A home can have all sorts of lingering and unpleasant smells, such as a stench from the bathroom. And, while some household smells are merely objectionable, others can be an indication of a hazardous condition. Household odors that may be cause for concern include a natural gas smell which is similar to a rotten egg, a fishy smell that could be emanating from a wall outlet, a musty or dusty smell which could be the result of mold or mildew, and a sewage odor which could be a sign of a clogged drain pipe. Learn about potentially hazardous household odors and how to successfully remediate each.
Roaches are unsightly in kitchen cabinets as well as other areas of a home, and can carry diseases and be a risk to pets. To get rid of cockroaches in kitchen cabinets, there are some remedies that can be used before contacting a pest control specialist. Steps include cleaning out kitchen cabinets to eliminate possible food sources, identifying and filling cracks where pests may gain entry, address possible water leaks and moisture sources, applying gel baits, and applying diatomaceous earth or boric acid to kill the insects. Learn more about remediating roach infestations in kitchen cabinets.
A sump pump works to keep a basement dry by discharging captured water from a sump pump basin that could have penetrated a basement by seeping through seams or cracks in basement walls or basement floors. To ensure the sump pump is in proper working condition, it is recommended to perform annual, and in some cases quarterly, inspections and maintenance. Sump pump maintenance steps include checking and clearing the sump pump basin of debris, checking the sump pump for corrosion and other damage, cleaning the sump pump inlet screen, lubricating sump pump bearings if recommended by the manufacturer, and clearing the sump pump discharge line of debris. Learn about basement sump pump maintenance to ensure performance.
Causes for water leaking into a basement crawl space include leaking pipes or plumbing fixtures, water from gutters and downspouts, and groundwater seeping through seams or cracks in the foundation. Resolving this issue quickly is important, as standing water can erode a home’s foundation, rot the wooden beams and joists, and create mold and mildew issues. Depending on the root cause of water in a basement crawl space, possible solutions include repairing plumbing leaks, installing a sump pump, adding a vapor barrier, cleaning gutters and diverting downspouts away from exterior basement walls, and fixing grading around the foundation to redirect water away from it. Learn about causes of water in a basement crawl space and remediation tactics.
A residential septic system needs regular maintenance to avoid a system backup and ensure the longevity of the septic tank and septic field. Regular septic tank maintenance includes pumping the tanks every 2-3 years depending on the number of bathrooms and occupants in the home.
There are several options for finding the location of a septic tank. These include inspecting the yard for a large divot or hill, identifying areas in the lawn that are patchy or difficult to grow grass on, using a soil probe to find the septic tank lids, following the main sewer line from the home by tracking the sewer line in the basement, and contacting your local Department of Health or county building department to obtain records or plans submitted for design approval of the septic system. Learn more about ways to identify the location of a home’s septic system.
A concrete septic tank, the most common tank type, can last as long as 40 years. To maximize a septic tank’s lifespan, is it recommended to pump a septic tank every 2 to 3 years. As part of the service call, the septic service company should inspect the complete system for potential issues that could require repairs. Identifying and repairing issues quickly can extend the septic tank and system life. It is also recommended to avoid flushing items down the toilet that could harm the septic system and lead to failure, including hazardous waste, disposable diapers, coffee grounds, paper towels, paint thinner, and other household and personal care items. Learn about septic system lifespan, identifying possible septic tank and septic field failures, and how to extend the life of a septic system.
It is important to resolve sewer smells in your bathroom quickly. Inhaling high levels of sewer gases can cause health problems, including nausea, dizziness, and, in the case of hydrogen sulfide poisoning, even fatality. Airborne pathogens can also be present in your home exposing you to sewer-dwelling germs. And, extremely high levels of sewer gases can even trigger an explosion.
Common causes of sewer smells in a home include clogged sink and shower drains, leaking pipes and p-traps for sink and shower drains, empty p-traps for unused sink and shower drains, a broken wax ring for a toilet, and incorrectly installed vent pipes in a bathroom. Learn about causes of sewer smells in a bathroom and how to resolve them.
Basement flooding happens frequently. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, floods are the number one disaster in America. Common causes of basement floods include a burst pipe, leaking foundation, or weather-related event. Flooded basement cleanup requires safety precautions and in many instances, professional help.
Flooded basement cleanup typically costs between $3,000-$10,000, with an average cost of $4,000. The estimated cost includes flood remediation and cleanup for approximately 500 square feet and contains 2 feet of water. If the basement is holding only a couple of inches of clean water, the average cost will be approximately $2,000 since there is less water damage service required.
Floods in basements are typically the result of heavy rainfall or fast snow melt, foundation cracks, broken basement windows or poor draining egress, sewer backups, sump pump malfunctions, water heater failure, drainage system failure, improperly sealed basement walls, burst or leaking pipes, and overflowing gutters or improper downspout locations.
Learn about common causes of basement flooding and important steps to remediate the situation.
Typically, a home warranty will cover repairs to pipes and other plumbing fixtures. A home warranty is a service plan that provides coverage for service, repair, and replacement of systems and appliances listed in the warranty policy. These policies usually include a deductible but will cover the majority of the service or repair cost. Warranties can provide different types of coverage, including major home systems such as HVAC, electrical, and plumbing as well as appliances.
Plumbing is considered a service, so most warranties provide coverage for indoor pipe and other plumbing repairs. Covered repairs usually include leaks or breaks in pipes, fixing or replacing faucets and valves, fixing or replacing built-in motors and pumps, and basket strainers, and clearing of tub, shower, and toilet blockages and stoppages.
Learn about coverage offered by a typical home warranty.
Mold and mildew are common household problems that can cause damage over time if left untreated. This fungus is easy to see, and to ensure that mold and mildew will not come back, you need to find out what caused the mold to grow and address the root cause so that it won’t return. Inspect areas near the mold for active plumbing leaks, condensation on pipes and fittings, basement foundation leaks, high humidity levels, and pre-existing mold infestations.
Mold and mildew infestations can negatively impact the health of those living in the home, especially those with respiratory problems. When mold and mildew are found, it’s important to remove them quickly to prevent harm to the structure and occupants. Common solutions that are used for killing mold include white vinegar, baking soda, bleach, concrobium, and steam. Learn how to remediate mold and prevent it from returning.