Fireworks an American tradition

 Fireworks and How to Have Fun While Staying Safe

Fireworks on the Fourth of July are an American tradition. It started with the Independence Day celebration in Philadelphia on July 4, 1777. Revelers marked the first anniversary of America’s Declaration of Independence with bonfires, bells, and fireworks.

fireworks an american tradition
fireworks an american tradition

Today, they still play a major part in the way we commemorate Independence Day across the nation. Although the coronavirus pandemic has canceled many community activities, including parades, festivals, and public presentations, most Americans will still celebrate in some way with family. For many that will include barbecues and home fireworks displays.

With all that celebrating, it’s important to keep yourself and your family safe. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 9,000 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries in 2018, with most of those injuries occurring around the fourth of July. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports they started more than 19,000 fires that year, including 1,900 structure fires and 500 vehicle fires. NFPA says these fires caused five deaths and $105 million in direct property damage. So, fireworks safety should be taken seriously.

If consumer fireworks are legal to buy where you live and you choose to use them, the National Safety Council (NSC) offers the following safety tips:

  • Never allow young children to handle them*
  • Older children should use them only under close adult supervision
  • Never use them while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Anyone using them or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
  • Never light them indoors
  • Only use them away from people, houses, and flammable material
  • Never point or throw them at another person
  • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
  • Never ignite devices in a container
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
  • Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire
  • Never use illegal firework

* Note: Sparklers are popular and are not classified as fireworks in some states (including Illinois). Because they burn at 1,200-2,000 degrees, they aren’t a good choice for young children. According to the CPSC, sparklers alone account for more than 25% of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries, and they account for nearly half of all fireworks injuries for children under the age of five.

Safer alternatives for young kids include glow sticks, confetti poppers, silly string, snap pops, glow-in-the-dark lawn toys, and glow-in-the-dark bubbles.

safer alternatives

Learn to make your own glow-in-the-dark bubbles

Alternatives to Fireworks

For those who live in areas where fireworks are illegal or impractical, or who just don’t want to take the risks, NFPA offers a shareable pdf with some suggestions for Fourth of July celebrations that don’t include fireworks. You’ll find a few back yard family fun ideas on our website too.

Whatever way you and your family choose to celebrate Independence Day this year, we encourage you to take a minute or two to reflect on why we celebrate and on the impact of the words that declared the birth of our nation on July 4th, 1776:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. —That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”

Visit the National Archives online to read the entire text of the Declaration of Independence and more documents of America’s founding and growth as a nation.

For more useful home maintenance tips and information visit us at:

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Termite Inspection Standards for 2020

Termite Inspection Standards for 2020

Understanding the New Rules

Does it seem like Termite Inspections,  also called wood destroying insect inspections (WDI),  are yielding more recommendations for treatment these days? You are probably right. It’s not that there are more termite you need a termite inspection because termites work day and night to eat you out of house and homeinfestations. It’s more likely the result of the 2020 rules changes. What changes? Read on.

On January 1, 2020, a new standard for the termite inspection and wood destroying insect inspections took effect and the changes are significant. In July 2019, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) released an updated and revised NPMA-33 Wood Destroying Insect Inspection Form. That’s the standardized form that all pest inspectors use for real estate WDI inspections. According to NPMA, all previous editions are now obsolete. That means for real estate transactions, only the current form bearing a revision date of 7/1/2019 should be accepted.

There are a few revisions you need to know about. There are changes in language such as the replacement of the word “defects” with “wood destroying insect damage.” More significantly, the section on page one of the report noting evidence of previous treatment has been eliminated and the page two guidelines regarding when to recommend treatment for termites has changed.

Pest inspectors have always recommended treatment whenever live termites are observed. The new standard says “if no evidence of a previous treatment is documented and evidence of an infestation is found, even if no live termites are observed, treatment or corrective action by a licensed pest control company should be recommended.” The new guidelines call for documentation of treatment, not just evidence like drill holes.

In the past, if a termite inspector found shelter tubes or other evidence of infestation without observing live termites and also found evidence of prior treatment, they generally didn’t recommend treatment in their report. Under the new standards, unless there is documentation of prior treatment, termite inspectors are recommending the property be treated.

evidence of termite activity

Home sellers who have had their homes treated for termites in the past are advised to have the documentation of treatment at the ready. Be advised that the new guidelines also give the pest inspector latitude to recommend treatment if documentation is too old or in some other way inadequate.

Heavy rain and flooding can negatively impact a home’s termite protection system. The NPMA has published a technical update explaining what you need to know. Get it here

click here for a copy of the NMPA TECHNICAL UPDATE:

https://files.constantcontact.com/2ffebcc0801/09cc366a-5488-4bc4-b1cb-9e8dee05c8c6.pdf

this is what they look like

For more useful home maintenance tips and information visit us at:

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Your roof keeps you and your family safe

Roof Coverings: Balancing Aesthetics with Performance

does your roof look like one of these
is this your roof

How is your roof? According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), during storms, your roof does a lot to protect your home. Besides keeping you and your family safe from rain, lightning, sleet, hail, and windblown debris, it keeps the inside of your home dry and can even act as a structural diaphragm in certain situations, keeping your home from falling down around you. In order to protect the home, your roof must resist both high and low temperature extremes, rain, high winds, exposure to ultraviolet radiation, snow, ice formation, and hail.

Of all the hazards your roof faces, wind is the most problematic according to FEMA. Living in the Midwest, you already know extreme weather with high winds or tornadoes can devastate a home. Even an average Midwestern thunderstorm can wreak havoc on a home’s roof. When wind force is greater than the roof system can handle, it can be disastrous. Wind can tear roof coverings from roof decks. It can separate roof decks from framing. And roof punctures from windblown debris can seriously impact the roof’s integrity.

Repeated exposure to wind events can wear down a roof’s first line of defense, the roof covering. Choosing the right roof covering for your home can make a big difference in how it weathers the storm. Homeowners have a lot to consider when balancing style and budget with performance.

 

Three Popular Options for Flat Roofs

 

Built Up Roofing (BUR): Hot-mopped built-up roofing (BUR) is one of the oldest types of roof coverings for flat roofs. They’re installed using several layers of roofing felt impregnated with asphalt and hot mopped with a low-grade crude oil called bitumen.

Hot-applied coal tar pitch blends with the bitumen-soaked felt creating a fused roof membrane generally two to four layers thick. Finely crushed stone granules may be applied to the top layer of tar to give the roof additional protection from the elements. A BUR roof is relatively in expensive. If well maintained, it can last 20 to 30 years.

 

Torch Down Roofing: Sometimes called “torch on” roofing, it requires an open-flame propane torch for installation. Torch down roofing is the most common type of roofing used on flat or very slightly pitched roofs. It’s a two- or three-layer roofing product consisting of a tough membrane of bitumen modified with rubber or plastic and embedded in a thick layer of asphalt. Torch down roofing can tolerate changing temperatures well and expands and contracts without melting or cracking. It’s usually a little more expensive than BUR roofing, but it also tends to be more resistant to punctures and UV rays.

 

 

Membrane Roofing (Rubber Roofing): Single layer membrane roofing is the most popular for commercial buildings, but it’s being used in residential roofing too. EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber roofing is perhaps the most synthetic rubber is the most common single-ply membrane roof material in both residential and commercial use. It’s also one of the more durable option for homes with flat roofs. Installed as thin sheets and being made of rubber or polymer, they’re flexible, elastic, and can handle temperature changes better than built up roofs (BURs). It also costs a little more with a similar lifespan.

 

Several Popular Options for Pitched Roofs

 

Asphalt Shingles: Widely considered the best choice for most homes. They are relatively light, inexpensive, and easy to install. Sheets of roofing are layered to give the illusion of more expensive single shingles, like cedar or slate, that are installed one shingle at a time. This means the asphalt shingles take less time to install. An asphalt shingle roof typically has a lifespan of 12 to 30 years.

 

Metal Roofing: Metal roof covers are an Eco-friendly choice that’s highly recyclable and energy efficient. It’s also wind and fire resistant. The most common type of metal roof is the standing seam roof. It’s made up of aluminum or steel roofing panels with interlocking raised seams. Installation is generally faster than most other roof covering types. For those who want the longevity and fire resistance of metal, but don’t like the look of standing seam roofs, metal shingles fill the bill. These steel or aluminum shingles or shakes can mimic asphalt, wood, or slate shingles, or even clay tiles. Metal roofs can last 30-50 years or more, but typically cost four to five times as much as asphalt shingles.

 

Clay Tile: This is a traditional choice that offers an exceptional aesthetic appeal. They can be left as unglazed red clay tiles or glazed and fired to become ceramic roofing tiles. Clay tiles have been used to cover roofs for centuries. They’re particularly good at resisting salt and heat damage, making them a popular choice in desert and coastal areas. They are a rather expensive choice, costing as much as $30 per square foot. But since a properly maintained clay tile roof can last more than a century, they are a one-and-done solution.

 

Concrete Tile: If you love clay tile but just can’t bring yourself to pay the price, concrete tile presents a similar looking, but less expensive option. Unlike clay, concrete tiles can be dyed to taste. Because it is molded, concrete tiles can be shaped to mimic rolled clay tiles or low-profile roofing like wood shakes. Concrete tile is a very heavy roofing material, making it a good choice in high-wind regions. It’s also fire resistant, last up to 50 years and is little as half the price of clay tiles.

 

Wood Shake and shingles: Wood shingles are precision sawed, thin slabs used to cover the roof. Wood shakes are hand-cut, making them thicker and more durable than machine-made wood shingles. Wood is a good insulator, and hand-cut shake shingles can last up to 40 years in a relatively dry climate with proper maintenance. But wood is not very fire resistant and moisture can shorten the lifespan of a wood roof considerably. They are one of the more expensive options, but also considered one of the most attractive roof covers on the market today.

 

Slate: Very popular for historic buildings, slate roofing is very long-lasting and durable. Slate shingles are thin sheets of real stone. This traditional choice combines beauty with enhanced protection, making it one of the most desired roof coverings available. It’s pricier than most other options, costing double or triple the price of even clay tiles. A slate roof represents a compromise between cost and near-permanence since slate roofs have been known to last centuries.

 

Synthetic Slate: Love the look of slate shingles, but not the price? Enter synthetic slate shingles, also called rubber slate. These engineered shingles look surprisingly similar to natural slate from the ground. Made from engineered polymers and recycled plastic and rubber, synthetic slate is a lightweight alternative that makes it an option for houses that can’t support natural slate’s the heavy weight. The rubber slate shingles are not as durable as slate but can last 50 years or more. They’re also priced closer to the cost of wood shake or metal shingles, making them much more affordable than real stone.

 

With all the roof covering choices available to homeowners, there really is something just right for everyone. Just as each type brings a unique style and benefit to the task, it also brings its own shortcomings and wear issues.

 

A Certified Roof Inspector is well versed in the positives and negatives of each roof covering type. They have the specialized training to properly gage the condition of the roof covering, spot installation issues, weather damage, and wear issues that could compromise your roof’s integrity. Since the roof covering is your roof’s first line of defense against the elements, it’s important that your home inspector has the expertise needed to properly inspect the roof. Protect your investment. Insist on a certified roof inspector.

For more useful home maintenance tips and information visit us at:

https://hawleyhomeinspectionsllc.com/         https://www.facebook.com/HawleyHomeInspections

 

Home Wizard Appliance Recall Service

Introducing our Home Wizard

sign up for our free Home Wizard service
Home Wizard and Recall Check

At Hawley Home Inspections, we are always working to find ways to add value to the home inspection experience. And our FREE Home Wizard is one of our most popular bonus offerings. It’s a customized newsletter, and a whole lot more! It’s FREE to all our home inspection clients and offers something special for the realtors who represent them.

Our Home Wizard includes a FREE Appliance Recall Service that keeps homeowners up to date on recall notices issued for their appliances. They can add any appliances they want tracked and add more or swap them out when they buy new ones.

The monthly Interactive e Newsletter includes personalized home care recommendations, tips, and home improvement ideas based on the homeowner’s individual goals and priorities. They fill out a short questionnaire about their home and their goals. Then, the Home Wizards builds a personalized e Newsletter filled with helpful articles and videos geared to maintaining their specific home.

The Personal Home Manager makes it easier for individuals to take care of their homes with helpful tips and seasonal tasks customized just for them. Recommendations and articles are based on:

  • The type of home (single family, townhouse, high rise condo, duplex, or vacation cabin, etc.)
  • The type of heating and cooling systems
  • Local climate
  • The homeowner’s personal goals like saving energy, lowering repair costs, maintaining home value—even allergy management and child proofing!
  • The homeowner’s personal knowledge level (to determine how basic or advanced the tips should be)
  • The homeowner’s priorities. Tasks and tips are prioritized on a scale of one to five stars. Those with the most stars have the highest benefits relative to their costs. Each reader chooses the priority of the tips they want to see.
  • Choose how to be notified about recommended tips and tasks. Home Wizard can send monthly alerts via email, or readers can use their own calendar app (Google calendar, Remember the Milk, Reminder Fox, etc.) to get their alerts.

There’s also a FREE Home Care Library at your fingertips! The constantly growing library includes scores of articles, how-to instructions, and frequently asked questions about everything from furnace systems and sump pumps to outdoor lighting and solar energy. Want to know when and where to look for signs of mice infiltration or how to keep leather furniture looking good? The Home Care Library has it covered.

All the personalized home care recommendations, appliance recall service, articles, and home care library can be accessed online using a computer browser or download our free Home Wizard app for access on mobile devices.

There’s a special value-added feature for realtors—when we send our interactive e Newsletters to clients you have referred to us, we send these e Newsletters co-branded with your name, email address, phone number, photo, company name, and company logo.

We’ll give you a Co-Branding Dashboard where you can customize your branding, preview the e Newsletters, add subscribers, and more! In addition to all the great home maintenance tips and ideas, you’ll also have access to specialized articles focused on helping you market and grow your real estate business.

We hope you and your clients find our Home Care Wizard useful, and that it makes it easier for you to take care of your home, your clients, and your business. This free service is our way of saying ‘thanks’ to our valued customers and to show you how much we value our relationship with you, their realtor. Thank you.

For more useful home maintenance tips and information visit us at:

https://hawleyhomeinspectionsllc.com/         https://www.facebook.com/HawleyHomeInspections

 

Covid-19 update on Home Inspections

An Update from us on Covid-19

Covid-19
We are fighting the Virus

As we begin to reopen our communities while still dealing with Covid-19 in our communities, we are again reviewing and revising our policies and procedures. We want to keep you up to date on changes in our practices aimed at protecting our clients, employees, realtors, sellers, and others involved in the home inspection process.

One significant change in our policy: we are again allowing buyers to attend inspections in vacant homes. (We are still asking buyers to refrain from attending home inspections in occupied homes.)

All buyers, whether in attendance or not, receive a full, written report, complete with pictures. When buyers and agents are not present during the inspection, our inspectors are arranging to go over their findings with them by phone and answer any questions they may have. (You can always call and get your home inspection questions answered. We’ve always been here for you and remain so.)

Other safety measures we’re still using include:

  • Protective gear: Our inspectors are wearing booties over their shoes and boots any time they are inside a home. They’re also donning protective gloves and masks when appropriate.
  • Frequent hand washing: Our inspectors are washing their hands when they enter a home and before leaving. If it’s not possible to do so, they are using hand sanitizer.
  • Keeping equipment sanitized: Our inspectors wipe down all their equipment with sanitizing wipes between inspections, so everything they bring into a home is clean.
  • Certified Covid-19 safety training: All our inspectors have completed the Covid-19 Safety Guidelines course through the InterNACHI School, a home inspector college accredited by the US Department of Education.
  • Maintaining social distancing: We are asking buyers who attend home inspections to maintain proper social distancing and to wear masks when indoors. We are asking buyers not to attend home inspections in occupied homes as a courtesy to the people living there. Anything we can do remotely and by phone helps to keep everyone safer.
  • We’re here for you: Our inspectors and staff are happy to answer any questions you may have about our safety protocols and any other aspects of our home inspection process. As always, we’re here for you.

All of us at Hawley Home Inspections value our relationship with our clients and with you, their agents, and we appreciate your referrals. Please know that if there is anything we can do for you, we encourage you to let us know. We are here for you.

For more useful home maintenance tips and information visit us at:

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Why have a roof inspeciton

Why have a roof Inspection?

Why should I have a roof inspection?   Most of us take for granted that our roof will protect ourOur Inspectors are InterNACHI Certified to do roof inspection home and everyone in it. We don’t give it much thought until there’s a leak. By then, you might be facing serious and expensive issues including structural damage, saturated insulation, ruined family treasures, and even mold.

The life expectancy of a home’s roof is 15-30 years, depending on the roof type, materials used, climate and other factors. Small amounts of damage from wind or hail can build up over time, compromising the roof’s integrity. Inadequate maintenance and poor drainage can allow moisture infiltration and accelerate deterioration, drastically shortening the roof’s life. Continue reading “Why have a roof inspeciton”

Back Yard Family Fun

We’re all spending a lot more time at home with family this summer.  Make the most of all that together time by planning some fun and creative family activities.

Let’s face it, in this world of iPads, video games, cable TV, and smart phones, sometimes it’s hard to get kids and teens to even go outside.  Sometimes, you just run out of ideas for family fun.  So, here are a few suggestions that can be scaled up or down to engage the whole family.

Glow-in-the-dark bowling

You’ll need:

Continue reading “Back Yard Family Fun”

How to Clean Your Washing Machine

How to Clean Your Washing Machine

beleave it or not you need to clean your washing machine
You should clean your washing machine regularly

Have you neglected to clean your washing machine? It can seem counter-intuitive at first—this is the machine
that CLEANS things, so shouldn’t it, by definition, be clean?
Nope. Dirt and grime from all those dirty clothes don’t wash away entirely and eventually builds up in your machine, as well as hard water minerals and possibly
mold and mildew. So, then you are essentially washing clothes in dirty water. Yuck!
The good news is there is a cheap and easy fix. All you need is some white vinegar, bleach and your washers hot
water cycle. Exactly which way to approach the task depends on what type of machine you have.

Front Loading Washing Machines:
Run your machine on a hot cycle using about two cups of vinegar (add vinegar to the detergent dispenser or right in the tub). Vinegar is great for cleaning grime and soap scum.
Once the vinegar wash cycle is complete, do the same thing again using two cups of chlorine bleach and the hottest water setting. This time, when the wash cycle is done, run an extra rinse cycle to make sure all the bleach has been washed away.
Don’t forget to clean the rubber seal around the door! Wipe it down using a solution of ¼ cup bleach and about a quart of warm water. Wipe it down using a clean cloth as thoroughly as possible, then dry it with an absorbent cloth.

Top Loading Washing Machines:
Run the bleach clean first using about a quart of bleach. Fill with hot water and bleach, then let it soak for an hour or so to kill all the mold, mildew, and germs. Again, run a complete wash on the hottest water setting you have. No need to double rinse. Next, fill the washer with hot water and about a quart of vinegar. Again, let it soak for an hour. Then run it again using the hottest water setting.
Next Steps:
All machines will benefit from a simple wipe down with vinegar water. Be sure to get into the nooks and crannies, and don’t forget the inside of the door or lid!
If you can remove the soap, bleach and fabric softener dispensers, soak them in a sink or pail of soapy water for a few minutes. Clean each piece with a rag or brush. Rinse and dry them and put
them back.

Be sure to wipe down the outside of the machine with a damp cloth. Ta-da! Your washer is
sparkling!

Check out these tips for how to clean your dryer vent from Ace Hardware.

https://youtu.be/G30EMOn1Cq8

Keeping your laundry area clear of clutter

For more useful home maintenance information visit us at

www. HawleyHomeInspectionsLLC.com

or like us on Facebook   Hawley Home Inspections https://www.facebook.com/HawleyHomeInspections/

check us out at:

the Better Business Bureau                      http://www.bbb.org/stlouis/business-reviews/home-inspection-service/hawley-home-inspections-in-pocahontas-il-310486659

Mold is a common problem

Protect your home & family from mold

mold is a major health problem for some people
mold is a natural part of our life

Protecting your home & family from mold and other contaminants can be a daunting job.  Indoor air quality is a major concern as we spend a lot more time inside our homes these days. Even before pandemic worries had us all staying home, people in the U.S. spent about 70% of their lives inside their homes. This suggests that the condition of your home is a primary factor in your overall health. If your home has problems, your health may be suffering, too.

Of the 137 million homes in the United States, 12 million have problems with water leaks and four million have experienced mold problems within the last year.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency molds are part of the natural environment and can be found everywhere, indoors and outdoors. The EPA says it isn’t generally a problem unless it begins growing indoors. Unchecked, indoors it can damage a home’s structure, causing wood rot and ruined drywall. It can also cause significant health problems.

High indoor levels are associated with a wide range of health issues, including respiratory illnesses such as asthma. Chronic coughing and sneezing, irritation to the eyes, mucus membranes of the nose and throat, rashes, chronic fatigue, and persistent headaches can all be symptomatic of black mold exposure or black mold poisoning. The condition of a person’s housing is an important influence on their health.

It can be hard to identify mold problems because the source is often in isolated areas—behind walls, and in attics and crawl spaces. An indoor Air Quality Test can identify  these issues and allows us to make recommendations that will guard your family’s health and your home’s safety.

A professional test starts with a thorough inspection of your property. We will investigate any signs of past or present water intrusion which can promote mold growth. Testing allows us to record an accurate comparison. Swab testing is also available for visible microbial growth. Our inspectors are IAC2 Certified. That means they’re air quality experts.

If our inspectors do find mold in your home, there are ways to clean it up. The US EPA (https://www.epa.gov/mold/mold-cleanup-your-home) has plenty of helpful information on mold clean up, including when to do it yourself and when to call in professionals.

For more useful home maintenance information visit us at

www. HawleyHomeInspectionsLLC.com

or like us on Facebook   Hawley Home Inspections https://www.facebook.com/HawleyHomeInspections/

check us out at:

the Better Business Bureau                      http://www.bbb.org/stlouis/business-reviews/home-inspection-service/hawley-home-inspections-in-pocahontas-il-310486659

Home Inspection COVID-19 Update

Home Inspections COVID-19 Update

Hawley Home Inspections COVID-19
COVID-19 virus as it appears under an electron microscope

We are changing our approach to home inspections and COVID-19.  As the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe and in our communities, we are constantly re-evaluating our policies and procedures. We want to keep you up to date on changes in our practices aimed at protecting our clients, employees, realtors, sellers, and others involved in the home inspection process.

Continue reading “Home Inspection COVID-19 Update”