Holiday Safety
This is a special time of year and the Saginaw Fire Department wants everyone to enjoy safe and accident free holidays. We would like to remind you to check all smoke alarm devices, install carbon monoxide detectors in homes utilizing natural gas, have chimneys, fireplaces and central heating units inspected by professionals. Have a home escape plan and practice it with your family. Doing these things and exercising common sense will help ensure your holiday season doesn’t result in a tragedy.

Indoor air quality is generally worse than most people believe, but there are things you can do about it.

Some Quick Facts:
Indoor air quality can be worse than that of outdoor air.
Problems can arise from moisture, insects, pets, appliances, radon, materials used in household products and furnishings, smoke, and other sources....
Effects range from minor annoyances to major health risks.
Remedies include ventilation, cleaning, moisture control, inspections, and following manufacturers' directions when using appliances and products.

Many homes are built or remodeled more tightly, without regard to the factors that assure fresh and healthy indoor air circulation. Many homes today also contain furnishings, appliances and products that can affect indoor air quality.

Signs of indoor air quality problems include:
unusual and noticeable odors;
stale or stuffy air and a noticeable lack of air movement;
dirty or faulty central heating or air-conditioning equipment;
damaged flue pipes and chimneys;
unvented combustion air sources for fossil-fuel appliances;
excessive humidity;
the presence of molds and mildew;
adverse health reactions after remodeling, weatherizing, bringing in new furniture, using household and hobby products; and
feeling noticeably healthier outside.

Tips for Homeowners
• Ask about formaldehyde content before buying furniture, cabinets and draperies.
• Promptly clean and dry water-damaged carpet, or remove it altogether.
• Vacuum regularly, especially if you have pets, and consider using area rugs instead of wall-to-wall carpeting. Rugs are easier to remove and clean, and the floor underneath can also be easily cleaned.
• Eliminate unwanted moisture intrusion by checking for sources (such as holes and cracks in the basement and other areas, and leaks from appliances), and by using a dehumidifier.
• Open windows and use fans to maintain fresh air with natural and mechanical air circulation.
• Always open the flue damper before using the fireplace. This will also prevent carbon-monoxide poisoning.
• If your air conditioner has a water tray, empty and clean it often during the cooling season.
• If you smoke, smoke outdoors and away from any windows and doors.
• Use the range vent above your stove whenever you cook.
• Use the bathroom vent whenever you use the bathroom.
• Don’t leave vehicles or lawn care equipment running in your garage. Make sure the door leading from the home to the garage has a door sweep to help keep out vapors.

Your inspector can recommend more ways to help you maintain healthy indoor air quality for you and your family.

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Posts Worried your foundation is failing. Check out this link for more information on what to look for and how a Home Inspector can help.

Foundation walls can fail. The role of a home inspector is to identify cracks, movement or both, and then to determine whether additional evaluation is required. In some cases, the cracks are clearly trivial—shrinkage cracks, for example. In other cases, the cracks may represent significant risk to…

Home maintenance checklist

Remember these 5 important tips for summer / fall maintenance of your home.

1. Clean debris from gutters and downspouts ...
Cleaning debris from gutters and downspouts will go a long way to help prevent flooding and ice damning. People often think they only have to clean the gutters in the fall to get the leaves out. But actually, other objects can get caught in the gutters such as balls or bird's nests.When that happens, the rain water overflows alongside the foundation which can seep into the basement or lower level of the house and create a flooding situation. If the gutters are clogged in the winter ice inside the gutters can melt during the day freeze and then expanded night to go underneath the shingles which can cause ice damning. That can lead to expensive repairs which can lead mold removal.

2.Be sure downspouts are discharging away from foundation.
Be sure downspouts are discharging away from foundation so that water flows away from the foundation. This too will help prevent flooding in the lower levels of the house. Be sure that the downspouts are not bent. Sometimes people can step on them which will cause them to get blocked.

3. Clean outside A/C unit
Clean the outside A/C unit. Simply spray the cooling fins with a garden hose to get dirt and debris out. Be careful not to bend the fins because they are very delicate. Also, keep foliage away from the outside unit.

4. Change furnace filter
Replace the furnace filter regularly. That will help move the air freely and help prevent your air-conditioner from working too hard.

5. Prune foliage touching house and A/C unit
Prune foliage touching the house. That will keep insects and animals from having easy access to your house and prevent wear and tear to the siding. You should have enough room to walk between the foliage and your house without touching either.

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Newer homes may still have asbestos - containing “popcorn” ceilings. Learn how to test for popcorn ceiling asbestos and what to do if you find it.
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Garage Door Safety

The garage door is the largest moving object in a house. Its parts are under high tension. All repairs and adjustments should be performed by a trained garage door systems technician. To find a technician, visit the International Door Association website. If the garage door appears inoperable or out of plumb, do not attempt to operate the garage door opener. If the door appears plumb, you can perform some basic testing to ensure that your garage door i...s operating as it should.

Photo-Electric Eyes

Federal law states that residential garage door openers manufactured after 1992 must be equipped with photo-electric eyes or some other safety-reverse feature. If the garage door has an opener, check to see if photo-electric eyes are installed. They should be near the floor, mounted to the left and right sides of the bottom door panel. The beam of the photo-electric eyes should not be higher than 6 inches above the floor.

Non-Contact Reversal Test

This check applies to door systems that are equipped with photo-electric eyes. Standing inside the garage and safely away from the path of the door, use the remote control or wall button to close the door. As the door is closing, wave an object in the path of the photo-electric eye beam. The door should immediately reverse and return to the fully-open position.

Contact Reversal Test

This check applies to doors with openers when the opener’s force setting has been properly set, and when the opener reinforcement bracket is securely and appropriately attached to the door’s top section. If you’re concerned that a contact reversal test may cause damage to the garage door or its components, don’t do it.

Otherwise, begin this test with the door fully open. Under the center of the door, place a 2x4 piece of wood flat on the floor in the path of the door. Standing inside the garage but safely away from the path of the door, use the wall push button to close the door. When the door contacts the wood, the door should automatically reverse direction and return to the fully-open position.

If your garage door fails or is slow to respond to any of these tests, contact a qualified technician who can check for any necessary repairs or upgrades.


Carl Bottenus
Sure Look Homes PI

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A pre-inspection gives you a heads-up on what a buyer will likely discover and a head start on what to fix and update.

Weekly Home Maintenance Tip #1

It is important to always maintain a clean dryer vent. Dryer vents clogged with lint, dust and dirt are not only less aesthetically pleasing, but can actually cause serious problems for your dryer and your home. Luckily, cleaning out a dryer vent is relatively simple. Check out this article


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