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What Is Radon Gas?

Michigan Radon Gas Map

Did You Know?

Radon Entering a HomeRadon is an invisible gas that is found in the earth’s crust. We breathe in radon gas every single day, and most people don’t even realize how dangerous it is. Radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, and the number one cause of lung cancer for non-smokers.  And that 2,600 more people in the United States die from Radon gas than from drunk drivers?

Why Getting a Radon Gas Test is Important Why Getting a Radon Inspection Is So Important:

With radon being an invisible gas, getting a radon gas test for your home, for your potential new home if you are in the process of purchasing a house is the only way to test for radon gas. Getting a radon inspection is even more important if you have children in your home. According to the chart to the left, it is 10 times more dangerous for children to be exposed to radon than adults. Children aspire 2-3 times faster than adults since their lungs are smaller, and since their lungs are still developing their lungs are more susceptible to being exposed to DNA damage.

Highest Areas For Radon in Michigan:

Michigan Radon Gas MapAccording to RadonMap.com, the South Western part of Michigan (The Metropolitan Area) has some of the highest cases of radon in Michigan. These levels are the highest in cities such as: Hamburg, Ann Arbor, Livonia, Plymouth, Novi, Wayne-Westland, Farmington Hills, and many more highly populated cities in Michigan. Radon is especially important to test in homes that have basements, since the radon from the soil can leak into the walls of the basement of the home.

How Trademark Home Inspection, LLC Tests For Radon:

We use state of the art continuous radon monitors that we set up for our clients in the lowest livable area. We monitor the radon levels in the home for a full 48-hours for real estate transactions to provide the most accurate readings of radon levels in your current, or potential new home. After the 48-hours is over, we then collect the data from the radon monitor, and it creates a radon report with radon reading levels for each hour the monitor is in the home. The report will show if you if the radon levels are higher or lower than EPA guidelines, radon mitigation is suggested is the reading is higher than 4.0pCi/l’s.

Radon Gas Test Results

Radon Mitigation:

Radon mitigation generally involves reducing the amount of radon that builds up within the home. Radon leaks out of the ground and would normally simply drift harmlessly up into the atmosphere in very low concentrations. When it enters your home, however, it is caught by the roof (especially if you have the kind of insulation needed for (Michigan winters) and builds up. Radon mitigation takes several forms. One of the most effective is active soil depressurization. This is a system which pulls gas that comes out of the soil out from under your house and exhausts it away from the building or through a vent on the roof.


If your home does not have a crawlspace. Then a gas permeable layer under a plastic sheet can also be used to prevent radon gas coming into the home. It is recommended that below-grade openings be properly sealed and caulked. Some new homes are constructed with radon-resistant materials and systems already in place. If you are buying a new home then ask what the builder is doing to mitigate radon.

We Offer A Radon Protection Plan For Home Buyers:

 

Radon Protection PlanThrough Residential Warranty Services, Inc, we offer a protection plan, in case the levels of Radon in your home are above EPA guidelines. Covered Repairs: Beginning the day of the radon test and extending for a period  of  120  days  thereafter,  RWS  guarantees  your  radon  levels  to  be  under  4.0  PCi/L  (200  Bq/m  in  Canada).  If at any time during that 120 day period (or an  extension  period  as  defined  below)  another  test  is  performed  by  a  duly  licensed  professional  and  the  levels  come  back  at  4.0  PCi/L  or  higher  (200  Bq/m  in  Canada),  RWS  will  pay  the  cost  of  mitigation  up  to  $1200 and after a deductible of $250 is met.When  a  second  test  is  performed,  RWS  reserves  the  right to perform an additional test to confirm the validity of such results at its own expense.  Such a test will be either a CRM (Continuous Radon Monitor) or an Alpha Track  long  term  test,  the  results  of  which  will  be  accepted by all parties.

Radon is a very real health risk. Fortunately, it is also easy to deal with. However, you may not want to have to deal with the inconvenience and expense of installing radon mitigation systems in your new home. As a result, it is desirable to test radon levels before signing any kind of contract on a new house. Especially in areas where radon levels are historically high.

FREE Roof Protection Plan

5 Year Roof Protection Plan

FREE Roof Protection Plan

Are You Worried About The Condition Of The Roof On The New Home?

Who am I kidding, we live in Michigan.. of course you are worried about the condition of your new roof! Rain, high winds, hail, snow, sleet, and ice are all weather issues that could damage your roof by living in Michigan. Michigan’s lovely four seasons are great for changing up the mundane, but bad for the structure of our home’s. But with Trademark Home Inspection,LLC Home Buyers Receive a FREE Roof Protection Plan. We can help you breathe a little easier when buying your new home. 

How Michigan Weather Can Affect Your Roofing and Shingles.

We all know that high winds can affect your roof by the obvious ways of blowing the shingles off your roof and leaving the underlayment exposed which can lead to a leak, but did you know how else Michigan weather can affect your roofing? 

moss growing on a roofSleet: Sleet can build up on your roof and cause ice dams, and as the weather warms up, the ice will melt and possibly leak into your attic if there is exposed underlayment. Leaking attics we all know could result in mold. 

Snow: Living in Michigan, we all know how heavy snow can get as it piles up. This is no different on your roofs. As snow piles up on your roof, the weight from the snow can cause the roof to collapse if there are weak spots in the structure of the roof itself.

Hail: Hail impacts on your roofing may not appear until months after a hail storm actually hits your roof. These latent issues may cause early aging of your singles, and might be something most homeowners wouldn’t even think about.

Rain: Heavy rain storms will wear away the shingles overtime and will do so faster in the spots of the roof that are higher, because those are being hit first by the rain. The moisture issues that heavy rain cause will compromise the structural integrity of the roof, and the home over time. 

Types of Roofing Materials

Different Types of Roofing Material: There are a few kinds of roofing materials that can be used when covering your home. Each material is only made to last so long before it starts to deteriorate. See the diagram courtesy of Gold Key Roofing which shows you roofing materials at a glance.

At your home inspection with Trademark Home Inspection, LLC  your InterNACHI® trained inspector will also help you by giving you a rough estimate of how many more years they think your roof has left of life, as well as any damages that they see in your roof during their inspection.

Trademark Home Inspection, LLC Covers Buyers With a FREE 5 Year Roof Protection Plan

We know that most people fear costly surprises when purchasing a property, with our detailed inspection and environmental testing services, Trademark Home Inspection, LLC will provide you the information you need to purchase any property with confidence. 

Trademark Home Inspection,LLC takes pride in treating our customers with the same care we would show to our own family. We go above and beyond at every inspection, and we are confident that any of our inspectors will catch the costly damages that are in your new home.

Damages from leaks in your roof could result in a massively expensive repair costing anywhere from  $6,550 – $11,900, and that isn’t including the cost of mold remediation. With Trademark Home Inspection,LLC offering a Platinum Roof Protection Plan with their home inspections, we can help you cut that cost down by the thousands. Just like with a warranty on a car, our warranties and protection plan’s cover the more costly issues by our customers only needing to pay a portion of the repair with a small deductible.

You are spending enough money purchasing your new home, between closing costs, Real Estate Agent Fees, and moving, Trademark Home Inspection, LLC  wants to make sure you don’t have to spend more money than you have to. Offering our warranties and protection plan’s to our buyers  help cut out the added stress of finding out latent defects when it’s too late in the home purchasing process. 

At the time of the inspection, if your roof is found leak free, those spots will be covered under the Platinum Roof Plan for FIVE YEARS! So, rest assured that you won’t have to worry about any new leaks in your new home.

Platinum Roof Protection Plan is a product of and serviced by Residential Warranty Services.

Protect Your Your New Homes Main Sewer Line With Sewer|Gard

Sewer|Gard Protection for New Home Buyers

Protect Your Your New Homes Main Sewer Line With Sewer|Gard

Trademark Home Inspection uses sewer camerasTrademark Home Inspection, LLC Protects Buyers With a FREE Sewer|Gard Warranty!

Trademark Home Inspection, LLC offers Sewer Scope Inspections for Home Owners, and Home Buyers. We can perform a lateral line sewer scope on your main sewer line. We will provide you with a written report as well as a link to the video within 24hours of the sewer scope inspection.

The sewer line from the house to the street is their responsibility

Many homeowners and buyers alike don’t know that the sewer line from the house to the street is their responsibility. That is why getting a sewer scope inspection is so important! Sewer lines can be a very costly expense to repair for homeowners if not caught in time. And what a horrible feeling it would be for a new homeowner to purchase their dream home just to have thousands of dollars flushed down the toilet having to repair a sewer line they didn’t know had any issues.

Sewer|Gard Warranty

When you purchase a Home Inspection with us, your Sewer|Gard Warranty will cover you for 90 days after your inspection, or 22 days after you reach the closer table, whichever of the two comes later. But, when you purchase a video sewer scope from Trademark Home Inspection, LLC you are protected with a FREE Sewer|Gard Warranty that covers you for an extended period of 6 months after the Inspection, or 22 days after closing, whichever comes later. Not only will purchasing a video sewer scope with us allow you to see the condition of the sewer earlier, but it also comes with that amazing warranty to let you breathe easier.

Sewer Line Tree Root BlockageMost Common Sewer Issues

There are numerous reasons that your sewer line could be faulty, but the most common reasons for issues are: having a collapsed pipe, having a cracked or broken pipe, having an offset pipe, having a root obstruction from a tree in either your yard, or a neighbors yard, having a low belly area in the pipe, and/or have a burst leaking pipe. The picture on the right shows you the different types of issues explained.

New Constructions are not exempt

If you think you are safe from needing a sewer scope when purchasing a newly constructed home, think again. There are issues that can arise when constructing a home that could affect your sewer line as well. Construction debris such as drywall mud and small pieces of wood can get put down drain lines, lines can become separated during the back-filling of the trench in which they were placed, and bellies can occur due to reckless back filling of the sewer line trench. Don’t skip out on a sewer scope just because you think you’re purchasing a newly built house!

Homeowners Regular Maintenance

If you are a homeowner, you should get a sewer scope inspection done at least every five years as part of regular maintenance done to your home. It would save you thousands if you caught an issue early on, and it only was a minor repair as opposed to letting your line go and not realizing there was an issue until the pipe cracks or bursts down the road. If you are thinking of selling your home in the near future, having a sewer scope inspection done before listing would be a good idea also, so you can fix any minor repairs before listing your home. It would show a good rapport to sellers looking at your home when they come to make an offer and you can present them with an inspection report for the home and sewer alike.

Tree Root Blockage

Sewer Line BlockageIf you, or your neighbor have a tree in your yard, it is especially important to get a sewer scope inspection done to see if your line is clogged from tree roots, leaves, and debris. Root blockage can cause slow draining in the sinks, backed up toilets, and cracked pipes. The earlier you detect root obstruction in your pipes, the cheaper it will be to take care of. When you get routine sewer scope inspections with us, you will be able to save money by detecting it early enough.

Trademark Home Inspection Guarantee

Buying and selling a home is already a stressful time, using us for a sewer scope inspection will take a lot of the less off you knowing that you are covered by our Free Sewer|Gard Warranty. Most people fear costly surprises when purchasing a property. Trademark Home Inspection, LLC will provide you the information you need to purchase any property with confidence.

Sewer|Gard is a product of and serviced by Residential Warranty Services.

Air Sampling for Mold Inspections

air sampling for mold inspections

Air Sampling for Mold Inspections

by Nick Gromicko, CMI® and Ethan Ward

air sampling for mold inspectionsTaking air samples during a mold inspection is important for several reasons.  Mold spores are not visible to the naked eye, and the types of mold present can often be determined through laboratory analysis of the air samples.  Having samples analyzed can also help provide evidence of the scope and severity of a mold problem, as well as aid in assessing human exposure to mold spores.  After remediation, new samples are typically taken to help ensure that all mold has been successfully removed.

Air samples can be used to gather data about mold spores present in the interior of a house. These samples are taken by using a pump that forces air through a collection device which catches mold spores. The sample is then sent off to a laboratory to be analyzed. InterNACHI inspectors who perform mold inspections often utilize air sampling to collect data, which has become commonplace.

Air-Sampling Devices

There are several types of devices used to collect air samples that can be analyzed for mold. Some common examples include:

  • impaction samplers that use a calibrated air pump to impact spores onto a prepared microscope slide;
  • cassette samplers, which may be of the disposable or one-time-use type, and also employ forced air to impact spores onto a collection media; and
  • airborne-particle collectors that trap spores directly on a culture dish.  These may be utilized to identify the species of mold that has been found.

 

When and When Not to Sample

Samples are generally best taken if visual, non-invasive examination reveals apparent mold growth or conditions that could lead to growth, such as moisture intrusion or water damage. Musty odors can also be a sign of mold growth. If no sign of mold or potential for mold is apparent, one or two indoor air samples can still be taken, at the discretion of the inspector and client, in the most lived-in room of the house and at the HVAC unit.

Outdoor air samples are also typically taken as a control for comparison to indoor samples. Two samples — one from the windward side and one from the leeward side of the house — will help provide a more complete picture of what is in the air that may be entering the house through windows and doors at times when they are open. It is best to take the outdoor samples as close together in time as possible to the indoor samples that they will be compared with.

InterNACHI inspectors should avoid taking samples if a resident of the house is under a physician’s care for mold exposure, if there is litigation in progress related to mold on the premises, or if the inspector’s health or safety could be compromised in obtaining the sample. Residential home inspectors also should not take samples in a commercial or public building.

Where to Sample and Ideal Conditions

In any areas of a house suspected or confirmed to have mold growth, air samples can be taken to help verify and gather more information. Moisture intrusion, water damage, musty odors, apparent mold growth, or conditions conducive to mold growth are all common reasons to gather an air sample. Samples should be taken near the center of the room, with the collection device positioned 3 to 6 feet off the ground.

environmental_air_quality_testing_equipmentTen minutes is an adequate amount of time for the air pump to run while taking samples, but this can be reduced to around five minutes if there is a concern that air movement from a lot of indoor activity could alter the results. The sampling time can be reduced further if there is an active source of dust, such as from ongoing construction.

Sampling should take place in livable spaces within the house under closed conditions in order to help stabilize the air and allow for reproducibility of the sampling and measurement. While the sample is being collected, windows and exterior doors should be kept shut other than for normal entry and exit from the home. It is best to have air exchangers (other than a furnace) or fans that exchange indoor-outdoor air switched off during sampling.

Weather conditions can be an important factor in gathering accurate data. Severe thunderstorms or unusually high winds can affect the sampling and analysis results. High winds or rapid changes in barometric pressure increase the difference in air pressure between the interior and exterior, which can increase the variability of airborne mold-spore concentration. Large differences in air pressure between the interior and exterior can cause more airborne spores to be sucked inside, skewing the results of the sample.

Difficulties and Practicality of Air Sampling

mold-spore-chainIt is helpful to think of air sampling as just one tool in the tool belt when inspecting a house for mold problems. An air sample alone is not enough to confirm or refute the existence of a problem, and such testing needs to be accompanied by visual inspection and other methods of data collection, such as a surface sample. Indoor airborne spore levels can vary according to several factors, and this can lead to skewed results if care is not taken to set up the sampling correctly. Also, since only spores are collected with an air sample and may actually be damaged during collection, identification of the mold type can be more difficult than with a sample collected with tape or a cultured sample.

Air samples are good for use as a background screen to ensure that there isn’t a large source of mold not yet found somewhere in a home. This is because they can detect long chains of spores that are still intact. These chains normally break apart quickly as they travel through the air, so a sample that reveals intact chains can indicate that there is mold nearby, possibly undiscovered during other tests and visual examination.

In summary, when taken under controlled conditions and properly analyzed, air samples for mold are helpful in comparing relative particle levels between a problem and a control area. They can also be crucial for comparing particle levels and air quality in an area before and after mold remediation.

What Every Home Buyer Should Know About Radon Gas

Canton, MI Radon Testing

What Every Home Buyer Should Know About Radon Gas

Canton, MI Radon TestingRadon Gas – What You Should Know

If you are buying a home – or even if you aren’t – you might have heard of radon gas and that it is a possible hazard. What should you know about radon?

What Is Radon?

Radon is a colorless and odorless gas that is radioactive. It is naturally occurring and, under normal conditions, very easy to inhale. Radon has a very short half-life (3.8 days at the most) but is still common enough to be a health hazard in some areas. The EPA considers radon to be a significant hazard to human health.

How Dangerous Is Radon?

Radon contributes to radiation exposure and is almost as high a cause of lung cancer as cigarette smoking (causing 21,000 deaths from lung cancer in the United States). The vast majority of those also smoke, and the combination gives the highest risk, but radon is the number one cause among non-smokers. Radon may also slightly increase one’s risk of other cancers. Radon exposure has no immediate symptoms and the effects may take years to show up.

How Much Radon Is There In the Ann Arbor/Livonia/Plymouth Area?

Wayne County is a relatively low radon area, with 61% of homes tested showing levels of under 2 pCi/L. However, there are some homes with considerably higher levels and about 17% have levels that would be considered hazardous. Therefore, it is very important to check the radon levels in your home or a home you are considering buying.

Should I Get A Radon Test?

Yes. A radon test is the only way to know a specific home’s levels for sure. If you’re buying a home, ask your home inspector for a radon test.. Testing is inexpensive, consider repeating the test. It may be worth it as buying a home with elevated radon levels but no mitigation in place is both dangerous and expensive. The Michigan Indoor Radon Program has more information on testing and other resources.

We don’t recommend using a DIY home radon test kit, as there are many variables that can skew results. Professionals that do this everyday know how to set up the machines and perform a test to get accurate results.

If the home already has radon mitigation systems in place you should still consider getting a test to make sure they are working effectively.

Mitigating Radon Gas

Radon mitigation generally involves reducing the amount of radon that builds up within the home. Radon leaks out of the ground and would normally simply drift harmlessly up into the atmosphere in very low concentrations. When it enters your home, however, it is caught by the roof (especially if you have the kind of insulation needed for (Michigan winters) and builds up. Radon mitigation takes several forms. One of the most effective is active soil depressurization. This is a system which pulls gas that comes out of the soil out from under your house and exhausts it away from the building or through a vent on the roof.

If your home does not have a crawlspace. Then a gas permeable layer under a plastic sheet can also be used to prevent radon gas coming into the home. It is recommend that below-grade openings be properly sealed and caulked. Some new homes are constructed with radon-resistant materials and systems already in place. If you are buying a new home then ask what the builder is doing to mitigate radon.

Radon is a very real health risk. Fortunately, it is also easy to deal with. However, you may not want to have to deal with the inconvenience and expense of installing radon mitigation systems in your new home. As a result, it is desirable to test radon levels before signing any kind of contract on a new house. Especially in areas where radon levels are historically high. If you want a professional radon test done on your new (or existing) home, then Contact Trademark Home Inspection for details. We will also be able to recommend appropriate mitigation if needed.

How to Prevent Cold Weather Damage to Your Home This Winter

Ice Dam On a Slate Roof

How to Prevent Cold Weather Damage to Your Home This Winter

Prevent Cold Weather Damage to Your Home

Water damage during cold months can occur from many sources such as pipes freezing, ice dams, and groundwater to name a few. So, what do you do to Prevent Cold Weather Damage to Your Home?

Winterization

Make sure all outside hose spigots are winterized, this should be done before the temperatures go below freezing. Turn off the water supply to the spigots and then open them to drain any excess water.

Insulating

Insulate any water supply lines that are located on exterior walls of your home or in areas that are prone to freeze such as a crawlspace. Water supply lines located in these areas more likely to freeze and rupture. Sometimes insulating these lines is not enough to prevent them from freezing. If that is the case, you may need to wrap them with heat tape. Also, you can always leave faucets with a slight drip to keep water moving and help prevent the water supply lines from freezing.

Ice Dams

Severe Ice Dam, Prevent Cold Weather Damage to Your Home

Ice Dams form around the eaves of roofs when snow melts at the top of the roof faster than around the bottom. This causes the freshly melted snow, now water to get trapped at the bottom eve of the roof and refreezes. This process keeps repeating itself until an ice dam forms. The key to preventing ice dams is to make sure your attic is properly insulated and ventilated. In cases where insulation and ventilation are unable to be properly installed you can install heating cable around the eve to keep ice dams at bay.

When melting occurs around you home it can lead to excess ground water coming into your crawlspace or basement typically through what is called hydrostatic pressure. To help ensure this doesn’t happen to your home there are a few steps you can take.

Preventing Ice Dams

  • Always make sure the grading of your home slopes away from the structure. This includes the ground, cement, patios, decks, and porches.
  • Make sure your gutters and downspouts are properly functioning. Gutters should slope towards the downspouts. Downspouts should be extended 6 feet away from your foundation. The entire gutter system should be kept clean and free flowing.
  • Test your sump pump regularly to ensure it is working. It is also important to make sure the sump pump discharge line is located far enough away from your home to make sure the water won’t just re-enter. Lastly, it is a worth installing a backup system on your sump pump. These come in a variety of types such as a water backup systems or a battery backup system.

These are just a few tips to help prevent water damage to your home during the winter months. Remember water is the number one destroyer of a home and a little preventative maintenance now can prevent major expenses later.