Over the past 12-14 months I have been getting an increasing amount of calls from homeowners asking for me to come inspect their home because they don’t feel well and are concerned that the cause is their living environment. It is often very difficult to determine the exact issue with each individual person, but there are common themes to these homes. Most of the time there are simple changes that can be made to make the environments more healthy.
Over the past several months I have taken part in a 14 section training program and have become a Certified Healthy Homes Inspector through InterNACHI. This training emphasizes common issues that unhealthy homes possess and the process in which to make significant changes to transition them into clean, safe environments.
People spend about 70% of their time in their homes and another 20% inside at work or at school. These numbers indicate that if you live in a home with unhealthy conditions your health is likely to suffer. A healthy home is Clean, Dry, and Safe.
Of the 137 Million homes in the United States:
- 22% have a defective Heating, Plumbing, or Electrical System
- 9% have issues with water leaks
- 3% have experienced mold problems within the last year
- 5% have serious roof damage
Poor housing conditions also include a poorly maintained exterior, the presence of pests and wood destroying organisms, and elevated levels of radon gas. These conditions are associated with a wide array of health issues including injuries due to accidents, respiratory illnesses such as asthma, lead paint poisoning or even cancer.
Another aspect to consider is advancements in building codes with regards to energy efficiency. For example, in years past, Wisconsin codes did not require as much insulation in attics. Not many years ago the minimum code requirement was only R24, this has since been updated to R49. The difference in levels can have a significant impact on the overall health of your home.
A couple years ago I inspected a home that had a 2 year old roof. When I entered the attic it was basically raining, (it was a cold winter day). At first I assumed that the ventilation system was poor but after a few minutes I realized that the ventilation was not the issue. There were many rotten areas of sheathing and significant moisture damage and mold present. What was the cause?? 3 inches of insulation…
This roof needed to be replaced due to the lack of insulation. At the time of roof replacement the contractor did not update the insulation levels. This is often not within the scope of work for a re-roof but the homeowner should be advised to update these levels to avoid this condition.
The good news is that these conditions are preventable and the first step is identifying the issues present within your home. A healthy home provides a safe environment for you and your family.
A healthy home is:
- Free from pests
- Free of contaminants
- Thermally controlled, And;
- Well Ventilated
At Zuehlke Inspections, we care about your health and have developed a specialized inspection for homeowners to identify areas of your home that may cause:
- Respiratory Illnesses
- Accidental Electrocution
- Fires, And;
- Mold growth
Our Healthy Homes Inspection Includes Radon Testing as well as Mold Testing to verify or identify if elevated levels are present. We are well versed in building science and find deficiencies in most homes we inspect. This type of inspection will also identify areas of deferred maintenance that may create a hazard in the future as well as other safety issues such as fire hazards, handrail deficiencies, electrical hazards, etc.
Schedule your Healthy Homes Inspection today on our scheduling page at: Book-an-inspection
As always, I hope you took some value from this post and if you have any home related questions, please let me know at the email address below.
Aaron M. Zuehlke is the owner and inspector at Zuehlke Inspection Service, LLC, a full-service home inspection company serving Southern Wisconsin. Specializing in Home inspection, Radon Testing, Mold Testing/inspection, Residential Thermal Imaging, and Manufactured Home Foundation Certifications. He also manages several rental properties through Zuehlke Properties, LLC. He can be reached by email at Aaron@Zuehlkeinspections.com or by calling the office at 608-931-7485.