Electrical Safety for Your Home

Every homeowner needs to understand electrical safety. Electricity is an essential part of our lives. However, it has the potential to cause great harm. Electrical systems will function almost indefinitely, if properly installed and not overloaded or physically abused. Electrical fires in our homes claim the lives of 485 Americans each year and injure 2,305 more. Some of these fires are caused by electrical system failures and appliance defects, but many more are caused by the misuse and poor maintenance of electrical appliances, incorrectly installed … Continue reading

Waterproofing for Basements the Basics

Basements are typically the area of a structure most at risk for water damage because they are located below grade and surrounded by soil.  Soil releases water it has absorbed during rain or when snow melts, and the water can end up in the basement through leaks or cracks.  Water can even migrate through solid concrete walls via capillary action, which is a phenomenon whereby liquid spontaneously rises in a narrow space, such as a thin tube, or via porous materials.  Wet basements can cause problems that include peeling paint, … Continue reading

Anti-scald Valves for a Safer Home

Anti-scald valves, also known as tempering valves and mixing valves, mix cold water in with outgoing hot water so that the hot water that leaves a fixture is not hot enough to scald a person. Facts and Figures Scalds account for 20% of all burns. More than 2,000 American children are scalded each year, mostly in the bathroom and kitchen. Scalding and other types of burns require costly and expensive hospital stays, often involving skin grafts and plastic surgery. Scalding may lead to additional injuries, … Continue reading

Landscape Shading

One of the easiest ways to reduce solar heat gain and subsequent energy costs is as simple as planting a tree. The strategic placement of trees, known as landscape shading or tree shading, is a technique used to provide shade from the warm summer sun. Unobstructed solar heat can significantly increase indoor air temperature, which will frustrate efforts to keep the house cool. However, appropriate tree placement can reduce indoor temperatures by up to 9° F(12° C) through evapotranspiration — the process by which a … Continue reading

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)

What is a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter? A ground fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, is a device used in electrical wiring to disconnect a circuit when unbalanced current is detected between an energized conductor and a neutral return conductor.  Such an imbalance is sometimes caused by current “leaking” through a person who is simultaneously in contact with a ground and an energized part of the circuit, which could result in lethal shock. GFCIs are designed to provide protection in such a situation, unlike standard circuit breakers, which guard … Continue reading

Barbeque Safety

With barbeque season already here, homeowners should heed the following safety precautions in order to keep their families and property safe. Propane grills present an enormous fire hazard, as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is aware of more than 500 fires that result annually from their misuse or malfunction. The following precautions are recommended specifically when using propane grills: Store propane tanks outdoors and never near the grill or any other heat source. In addition, never store or transport them in your car’s trunk. Make sure to completely … Continue reading

Child-Proofing Your Home

About 2.5 million children are injured or killed by hazards in the home each year. The good news is that many of these incidents can be prevented by using simple child-safety devices on the market today. Any safety device you buy should be sturdy enough to prevent injury to your child, yet easy for you to use. It’s important to follow installation instructions carefully. In addition, if you have older children in the house, be sure they re-secure safety devices. Remember, too, that no device … Continue reading

15 Tools Every Homeowner Should Own

The following items are essential tools, but this list is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to ask an InterNACHI inspector during your next inspection about other tools that you might find useful.   1.  Plunger A clogged sink or toilet is one of the most inconvenient household problems that you will face. With a plunger on hand, however, you can usually remedy these plumbing issues relatively quickly. It is best to have two plungers — one for the sink and one for the toilet.   2.  … Continue reading

10 Easy Ways to Save Money & Energy in Your Home

Most people don’t know how easy it is to make their homes run on less energy, and here at InterNACHI, we want to change that. Drastic reductions in heating, cooling and electricity costs can be accomplished through very simple changes, most of which homeowners can do themselves. Of course, for homeowners who want to take advantage of the most up-to-date knowledge and systems in home energy efficiency, InterNACHI energy auditors can perform in-depth testing to find the best energy solutions for your particular home. Why … Continue reading