Useful Information in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Texas

The following is some useful information compiled by the experts at Red Hawk Real Estate Inspection. This information may prove helpful during the process of buying or selling real estate, and may relate directly to the report provided after inspection:

Aluminum Wiring

This wiring, used primarily during construction in the 1970’s, is no longer permitted for new installations in most jurisdictions because of its implications in house fires. However, existing aluminum wiring does not necessarily mean you need to panic. As long as it has been installed correctly, aluminum wire often proves just as safe as copper wire.

Potential Dangers
Aluminum wiring is such a large concern in real estate because poor installation frequently results in dangerous consequences. Aluminum wire expands as it warms up, and then contracts as it cools down. After several warming and cooling cycles, it tends to continue losing tightness. This process is often referred to as “cold creep”. Combined with aluminum’s tendency to oxidize when in contact with certain metals, these factors can lead to serious problems.

The wiring heats up to conduct the same amount of electricity, leading to even more oxidization. Due to this cycle, the wire may eventually get too hot, melt the fixture that it is attached to, and result in a fire. Aluminum wiring in a potential investment or in an existing property should always be checked by a licensed electrician or inspector in an attempt to prevent disaster.

Lead‐Based Paint

Lead‐based paints were used in many homes prior to being banned in 1978 by the federal government. As the name implies, this paint contains lead. Many documented cases of lead poisoning are attributed to contamination through degrading paint like this. Lead‐based paints in good condition pose little risk to inhabitants, but paint that begins to peel, chip, chalk, or crack does pose a health risk.

As lead‐based paint products degrade, dust forms and contaminates the surrounding environment. Lead dust may also become airborne when lead‐based paint is sanded or scrapped, or when painted surfaces rub together. Once the lead dust settles, sweeping, vacuuming, or just walking through the contaminated area can disrupt the dust and make it airborne again. Chips of paint flaked off of exterior surfaces also cause ground contamination.

Health Risks
Lead poisoning occurs when lead is ingested or inhaled. The concentration of lead in the body grows over time with continued exposure. Physical symptoms of lead poisoning present themselves differently in children and adults.

Symptoms in children include:

• Damage to the Brain and Nervous System
• Behavior and Learning Problems
• Slowed Physical Development
• Hearing Problems and Chronic Headaches

Symptoms in adults include:

• Difficulties During Pregnancy
• Reproductive Problems
• High Blood Pressure
• Digestive Problems
• Nerve Disorders
• Memory and Concentration Problems
• Muscle and Joint Pain

Dealing with Lead‐Based Paints
If your home or property was built prior to 1980, it is better to assume that it contains lead-based paints. Even though lead‐based paints were banned in 1978, many builders and suppliers continued to sell and use existing stocks for the next few years. The Housing and Urban Development department (HUD) of the federal government offers a 16-page brochure on expert tips for dealing with lead paint.

Mold Information

Molds are fungi that grow throughout natural and man-made environments. Tiny particles of mold are present in both indoor and outdoor air. Mold is a beneficial aspect of nature’s ecosystem, because it helps break down dead materials in soil, foods, plant matter, and other items. The microscopic spores produced by mold spread easily through the air. Live spores act like seeds and form new mold growths, referred to as colonies, when they find the right conditions.

What Does Mold Need to Grow?
Mold only needs a few things to grow and thrive. These include:

• Moisture
• Nutrients
• Space

Should I Be Concerned About Mold in My Home?
Of the mentioned factors, controlling excess moisture is the key to preventing and stopping indoor mold growth. When mold is permitted to grow and multiply indoors, health problems may occur, and building materials, goods and furnishings may be damaged.

Health Effects of Mold
Mold affects the health of people who are exposed to it. Exposure typically occurs when spores and other tiny fragments are ingested by inhabitants. Breathing mold and swallowing mold are the two most common forms of ingestion. People also face exposure through skin contact with mold contaminants.

Mold exposure produces a number of health effects, ranging in type and severity. Risks vary greatly and are often hard to predict. Those experiencing health concerns should consult a medical professional if they believe indoor mold may be the cause.

Remain on Mold Alert
If you have suffered from mold issues in the past, it is essential you continue looking for signs of moisture or return growth. Moisture in areas of past growth is always something to be worried about. Cleaning with a stronger disinfecting solution may be necessary if the mold returns. Regrowth may be a sign that the affected material needs to be removed or that moisture is not yet controlled.

Swimming Pool Information

Different pools require different levels of cleaning and maintenance. Both above and in-ground pools are available in a variety of different materials, some demanding more attention than others. The following are some of the most popular pool materials:

• Fiberglass – The one piece, fiberglass tub is fitted into a pre-dug hole. The slick surface repels algae, but eventually needs re-coating.

• Concrete – Concrete is poured into a pre-dug hole, and then covered with a plaster water seal. As a result of the seal, this surface withstands more wear and tear than a number of other pool materials. The concrete usually must be replaced every 7 to 10 years.

• Aggregate – This is a specialized finish used to cover the surfaces of a concrete pool. The layer of embedded, rounded gravel provides improved traction.

• Tile – A normal concrete pool is surfaced with tile, instead of a plaster finish. The tiled surfaces require less maintenance than a number of other materials. The slick surface repels algae, much like fiberglass.

Pool Problems
Pool problems are a fairly common side effect of normal use. Murky or colored water may indicate chemical imbalances, microorganism pollutants, or clogged filters. Clogged filters often mean money down the drain.

Algae is another common pool problem that often proves costly. Algae must be handled through chemical treatment, as well as filtering, backwashing, scrubbing, and skimming. Whether the algae appears green, brown, or like small black spots, it will take over your pool if it is not dealt with immediately.

Pool Features
The features of a pool affect your ability to perform a thorough clean. Many larger pools, especially those installed in cooler climates, even have heaters. While the filtration system helps keeps water clean, a cover may be necessary to reduce the amount of extra maintenance required.

Pool covers protect pools from debris, such as leaves and bugs. Some manual pool covers are designed for safety, and prevent children from falling into the water unattended. An automatic pool cover is similar to a manual cover, except it rolls back and forth over the pool along tracks. Winter covers minimize the need for heating, and also decrease chemical use.

Maintaining the perfect chemical balance in the water is another thing pool owners have to worry about. Improper chemical balances open the door to contamination, so it is advisable to use a water testing kit regularly. The results of water tests are a good indication of when you need temporary treatment, or when you need the regular help of pool service professional.

There is more to cleaning a pool, however, than keeping a proper pH balance and removing the occasion leaf. The following are some of the additional services a pool will likely require over the course of its lifetime:

• Vacuuming the Floor of the Pool
• Scrubbing Tiles, Sides, and Floor
• Emptying and Backwashing the Filter and Pump

Winterization
Experts strongly suggest winterizing outdoor pools in climates that get cold during the winter. Winterization protects the pool surface and equipment from freeze damage. Complete winterization required draining the majority of the pool water and applying antifreeze and algaecide to key areas. Once the winterization is completed, the pool is covered. Winterization protects the pool from freeze damage that harms the pool surface and equipment.
Have questions regarding the useful information provided by Red Hawk Real Estate Inspection? Simply contact us to learn more about what you should know when buying or selling a property. Our services are available throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, such as Frisco, Plano, McKinney, Allen, Carrollton, The Colony, Dallas, Lewisville, Coppell, Irving, Texas, and beyond.