Why You Should Test Your Water Well

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August is National Water Quality Month, and we’ll take this opportunity to talk about water wells. In the United States, many families rely on groundwater for their primary drinking water supply. If you own a private well, these tips will help you ensure that your water is safe for drinking and domestic use.

Test Your Water Well

While drinking water is vital for good health, you can’t take water quality for granted. Biological, physical, and radiological conditions play a role in affecting water quality.

If there is too much calcium or magnesium dissolved in your water, these minerals can form a build-up and clog your pipes, leading to a costly repair. The presence of coliform bacteria in your water won’t do any harm to your home, but will potentially cause gastrointestinal illnesses.

According to the National Ground Water Association, you should test your water well on a yearly basis. It’s strongly recommended that you hire a certified or licensed contractor to inspect your private well. These professionals are familiar with water quality standards, so they can help you address any issues.

Poor Water Quality Signs

You don’t have to wait a year to get your water quality examined if you suspect that something is wrong. The United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends that private well owners keep an eye out for signs that your water isn’t safe to drink anymore:

  • If your water tastes or smells strange, test it for hydrogen sulfide, corrosion, and metals.
  • If your water looks cloudy, frothy, or colored, test it for detergents.
  • If you notice rapid wear on your water treatment equipment, it might be caused by corrosion or inadequate pH control.
  • If you live in an area with intensive agriculture, it’s important to test water for nitrate, pesticides, and coliform bacteria.
  • If your water is tasting salty, test it for chloride, total dissolved solids, and sodium.

When was the last time you inspected your private water well? Whether you’re experiencing poor water quality symptoms or not, water is too important in our lives to be overlooked. Our team can help you determine if your water is contaminated or safe. Contact Sherlock Home Inspectors, Inc online or call 712-274-9617 to book an inspection today.

Tips for a Smoother Move

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A new start in a new home—what could be better? But before you get settled in, you have to actually move in, and moving can be a chaotic and time-consuming process.

It’s crucial to plan ahead to make your move go more smoothly. Luckily, we’ve assembled some spectacular tips on planning your move, so that you can get to the point where you enjoy your new home faster.

Moving Tips to Settle In Faster

  • Get organized early on by establishing a timeline and moving checklist. Arrange your packing and moving tasks by weeks in order to get the important things out of the way first and not leave yourself with tons to do with only days left before your move.
  • Seize the opportunity to purge your belongings of everything you don’t need, want, or use anymore. You’ll have less to move, and your new home will feel even better for being clutter-free.
  • Keep related items together as you pack. Extension cords should stick with the appliances that use them, books with bookends, remotes with televisions, and so forth.
  • If you’re not making use of professional movers, ensure that you pack safely and label everything  before friends show up to help you move. Consider packing delicate items with lots of padding, so that your amateur mover friends don’t break them.
  • If you are hiring professional movers, communicate with them about any delicate furniture, unwieldy appliances, and other challenging conditions.
  • The day before you move, be sure to defrost and drain your fridge and freezer.
  • Pack the items you’ll need first in easily-accessible overnight bags and clear plastic bins, so you don’t have to dig through boxes for clothing, toiletries, and tools before you unpack.
  • Pre-clean the kitchen and bathroom in your new home before you unpack. That way, these spaces will feel more organized, and you’ll feel more at home as a result.
  • Plan a home inspection before you move in! The last thing you want is to get settled into your new home just to be uprooted while you solve a mold problem, install new plumbing, repair a structural problem, or some other issue.


While it can be difficult to keep things straight while you move, following these tips can help you and your family to stay organized on track through one of the biggest household tasks you’ll have to face. As well, getting a comprehensive inspection of your new home before your move will help you move in with confidence and settle in more quickly. To find out more and to schedule an inspection of your new home, contact Sherlock Home Inspectors today by calling 712-274-9617!

Telltale Signs of Termites (and What to Do About Them)

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Did you know that termites cause approximately $5 billion in damage every year? When so much is at stake for your home or building, don’t procrastinate on an inspection. Termites can damage structures such as supports, windows, door frames, insulation, baseboards, and more. They can even tear through your collection of books!

So, how do you know if you have an infestation of uninvited guests? These are some telltale signs and solutions.

 

Unusual Sounds

If you can’t hear the termites, that doesn’t mean they’re not there. Termites leave hollow structures in their path because they eat wood from the inside out. If a structure sounds hollow or papery when you knock or tap on it, you likely have a termite problem.

 

Visual Signs

If you see one termite, you have termites: there’s never just one. Evidence of swarmers (which can look a lot like flying ants) can be a sure sign of an infestation. Look for flaws in your structure, as well: visible wood damage, bubbling paint, piles of coarse grains, mud tubes, sagging flooring, sticking windows and doors, and unexplained cracks in your walls are all signs you should thoroughly investigate.

 

Termite Solutions

When you notice the signs of a termite infestation, book an inspection right away. Termites hide deep inside your walls, so leave it to the professionals to deal with them.

The best solution, however, is prevention! Regular inspections can detect early signs of infestation before it becomes a problem. To keep termites from swarming into your home, fill in any cracks in your foundation, concrete, and roof. Make sure there’s no wood near the foundation of your house, including wood piles and chippings, and that none of the wood on your home directly contacts the soil. Termites don’t need much encouragement to enter your home, so don’t give them any invitations!

 

Sherlock Home Inspectors, Inc. is a Certified Termite Inspector (Iowa License #16369) and is the only inspector in Sioux City, IA that offers termite inspections during home inspections. Contact us online or by calling 712-274-9617 to book an inspection.

 

April Showers, May Maintenance: Your Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

Written by SherHomeAdmin on . Posted in Uncategorized

 

While spring cleaning may be the first thing we think about when the weather turns warmer, be sure to save some energy for spring home maintenance. The following is a short checklist of tasks that every homeowner should complete once the buds start blooming!

 

AC and Furnace

After a long winter, your furnace probably needs some attention. The same goes for your AC (even though it was likely off all winter). Check all connections, change the furnace filter, and clear any debris that may have collected around the vent. Clear off any ice and debris around the AC before you turn it on for the summer. If necessary, have both inspected and serviced.

 

Attic

Winter can be especially hard on the out of sight, out of mind areas of our homes. Check your attic for leaks or water damage caused by freezing and expansion, assess the condition of your insulation, and keep an eye out for any animal nests or points of entry for pests.

 

Clean Out the Fireplace and Chimney

If your home has a fireplace, and especially if you’ve used it over the winter, make sure it’s clean and safe come springtime. Professional help can provide a thorough inspection.

 

Basement

Inspect your basement for cracks in the floors, walls, and foundation, and watch for moisture (especially around windows and existing cracks) during the spring melt. If you notice moisture, take the time to inspect for mold as well. Check the sump pump before the spring melt puts it to work.

 

Roof and Gutters

With wind, sleet and snow, and freezing and expanding, a roof takes serious abuse over the winter. Each spring, check your roof for damage to the shingles (curling, buckling, or tearing) and flashing, and inspect for obvious leaks. As for the gutters, clear out any accumulated leaves, asphalt granules, and debris from both the gutters and downspouts to prevent pooling water and leaks.

 

Foundation

Inspect for cracks in foundation walls, or grades in the landscaping that drain water toward and against the foundation.

 

Sprinklers

Check your lawn’s sprinkler system for exposed lines, leaking valves, or malfunctioning sprinkler heads. Watch for areas where water pools or soil becomes overly saturated when you run the sprinklers.

 

Most of these tasks can be accomplished by any homeowner, but some signs of damage can remain hidden—which is where professional inspections can save homeowners time, money, and energy. Sherlock Home Inspectors offer comprehensive home inspections from top to bottom, including the surrounding areas of your home. For a healthier home and greater peace of mind, contact us today at 712-274-9617 or visit us online to find out more!

How Sump Pumps Work And Why You Need A Backup System

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Floods are one of the most dangerous natural disasters for your home. If you live in a region characterized by abundant or heavy rains, it’s extremely advisable to ensure that your sump pit is in good condition and your sump pump is running smoothly. However, even when everything looks fine, it might be a good idea to acquire and install a backup system.

First, if you have no idea of what we’re talking about, the sump pit is designed to protect your house’s main structure from water damage. It consists of a hole with a gravel base, usually located in the lowest part of your basement or crawlspace. As water enters your home, it stays in this hole because, well… because that’s how gravity works, right? It’s the same idea as when you take a shower and the water goes down the drain instead of flooding your bathroom.

However, storms can produce a significant amount of water and if the soil doesn’t absorb it quickly, your sump pit will need an extra bit of help. The equipment responsible for avoiding overflow is called a sump pump. It sits inside the sump pit and is activated by sensors when the water starts to fill the hole. As a result, it pumps the water out of the pit and away from your home, keeping your space dry and safe.

The problem, though, is that sump pumps are not foolproof. Electrical power outages, wrong size, improper installation, and lack of maintenance are among the most common causes of sump pump failure. How will you know it failed if you’re sleeping or enjoying your vacation away from home?

You don’t. That’s why you need a backup system to serve as a plan B. In this article, you can understand the pros and cons of three different types of backup systems: battery-powered, water-powered, and generator-powered.

So, when was the last time you inspected your basement and sump pit? For a quality home inspection from roof to sump pit, trust only the best at Sherlock Home Inspectors, Inc.. Contact us online or call 712-274-9617 to book an inspection today.

How To Choose A Qualified Home Inspector

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Whether you’re planning to buy or sell a property, a home inspection can help you avoid hassle. For buyers, it’s an opportunity to identify problems prior to the purchase, which gives them more power to negotiate a lower price. They might also decide not to buy the house anymore or even demand a solution for the issues. For sellers, home inspections offer a chance to become aware of property conditions and address them before putting up a “for sale” sign. Now that you understand the benefits, the question is: How do you choose a qualified home inspector?

While there are many professionals out there, not necessarily all of them have the proper skills, qualifications, and resources to do a good job. If you live in Sioux City and region, Sherlock Home Inspectors can definitely help you! Even if you don’t live in our area, we still want the best for you and your home, so make sure to check out these tips for when you’re looking for a home inspector.

Hire Someone Impartial and Skilled

First, you should verify whether the home inspector is unbiased and independent. In other words, it can’t be someone who will favor either the buyer or the seller. Always be wary of realtors who only give you one option and want you to stick to it.

Another very important tip: Home inspectors are quite different from electricians and plumbers. Instead of focusing on specific areas, they need to act as detectives, opening all the doors, testing the windows, and literally inspecting each spot in a house. Home inspection requires a variety of certificates and training.

Last, but not least, excellent communication skills are essential. When you have questions at the end of the process, you want clear answers.

How to Assess Experience

You will neither be the first nor the last person in the world to need a home inspector. If any of your friends have ever had a similar experience, ask them! Are there reviews about your home inspector on Google or Facebook? Take some time to read them.

Another way to evaluate the competence of the professional you have chosen is by requesting a sample report. Most qualified home inspectors will send one to you.  A sample report will give you a better picture of what is included in the inspection, which allows you to compare services. Experienced professionals should be able to spot issues that aren’t obvious.

Also, it’s worth checking if your home inspector is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors or another organization in your region. Use their Code of Ethics as a reference.

That’s it! We hope our tips will help you find a qualified home inspector. Sherlock Home Inspectors serves Sioux City and region with whole house inspections,radon inspections, and mold and moisture inspections. Our team is highly trained and will provide an impartial report. Contact us online or call 712-274-9617 to book an inspection today.

Mold and Indoor Air Quality

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In many cases, your home air is more polluted than the air outside, and these pollutants can be harmful to your health and the health of your family and your pets. For those with allergies, asthma and other respiratory concerns, these pollutants can be especially serious. Of these, one of the most dangerous is mold.

What is Mold?

Mold is a living organism that grows on damp surfaces and produces spores. These spores can cause allergic reactions that include sneezing, red eyes, runny nose, and skin rashes, as well as cause asthma attacks. When mold grows inside a house or other building, the spores can negatively affect the air quality of the establishment.

Mold and Sick Building Syndrome

The air we breathe affects the quality of our lives. When a home has mold that stays undetected, it grows, and the spores it releases multiply and result in poor air quality. When people live in homes infested with mold, they are at risk of getting sick due to the mycotoxins that molds produce. Sick building syndrome occurs when people continue to live or work in buildings with contaminated air.

How To Find Mold

Mold needs moisture to thrive. From pipe leaks to water intrusion, and even condensation and humidity, mold can thrive in any damp condition. Look for signs such as water staining, peeling paint, separation or deterioration of building materials, and unfamiliar or unusual colors or substances. These can be indicators of water damage, which is often directly linked with mold.

How To Prevent Mold Growth

Mold spores can enter your home through the windows, vents, and HVAC system of your house. You can even bring them inside on your shoes or clothing. You can’t prevent mold from coming in, but you can prevent it from growing:

  • Monitor humidity levels and keep them low, no higher than 50%. Use a dehumidifier if necessary.
  • Keep your air flowing freely with fans and vents, especially in the bathroom and kitchen.
  • Fix any leaks as soon as possible, and ensure they have a chance to dry properly within 48 hours.
  • Use mold-killing products such as a bleach solution when you’re cleaning areas that are frequently wet, such as your bathroom.

 

If you suspect or know there is mold in your home, don’t risk it. At Sherlock Home Inspectors, we’re happy to provide Mold Testing & Moisture Analysis whenever you need. Book an inspection by calling 712-274-9617.

Taking Action RN (Right Now) to Detect Rn (Radon) in Your Home

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Radon (Rn) is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless radioactive gas responsible for an estimated 21,000 deaths each and every year in the United States. You can’t see it, taste it, or smell it, but it could very well be present in your home. Named by the Environmental Protection Agency as the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers, it’s no wonder January has been dubbed National Radon Take Action Month.

Think you’ve got nothing to worry about? Think again! Iowa’s average indoor radon concentration is more than six times that of the national average. It’s time to take action to keep your family healthy and happy in the year ahead. Read on to learn more about this dangerous gas and see what steps you can take to protect your home this January

Where does it come from?

The most common source of radon is right below your feet—soil! As a gas, radon can easily travel up through the soil and be drawn to your home by a difference in air pressure between the two spaces. Radon then typically enters the house through its foundation in one of the following ways

  • Cracks in foundation
  • Gaps in basement flooring
  • Sump pumps
  • Loose fitting pipes, and more.

 

How does it affect your health?

Breathing in radon gas can cause radioactive particles to become lodged in your lungs. Though it may be years before health problems arise, these trapped particles drastically increase your risk of developing lung cancer over time. Radon levels in your home, the amount of time you spend indoors, whether you burn wood or coal in the home, and your past and present smoking habits all factor in to your risk of developing radon-related lung cancer.

 

What can you do about it?

There are a number of simple steps you can take to prevent radon from entering your home, such as

  • Sealing cracks and other openings in the foundation
  • Ventilating the home
  • Installing a radon removal system


While these steps can certainly help prevent radon from entering your home, they are not necessarily foolproof. Homes should be checked for radon every 2 years and between all real estate deals.  This also applies to homes that have a mitigation system installed. Call Sherlock Home Inspectors for a radon inspection with a 48 hour monitor to protect your family from the dangers of radon. Book an inspection today to get your home set up for a healthy year ahead!

The 9 Tips of Christmas Electrical Safety

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Christmas is a time of giving; of the coming together of family, friends, and loved ones; of brightly wrapped presents, sparkling Christmas trees, and twinkling lights. We’re here with information on how to keep your holidays bright this year with our 9 Tips of Christmas Electrical Safety!

 

Tip #1 – Inspect your light strands. It doesn’t matter if they’re exterior or interior strands, if they’re damaged or wiring is exposed, it could cause severe injury or fire.

Tip #2 – Always use certified lights. Dollar store lights may be a tempting way to save a few bucks, but they can end up costing you big in the long run. Electrical products are inspected by UL (Underwriters Laboratories) in the United States, and tag those that pass with their symbol.

Tip #3 – Use the appropriate lights. Outdoor for outdoor, and indoor for indoor. It’s as simple as that. Not sure how to tell which are which? Outdoor strands will be tagged with the UL symbol on a red or silver background with red writing, while indoor strands will either have green UL tags, or silver with green writing. Ensure any extension cords used are appropriate as well.

Tip #4 – Use insulated hooks. When hanging lights, avoid staples, nails, tacks, or screws that can pierce a light strand. Insulated hooks are simple to install, and make hanging lights easier.

Tip #5 – Avoid overload. If an extension cord is overloaded, it will feel hot to the touch. Unplug it immediately to avoid injury or fire, and always follow the pros on how to safely plan your wattage use.

Tip #6 – Replace candles. Unless you’re using open-flame candles for a religious reason, it’s best to switch them out with battery-powered replacements. There are now many styles that give the same look and scent as traditional candles.

Tip #7 – Protect electrical cords. Keep electrical cords close to the wall and away from young children and pets. Do not run cords under area rugs or in high-traffic areas. If running a cord across the floor is unavoidable, there are covers you can purchase to protect the cord and minimize tripping hazards.

Tip #8 – Keep live trees alive. Live trees need a large amount of water to stay healthy. Keep your Christmas tree maintained to avoid dangerous and potentially deadly fires. Also keep your tree and presents at least 3 feet from all heat sources.

Tip #9 – Turn off your lights. Not just your lights, but all decorations that use electricity will need a break from time to time. When no one is home and while you sleep are the best times to switch those controls to off, save some money on electricity, and let those circuits cool down.


Use these tips for decorating this holiday season to ensure you and your family stay safe, merry, and bright. Merry Christmas and happy New Year from everyone at Sherlock Home Inspectors!

Speaking Out on the Silent Killer: Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Your Home

Written by SherHomeAdmin on . Posted in Uncategorized

 

Halloween has come and gone, but there’s still one seriously scary thing to keep an eye out for in your home this November: carbon monoxide. Known as “the silent killer,” carbon monoxide is tasteless, odorless, and colorless, making it almost undetectable to human senses. Each and every year, unintentional carbon monoxide poisonings seem to go up as the temperatures go down, making right now the perfect time to learn a little more about this dangerous gas.

 

Sources and Prevention

Most of us don’t give a second thought to warming up our cars or turning on the furnaces, fireplaces, and heaters in our homes, but have you ever stopped to think about how these actions could be hazardous to your health? These and more common fuel-burning appliances are sources of carbon monoxide and should be used with caution in and around the home.

With that being said, what exactly can you do to prevent these appliances from turning dangerous? Proper maintenance, monitoring, mindfulness, and more are just a few ways you can keep your family healthy and happy this winter.

 

Signs and Symptoms

Carbon monoxide poisoning is responsible for approximately 500 deaths and 15,000 hospitalizations in the United States every year. Would you recognize the symptoms? Learning to spot early signs such as headache, nausea, shortness of breath, and more could help save a life. If you notice any of these signs or symptoms in yourself or someone you love, take action to remove the person from the home, seek medical attention, and contact the local fire department as soon as possible.

 

Detection

While learning to recognize the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning is important, it isn’t always foolproof. Equipping your home with a carbon monoxide detector is crucial to keeping your family safe from the silent killer. Detectors work to sense carbon monoxide before its levels reach dangerous heights and should be placed, at a minimum, on each floor of your home and outside all doors of sleeping areas.

———–

With proper monitoring, maintenance, and mindfulness, making your home a safe place to spend time this winter is easy. Make protecting your family from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning a priority as the days grow colder. For more information or to schedule a home inspection, contact Sherlock Home Inspectors online or by phone at 712-274-9617.

Sherlock Home Inspectors Inc.

3911 5th Avenue, Sioux City, IA 51106

Office: 712 274-9617

Email: sherlockhome@cableone.net