Biological Pollutants in Your Home follows:
Water in your home can come from many sources. Water can enter your home by leaking or by seeping through basement floors. Showers or even cooking can add moisture to the air in your home. The amount of moisture that the air in your home can hold depends on the temperature of the air. As the temperature goes down, the air is able to hold less moisture. This is why, in cold weather, moisture condenses on cold surfaces (for example, drops of water form on the inside of a window). This moisture can encourage biological pollutants to grow.
Your humidistat is set too high if excessive moisture collects on windows and other cold surfaces. Excess humidity for a prolonged time can damage walls
especially when outdoor air temperatures are very low. Excess moisture condenses on window glass because the glass is cold. Other sources of excess moisture besides overuse of a humidifier may be long showers, running water for other uses, boiling or steaming in cooking, plants, and drying clothes indoors. A tight, energy efficient house holds more moisture inside; you may need to run a kitchen or bath ventilating fan sometimes, or open a window briefly. Storm windows and caulking around windows keep the interior glass warmer and reduce condensation of moisture there. Humidifiers are not recommended for use in buildings without proper vapor barriers because of potential damage from moisture buildup. Consult a building contractor to determine the adequacy of the vapor barrier in your house. Use a humidity indicator to measure the relative humidity in your house. The American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends these maximum indoor humidity levels.
+20 F. 35%
+10 F. 30%
0 F. 25%
-10 F. 20%
-20 F. 15%
Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus, with reference from the Association for Home Appliance Manufacturers ( www.aham.org ).
"Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned?"
- excerpt on duct cleaning and mold follows, please review the entire document for additional information on duct cleaning and mold.
Radon is a carcinogenic gas that is hazardous to inhale. Build-up of radon in homes is a health concern and many lung cancer cases are attributed to radon exposure each year. About 12% of lung cancers and more than 20,000 Americans die of radon-related lung cancer each year. The Surgeon General of the United States has issued a Health Advisory warning Americans about the health risk from exposure to radon in indoor air. Dr. Carmona, the Nation's Chief Physician urged Americans to test their homes to find out how much radon they might be breathing. He also stressed the need to remedy the problem as soon as possible.
his means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements. In fact, you and your family are most likely to get your greatest radiation exposure at home. That is where you spend most of your time. Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the United States is estimated to have an elevated radon level. Elevated levels of radon gas have been found in homes in your state.
If your home has not yet been tested for Radon have a test taken as soon as possible. If you can, test your home before putting it on the market. You should test in the lowest level of the home which is suitable for occupancy. This means testing in the lowest level that you currently live in or a lower level not currently used, but which a buyer could use for living space without renovations.
The radon test result is important information about your home’s radon level. Some states require radon measurement testers to follow a specific testing protocol. If you do the test yourself, you should carefully follow the testing protocol for your area or EPA’s Radon Testing Checklist. If you hire a contractor to test your residence, protect yourself by hiring a qualified individual or company.
Many states require radon professionals to be licensed, certified, or registered. Most states can provide you with a list of knowledgeable radon service providers doing business in the state. In states that don’t regulate radon services, ask the contractor if they hold a professional proficiency or certification credential. Such programs usually provide members with a photo-ID card, which indicates their qualification(s) and its expiration date. If in doubt, you should check with their credentialing organization. Alternatively, ask the contractor if they’ve successfully completed formal training appropriate for testing or mitigation, e.g., a course in radon measurement or radon mitigation.
If you are thinking of selling your home and you have already tested your home for radon, review the Radon Testing Checklist to make sure that the test was done correctly. If so, provide your test results to the buyer.
Scientists are not sure that radon really is a problem.
Although some scientists dispute the precise number of deaths due to radon, all the major health organizations (like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Lung Association and the American Medical Association) agree with estimates that radon causes thousands of preventable lung cancer deaths every year. This is especially true among smokers, since the risk to smokers is much greater than to non-smokers.
Radon testing is difficult, time-consuming and expensive.
Radon testing is easy and inexpensive.
Radon testing devices are not reliable and are difficult to find.
Reliable testing devices are available from qualified radon testers and companies.
Homes with radon problems can't be fixed.
There are simple solutions to radon problems in homes. Hundreds of thousands of homeowners have already fixed radon problems in their homes. Radon levels can be readily lowered for $800 to $2,500 (with an average cost of $1,200)..
Radon affects only certain kinds of homes.
House construction can affect radon levels. However, radon can be a problem in homes of all types: old homes, new homes, drafty homes, insulated homes, homes with basements, and homes without basements. Local geology, construction materials, and how the home was built are among the factors that can affect radon levels in homes.
Radon is only a problem in certain parts of the country.
High radon levels have been found in every state. Radon problems do vary from area to area, but the only way to know your radon level is to test.
A neighbor's test result is a good indication of whether your home has a problem.
It's not. Radon levels can vary greatly from home to home. The only way to know if your home has a radon problem is to test it.
It's difficult to sell homes where radon problems have been discovered.
Where radon problems have been fixed, home sales have not been blocked or frustrated. The added protection is some times a good selling point.
I've lived in my home for so long, it doesn't make sense to take action now.
You will reduce your risk of lung cancer when you reduce radon levels, even if you've lived with a radon problem for a long time.
Short-term tests can't be used for making a decision about whether to fix your home.
A short-term test, followed by a second short-term test* can be used to decide whether to fix your home. However, the closer the average of your two short-term tests is to 4 pCi/L, the less certain you can be about whether your year-round average is above or below that level. Keep in mind that radon levels below 4 pCi/L still pose some risk. Radon levels can be reduced in most homes to 2 pCi/L or below.