Maintenance Free?

6 July 2011

 

Many people have chosen to have vinyl siding installed on their homes because it is ‘maintenance free’.  Nice try!  Vinyl siding is many things –

 

  • Inexpensive – compared to some other exterior products
  • Damage resistant
  • Water resistant
  • Durable

 

Yes, vinyl siding is all that, but it is not ‘maintenance free’.  There is some maintenance involved.  Trees and bushes around your home produce sugars that float through the air and stick to everything, vinyl siding included. This layer of sugar is a great food source for mold and some algae. Dust & dirt also sticks to the vertical sides of vinyl siding, giving some mildews and algae another food source.  This is where the maintenance comes in.

 

The nice thing is cleaning the siding is a pretty easy process, similar to washing a car.  You can begin the process by mixing up some cleaning solution.  A mild dishwashing liquid does a great job.  Mix a generous amount of soap in a bucket with warm water.  You can then put some of the mixture in a garden sprayer.

 

Dirty Vinyl Siding

Wet an area of the siding using a garden hose.  I do not recommend the use of a power washer.  The siding on the house is designed to repel rain that is falling from the sky, not being sprayed up under the siding and into the seams. That is asking for a water penetration problem!  So gently rinse the siding, letting the water run down the walls.

 

Using the garden sprayer, coat the siding with the soap solution.  Then, using a soft bristled brush dipped in the bucket of remaining soap solution, gently scrub in a side to side motion starting from the bottom and working up.  Do not let the soapy solution dry on the siding.  Clean an area, then rinse completely.  Do this until you have washed all the siding.  Easy, right?

 

To make things a bit easier you may want to purchase a soft bristled brush on a telescoping pole.  These are generally available at RV supply stores and come in different lengths.  You may still need a ladder, but will not have to go as high!

 

Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions about today’s topic, or maybe a more specific question about your home, feel free to call me.  I would be more than happy to talk ‘house’ with you!

David Novalinski Sr.

About Your Home Inspection, Inc.

847 669 9040

 

That is a great question we should be asking ourselves. In our daily lives we all face a variety of health risks. Whether you are driving in a car, flying on a plane, or spending time at home; you are being exposed to environmental pollutants that pose varying degrees of risk. Some of these risks are unavoidable. However, indoor air pollution is one risk that you can do something about.

 

 

Some of the most common pollutants in a typical home are:

• Mold spores
• Radon Gas
• Off gassing of chemicals
• Disruption of hazardous materials present in the home

 

 

What can be done to improve Your Indoor Air Quality?

To control mold, you must control moisture in your home. Make repairs to any areas that are allowing moisture to enter the home. It is important to totally dry water damaged areas within 48 hours to prevent mold growth. Obviously you cannot prevent all moisture from getting in, but you can provide adequate ventilation in those areas. If mold is a problem in your home, get rid of excess water or moisture and then clean up the mold.

 

Radon gas is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America and claims an estimated 20,000 lives annually. The first step is to have your home tested for elevated levels of Radon. If the levels in your home are above 4 picocuries per liter of air, make arrangements to have a radon mitigation system installed in your home.

 

Off gassing is the release of synthetic compounds used in a variety of common products. The best way to avoid off gassing is to avoid the products that are likely to give off gas. If that is not possible, regular air movement and proper ventilation can aid in keeping the effects to a minimum.

 

Most hazardous building materials, including asbestos and lead paint, become a risk when they are disturbed. If there is any question at all if your house contains either of those materials, please have it tested prior to doing anything that may disturb them.

 

If you have any comments or questions about today’s blog or any other topic relevant to home maintenance, feel free to call our office at 847 669 9040. Thanks for visiting!

 

David Novalinski Sr

About Your Home Inspection, Inc.

847 669 9040

 

Mold is a part of the natural environment.  Outdoors, mold plays an important part in nature by aiding in the breakdown of dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided.  Mold reproduces by means of tiny spores; the spores are not visible to the naked eye and float in the air both outdoors and indoors.  Mold growth begins indoors when mold spores land on wet surfaces.  There are many types of mold, and none of them can grow without water or moisture.

 

It is virtually impossible to get rid of all molds and mold spores indoors.  Mold spores can be found floating in the air and in house dust.  Without moisture, the mold spores are unable to grow.  In order to control indoor mold growth, you must control indoor moisture.  If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the moisture problem.  If you clean up the mold, but don’t fix the moisture problem, most likely, the mold will come back.

 

Moisture in your home can come from many sources.  Water can enter your home by leaking or seeping through basement floors, foundation walls, roofs, improperly installed windows & doors, or from a faulty sump pump.  Everyday activities such as taking showers and cooking can add significant amounts of moisture to the air in your home.  This moisture can encourage biological pollutants to grow.

 

Proper attic ventilation reduces chances of mold.

Here are a few tips to help control moisture, which in turn reduces the possibilities of mold growth.

  • Repair any areas that allow water to enter the home.  Roofs, foundations, windows & doors
  • Maintain sump pump in working condition
  • Provide adequate ventilation in the attic (soffit vents, ridge vents, etc.)
  • Install ventilation fans in bathrooms and kitchens which vent to the exterior.  DO NOT vent into attic space
  • Ensure clothes dryer vents to exterior

This is a general list of moisture prevention.  There may be more specific actions you may need to take in your particular case.  A thorough inspection can aid in pinpointing these areas along with answering any other questions you have about your home.

 

If you have questions about today’s post or if you are ready to schedule a maintenance inspection for your home, please call us at 847 669 9040.

 

David Novalinski Sr.

About Your Home Inspection, Inc.

847 669 9040

 

I guess it is time to come out of the attic!  I could probably write a few more posts up there, but I will save them for a later day.  Right now we should discuss another place in your home that is affected by moisture – your bathroom.

 

Moisture in the bathroom is an open invitation to mold, mildew, bacteria of all kinds and insects.  It can be the cause of significant allergy and health problems, and can also cause structural damage to the home.

 

To combat the moisture in your bathroom it is essential to have adequate ventilation.  Ventilation comes primarily in two forms; windows and exhaust fans.  Windows are an excellent source of light, but they are not the preferred method of moisture removal.  If there is no exhaust fan, by all means take advantage of opening the window.

 

A properly sized exhaust fan that is installed properly and in the suitable location is your best defense against harmful moisture in your bathroom.  The unit should be placed over or adjacent to a shower or tub and within an enclosed toilet stall. Bathroom doors should be undercut to allow air to enter and exit the room.

 

It is recommended to allow the fan to run for at least 20 minutes after bathroom use.  This is where a switch with a timer would be a wise choice.  There are also fans that come equipped with humidity sensors that turn on when they detect a rise in humidity.

 

If your bathroom is equipped with an exhaust fan you should use it.  It is great for taking care of those unwanted aromas and, more importantly, is ideal for removing moisture and deterring mold & mildew.

 

Call us if you have any questions.

 

About Your Home Inspection, Inc.

847 669 9040

 | Posted by | Categories: Maintenance Tips | Tagged: , ,

Three posts in a row about the attic.  That seems a little odd since most people have probably never even seen their attic.  Maybe that is why it is important that we touch on some of the most common causes of attic moisture.

Moisture in the attic can cause issues in your home that you don’t want to deal with if you don’t have to.  The most common of these issues is mold, but there is also a possibility of stains, damage and leaks to the ceilings of rooms below the attic.  Damage from both of these concerns can escalate quickly if not corrected and the cost to repair them keeps rising.

So how does moisture get in the attic to begin with?  There are many ways, but the most common are:

Not a pretty picture.......

  • Improper ventilation
  • Dryer vent terminating in attic
  • Over range exhaust fan terminating in attic
  • Bathroom exhaust fan terminating in attic
  • Improperly sealed penetrations from living space to attic
    • Can lights
    • Bathroom exhaust fans
    • Vent stack and furnace flue
    • Attic entrance or pull down stairs
  • Un-insulated HVAC ducts

Dryer vents, bathroom exhaust fans and over range exhaust fans should never terminate in the attic.  These all carry warm, moist air that if vented into the attic can promote mold growth and cause other problems.  These exhaust vents should all be directed outdoors. 

Insulating HVAC ducts in the attic serves a dual purpose.  It prevents condensation from forming on the duct and reduces the workload of your furnace and A/C, therefore saving energy and money.  

The conditioned air from your home can escape into the attic through any penetrations listed above.  These penetrations, if not properly sealed, will allow moisture into the attic, and again will cause your furnace or A/C to work harder. 

Last, but probably most important, is proper attic ventilation.  Most homes were designed with attic ventilation in mind.  A proper ventilation system will have an entry point for air to enter the attic, and an exit point for it to leave.  This allows outside air to freely move in and out of your attic and prevent moisture inside and also reduces the chances of ice damming in the winter. 

Questions or comments…….Call David Novalinski at 847 669 9040

 | Posted by | Categories: Maintenance Tips | Tagged: , ,