I have a 38-year old townhouse and there is a crack in the foundation in the basement laundry room. The previous owners had patched it, but I noticed this winter it looks a bit different like it’s separating just a tiny bit. Should I be worried?
A: We don’t like cracks in concrete. I can teach you a lot about concrete, it needs to cure 100%, and that takes 28 days. If there is wind on it or sun on it or any other environmental irregularities during that curing period, it tends to shrink and crack. When you see any cracks in concrete, whether it be the floor or the walls, don’t panic. Your crack doesn’t look that bad. When we start to panic is when we start to see leaking and if it isn’t then I wouldn’t worry about it based on the age of the home. Keep your eyes on it but since it isn’t leaking, don’t worry about it.
When we had our house built, should we have had a home inspection? When we first moved in, we started to see a few things missing. For example, our fireplace started leaking around the doors. Would the inspector have noticed these things?
A: First of all, you always do a home inspection. Old or new, always do one, as I’ve seen many new homes with no insulation in the attic. Should an inspector have noticed? Any quality inspector would have. When you’re choosing an inspector, ask them questions like how long they’ve been in the business. A good one will want to take you along for the inspection and point out the things that they’re observing, as I would do.
Now the home inspector is not qualified to tell you about the fireplace, but they should tell you to have it inspected once a year before you light it. The roof leaks most often around any kinds of flashing, like the fireplace, so have it inspected often and don’t wait to do it until after you see any leaking. Somebody should get up on the roof and have a look, and they should bring you along as well.
My husband and I bought a house about three years ago. I’ve thought about having my ducts cleaned, but I’ve never done it. Do I need my ducts cleaned even though it’s a new house?
A: Think about it. What’s in the air right now; we can’t see it. We’ve all noticed a rise in asthma, bronchitis or allergies and this is due to indoor air quality. The ductwork we can’t see is pulling in all of the crap in the air and it circulates and cakes onto the surfaces. Have the ductwork cleaned every year. One of the smartest things that you can do is to change your filter every two months. And don’t be afraid to buy one of those beautiful HEPA air filters. Then your lungs aren’t cleaning the air, but the filter is doing it. The HEPA filter is the filter itself, not the unit that’s cleaning. You can buy a standalone unit that attaches to your furnace, which I highly recommend. You can buy small inexpensive units and put them in every room of the house with HEPA filters. Or you can buy just one big unit and put it in the main room. When you change the filter, you don’t want to see it dirty, because then it’s stopped doing its job. You can buy more expensive reusable filters, which do a great job, but I prefer to just replace with a new one, because you can’t put a price on your health. Especially if you have kids, you don’t want them getting or feeling sick, and indoor air quality is a big part of it.