No, not for you! Nor your kid. I’m talking about your house.
When was the last time someone knowledgeable was in your crawlspace or attic? What… you don’t hang out there and know its current condition? C’mon now…
That’s my point… for the same reason that annual wellness exams are recommended for you, someone experienced should periodically study your home’s health and well-being.
How often? One obvious time is when you’re about to invest into a substantial remodeling project, or if it’s been 5 to 10 years since the last wellness exam. Continuing the same metaphor, an older home warrants wellness exams more often than younger ones.
Why do an inspection before a significant remodeling project? We want to help you spend your hard-earned money wisely. Sure, you may have called us to upgrade your kitchen, or your deck, but it may be prudent to repair some unknown deterioration at the same time. Some of the dough you want to invest in what you’d like to do may make sense to spend on what you need to do. So the intent of this Pre-Remodel Condition Evaluation is to help you avoid these unintended consequences and to resolve these issues early on. Together let’s prioritize what you should do… and when.
Might there be insects… pests… known as wood destroying organisms at home, living up to their name? Larger animals finding warmth and habitat in your floor insulation? Water infiltration in places you can’t see? What’s actually going on with that deteriorating spot on the bathroom floor, or the moldy window sills, or the strange whiff you get upon returning home from a weekend away? And these are symptoms you know about! What’s going on in the places you haven’t seen (nor care to experience) for years and years?
Hear me out and you might save some dough while also improving your indoor air quality.
Sure, what I’m suggesting is different than a personal wellness exam in which denial might kill you. Here, instead, denial might cost you. Not just in terms of money. There are health implications, too, and they extend beyond rot, mold and mildew. A home or office with an unhealthy ventilation system can create stagnant air; air that aggravates respiratory health issues; unfiltered air chock full of irritants like pet dander.
Consider this analogy… isn’t rot like bone cancer in a building? And, like cancer, the earlier it’s discovered, the easier and cheaper it is to address. Catch it early!
I want you to consider a building inspection by a qualified professional on the order of every 5 – 10 years, depending upon its age. Did you get a whole-house inspection when you purchased your home? When was the last time you studied that report? Have you fixed the important items or simply filed it away after closing the deal and moving in?
Consider broadening the scope of this wellness exam to include an energy exam or audit, sometimes called a building performance test. Did you know that most buildings lose more energy because of the cumulative cracks and holes in their shell, or exterior envelope, and not due to poor insulation? It’s much like going out and buying a thick, yummy down parka and forgetting to zip it up! The insulation hardly does you any good.
And how do you know if you are getting the right amount of fresh air in your home? Too much fresh air means unnecessary heat loss, wasting money and harming our precious, shared environment. Too little fresh air means poor, stagnant indoor air along with its inherent health implications.
An energy audit, which need not be repeated anywhere as often as the condition inspection, can help you dial in the right amount of fresh air. This is referred to as air changes per hour (ACH), or how often the air inside your home is exchanged with fresh, outside air. [FYI… the healthy number should be about a third of your indoor air exchanged with fresh air every hour, or .33 ACH]. Sure this takes some specialized equipment and know-how, which is my point. Diagnostic tools are needed to determine one’s ACH, and such a test is relatively inexpensive… and important! Oftentimes, the solutions to get the ACH right are often easy to do by unskilled home owners (e.g., caulking here, weather stripping there).
Who can you hire to perform an energy audit and condition inspection? Typically they are two different companies or skill sets, so let’s talk fist about the condition inspection. When a property owner is considering a remodel, we can to this in-house, and we call this a Pre-Remodel Condition Evaluation, or PRCE. Typically costing in the $300 to $500 range we produce a brief report, review photos with you, and prioritize what needs to be done, when, and the cost of necessary repairs. [Please go HERE to see an actual PRCE report we did, stripped of the client’s name and address].
If the timing of your wellness exam is not related to a remodeling project, we suggest you hire a whole-house, pre-purchase inspection company like you’d hire prior to buying another home. GOOGLE ‘home inspectors Whatcom County’.
For energy audits there are many companies to choose from. GOOGLE ‘energy audits Whatcom County’. Here are a few places to explore:
CAZ Energy Services. They offer two levels of service – a ‘basic home assessment’ and a ‘detailed home assessment’, which you can read about HERE.
Puget Sound Energy’s ‘HomePrint’ Assessment
It’s hard to imagine a greener thing you could do at home than guarantee on an ongoing basis that it’s not deteriorating; that it’s using energy efficiently; that the air you breathe inside your home is clean and healthy. After all, since most folks spend about 90% of their time indoors that air ought to be as clean as possible!
Not only is your home in all likelihood your largest monetary investment, but it probably represents the most material resources you steward.
Please take care of it.