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Got Attic Mold? How To Diagnose Common Sources.
Authored by Mark D. Tyrol, P.E./Battic Door Energy Conservation Products | Published: 2022-09-06 20:15:56 UTC
It happens to countless homeowners around the end of the year – you make the annual visit to your attic to collect the holiday decorations and what do you find? Spots and blotches covering the bottom of the roof sheathing. Worse yet – it turns out to be attic mold! What does energy conservation have to do with mold in the attic? Well if you take a step back and consider how the house behaves as a system, they are often directly related. Building science experts have long been using the “house as a system” approach to diagnose the cause and origin of building defects. For example, ice dams. These are often caused by warm air seeping into the attic which causes the snow and ice on the roof to melt. The water drains to the edge of the roof (which is colder than the rest of the roof because it is an overhang and not warmed by the attic), freezes and creates an ice dam. As this process is repeated daily, the ice dam grows larger. Eventually water is forced under a shingle where it can seep into the house. Understanding how the house behaves as a system and the various causes and effects is necessary to diagnose most building related problems. But how about that attic mold? How did it get there? Mold requires chronic moisture to form and to thrive, so source(s) of moisture must be present. Possibly the moisture came from outdoors. The roof is newer and a quick check of the roof shows no obvious damage or leaks. Possibly the moisture came from indoors. During the heating season, the interior of the house frequently has high moisture levels, especially bathrooms and kitchens. A quick check shows that all bathroom fans, kitchen vents, etc. are properly ducted completely outdoors and not into the attic. The amount of insulation looks good and the attic is well ventilated. Don’t give up – you are almost there! Remember the house as a system? You know that warm, moist air is in the house, but how is it getting into the attic? By air leaks! Air leaks are the leading source of energy loss in most houses, and a frequent source of chronic moisture that can cause attic mold. Most homeowners are well aware of air leaks around windows and doors (especially old ones), but many overlook the numerous gaps leading directly into the attic! Have a look around the attic and you may find large gaps around recessed lights and fans, holes where wires or pipes are installed, even large gaps around the chimney. And don’t overlook the whole house fan and especially the folding attic stair - a big, uninsulated hole in your ceiling that is often overlooked! These gaps can add up to a large hole that allows warm, moist air from the house to flow right into the cold attic. The warm moist air condenses on the cold roof sheathing, creating chronically damp conditions that can lead to attic mold growth. And the energy loss – it can be like leaving a window open all winter long! Seal these air leaks and you stop a significant moisture source. And just think of all the energy you can save and the cold drafts you can stop!
Mark D. Tyrol is a Professional Engineer specializing in cause and origin of construction defects. He developed several residential energy conservation products including an attic stair cover and a fireplace draftstopper. To learn more visit:
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Important Home Inspection Tips
Authored by Butch Brown, President, Southern Home Services, Inc. Www.Southernhomeservices.Biz/Index.Htm | Published: 2022-07-06 18:44:49 UTC
IMPORTANT HOME INSPECTION TIPS
1. Order a home inspection soon after your purchase offer has been accepted. Real estate contracts typically allow a limited number of days to complete a home inspection (and then to request repairs, if applicable).
2. Reputation is important. Choose a home inspector who is known for competence and professionalism — a referral from your lender or realtor is a good place to start. Make sure the inspector you select has access to ongoing technical support and offers you post-inspection advice, if needed.
3. If the home has been vacant, ask the seller to have all utilities turned on during the home inspection. Failure to do so may require a second trip to the home and may involve additional fees. To properly evaluate the home, an inspector must be able to operate all systems.
4. If your inspector recommends a further evaluation, have a specialist in that area conduct a more extensive examination prior to closing.
5. Be sure you understand all conditions identified in the inspection report and reported defects/and or areas of concern have been resolved to your satisfaction before closing.
6. Your inspector can arrange for other services such as radon screening, termite inspection, water analyses, lead-based paint testing and septic/well system evaluation. Take advantage of your inspector’s contacts when necessary to further minimize unexpected after-sale problems or hazards in your new home.
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Your Property Rights When Moving In Together
Authored by House List.Com | Published: 2022-06-03 14:48:20 UTC
If you are an unmarried couple and you plan on buying a home, the process is not necessarily more difficult but, it does come with additional challenges and items to consider before signing on the dotted line. Unmarried couples will find they have the common options of Tenants in Common or Joint Tenancy contracts when they purchase property. In some states one of these options will be considered automatically for them so they should be aware of what type of contract they are signing in advance.
Tenants in Common:
- Contract between two or more people to own property together. There is no limit to the number of owners. This type of ownership is common for unmarried couples, groups investing in larger property and those interested in buying property in expensive markets they could not otherwise afford on their own.
- Tenants in Common can sell their share of the home at any time. If no additional contract is made, they may do this without forewarning other owners.
- Shares of the Tenants in Common does not need to be equal. Percentages can be assigned based off contribution amounts. Curtis A. may own 50%, Amber B. 25%, and Bradley C. 25%.
- To terminate a Tenants in Common contract one owner may buy out the other(s) or all parties can agree to sell the property and split the profits according to percentage(s) owned.
- If one owner passes away, then it is whomever they specified in their last will and testament who inherits that share.
- Most of the above conditions also apply to joint tenancy. However, a joint tenancy offers a right of survivorship. If one of the owners passes away, the other(s) automatically get ownership without the necessity of a last will and testament.
It is important to realize the above contracts cover the basic property rights for a mortgaged/purchased home or property. The above do not protect individual property (i.e. furniture), discrepancies in contributions to home improvements, or other expenses of owning a home. Therefore, it is imperative that unmarried couples write up a contract that addresses these issues. Almost like a pre-nuptial agreement (and often perceived as unromantic as one) a contract of terms will protect both parties in case paths do part.
Items to consider in a contractual agreement:
- If you have a Tenants in Common agreement, make certain all parties do have a last will and testament to clear any possible confusion of ownership in case of death.
- Include terms for terminating the joint ownership. -Specify if the other party should be given a required number of days notice of the sale and an option to buyout before one of the owners sells their half. -Set limits on the amount of the time allotted for the buyout. A fair time should be offered with a consideration of time constraints created by working through the banking process. -If the property will be sold, make sure to include the percentages of the property owned so each party gets their share.
- Detail how expenses will be kept on equal terms. Will the mortgage be split? Will one pay the mortgage and the other all the household utilities and joint bills? Again, if the contribution is not equal the difference should be recorded.
- It may be too cumbersome and unrealistic to include personal property items such as furniture in this contract. Instead you may want to make a separate record. List items that each individual brings into the household. If furniture is later purchased together, many unmarried couples will find it beneficial to keep track of contributions. Because their separation will not be treated as a divorce, disputes over items like these will be harder to resolve without some record.
- Do not include chore items such as who does the dishes. This can make your contract frivolous and tossed out in a court of law. However, some counselors do suggest making chore lists for all couples (married or not) to help cope with the pressures and expectations of our fast passed lives and homes.
If the unthinkable does happen and you do separate, make sure to give yourself time to cope and process. Even without a marriage it is a major life change. With or without contracts it is important to work together until you can sell or buyout the house if at all possible.