Country Club Hills
to name a few
Protect Your Property From Water
Water may be essential to life,
but, as a destructive force, water can diminish the value of your
home or building. Homes as well as commercial buildings can suffer
water damage that results in increased maintenance costs, a decrease
in the value of the property, lowered productivity, and potential
liability associated with a decline in indoor air quality. The best
way to protect against this potential loss is to ensure that the building
components which enclose the structure, known as the building envelope,
are water-resistant. Also, you will want to ensure that manufacturing
processes, if present, do not allow excess water to accumulate. Finally,
make sure that the plumbing and ventilation systems, which can be
quite complicated in buildings, operate efficiently and are well-maintained.
This article provides some basic steps for identifying and eliminating
potentially damaging excess moisture.
and Repair All Leaks and Cracks
The following are common building-related
sources of water intrusion:
• windows and doors:
Check for leaks around your windows, storefront systems and doors.
• roof: Improper drainage systems and roof sloping
reduce roof life and become a primary source of moisture intrusion.
Leaks are also common around vents for exhaust or plumbing, rooftop
air-conditioning units, or other specialized equipment.
• foundation and exterior walls: Seal any cracks
and holes in exterior walls, joints and foundations. These often develop
as a naturally occurring byproduct of differential soil settlement.
• plumbing: Check for leaking plumbing fixtures,
dripping pipes (including fire sprinkler systems), clogged drains
(both interior and exterior), defective water drainage systems and
damaged manufacturing equipment.
• ventilation, heating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems:
Numerous types, some very sophisticated, are a crucial component to
maintaining a healthy, comfortable work environment. They are comprised
of a number of components (including chilled water piping and condensation
drains) that can directly contribute to excessive moisture in the
work environment. In addition, in humid climates, one of the functions
of the system is to reduce the ambient air moisture level (relative
humidity) throughout the building. An improperly operating HVAC system
will not perform this function.
Water Intrusion Through Good Inspection and Maintenance Programs
Hire a qualified InterNACHI inspector to perform an inspection of
the following elements of your building to ensure that they remain
in good condition:
• flashings and sealants: Flashing, which is typically
a thin metal strip found around doors, windows and roofs, are designed
to prevent water intrusion in spaces where two building materials
come together. Sealants and caulking are specifically applied to prevent
moisture intrusion at building joints. Both must be maintained and
in good condition.
• vents: All vents should have appropriate
hoods, exhaust to the exterior, and be in good working order. " Review
the use of manufacturing equipment that may include
water for processing or cooling. Ensure wastewater drains adequately
away, with no spillage. Check for condensation around hot or cold
materials or heat-transfer equipment.
•HVAC systems are much more complicated in commercial
buildings. Check for leakage in supply and return water lines, pumps,
air handlers and other components. Drain lines should be clean and
clear of obstructions. Ductwork should be insulated to prevent condensation
on exterior surfaces.
• humidity: Except in specialized facilities, the
relative humidity in your building should be between 30% and 50%.
Condensation on windows, wet stains on walls and ceilings, and musty
smells are signs that relative humidity may be high. If you are concerned
about the humidity level in your building, consult with a mechanical
engineer, contractor or air-conditioning repair company to determine
if your HVAC system is properly sized and in good working order. A
mechanical engineer should be consulted when renovations to interior
spaces take place.
• moist areas: Regularly clean off, then dry all
surfaces where moisture frequently collects.
• expansion joints: Expansion joints are materials
between bricks, pipes and other building materials that absorb movement.
If expansion joints are not in good condition, water intrusion can
Protection From Water Damage
• interior finish materials: Replace drywall,
plaster, carpet and stained or water-damaged ceiling tiles. These
are not only good evidence of a moisture intrusion problem, but can
lead to deterioration of the work environment, if they remain over
• exterior walls: Exterior walls are generally
comprised of a number of materials combined into a wall assembly.
When properly designed and constructed, the assembly is the first
line of defense between water and the interior of your building. It
is essential that they be maintained properly (including regular refinishing
and/or resealing with the correct materials).
• storage areas: Storage areas should be kept
clean. Allow air to circulate to prevent potential moisture accumulation.
Act Quickly if Water Intrusion Occurs
Label shut-off valves so that the water supply can be easily closed
in the event of a plumbing leak. If water intrusion does occur, you
can minimize the damage by addressing the problem quickly and thoroughly.
Immediately remove standing water and all moist materials, and consult
with a building professional. Should your building become damaged
by a catastrophic event, such as fire, flood or storm, take appropriate
action to prevent further water damage, once it is safe to do so.
This may include boarding up damaged windows, covering a damaged roof
with plastic sheeting, and/or removing wet materials and supplies.
Fast action on your part will help minimize the time and expense for
repairs, resulting in a faster recovery.
Sources of Air Leaks in Your Home
2. Recessed lighting
3. Attic entrance
4. Electric wires and boxes
5. Plumbing utilities and penetrations
6. Water and furnace flues
7. All ducts
8. Door sashes and frames
10. Warm air registers
11. Window sash and frames
12. Baseboards, coves and interior trim
13. Plumbing access panel
14. Electrical outlets and switches
15. Light fixtures
16. Sill plates
8 Steps to a Safer Backyard
• Be an inspector: Take
a close look at the balconies, porches, railings and outdoor furniture
to see if there are any missing or rusted rails or fasteners. Also
check for splinters, buckled or loose boards, uneven stair threads
and discolored areas. make sure there are no cracks or gaps in your
pathways that could trigger a fall.
• Say so long to slick surfaces:
Keep your driveways, walkways and garden paths clear of leaves, branches
and other debris. After a heavy rainfall, be attentive to puddles
and slick surfaces, and wear shoes or boots with good treads.
• Give your lawn a once over:
One misstep or uneven surfaces and you can lose your balance.
Ask a friend or family member to walk around ypur yard with you to
check for hazards such as roots, fallen branches, rocks or bumpy ground.
They may see something you missed.
• Don't try to be Mr. or Ms. Fix-it:
If your mower or weed wacker breaks, take it to a professional repair
shop. Throw away broken garden tools.
• Keep it handy: If
youhave to root around the shed or garden, or reach up on high shelves,
accidents are more likely to happen. So place within easy reach the
yard equipment that you use most frequently.
• Follow this step:
we are at the higest risk of ladder injuries during the fall months
when we clean gutters, hang outdoor lights or do yard maintenance.
Climb a ladder only when someone strong can be there to spot you.
If you are at all wary about climbing don't do it.
• Get slip-resistant:
Add adbrasive strips or rubber stair treads and use deck paint that
has a rough texture.
• Add outdoor lights:
Put the ones that are motion-sensitive. Don't neglect the porch, pathway,
driveway and backyard.
you would like to reply or have a comment, e-mail me Tom
Kollias Property Inspections, Inc