Home Inspection Company in Lee, New Hampshire
Wood Destroying Insects:
Wood destroying insects & organisms can do just that, destroy a home. While not generally a health issue, it is environmental. There are three common insects that do not know the difference between a house and a tree. Carpenter ants, Termites and Powder Post Beetles will all do damage to a home. There is also a Carpenter bee, while rare, I have seen them in a few homes over the years. The other destroyer is a wood destroying fungus. While moisture plays a key role in making things comfortable for these buggers, any home can be prone to their activity. We are looking for any sort of damage to a home, past or present activity, to include as part of the inspection report.
Lead based paint may be present in homes built before 1978. Generally, if the lead-based paint is in good condition, not cracking or peeling, it is not a hazard. If the condition is hazardous, such as when peeling or cracking, the paint will either need to be removed or sealed in such a manner as to eliminate the hazard. It is always safer to assume there is lead paint in older homes. So, take precautions when sanding or cutting through painted surfaces, such as wearing a mask, gloves, and protective clothing.
An increasing concern with Lead paint, is Lead dust created from window and door jams rubbing against each other. There has been a rise in the amount of Lead in children's blood tests (e.g., in Manchester, NH). Updating door frames, windows, and other high use areas where Lead paint was applied can protect you from exposure. At the very least, keeping all surfaces clean and free of dust and paint chips can protect occupants.
Ultimately, De-leading a house is an option. The State of New Hampshire has great information and support for homeowners to address Lead issues in their homes. Homeowners are allowed to remove Lead paint; however, you should still take the classes to be certified. As you could be fined by the State and the EPA if found to be removing Lead improperly from your home.
Mildew and Mold is understandably a big concern to people. Many stories are out there about homes that had to be torn apart because of severe mold issues. It is important to understand that mold is everywhere. It is listed in weather reports right along with the pollen count. So, getting a positive reading for mold in your house just means you are on planet Earth. What's important to know is if you have a moisture problem that can allow mold to grow and spread.
No one can stick their head in an attic or walk into a basement and say, "you have a mold problem". I consider that unprofessional. I would say you have a moisture problem that needs to be addressed. Mold or mildew would be part of the cleanup to any damaged areas caused by the moisture (such as drywall). If you do not correct the water problem, your mildew and mold will just become active again.
If there are signs of mildew and or mold, you must address the water issue, then you can have severely affected areas cleaned up. An example of why this makes sense would be with Well water testing. There is a test result for coliform bacteria. It is described as any colonizing bacteria. No one ever asked, "But what kind of bacteria?". It didn't matter. You would have the Well shocked to correct the problem. For that reason, I never suggest a mold test. It doesn't matter what kind of mold you have, you have a moisture problem, fix it!
Beginning January 2016, in the State of NH, a homeowner is now required to hire a 3rd party mold inspector to do a full assessment for the homeowner. A separate company must do the remediation. Visit the New Hampshire Sate web site for more details. http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/index/default.aspx
Asbestos is a tiny fiber that was used in the past primarily as insulation. It was also added to some building materials to provide added strength and flame resistance. The problem with asbestos is that it has been shown to cause lung cancer and mesothelioma in individuals that were exposed to large amounts of free-floating asbestos fibers in the air. These conditions typically did not become apparent until around 30 years after the exposure. Because of the health hazards of asbestos fibers, its use in insulation and paint was banned in the 1970’s. You can also go to the following web site for additional health information www.pleuralmesothelioma.com
What you need to know about asbestos
Asbestos was thought to have been banned in the late 1970's. However, it was overturned without much announcement. It is still legal to use Asbestos and it is present in many more building products than you would think. Even as recent as the early 2000's, the EPA has found Asbestos in several products.
Renovations or demolitions of materials containing asbestos can release the fibers into the air. Therefore, the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) requires the owner of any property containing asbestos building materials to get an asbestos inspection prior to any demolitions or renovations of that property.
How can asbestos be removed?
Homeowners are permitted to remove Asbestos from their homes. However, they cannot dispose of it. It must be placed in marked containers and collected by a certified company. And there are other limits, such as not being permitted to remove Asbestos 6 months before selling a home. Or transferring Asbestos to another location, even if you own both. Please review the State of NH requirements before attempting to remove Asbestos on your own. Even then, it is only suggested if you are removing small amounts still left behind. Due to health risks, larger projects should still be done by professionals.
How do I know if my home contains asbestos?
Asbestos can only be detected by a special microscope. This requires a sample to be taken to a lab. However very often old components such as steam heat insulation, air duct wraps, exterior siding, roofing shingles and even floor tiles are known to have asbestos.
In most cases I can clearly identify those components. As with any remodeling, repair or construction project in an older home (I can't believe I am saying a 1970's home is an older home), be careful and use a mask, protective eye wear and clothing.