Category Archives: foundation

Seasonal Showers & Your Crawl Space Or Basement

flooded yard

Wenatchee Home Yard Flooded

April showers bring May flowers….or flooded crawl spaces and basements!  Seasonal water damage isn’t as obvious as you may think.  It doesn’t take a severe flood to do water damage to your home just increased saturation.  For most of the Wenatchee, Leavenworth and Seattle areas we’ve experienced an increase in precipitation and strong winds over the last week.  Now is the time to pay close attention to your crawl space, basements and drainage in your yard.

Right now is a good time to take a trip down to your crawl space.  Prolonged moisture in the crawl space can attribute to mold, mildew, sill rot, joist rot, soil settlement, contamination of insulation and insect attraction.  Monitor the walls in your basement for signs of moisture as well.

Follow these tips to keep the water out of your home.  Clear gutters and downspouts of debris ensuring that water will be pulled from the roof and away from your home.  Remember, a downspout doesn’t do any good if it deposits the water next to house!  If your home’s yard frequently floods like the picture then you have problems resulting from a negative grade to the property.  In other words your home should built up so that water slopes away from the home’s foundation.  Finally, clear the storm water drains on the streets by your home frequently.  This will avoid blockage and buildup of water causing dangerous street and property flooding.  Should the property become a bigger problem than you can manage call the municipality.  Of course, we are happy to perform a maintenance inspection on your home to determine any damages resulting from seasonal floods or moisture intrusion.

Home Show in Wenatchee: Feb. 11-13th

Home Show Wenatchee Town Toyota CenterEvery year the NCHBA or North Central Home Builders Association produces a spectacular home show in Wenatchee, Washington.  There’s a little something for everyone whether you are interested in remodeling, decorating, building, buying or selling a home…they’ve got all the experts there for your questions!  Here’s some info from their website.  Download this COUPON for $1 off admission:

This year, we have a lot of new things going on and are very excited to “get the Show on the road”! The Kid’s Zone by Lowe’s is going to be fantastic this year. Not only will the kids be able to build their own project with a professional from Lowe’s, they can go on a scavenger hunt with their parents or enjoy FREE ice skating on Friday and Saturday. So, if you have kids that are 12 and under, make sure to take them to the Kids Zone by Lowe’s, located in the Crunch-Pak Hospitality Room on the the main floor of the Town Toyota Center!  Workshops and How-to’s that you WON’T want to miss! Come and see what the Master Gardeners have to demonstrate on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the show!   Be one of the first 250 attendees on Saturday and Sunday and receive a special Home Show Entrance Bag! These bags will be filled with small gifts, specials and discount coupons from participating sponsors and vendors! These bags will also come in very handy when you need a place to stow away other information and items you gather!  There will be additional event parking available for attendees across the street at Walla Walla Point Park, both parking lots, as well as at Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse. Many thanks to Lowe’s for generously allowing our Home Show attendees to use half of their parking lot for our event!

Winterization Tips for Your Home

Follow these steps to get your home ready for the cold weather.  For more detailed information about insulating your attic or dealing with air leaks around the home feel free to contact me at info at amsinspection dot com.

  

1. Clean gutters.
Clear debris from your home’s gutters before the winter sets in.  Clogged drains can bend gutters, promote ice dams and cause water buildup- all resulting in possible moisture infiltration through your roof and/or walls.  Make sure the downspouts are carrying water away from the home’s foundation.  Clogged downspouts won’t help you either.  After a big wind storm sometimes downspouts will fall off the drain pipes, so make sure they are firmly attached.

  

2.  Winterize underground irrigation systems.

You may want to call a professional service to winterize your underground irrigation system.  Turn your system off, then bleed the line (release pressure) and drain the water.  Confirm that the settings are adjusted or that the system is completely turned off before the first freeze.

  

3. Clean the furnace and baseboards vents.
Due to seasonal dust buildup, you’ll probably notice a weird smell when you turn them on for the first time.   Using “duster” computer keyboard cleaner works great for cleaning the vents on your furnace and baseboards but you can also use a dust broom or vacuum attachment.  Throughout the winter you should change the furnace filters regularly. A dirty filter reduces air flow and efficiency and is a potential fire hazard.

  

4. Chimney sweep.

Inspect your chimney for creosote (baked soot) buildup which is highly flammable.  Inspect the chimney for any obstructions: limbs, leaves, baseballs, etc.  Wood stoves should be swept routinely throughout the winter.  Make sure the spark arrester is properly screened to avoid debris buildup. 

  

5. Wrap pipes.
Dealing with a busted pipe is never a good thing especially in the winter.  Wrap exposed pipes in crawl spaces, basements or garages with pre-molded foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation. Heating tape is an added measure that is commonly used in our area.

  

6.  Store water hoses.

Turn off the water to your hose bibs.  You should find a valve turnoff inside your home.  Drain the lines and hoses.  Then store the hoses away from the elements.

 

7. Check alarms.
Fire departments have tried to educate us that when you change your clocks for Daylight Savings, it’s also a prefect time to change your smoke detector batteries.  Detectors should be replaced every 10 years. Additionally, testing them with a small bit of smoke is always a good idea. Check your carbon monoxide detector or buy one if you don’t already have one.  Refer to the installation manual regarding correct placement for the detector.

The Charm of Older Homes

foundation wenatchee home inspectionWe have inspected numerous old, turn-of-the-century homes in Leavenworth and Seattle.  You know the ones…charming, romantic, classic, picturesque.  With any home that has a long history you may start to see cracks and minor structural blemishes that need attention.  This could include something minor like cracked plaster or drywall to small movements, bulges or cracks in the foundation. Don’t be too alarmed because this wear should not cause the house to immediately fall apart, but corrective repairs should be taken seriously in order to avoid any real problems.  When looking to buy a home take this into consideration.  Understand that older homes require a little bit more maintenance than newer homes.  In our home inspection reports we’ll point out any areas that need attention, but you must recognize that this is typical of older homes.  Figure out what is more important before narrowing your home search:  age, location, price, size, etc.  Then realize the characteristics of the type of home you are considering.

Here’s a cool site that allows you to search for beautiful, historic Seattle homes:  http://historichomesinseattle.com