Your Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

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Classic American house with siding trim and red entry door


You’ve heard of spring cleaning, but don’t forget about spring maintenance too! Regular maintenance can help make sure your home lasts a lifetime. Here’s a handy checklist for your spring home maintenance: 



Snow, ice, and freezing temperatures can damage your home’s exterior. While inspecting your yard and the outside of your home, pay special attention to these areas: 


  • Roof: Examine shingles for signs of wear and tear. Shingles that are cracked, buckled, loose, or missing granules will need to be replaced. Ensure gutters are free of debris and that water can flow freely away from your home. Have your chimney cleaned and inspected once a year if you have a fireplace.
  • Exterior: Inspect your home’s foundation and any concrete slabs for cracks or movement, and have necessary repairs completed by a professional. Check your fence, deck, window/door frames, and any other wooden fixtures for signs of wood rot, and replace any warped or loose boards. Touch up any exterior paint, and replace any damaged siding to keep your home looking great.
  • Yard: Ensure equipment is in working order, especially if you have a gas-powered grill. Keeping your sprinkler system in good shape can also help you save money on your water bill. 



While we clean the inside of our homes on a regular basis, some things require a bit more attention when it comes to maintenance. Here are some things to watch out for: 


  • Attic: Insulation may wear out over time, especially if it has been damaged by water. Ensure your home’s insulation is sufficient, and check your attic for signs of pests. Look for leaks or signs of water damage, and contact us for mold testing services if needed.
  • Ventilation: Well maintained systems will operate more efficiently, so schedule an appointment to have your furnace and air conditioner serviced. Clean any lint from your dryer vent, and give the kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans a clean as well. Make sure window screens are free from holes and tears.
  • Basement: Test your sump pump by slowly pouring water into the well until the float turns the pump on. Check your basement walls for signs of cracks and water damage.


While many of these tasks can be performed by homeowners, some signs of damage can remain hidden. A professional home inspection can help you avoid any unpleasant surprises. Visit our website or call (712) 274-9617 to book an inspection today!

How to Choose a Home Inspector

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Building Inspector Looking At New Property

Buying a house should be an exciting time, but picking the wrong home inspector can be costly. Here’s what to look for to choose a home inspector who will work for you. 


Proper Training & Certification

Licensing and training standards vary by state, and even in the states where licensing is required, experience, training and education can vary significantly. A home inspector should have a certification from at least one of the major professional associations: 


Each of these organizations have their own standards, education programs, testing, and levels of certification. 


Do Your Research 

If your state regulates home inspectors, use the state agency to confirm the inspector’s license and check their record for complaints. If your state doesn’t regulate inspectors, you should check their credentials through ASHI, InterNACHI, or NABIE. 


You can also research online reviews and ask for references. It’s a good idea to speak with several inspectors and choose the one whom you have confidence in their conduct and skills and demeanor. 


Select an inspector who’s an expert at evaluating the type of house you’re purchasing because depending on the age, design, or materials of the home there are different risks and signs they should consider.


Other helpful resources include to find information include: 


Ask Questions

Get information about a home inspector’s background, the length of time they’ve been in the business, the number of inspections they’ve done, and the report they’ll provide.


Prior to the inspection, you should confirm exactly what they’ll examine, how long an inspection will take, and when you’ll receive your report. Make sure you can accompany them during the inspection and that they have errors and omission insurance in case an issue isn’t addressed.


At Sherlock Home Inspectors Inc., we want to bring you peace of mind with our expert team and high-quality service! Give us a call at (712) 274-9617 or visit us online to book an appointment today! 

5 Easy Ways to Keep Mold Out of Your Home

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Iowa winters are known for two things: the extreme cold, and the high level of precipitation. This level of water and humidity can lead to a variety of problems, including ice dams on roofs, excessive ice on walkways, and a buildup of moisture in homes that can lead to mold.

Here are just a few ways you can make sure your home starts 2020 off mold-free.


Locate Problem Areas in Your Home

Before you begin to prevent excess moisture and mold buildup in your home, take a tour of your property and analyze areas that you think are most at risk of developing moisture problems. These spots can include cracks in your foundation, poorly ventilated attics and crawl spaces, or areas in the walls where pipes may leak.


Clean up Any Spills Quickly

Cleaning up a leak or spill in a timely manner is important in preventing mold, especially if the spill is in an area with cracks in the floor or baseboards that the liquids can seep through. These spills should be cleaned up within 24-48 hours and any towels used should be properly washed and ventilated.


Properly Ventilate and Humidify Your Home

Iowa goes through some pretty extreme winters and summers, and this can lead to excessive humidity levels in the home at various times in the year. Keep your home’s humidity under control by using a dehumidifier to keep your humidity levels at a low and comfortable level all year round.


Use Water-Permeable Paint During Renovations

Whether they’re adding a touch of color to their favorite space or are doing significant renovations, many homeowners make the mistake of using thick, non-permeable paints that trap moisture and air inside the walls. Avoid this moisture build-up by using paint that lets the water in your walls escape.


Call a Certified Home Inspector

Calling a certified home inspector who has years of recognized service is a great way to keep your home mold-free, as they will know where in your house to search, what hidden areas are most prone to water damage.

Keeping your home mold-free may not seem like a major issue in the winter when water is frozen, but springtime thaws can mean build-ups of snow leaking down through your attic and walls. Give the team at Sherlock Home Inspectors a call today at 712-274-9617 or visit us online to prevent the mold of tomorrow from building up today.

Keeping Your Home & Workplace Safe from Radon

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When it comes to dangerous gases entering the home or office, people are rightfully concerned about gases like carbon monoxide and chlorine mixtures. However, radon gas, a radioactive gas caused when uranium and thorium break down in the earth, is just as dangerous and is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths every year.

Here are just a few ways you can better protect your home or office against radon gas.


Perform a Radon Test

Radon tests are a great way for homeowners or business owners to understand how high radon levels are in their location and how quickly action should be taken.

These tests can either be done by a skilled professional who can carefully explain your risks and options, or by using a small home kit that will measure your home’s air quality for a few days before being sent off to a lab.


Seal Any Cracks in Floors, Walls, and Pipes

Radon rises up into homes from the soil below so any cracks or openings to your living spaces can increase your family’s exposure.

If you are concerned about the levels of radon you may be exposed to, be sure to take a tour of your home to seal up any loose floorboards or openings with caulking or plaster to keep the radon out.


Seal Chimneys When Not in Use

While fireplaces may be one of the coziest and warmest areas of your home, they can also be a source of radon leaking into your home due to the cracks and openings in the brick and cement.

Be sure to use the chimney damper when not having a fire to close off any cold air and radon from entering into your home.


Invest in a Radon Sump System

Because radon naturally builds up in the earth and rises to the surface, structures like houses and office buildings can end up trapping a great deal of radon gas beneath their foundations, causing potentially dangerous build-ups.

Radon sump systems are a series of pipes and engines that funnel out any radon from the earth beneath a building and prevent any dangerous radon build-ups from harming the people inside.

Radon gas is a serious threat to Americans and is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in adults, but there are many things you can do to protect yourself and those around you. If you want to keep your family, friends, and coworkers safe, give the team at Sherlock Home Inspectors a call today at 712-274-9617 or visit us online and see how we can help uncover any concerns in your home.

Tips for Electrical Safety This Holiday Season

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As you begin to decorate your home for the holiday season, it’s important to protect yourself from safety hazards! Keep these tips in mind to keep your home safe all season long. 

The Christmas Tree

Christmas trees are typically the center of holiday decor, but they can also be a dangerous fire hazard. Although house fires caused by dry Christmas trees are uncommon, when they do happen they are incredibly serious. However, Christmas trees aren’t the only culprits—780 fires were reported to have started due to other Christmas decorations in the U.S. between 2013-2017.

Before you begin decorating your Christmas tree, check for cracked and damaged sockets, and if you’re using an artificial tree, look for one that’s fire resistant because it lowers the chance of house fires. If you choose a real tree, choose the freshest one and water it everyday. 

Extension Cords, Circuits, and Bulbs… Oh My! 

Examine the extension cord you’re using to see if it’s labelled for indoor or outdoor use because indoor extension cords aren’t made for cold or wet locations. Keep your electrical cords dry and consider using a powerbar to avoid dangerous surges and overloading your circuits with Christmas lights. 

Broken bulbs can also lead to nasty shocks or cuts, so always handle and inspect your lights carefully as you’re first unpacking them. LED bulbs are safer, more energy efficient, and give off less heat than incandescent bulbs. If you do use incandescent bulbs, never connect more than three strands together. Burning real candles can be a fire hazard, especially with lots of people mingling throughout your home during the holiday season, so consider battery-operated candles as a safer alternative. 

Extra Tips

A few other tips to keep your family and your home safe this Christmas include: 

  • Don’t use cords through doors or windows
  • Use clips instead of nails to hang decor as nails could pinch electrical cords
  • Keep flammable decor at least 3 ft. from heat sources
  • Before going to bed or leaving your home, turn off all lights and extinguish all candles

We hope these electrical safety tips help protect you and your loved ones this holiday season. When it comes to home inspections, you won’t find more qualified professionals than the ones here at Sherlock Home Inspectors. Contact us through our website or by giving our friendly staff a call at (712) 274-9617.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Safety & Prevention Tips

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Carbon monoxide poisoning is a dangerous condition that we should be prepared to prevent all year long. However, prevention is especially important during the winter months. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States show a total of 2,244 unintentional deaths occurring over the course of 5 years due to carbon monoxide poisoning, 36% of which happened during the winter months. 

What is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning? 

Carbon monoxide, a highly dangerous gas, can affect your body’s ability to transport oxygen. The gas is actually produced by many commonplace items such as cars, wood stoves, and gas appliances. High concentrations of this gas in a non-ventilated space could cause serious damage; however, because of its colorless and odorless nature, a person could be poisoned without realizing it. Symptoms may include weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, or even loss of consciousness. Carbon monoxide poisoning can share similar symptoms to the flu, which can unfortunately lead to confusion and tragedy. 

Prevention Tips

Carbon monoxide poisoning is entirely preventable. Take some of these precautions to keep you and your family safe this winter season: 

  • Install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector in your home and check the battery twice a year
  • Have all fuel-burning appliances, fireplaces, and woodstoves checked by a professional once a year
  • Use fuel-burning appliances, such as space heaters or barbeques, in well-ventilated areas
  • Never leave a car running in a closed garage
  • Don’t heat your house with a gas oven
  • Ensure that your fireplace and vents are clean and clear with no obstructions
  • Leave your home immediately and call 911 if your carbon monoxide detector alarm sounds 

We hope these tips help protect you and your loved ones from any carbon monoxide poisoning scares. As a final recommendation, we encourage you to book a home inspection to ensure that your family won’t be exposed to any hazards. When it comes to home inspections, you won’t find more qualified professionals than the ones here at Sherlock Home Inspectors. Contact us through our website or by giving us a call at (712) 274-9617.

3 Easy Ways to Protect Your Family from House Fires This Fall

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When it comes to household fires, homeowners are doing everything they can to protect their homes year-round. But did you know that household fires are more common in the fall and winter seasons?

Here’s a quick look at some of the simple ways homeowners can help prevent fires in their homes this fall.

Check All Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors are your number one line of defense again fires, warning you, your family, and potentially a fire department of any fire or smoke-related emergency while you’re in the home and away. 

Take a few minutes to go around and check the batteries in each of your alarms and ensure it’s operating properly. It’s an easy test to do, but it’s no stretch to say it could save your life.

Move All Debris Away from Heating Systems

As spring turns to summer and our need for a warm house starts to vanish, it can be easy to totally forget about your heating ducts when doing some spring cleaning and reorganizing your home.

Be sure to move all electronics and flammable substances at least a foot away from your heat registers. This reduces the risk of these products overheating and causing a fire when the fall comes and you turn up your thermostat.

Rake and Remove All Dead Leaves

Piles of dead leaves are one of the classic images of fall and are plenty of fun for kids, but these piles of crunching leaves can be a dangerous tinderbox if a random spark flies.

Even if you’re not planning on having any evening bonfires this fall, be sure to quickly clean up all the fallen leaves on your property, as this will stop any potential fires from raging out of control.

Fires can spring up at a moment’s notice, but preparing your home for the fall season can help prevent major fires and isolate small instances to manageable spaces. To make sure your home is full-proof this fall, give the experts at Sherlock Home Inspectors a call today at 712-274-9617 or visit us online and see how our staff can help you spot all the clues of a potential fire hazard.

4 Easy Ways to Make Your Home Winter-Ready

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Autumn is just around the corner, which means it’s time to head back to school and back to routine. While there’s still a few weeks of balmy weather left to enjoy on the patio, this time is actually critical for making sure your home is safe and secure against the forces of nature that are coming this winter. 

Here are 4 easy things you can do to prepare your home for Old Man Winter this fall.

Clear Your Eavestroughs and Downspouts

Clearing your eavestroughs may seem like a chore, but it’s important to keep them clear in the winter. That’s because blockages in the draining system can cause meltwater to build up and form ice dams, which can leak into your attic and cause damage to your home.

Seal any Cracks or Damage on the Sides of Your Home

Tiny cracks in your foundation are bound to form as your house expands and contracts over the years. Unfortunately, even the tiniest of cracks can be open gates and welcome insects and critters into the walls and crawl spaces of your home. 

Make Sure All Outside Pipes are Turned Off

Standing water is a problem in any home, but standing water in your pipes can be an absolute disaster in the winter. Water that is left standing in pipes can freeze, expand, and explode, causing basement flooding or stopping water from reaching your home. 

As the summer ends and the fall begins, be sure to stretch out and empty all of your garden hoses and give each faucet an extra twist shut.

Trim Your Hedges and Remove Dead Limbs from Trees

Hedges and trees are a sight to see during the hot days of summer, but they can become a dangerous hazard in the when winter rolls around. Keep your hedges and trees trimmed to prevent them from tangling up your power lines or worse, being torn off by dangerous winds and falling on your home.

Winter may still be a few months away, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare while the sun is out and the weather is nice. Give our home inspection experts a call today at 712-274-9617 or visit us online to see how we can give your home the top-to-bottom inspection you need for peace of mind.

The Ultimate Checklist to Buying a New House

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You’ve bought a new house and the adventure is about to begin! Now what? Moving into your new home can be an exciting experience but it can also feel overwhelming. There are often a ton of little tasks that can be forgotten if you’re not prepared. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

Thank Your Realtor

First, give a huge thanks to your real estate agent. They carefully listened and devoted time into helping you find a home that suits the needs of you and your family. A simple thank you goes a long way. If you have the time, leave them a review so that other potential home owners can have the same breezy experience that you enjoyed.

Get a Home Inspection

After the seller accepts your offer, you have about 10 days to get a home inspection. It is not mandatory, but highly encouraged and it’s your opportunity to ask questions about the house regarding its infrastructure. It can also detect safety issues like radon, carbon monoxide, and mold, and presents an opportunity to request a price reduction for repairs if needed.

Check All Major Appliances

During your final walk through, check all appliances, turn on all faucets, flush toilets, test outlets, heat, air conditioning, and smoke detectors. During this time, your realtor will help you ensure that everything included with the contract is left in the house and in good working condition.

Hire a Trusted Moving Company

Alongside changing addresses and updating billing information, worrying about moving your stuff can be daunting. By hiring a moving company of trusted professionals, you can rest assured that they are trained to be fast and effective. You shouldn’t need to take time off work or injure yourself by taking on more than you can handle. By delegating this big job, you’ll free up more time for other important moving day tasks.

The day will arrive before you know it. By following our few simple tips, you’ll be surprised at how easy moving day can seem! Book your home inspection online today or give us a call at 712-274-9617!

5 Signs That Termites are Infesting Your Property

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As homeowners, we try to stay vigilant to any threats that our homes may face. However, some threats, like termites, are inside the very walls of our house and stay out of sight, so it takes certain signs and clues to pick up on their presence.

Here are just a few of the signs that your house is experiencing a termite infestation.

Cracks in Your Paint

Termites may not feed on paint, but one thing they do require is plenty of moisture. Cracks in your paint job are a clear sign of excess moisture inside of your walls, usually from a burst pipe or leak. If your water system is doing fine, then chances are the excessive moisture is being caused by termites.

Clicking Sounds In Your Walls

You may not always see the dangers of termites, but if you put your ear up to the wall, you might be able to hear them. As they pass through the inside of your home, worker termites can be heard loudly munching away at your support beams and framework.

Discarded Wings

Most people may imagine termites to be creepy-crawly creatures, but termites actually grow wings when forming new colonies. Once the termites have settled in a location, they will shed their wings into large piles. If you come across a collection of wispy wings in your house, that’s a sign that termites have moved in.

Your Floor Are Sagging

It’s no secret that termites like to burrow their way through wood, and that burrowing can severely impact the strength of your floor supports. To find out if there is sagging in your floor, place a marble down and watch if it rolls. If it stays put and you can hear chewing sounds where it rests, that’s where the termites are feasting.

Termite Frass

While subterranean termites may use their droppings to secure their tunnels, drywood termites expel frass out of their tunnels and into the open instead. These droppings, or frass, usually appear as black marks or powder, and will instantly tell you that termites are on the premises.

If your house is showing all or most of these signs, then termites are likely already in your home. That doesn’t mean it’s too late to stop them or get rid of them though. Give the pest control experts at Sherlock Home Inspectors a call at 712-274-9617 or visit us online today to get your home back to normal as soon as possible.

Sherlock Home Inspectors Inc.

3911 5th Avenue, Sioux City, IA 51106

Office: 712 274-9617