A Full Service Realtor. Buy or Sell Homes
My Mission Statement & Commitment To You
"To continually exceed the expectations of my clients by actively assisting them with their real estate needs and desires. I pledge to myself and to you to always have the best interest of my clients in mind as I support you in your quest to sell your home and/or purchase a new home. I will always take the time to listen intently, to respond with diligence and to continually educate myself on market trends, technology and real estate laws & procedures in order to better service you. My clients - My priority."
Radon is a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas that causes lung cancer
. Radon can build up to dangerous levels inside homes, schools and other buildings. Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, after smoking.
Radon gas occurs naturally. It forms when uranium breaks down to radium, which in turn breaks down to form radon. As radon decays, it releases radioactive byproducts that are inhaled and can cause lung cancer. Radon-related lung cancers are responsible for an estimated 21,000 deaths annually in the United States.
Where Does Radon Indoors Come From?
Radon is emitted from the ground and enters a home through cracks in walls, basement floors, foundations and other openings. Because radon comes from rock and soil, it can be found anywhere. Exposure to limited concentrations, like those found outdoors, is impossible to avoid. However, when radon gets trapped indoors, it may build up to dangerous concentrations.
The most important source of radon gas indoors is the soil and rock surrounding the building. By sealing your home to keep radon from getting through cracks and openings, you can significantly reduce your home's radon levels. You may need to install a separate radon ventilation system in your home to remove high levels.
Less frequently, radon may enter buildings from radon-contaminated drinking water used in bathroom showers and sprays, though this occurs only when the water comes from a private well. More recently, concerns have been raised about the radon released indoors from granite countertops or tiles. However, these sources are rarely a problem by themselves.
What Are the Health Effects of Radon?
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, responsible for thousands of deaths each year. Exposure to radon causes no immediate symptoms, but the long-term threat of lung cancer is significant to everyone. People who have never smoked make up approximately 2,900 of the estimated 21,000 radon-related lung cancer deaths each year.
The health hazard comes from the radioactive particles that are emitted as radon decays. Those particles can be inhaled into the lung and bombard your cells with dangerous, cancer-causing radiation.
Smoking and radon exposure can separately increase the risk of lung cancer. But if you smoke, know that exposure to both greatly enhances the risk of lung cancer.
Who Should Be Worried about Radon?
Every home should be tested for radon. Radon has been found at elevated levels in homes in every state. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that nearly one out of every fifteen homes in the United States has unsafe indoor radon levels.3 Therefore, every home should be tested for radon.
Your home can have elevated levels of radon while your neighbor's home does not. Testing is the only way to determine if you have a problem. Radon testing is easy and inexpensive and it could save your life. Thousands of lung cancer deaths could be avoided each year if homes with elevated radon underwent changes to reduce radon pollution.
How Can Radon Be Detected?
The only way to detect a buildup of radon in your home is to test the air. Various forms of do-it-yourself test kits are simple and inexpensive.
If you prefer, hire a certified radon-testing professional. The EPA recommends taking action to reduce radon levels indoors if concentrations exceed 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). However, no safe level of exposure to radon has been determined.
How Do Radon Tests Work?
Tests vary in how they detect radon and the amount of time required to complete sampling.
Do-it-yourself short-term tests typically take two to seven days. During this time the kit, usually no larger than a deck of cards, will sit on a shelf or some out-of-the-way location and absorb or track radon from the building. Once the testing period is complete, test containers are sealed and sent to a laboratory for analysis. Most test kits include the cost of lab analysis and an addressed envelope for submission. In a matter of weeks, you can be notified of the radon level in your home.
Long-term tests tend to be more accurate. They take at least three months and can measure long-term averages. If you don't want to wait for a long-term test, short-term tests are a good way to indicate if your home has a problem and requires follow-up testing. Two short-term tests back to back may be a good way to determine whether you need to take action.
What Can Be Done To Protect Against Radon?
If you find that your home has dangerous levels of radon, there is a solution. High levels of radon indoors can be lowered through a variety of repairs. From sealing cracks in floors and walls to changing the flow of air into the building, you can protect your family. Repairs to decrease radon levels should be made by a U.S. EPA- or state-certified contractor. Detailed information about radon reduction in your home or building can be found in EPA's Consumer's Guide to Radon Reduction
Causes of Home Moisture & Condensation Problems
Moisture problems have a variety of causes and can result in major damage to your home. It is a good idea to inspect your house regularly for any damage caused by moisture, while also keeping an eye out for warning signs of potential trouble ahead. If you notice any problems, take immediate action to fix them before they cause further damage or balloon into larger, more complicated issues.
Uncontrolled humidity can actually make your home more expensive to heat and cool, because when insulation gets damp enough, it loses its R value and its ability to insulate. This is a common problem in basements, crawl spaces, and attics.
Damp conditions in these areas also promote mold growth, which can have many nasty effects. It can actually damage the structure of your home by weakening building materials, as well as cause health problems. Additionally, damage from mold is often not covered by homeowner's insurance, making prevention all the more important.
If you can see evidence of mold in your home's living areas, then there is a good chance it has already affected structural components of your house. Investigate the extent of your mold problem as soon as possible. In fact, even if you do not see evidence of mold, if your home has high moisture or humidity levels, then it is a good idea to have a professional mold inspector assess whether you have an existing mold problem.
Damp conditions in houses are often caused by insufficient ventilation or water leaks that have not been completely cleaned up. Anytime you notice a leaky pipe or dripping faucet in your home, investigate and fix it immediately! Additionally, rain can leak into houses as the result of worn siding, flashing, or weather-stripping material. Check these materials to make sure they are watertight.
Finally, protect vulnerable areas in your home by using water leak detectors to alert you to plumbing leaks, and install either a water powered backup sump pump or battery backup sump pump in your basement to prevent flooding during power outages or heavy storms.
Condensation is another common cause of excess moisture. So, what causes condensation? In general, warmer air can hold more moisture than colder air. So, when warm air cools, the moisture in it has to go somewhere. This creates condensation - moisture is deposited on the first cold surface that the air contacts. Condensation problems can occur in the winter as well as the summer, and could have several causes. A high air humidity level could be the culprit. Keep an eye on your windows. Do you see moisture on the inside of the panes? If so, then the humidity level inside your house is too high. Take steps to reduce it.
Trapped hot air inside the home also tends to cause condensation. This could even result from a house being extremely well-insulated and properly sealed from cold air. If pockets of hot air get trapped in the house and come in contact with cold surfaces, condensation takes place. These cold surfaces could be things like exterior walls, windows, pipes, or a toilet. To guard against this, make sure your ventilation system is functioning well, and install kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans if you do not already have them.
Fix and prevent moisture problems
It is important to continuously monitor your home for signs of moisture damage. Be sure to fix problems quickly, before they develop into larger, more complex issues. Preventative steps you can take include monitoring the humidity in your home or business to prevent mold.
Source: Water Damage Defense; free to use as per Creative Commons.
Tips for New Homeowners
We know that moving into a new house can be overwhelming. There are so many DIY projects you want to start and complete. But before you settle in and start decorating your new pad, there are a few things that you need to do right away:
1. Change your locks-Everyone tells you this one, but it really is one of the most important. There is no way to tell how many people have been in and out of your now home and may have keys to it. This is an easy and cheap fix. Just call your local locksmith to come in and change all the locks.
2. Clean the house-Give your house a thorough cleaning. Once you move all your furniture in, it will be hard to reach every nook and cranny. So before you start doing that, give the house a real good cleaning!
3. Check for mold- Checking your new home for mold is very important. Mold can grow anywhere in your home. The most common places being your attic, bathroom and basement. If you find mold, you want to call experts to take care of the problem right away.
4. Make sure your air ducts are clean-Air ducts should be cleaned once every 3 years. If you are unsure when they have been cleaned last, Aspen will come out and check them for FREE. Having clean air ducts will make your air much cleaner and safer.
5. Check all your pipes-Leaky pipes can turn into a huge issue for homeowners. Water damage can develop mold and cause structural damage. Some of the most common water damage comes from broken appliances, leaky pipes, a toilet or sink overflow or storm damage. If you see water damage in your home, be sure to give us a call and we will get on the job right away.
We know the list of things you need to get done when moving is very long. These are just a few things that we suggest handling right away.
Tips for Preventing Fires in the Home
Everyone sets off a smoke alarm every now and then, but actual home fires happen more than you may realize. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were more than 358,500 home fires per year from 2011-2015, resulting in an annual average of $6.7 billion in damage. Here's what you need to know to prevent fire in your home.
Where Fires Start
Home fires are most likely to start in the kitchen, with cooking equipment being the leading cause. Never leave a burning stove unattended, and make sure towels, curtains and other flammables aren't too close to the cooktop. Have a lid handy to help smother potential flames.
Space heaters, chimneys and fireplaces are also cause for concern. Buy heating equipment with automatic shut-offs, and keep heaters away from upholstered furniture, clothing and bedding. And be sure to have your chimney professionally cleaned and inspected every year.
Your home should be equipped with functioning smoke alarms. The NFPA recommends having one alarm on each level of your home, inside each bedroom and outside each sleeping area. Test alarms monthly and replace batteries twice a year.
Fire Escape Plan
It's also important to have a fire escape route planned in case evacuation is necessary. Walk through each room in your home and identify two possible exits in case of fire. Be sure to set a meeting place where everyone should gather once they are safely outside.
Practice your escape plan and these safety tips regularly. Fire safety is never something you want to leave to chance.
May 07, 2018