Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Signs of MOLD!

Signs of Mold in House

Below are some common signs to watch out for that could indicate you have mold growing in your house.

Allergic Symptoms from Mold

If you are having a problem with allergies then there's a good chance there could be mold growing somewhere in your home. Common allergic reactions to mold include sneezing, sore eyes and a runny nose or nasal congestion.

Do you notice your allergic reactions are worse when you're at home but you feel better when you go out? If so then it's especially likely you could have mold. If you find that your allergies are worse in some other building, like your workplace, then there could be mold growing there instead.

Smelling a Mold Odor

When you have mold growing hidden away in your house, often a moldy smell might be the only clue that it's there. Don't ignore mold odors if you can't see any mold. You should thoroughly inspect your home before any mold problems get worse.

Seeing Signs of Mold Growth

Visible mold growth might seem like an obvious sign of mold. However many people don't notice small amounts of mold growth or they think it's just soot or dirt. Sometimes people simply ignore visible mold in their house.

If you can see mold growth, even if it's only small, you should take action immediately. Small mold patches can spread and the fact that there is any mold shows that the conditions in your home are right for mold to grow. 

If you don't take care of mold it will soon become a bigger problem. Visible mold growth could also be a sign that there is a much larger mold colony growing hidden away from view.

Sometimes you might not realize there is mold in your house, especially if it is unusual looking mold. Some mold growth looks white and thread-like. Other mold appears as clusters of small black spots. Mold can be black, gray-brown, gray-green or white in color. Mold growing behind wallpaper made of vinyl can even appear orange, pink or purple.

Signs of Water Problems

If you have had any long term moisture problems in your house it's usually inevitable they will lead to mold beginning to grow. So if you know you've had some water problems in your home then it's a pretty good sign you could have mold.

Some signs that you have a moisture problem include water stains or discoloration on walls, floors or ceilings in your house. Seeing these could be a clue that there is mold growing within or behind the material.

Another sign of a moisture problem is surface abnormalities like peeling, bubbling or cracking of the paint or wallpaper. If your walls are bowed, bulging or warped it probably means moisture has gotten into them. Another clue is if the surface of walls or other materials feel damp.

Water Leaks

Mold Signs
Mold from a leaking sink
The above signs of water problems in homes are usually created by leaks. However if you already know that you have had a water leak (such as leaking pipes or a leaking ceiling) then just that knowledge by itself, even if you don't see signs of water damage, is a good sign that you might have mold growing in your house around the area where the leak was.

Mold growth from leaks can often be hidden. If the leak was behind a wall or other surface then any mold will probably be hidden behind the surface too. Even if the leak was not behind a surface there could still be mold hidden out of view behind a wall or other surface from water which seeped through.

Toxic Symptoms from Mold

If you suffer neurological symptoms such as headaches, trouble concentrating, shortened attention span, memory loss and dizziness it could be a sign that there is toxic mold growing somewhere in your house which is poisoning you.

Mycotoxins from toxic molds such as Stachybotrys chartarum can have a mental effect on people much more severe than the allergic symptoms caused by other non-toxic molds.

Like with allergies, if toxic symptoms increase when you are in your home or in a certain building then it's very likely that mold is growing there. 

Reference: http://blackmold.awardspace.com/mold-signs.html

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dangerous Wire Warnings!

As reported by the National Fire Protection Association, fixed wiring is the second-leading cause of electrical-related house fires (lamps, light fixtures and lightbulbs are first). And while nearly all wiring hazards are theoretically preventable, the fact that you can’t see most of your house’s wiring means that many electrical hazards aren’t discovered until it’s too late. However, often there are warnings signs that something is amiss, and knowing the most common signs is an important safety lesson for any homeowner. Beyond knowing these, a professional electrical inspection is the best way to discover hidden wiring hazards in your home.
Frequent Circuit Trips
It’s perfectly normal to go years without having to reset a tripped breaker or replace a blown fuse. If you have a circuit that trips fairly often, there’s a good chance it’s overloaded (the power demands on the circuit exceed its safe capacity), or there could be a short or fault somewhere in the wiring run or on any devices connected to the circuit.
Dimming or Flickering Lights
Dimming lights is another common indication of circuit overload or improper wiring. Flickering lights can result from damaged fixture wiring (especially if it’s affecting just one of two or more fixtures on the same circuit), a problem with the switch or a fault somewhere. In older homes with 60-amp service panels (breaker boxes), underpowered fixtures and appliances may indicate that the household system is being overtaxed and should be upgraded.
Overrated Circuit
It’s not always easy to recognize this hazard, but if you’re in your service panel and see a 20-amp (or larger) breaker or fuse on a standard lighting/receptacle circuit, it could be that someone has “fixed” a trip-prone circuit by installing a larger breaker than the circuit wiring is designed for. Standard circuits are 15 amps and should have a 15-amp breaker; a 20-amp breaker will allow overloads without tripping, heating the circuit wires and possibly causing a fire. Note: 20-amp receptacle circuits are common in kitchens and garages, while 15 amps is standard for most other rooms.
Buzzing or Charred Outlets and Switches
Outlets (receptacles)and switches are never supposed to buzz, and their faces or coverplates should never be hot to the touch. These are clear warning signs, often indicating a faulty device, loose wiring inside the box or arching between the wire conductors and the device, box or coverplate. Charred devices should be inspected immediately, as well. It’s normal for most dimmer switches and coverplates to be warm, but they should not be hot.
“Live” Appliances
If touching an appliance body (or a cord plug or really anything that uses electricity) gives you a zing or even a mild buzzing sensation, unplug it and have it checked out, or chuck it. Same goes with buzzing light fixtures.
Smell Something Burning?
Even the faintest scent of overheated plastic can be a big warning sign. If you can’t find the source of a burning smell, whether it’s in a room or next to an appliance, assume that wiring is a possible culprit.
Damaged or Worn Insulation
Without completely intact insulation, electrical wiring is extremely dangerous. Frayed, cut or burned insulation on any wire is a serious hazard. Also, cable splices should always occur inside an approved junction box.
Funny Wiring
This is no joke, of course. Stories of DIYers using extension cords for circuit wiring are not apocrypha. It happens, and it’s the equivalent of using a garden hose for water-supply pipes. If you find inappropriate wiring anywhere in your house, assume the worst; it’s time for a complete inspection.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Have a great Memorial Day and Don't Forget the Reason!

Air Conditioning Maintence

Air Conditioning Maintenance

 Maintain your equipment to prevent future problems and unwanted costs. Keep your cooling and heating system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual pre-season check-ups. Contractors get busy once summer and winter come, so it's best to check the cooling system in the spring and the heating system in the fall. To remember, you might plan the check-ups around the time changes in the spring and fall. 

A typical maintenance check-up should include the following.
·         Check thermostat settings to ensure the cooling and heating system keeps you comfortable when you are home and saves energy while you are away.
·         Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause unsafe operation of your system and reduce the life of major components.
·         Lubricate all moving parts. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction in motors and increases the amount of electricity you use.
·         Check and inspect the condensate drain in your central air conditioner, furnace and/or heat pump (when in cooling mode). A plugged drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels.
·         Check controls of the system to ensure proper and safe operation. Check the starting cycle of the equipment to assure the system starts, operates, and shuts off properly.
Cooling Specific
·         Clean evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils. Dirty coils reduce the system's ability to cool your home and cause the system to run longer, increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
·         Check your central air conditioner's refrigerant level and adjust if necessary. Too much or too little refrigerant will make your system less efficient increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
·         Clean and adjust blower components to provide proper system airflow for greater comfort levels. Airflow problems can reduce your system's efficiency by up to 15 percent.
Heating Specific
·         Check all gas (or oil) connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger. Improperly operating gas (or oil) connections are a fire hazard and can contribute to health problems. A dirty burner or cracked heat exchanger causes improper burner operation. Either can cause the equipment to operate less safely and efficiently.
Actions To Do Yourself
·         Inspect, clean, or change air filters once a month in your central air conditioner, furnace, and/or heat pump. Your contractor can show you how to do this. A dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your equipment, leading to early failure.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pool Safety

Summer is quickly approaching, and that means it’s time to open the pool for the season and start swimming! Swimming is one of our all-time favorite hot weather activities, but it’s important to always be safe while having fun in the pool. The first thing to remember when it comes to swimming is to know the safety rules of the pool.
1.      Make sure there is a fence surrounding the pool.
2.      Be sure to install self-closing and self-latching gates on the fence.
3.      Install door, gate and/or pool alarms, so you know if someone sneaks in to use the pool.
4.      Be sure to install anti-entrapment drain covers. Drain entrapment's can occur when swimmer’s hair, clothes, or body become stuck in a drain or grate within pools. By installing federally-compliant drain covers, you can prevent entrapment's within your pool.
5.      Ensure that someone living in your home knows CPR, first aid and how to respond in emergency situations.
6.      Have your pool inspected by Houston Inspections, trained and qualified inspectors.
7.      Make sure EVERYONE in your household knows how to swim!

Call Houston Inspections today at (713) 408-1129 for more information about pool safety, and how to make sure you’re ready for the season!


Friday, March 29, 2013

Termite Season

Did you know there is a single type of insect that causes billions of dollars in damage each year? 

The same insect is also the most destructive insect of wood in the USA.

This insect, in large groups, can have a severe impact on your home.

You’re probably wondering what this horrid insect is, and what can be done to keep it away from your home. Well, keep reading…

The Answer: Subterranean Termites

Termite Season

Unfortunately, termites live everywhere! Two major types of subterranean termites are the native subterranean termite, and Formosan subterranean termite. The native subterranean termites are widely distributed, while the Formosan subterranean termites travel well! They can hitch rides on timbers, wooden pallets, and mulch. 

Subterranean termites live in colonies, they’re social insects. Their homes are in the soil. After a subterranean termite colony is mature, about 2-4 years, they produce swarmers. Swarmers are winged primary reproductives. During the spring and early summer swarmers leave the colony. Heat, light and moisture can trigger the swarmers to leave the colony. Once they’ve left the colony they find partners, mate, and begin the entire cycle again. 


  1.  When building a structure make sure the soil grade slopes away from the structure, in all directions.
  2.  Deny termites' access to shelter, moisture and wood, which equals termite food.
  3. Since termites live in the soil, try to eliminate wood to soil contact.  For example, instead of placing fence posts in the soil, place them on bricks or concrete.
  4. Pressure treat wood that is exposed to rain.     


  1.  Call us! You will want a professional to inspect your home for termites. We will do the following:   
               a.    Examine the foundation of the building, i.e: your house, garage, shed, etc.
               b.   Check gutters and roof eaves
               c.   Check the areas around fences, outdoor stairs, etc.
               d.    Check wooden areas around pools.
               e.    Check wooden floors, for cracks or raised areas.

Call Houston Inspections, and we can schedule a time to come to your home and complete a termite inspection!