Tip of the Month: Inspect and Clean Your Gutters

The Chicago Homeowner’s Monthly Maintenance Tip: April Edition

Greetings, Chicago Homeowners!

As the city begins to bloom with the arrival of spring, it’s time to shift our focus to essential home maintenance tasks to keep our homes in top condition. In this month’s edition, we’re sharing a unique home maintenance tip tailored specifically for the city of Chicago:

Tip of the Month: Inspect and Clean Your Gutters

With the change in seasons comes the need to pay special attention to your gutters. Chicago’s weather can be unpredictable, and heavy rains are not uncommon during the spring months. Properly functioning gutters are crucial for directing rainwater away from your home’s foundation, preventing water damage and costly repairs.

Why It’s Important:

  • Protect Your Foundation: Clogged gutters can lead to water pooling around your home’s foundation, increasing the risk of cracks, leaks, and structural damage.
  • Prevent Basement Flooding: A well-maintained gutter system helps prevent water from seeping into your basement, reducing the risk of flooding and mold growth.
  • Preserve Your Landscape: By directing rainwater away from your home, clean gutters help protect your landscaping and prevent erosion and soil displacement.

What to Do:

  • Inspect Gutters and Downspouts: Take a walk around your home and inspect your gutters for any signs of damage or clogs. Look for debris, such as leaves, twigs, and dirt, that may be blocking the flow of water.
  • Clean Gutters: Use a ladder and gloves to remove debris from your gutters and downspouts. Consider using a gutter scoop or pressure washer to thoroughly clean out built-up gunk and ensure proper drainage.
  • Repair Damage: While cleaning your gutters, take note of any cracks, leaks, or loose fasteners. Repair or replace damaged sections to ensure your gutter system functions optimally.

Take Action Today: Don’t wait until heavy rains cause water damage to your home. Take advantage of the mild weather in April to inspect and clean your gutters, ensuring they’re ready to handle spring showers and protect your home.

Stay tuned for more unique home maintenance tips and updates tailored for Chicago homeowners from our team of experts.

Wishing you a dry and worry-free spring season,

City Home Inspectors, LLC

Tip of the Month: Check and Clean Your Sump Pump

Hello, Chicago Homeowners!

As the Windy City begins to thaw out from the winter chill, it’s time to turn our attention to essential home maintenance tasks to prepare for the arrival of spring. In this month’s edition, we’re sharing a unique home maintenance tip tailored specifically for the city of Chicago:

Tip of the Month: Check and Clean Your Sump Pump

Living in a city with unpredictable weather patterns like Chicago means being prepared for sudden rainstorms and potential flooding. Your sump pump plays a crucial role in keeping your basement dry and protecting your home from water damage, making it essential to ensure it’s in good working condition.

Why It’s Important:
– Prevent Basement Flooding: Chicago’s flat terrain and heavy rainfall can lead to basement flooding, especially in older homes or areas prone to water accumulation.
– Protect Valuables: Basements often house valuable possessions and serve as additional living space. Keeping them dry is essential to safeguarding your belongings and maintaining a healthy living environment.
– Maintain Home Value: Regular maintenance of your sump pump helps preserve your home’s structural integrity and ensures it remains a valuable asset in the real estate market.

What to Do:
– Test Your Sump Pump: Pour water into the sump pit to ensure the pump activates and discharges water correctly. If it doesn’t turn on or fails to remove water, it may need repairs or replacement.
– Clean the Sump Pit: Remove any debris, dirt, or sediment that may have accumulated in the sump pit. A clean pit allows the pump to function efficiently and prevents clogs.
– Check Backup Power: Ensure your sump pump is equipped with a backup power source, such as a battery or generator, to keep it running during power outages, which often coincide with heavy storms.

Take Action Today:
Don’t wait until the next storm hits to check your sump pump. Take a proactive approach to home maintenance by inspecting and cleaning it now to avoid potential flooding and costly water damage in the future.

Stay tuned for more unique home maintenance tips and updates tailored for Chicago homeowners from our team of experts.

Wishing you a dry and worry-free spring season,

City Home Inspectors, LLC

February Newsletter

:house_with_garden: February Newsletter :snowman:Winter TLC for Your Chicago Home

Hello, Chicago Homeowners!

As we embrace the heart of winter, our homes continue to provide us with warmth and shelter. We’re back with another essential home maintenance tip to keep your abode cozy and well-maintained during the chilly month ahead.

Tip of the Month: Love Your Plumbing – Prevent Frozen Pipes

Chicago’s frigid February temperatures can bring about the risk of frozen pipes, which can lead to costly damage and inconveniences. Taking preventive measures to protect your plumbing can save you from headaches down the road.Here’s what you can do:

  1. Insulate Exposed Pipes: Identify pipes in unheated areas such as basements, crawl spaces, and attics. Insulate them with pipe insulation or heating tape to keep them from freezing.
  2. Drip Faucets: On especially cold nights, let faucets in vulnerable areas (usually the ones farthest from the main water supply) drip slightly. This keeps water flowing and reduces the chance of freezing.
  3. Open Cabinet Doors: If you have plumbing along exterior walls, open cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
  4. Maintain Heating: Keep your home adequately heated, even if you’re away. A consistent indoor temperature helps prevent freezing.
  5. Disconnect Outdoor Hoses: If you haven’t already, disconnect and drain your outdoor hoses. Close the inside valve that leads to the hose connection.
  6. Seal Leaks: Seal any gaps or cracks in your home’s exterior to prevent cold air from seeping in and potentially affecting your plumbing.
  7. Travel Precautions: If you’re planning to travel during winter, keep your home heated or consider shutting off the main water supply and draining the pipes.
By taking these steps, you can ensure that your pipes remain protected and your home stays warm and functional throughout the winter season.

Local Spotlight: Winter Culinary Delights

While you’re taking care of your home, why not savor the flavors of winter in Chicago? Explore local bakeries offering fresh-baked goods, warm up with hearty soups from neighborhood cafes, and indulge in the city’s diverse culinary scene.

Remember, a little maintenance now can save you from major repairs later.

Stay warm and take good care of both your home and yourself, Chicago!

Until next month,

City Home Inspectors, LLC
cityhomeinspectors.com

Lead Paint

Dear Homebuyers, Homeowners, and Realtors,

Welcome to our blog, where we unravel an often-overlooked aspect of the homebuying journey – lead paint testing. In this concise letter, we’ll explore why this step is a must for every savvy homebuyer.

Health First:
Lead exposure, especially for children, can lead to developmental issues and health concerns. Testing ensures your dream home doesn’t conceal a silent threat to your family’s well-being.

Regulations and Transparency:
Dating back to 1978, the ban on lead-based paint is a pivotal regulation. While sellers should disclose, testing ensures transparency and aligns with your legal right to know about potential hazards.

Protecting Your Investment:
Discovering lead-based paint influences property value. Being informed about potential costs allows you to negotiate wisely and ensures your investment aligns with both financial goals and a commitment to a safe home.

Conclusion:
As you navigate the real estate landscape, make lead paint testing a priority. It’s not just about ensuring a beautiful home; it’s about safeguarding your family’s health and securing a wise investment.

Stay Happy and Safe!

Warm regards,

City Home Inspectors
info@cityhomeinspectors.com
1-866-422-9843

December Newsletter

:house_with_garden: December Newsletter :snowflake:Winter Wisdom for Chicago Homeowners

Hello, Chicago Homeowners!

The magical season of snowflakes, twinkling lights, and warm gatherings is upon us. As we revel in the holiday spirit, let’s not forget about the important task of home maintenance. We’re sharing a valuable tip to keep your abode cozy and well-maintained throughout the winter, ensuring a delightful holiday season for you and your loved ones.

Tip of the Month: A Gift to Your Home – Winter Roof Care

With Chicago’s winter weather known for its snow and freezing temperatures, giving your roof a little extra attention during December can go a long way in preventing potential issues and ensuring a comfortable home.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Inspect for Leaks: Before the snow arrives, inspect your attic and ceilings for any signs of leaks or water stains. Addressing leaks promptly can prevent further damage, especially when the snow melts.
  2. Clear Debris: Make sure your roof and gutters are clear of leaves, branches, and other debris. Accumulated debris can trap moisture and lead to mold growth or ice dams.
  3. Check Shingles and Flashing: Examine your roof’s shingles and flashing for signs of damage or wear. Damaged shingles can allow water to seep in, while damaged flashing can lead to leaks around chimneys and vents.
  4. Seal Any Gaps: Inspect the areas where pipes, vents, and chimneys penetrate your roof. Seal any gaps or cracks with appropriate materials to prevent water infiltration.
  5. Trim Overhanging Branches: Snow accumulation on overhanging branches can lead to breakage, potentially damaging your roof. Trim any branches that could pose a risk.
  6. Attic Insulation and Ventilation: Ensure your attic is properly insulated and ventilated. Proper insulation helps prevent heat loss, which can contribute to ice dam formation.
  7. Professional Inspection: If you’re not comfortable with heights or roof work, consider hiring a professional to inspect your roof. They can identify potential issues and make recommendations.

By taking these steps, you’ll be safeguarding your home from winter’s challenges and ensuring a worry-free holiday season.

Local Spotlight: Winter Wonderland in Chicago

While you’re focused on maintaining your home, don’t forget to take in the beauty of Chicago’s winter wonderland. Enjoy ice skating at Millennium Park, stroll through the Lincoln Park ZooLights, or warm up with a cup of hot cocoa at one of the city’s charming cafes.As you prepare for the festivities, remember that a well-maintained home is the gift that keeps on giving.

Wishing you a joyful holiday season, Chicago!

Until next month,City Home Inspectors, LLC :house::snowflake:
Cityhomeinspectors.com

November News Letter

:house_with_garden: November Edition Newsletter :snowflake:

Your Guide to Fall Home

Greetings! As we bid farewell to the colorful leaves and welcome the first snowflakes, November reminds us that winter is just around the corner. We’re back with another essential home maintenance tip to ensure your abode remains cozy and well-prepared for the colder months ahead.

Tip of the Month: Embrace the Gutter Duty Chicago’s winters are known for their snowfall, which can lead to icy conditions and potential damage if your gutters are not properly maintained. Gutters play a crucial role in directing melting snow and rain away from your home’s foundation, preventing water damage and ice buildup. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Clear Leaves and Debris: Before the snow arrives, make sure your gutters are free from leaves, twigs, and other debris that can clog them. This will prevent water from pooling and freezing, which can lead to ice dams.
  2. Inspect for Damage: Check for any signs of damage such as cracks, sagging, or loose gutters. Replace or repair damaged sections to ensure proper water flow.
  3. Install Gutter Guards: Consider installing gutter guards to help prevent debris from accumulating in the first place. These guards allow water to flow through while keeping leaves and debris out.
  4. Test the Downspouts: Ensure that downspouts are clear and functioning properly. They should direct water several feet away from your home’s foundation to prevent water from seeping into your basement or causing erosion.
  5. Prevent Icicles: Trim overhanging tree branches that can contribute to ice buildup and icicles. Icicles can be beautiful but can also be a sign of poor drainage and potential damage.
  6. Schedule a Professional Inspection: If you’re not comfortable with heights or the task seems daunting, consider hiring a professional to inspect and clean your gutters. They can ensure a thorough job and address any potential issues.
By taking these steps, you’ll protect your home from water damage, ice buildup, and potential foundation issues. Plus, you’ll be one step closer to enjoying a worry-free winter season.
Local Spotlight: Indoor Activities for Cozy Days As the weather gets colder, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore Chicago’s indoor attractions. Visit the Art Institute for a dose of culture, catch a show at one of the city’s renowned theaters, or simply indulge in a day of comfort food at local cafes and restaurants. A little maintenance now can save you from major repairs later. Stay warm and cozy, Chicago!Until next month,
City Home Inspectors, LLC :house::snowflake:
Cityhomeinspectors.com

September Home Maintenance Tips from City Home Inspectors.

:house_with_garden::fallen_leaf: September Home Maintenance Tips from City Home Inspectors.  :city_sunset::maple_leaf:

Greetings!

As we transition into the beautiful autumn season, it’s time to give some love to our homes and ensure they’re ready for the cooler months ahead. In this month’s newsletter, we’ll be sharing a helpful home maintenance tip specifically tailored to the City of Chicago and its neighboring suburbs.

Let’s get started!:fire:

Prepare Your Fireplace for Cozy Evenings:

As the temperatures begin to drop, a warm and crackling fire becomes a delightful highlight of any chilly evening. Before you light that first fire, it’s important to prepare your fireplace. Here’s how:

:one: Inspect the Chimney: Hire a professional chimney sweep to clean and inspect your chimney for any blockages, creosote buildup, or damage. Proper ventilation is crucial to ensure a safe and efficient fireplace experience.

:two: Check the Damper: Ensure your damper opens and closes smoothly. A properly functioning damper helps control airflow and prevents drafts when your fireplace is not in use.

:three: Clear the Surrounding Area: Remove any flammable items, such as furniture, rugs, or decorations, from the immediate vicinity of the fireplace. Keeping a clear area around the fireplace minimizes fire hazards.

:four: Stock Up on Firewood: Gather or purchase seasoned firewood in advance. Dry, well-seasoned logs burn cleaner and generate less smoke, creating a more enjoyable and healthier indoor environment.

:five: Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors: If you don’t already have them, invest in carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms and common areas. These devices provide early warning signs of potential carbon monoxide leaks, which can be a byproduct of burning wood. By following these fireplace maintenance tips, you’ll be ready to cozy up and enjoy those chilly fall evenings without worry!

That’s all for our September home maintenance tip. We hope you find it helpful in preparing your homes for the upcoming season. Stay tuned for more useful tips and tricks in our next newsletter. Remember, we’re always here to assist you with any home-related questions or concerns. Feel free to reach out anytime!

Wishing you a delightful September,
Your Friendly Home Inspectors!
City Home Inspectors, LLC
www.cityhomeinspesctors.com

Stay on Budget and Keep the Holiday Jolly

The season to be jolly is fast approaching. However, even though the holiday season is filled with happiness and joyous moments, it comes with its fair share of challenges; the major one being overspending. You may be having a budget every year, but you are always unable to stick to it and hence find yourself having spent well over your budget at the end of the holiday season.

This year we want to help you change that by following these helpful and useful tips:

Tip 1: Make a Realistic Estimate of Your Holiday Expenses

It is unfortunate that when making a budget, most people underestimate their expenses. They only include certain costs such as gift and decoration purchases but they leave out plenty of other expenses. Consider other costs such as travel, food, alcohol, and special events. By doing so, you will have a more realistic idea of your total projected cash output. If your total projection seems out of reach, make a conscious decision on what to cut back. You do not have to host a lavish party to have fun. You can still spend less and have a great time with friends and family.

Tip 2: Start Shopping Early

There are less than 20 days left before Christmas. There is plenty of time to take advantage of the sales. Most people will wait until the last minute and end up getting caught in the last-minute rush to purchase gifts. Do not be that person. Start your gift shopping early preferably earlier in the year. This way, you can spread the costs so they do not hit you all at once. Looking for bargains on unique gift items not only saves you money but can also be fun. You should definitely try it.

Tip 3: Consider Gifts That Are Big On Thoughtfulness But Small On Cost

When most people hear homemade gifts, their minds quickly shift to ugly presents. This does not have to be the case. If you have a talent or a creative gift, put your creativity to work and save money this holiday season. If you love baking, try some new recipes and surprise your friends. Their taste buds will surely be grateful. Also,

think about the services you can offer. If you are good with kids, offer to give childcare which is a more meaningful gift than some electronic clock you would have bought.

Tip 4: Be an Educated Consumer

If you have a list of items you need to buy this season, this tip is for you. To save money on your budget, compare shop prices to make sure you buy from the cheapest store. In this internet era, you do not have to step foot in a shop. You can do it all on your laptop from the comfort of your home. Once you have found the best price for an item, go to the manufacturer’s website to look for coupons. If you wish to make an order online, search for free shipping offers. Once you combine the two, you will save loads of money on your gift purchases.

Getting through the holidays and sticking to your budget is an accomplishment you should be proud of. However, you should not beat yourself up if you went a little over the budget. You always have another chance to do it better next year.

— Please remember us when you or someone you know is in need of a home inspection. A referral from you would be our greatest compliment.

Green and Healthy Floor Refinishing – 5 Tips From the Pros

As many homeowners prioritize natural beauty and ease of maintenance in their living spaces, hardwood floors have become a popular flooring option. And for many consumers, that means refinishing existing wood floors that need a little help to regain their original luster.

 

If you’re considering sprucing up your floors, you may want to pay close attention to the environmental impact of your plans. It’s important to factor in the processes and products that will optimize your family’s health and wellness instead of exposing them to potentially harmful chemicals.

 

Happily, today’s new hardwood floor refinishing systems and products offer better options for a safe and efficient process. Here are five steps you can take to ensure your floor project ends with a gloriously lustrous, durable, beautiful floor that won’t adversely affect the inhabitants of your home.

 

 

(1) Choose A Credible Contractor.

 

Shop around for a professional who understands how to work with the specific floors you’ve installed without introducing toxicity into your home environment. The best alternative may be a Bona Certified Craftsman® who’s been trained on how to revive, recoat and refinish wood floors of all kinds without using potentially harmful chemicals.

 

(2) Make A Joint Plan.

 

Instead of simply handing the entire project over to your contractor, work with him or her to create a refinishing plan that specifies how, when and where the work will take place and what kinds of products will be used. One way to make that easier is by using Bona’s Floor Visualizer, a new online tool that can help you visualize how different flooring choices will look in various rooms of your home.

 

(3) Go Dustless.

 

Insist that your contractor use a certified dust containment system that will eliminate virtually all floating dust particles from the floor sanding process. OSHA advises that airborne wood dust is carcinogenic, which can lead to respiratory issues or even cancer.

 

(4) Opt For a Waterborne Finish.

 

While some contractors offer less expensive options such as acid-cured varnishes, conversion varnishes, or “Swedish” finishes, those varieties contain high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can adversely affect your home’s air quality. The formaldehyde in acid-cured finishes can agitate respiratory illnesses and/or cause nausea, dizziness, headaches and irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat. Another problem? Those harsh finishes can keep emitting problematic chemicals for up to 90 days as it cures.

 

In comparison, water-based finishes are lower in VOCs, emit minimal odor, dry much quicker, and are overall safer and more convenient for people, pets, and plants. Further, they’re durable, beautiful, and clear-drying on all kinds of hardwood floors.

 

(5) Know Best Practices for Maintenance.

 

Once your waterborne finish is cured, you can best maintain your new gorgeous wood floors by avoiding the use of vacuums, steam cleaners, vinegar-and-water solutions, oil soaps, paste waxes, furniture polishes, and other harsh cleaning products formulated for other surfaces. Instead, look for cleaning solutions like Bona’s Hardwood Floor Cleaning solutions that are developed for wood floors, are biodegradable, use plant-derived ingredients, and are Safer Choice certified.

 

With today’s technology, there’s no reason to settle for hardwood floor renovation techniques that are harmful to the environment and your home. Choose wisely when it comes to the health of your family. For more information on safe and environmentally sound care of your hardwood floors, visit US.Bona.com.