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Read about the blog posts we’ve written at AM Inspections. We cover a wide range of topics from water heater maintenance to tips on how to avoid contractor fraud. Don’t hesitate to contact us in Columbus, Indiana for any inquiries or concerns.

Toilet Flushing

Posted on Thursday, November 09, 2017 4:02 PM

Why is the Toilet Flushing Itself?

OK, so you just heard the toilet flush in the middle of the night. No one else is in the house, and you don’t think your home has a ghost. Later that night, you hear it again. Ughhh. How will you explain this to the plumber?


Don’t worry.


What you’re probably hearing is the toilet refilling as if it had been flushed. But how is that possible? Water in the tank is slowly leaking past the flush valve and into the bowl. As the bowl fills, the water silently flows down the drain line. When the water in the tank gets low, the automatic fill valve opens and you hear the tank filling – just as if the toilet had been flushed. The fix is simple: clean or repair the flush ball or flap valve. At times, the problem can be fixed just by wiping deposits off the mating surfaces. Other times you’ll need to replace the valve because of a crack or surface imperfection. If you want to test for this type of silent leak, place a few drops of food coloring in the tank. Within a short time, you’ll notice the color in the bowl – a sure sign of a leaking flush valve.

Indoor Air Quality

Posted on Thursday, December 08, 2016 1:29 PM

10 Shocking Facts About Indoor Air 10 Shocking Facts About Indoor Air Quality 

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM


Air pollution is a term that likely conjures images of industrial smokestacks and billowing plumes rising into the atmosphere. Those are certainly examples of air pollution but the oft forgotten truth is that the worst air quality you experience every day is most likely to be located right in your living room. Trapped, stagnant air and poor ventilation combine to create a toxic cloud inside the home.


Here’s 10 facts everyone should know about indoor air pollutants and how to protect themselves and their family from the potential health dangers.


1. IAQ is a Top 5 Health Risk

The United States EPA ranks indoor air quality as a top five environmental risk to public health. EPA studies found indoor air pollutants were generally 2 to 5 times greater than outdoor pollution levels. In some cases, indoor air pollution was 100x greater. There are many reasons to why this is the case, including poor ventilation, the burning of toxic candles, use of air fresheners, chemical laden household cleaners, and more.


2. Your Furniture May be the Most Dangerous Culprit

Furniture purchased prior to 2006 contained toxic PBDEs — chemicals used as flame retardants. These flame retardants have the possibility of sending toxins into the air. Even after 2006, flame retardants continue to be used. Chlorinated tris (a known carcinogen banned from children’s pajamas in 1977) was reintroduced, and new flame retardant chemicals appear to create the same dangers. Inhalation has been noted as the primary route to exposure.


3. Air Fresheners are Poison

The NRDC determined most air fresheners contain phthalates, noxious chemicals known to disrupt hormone function in babies and children, interfere with reproductive development, and aggravate respiratory ailments such as asthma. A recent study found the terpenes released by air fresheners interact with ozone to form compounds like formaldehyde and acetone at concentrations which can cause respiratory sensitivity and airflow limitation.


4. Candles are No Better than Air Fresheners

Candles can be nice but it’s important to pay attention to what you’re buying. Most candles, especially the scented ones made with paraffin wax, contain benzene and toluene, two known carcinogens. These candles also contain hydrocarbons called alkanes and alkenes (chemicals found in car exhaust). When you burn toxic candles in your home, you’re releasing toxic chemicals, don’t do it! If you purchase candles, choose soy- or beeswax-based varieties scented only with pure essential oils.


5. Inkjet Printers Release Fertility-Robbing Chemicals

Did you ever think your inkjet printer could be a source of air pollution? Printing inks, like those used in home printers, contain glymes. These industrial chemicals have been linked to developmental and reproductive damage. The EPA has expressed concern about their safety, especially in regards to repeat long-term exposure. It may be better to have your photos printed at the store.


6.The Air Quality in Schools is Among the Worst

Schools accommodate up to 4x more occupants, aka students, than a standard office building with the same amount of floor space. What makes this alarming is that children breathe more air relative to their body weight than adults. In closed spaces with a lot of huffing and puffing, many germs, allergens, and other nasties quickly spread. The EPA specifically identifies air quality in schools as a point of concern.


7. Poor Quality Air Exacerbates Asthma

Since the early 1980s, the occurrence of asthma has been on the rise for everyone — all races, classes, and ages. Simply put, asthma is a silent epidemic that has a disastrous effect on quality of life. In 1999, about 20 million Americans suffered from asthma, or about 1 in 14. In 2011, the number had increased to around 25 million Americans, or 1 in 12.


8. The Elderly Suffer

Most Many elderly spend the majority of their day inside, whether in their own homes or in care centers. Some estimates suggest the average time spent indoors is 19-20 hours a day. A Portuguese study found that elderly patients in elderly care centers faced exposure to high concentrations of fungus which could negatively affect their respiratory health.


9. Indoor Air Contaminants Damage More than Respiratory Health The range of indoor air pollutants includes VOCs, phthalates, PBDEs, mold, pollen, pet dander, radon, and more. Most of these qualify as fine or ultra-fine particulate matter that are easily inhaled and can pass into the bloodstream, and even cross the blood-brain barrier. Dry eyes, headaches, nasal congestion, fatigue, and even nausea are common symptoms. Serious problems such as asthma, lung infections, or even lung cancer have been linked to exposure. Particles which enter the bloodstream have been associated with stroke and depression in adults, and children have shown increased systemic inflammation, immune dysfunction, and neural distress.


10. Wood Smoke Slows Immune Response

There’s no denying that campfire is cozy and inviting but make it a special treat. Research shows that regular inhalation of wood smoke limits immune activity and function. While this is a greater concern for many individuals who depend on wood burning for cooking and heat, anyone who burns wood indoors should be aware of the potential health risks. Many of the particles in wood smoke collect and gather in dust long after the fire is extinguished. There may be no aroma as comforting as that of the home fire, but it’s one which should be enjoyed sparingly.


Improving Your Indoor Air QualitySince an indoor space can contain chemicals, mold, dust, or even industrially-created chemicals such as phthalates, PBDEs, and other VOCs, it’s especially important to be vigilant about purifying the air in your home. The best strategies are:

  • Improve ventilation — don’t let the concentration of pollutants build up.
  • Clean the air using air filters — a HEPA filter or Guardian Air REME are excellent options.
  • Dust with a damp cloth to remove particulate matter — don’t just spread it around, clean it up.
  • Remove sources of air contaminants — buy organic furniture not treated with chemicals and avoid harsh chemical air fresheners and cleaning products.
  • Get outside regularly — the fresh air and sunlight will do wonders!

Have you struggled with indoor air Quality? What did you do to improve it?

We can help you with the Answers

We have the equipment and the training to help answer any questions that you might have. We can also do the testing to give you piece of mind. All testing analysis is done by an independent lab to ensure the most accurate results.

25 Ways to help keep warm

AM Home Inspections: Posted on Sunday, November 09, 2014 9:05 PM

In the quest of saving money without sacrificing your comfort, many home owners and renters alike are searching for ways to keep warm without turning on the heat. Save on your energy bills while keeping your bank account happy and full with these 25 effective ways of staying warm sans your heating unit.

1.) Wear Multiple Layers of Clothes Now is not the time to strut around in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. Dress in multiple layers to keep your core temperature comfortably warm.

2.) Don’t Forget Your Socks According to the University of San Diego, if you have cold feet, you’re going to be cold. Keep warm by wearing thick wool socks.

3.) Keep Your Oven Door Open After baking, keep your oven door open to let its heat circulate throughout your kitchen. The smaller your home, the better this technique works.

4.) Eat Hot Soups Raise your core temperature by consuming hot soup on cold winter days.

5.) Don’t Skip the Coffee or Tea Along with the caffeine boost, hot coffee or tea keeps you warm from the inside. Want to avoid stimulants? Drink decaffeinated coffee or tea.

6.) Open Your Window Curtains or Blinds During the day, open curtains or blinds to let warm sunlight naturally heat your home.

7.) Treat Windows to Capture and Safeguard Heat Install special window treatments to capture and retain heat within your home. Improperly treated windows can let a vast amount of heat escape into the cold winter nights.

8.) Close Window Curtains and Blinds at Night Prevent Father Winter from stealing your heat by closing window blinds and curtains at night when temperatures drop

9.) Stay Active Clean your home or exercise whenever you feel the sting of coldness. By staying active, you’ll naturally increase your core temperature.

10.) Increase Humidity in Your Home Humidity increases the temperature within your home. Therefore, skip your space heater and turn on an energy-efficient humidifier

11.) Reverse Ceiling Fan Circulation Instead of keeping your ceiling fan turned off, reverse its circulation to push warm air down into your living space. This is effective after you’ve ran your heater for a little while.

12.) Buffer Hard Floors With Blankets While rugs are best, if your budget doesn’t allow for this purchase, place blankets on bare floors to keep them warm.

13.) Keep Bathroom Doors Open When Showering Let the warm, humid air seep out into the rest of your home while showering by keeping your bathroom door open.

14.) Don’t Run Bathroom Ventilation Fans While ventilation fans draw out unpleasant smells after using the bathroom, it also sucks out warm air. Light a candle to eliminate smells to keep your bathroom warm throughout winter months.

15.) Use Towels to Block Chilly Air Roll up a towel and place along the bottom of a door to stop drafts and heat leaks.

16.) Keep the Fireplace Flue Shut Prevent winter drafts by keeping your fireplace flue tightly shut.

17.) Enhance Your Bedding Change out your sheets for flannel and use a down comforter to stay warm during frosty winter nights.

18.) Warm a Bag of Beans Warm a bag of beans in the microwave and place in your bed or against you while lounging on the couch.

19.) Cover Your Head Much like your feet, heat escapes through your head. Wear a wool hat or beanie to keep your body toasty.

20.) Keep Door Shut Keep all the doors in your home shut. The smaller the space, the easier it is to keep warm.

21.) Stay Away From Windows Move furniture away from large windows to keep warm. Even treated windows emit cooler temperatures during the peak of winter.

21.) Stay Cozy When lounging on your couch, cover with a warm blanket.

22.) Wear Slippers In addition to wearing wool socks, keep your feet extra toasty when doing chores by wearing slippers.

23.) Install Clear Shower Curtains Over Windows Allow your home to absorb heat, and keep it in, by installing clear shower curtains over windows that receive direct sunlight.

24.) Add Insulation in Your Attic Keep heat from leaking out of your home by adding insulation to your attic or crawl space.

25.) Light by Candles Along with saving on energy costs by keeping your light off, candles also produce a decent amount of heat. While not as warm as a fireplace, these small heaters can keep your immediate area warm.

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