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Home Inspections in Oakland County MI & Surrounding areas

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January 2019

Happy New Year! January is Radon Action Month - and we're offering 10% off our radon testing - take advantage! and learn about the dangers of radon. Being indoors for the winter can raise awareness of the state of our homes. In this month's news, you'll learn some tips about decluttering and organizing your house. Has your basement ever flooded due to frozen pipes or other problems? Winter is a common time for basement flooding problems, read our tips on what to do about basement flooding.

January is National Radon Action Month

Take advantage of our 10% off Radon testing this month
Radon gas is a serious health risk, causing more than 20,000 deaths each year. You read that right, 20,000 deaths! Further, it is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. To help reduce those numbers the EPA designates January National Radon Awareness month each year to raise awareness of the dangers and educate on testing and reducing radon exposure.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas released from rock, soil, and water. It is found in new and old homes, well sealed and drafty homes, and in homes with or without a basement. This gas is colorless, odorless, and invisible and the only way to know if your home has radon is to test for it. Sterling Home Services is providing radon testing at a 10% discount this month - Call us to schedule your test now!
Here are some facts about radon that you should know - taken from “Basic Radon Facts” published by the US Environmental Protection Agency:
  • Breathing radon in your home can cause lung cancer.
  • Radon has been found in every state - radon levels can vary greatly from home to home even in homes next to each other.
  • Radon is measured in picocuries per liter of air represented as pCi/L, a measurement of radioactivity. Average indoor levels are 1.3 pCi/L - outdoor levels average 0.4 pCi/L. If your indoor level is between 2-4 pCi/L you should consider fixing it, and if it is at or above 4 pCi/L it is recommended you fix it.
  • Radon tests are easy - they last between two to seven days and are non-intrusive. Call Sterling Home Service to get a qualified tester to administer a radon test for your home.
  • You can fix a radon gas problem. There are professionals available to implement measure to reduce the radon in your home. New homes can also be built with radon-resistant features.
Learn more from the U.S. EPA:
Test your home. Protect your health.
During January’s National Radon Action Month, the U.S. Surgeon General and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urge all Americans to protect their health by testing their homes for radon. Radon is a natural radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell, or taste but could be present at a dangerous level in your home. As the second leading cause of lung cancer deaths in the U.S. and the first leading cause among non-smokers, radon claims more than 20,000 lives annually. If a high radon level is detected in your home, you can take steps to fix it to protect yourself and your family. For more information about what you can do to protect your health and take action against radon during National Radon Action Month, please visit www.epa.gove/radon/national-radon-action-month-information

11 Tips for Decluttering and Organizing

Do you sometimes feel like you don't have enough room? What if the problem is actually that you have too much stuff? Or that your stuff isn't organized properly? January is a popular month for decluttering and organizing our lives. 
On New Year’s Day Netflix released a few episodes of Tidying Up with Maria Kondo - author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing - and founder of the Konmari method. The KonMari method for organizing and tidying up your life focuses on organizing item by category - not location using these categories: clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous (she calls it Komono), and sentimental items/keepsakes. The method encourages you to discard and release any possessions that do not spark joy.
There are six basic rules of tidying in the KonMari method:
1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
3. Finish discarding first
4. Tidy by category, not location.
5. Follow the right order: clothes, books, papers, komono, and sentimental items.
6. Ask yourself if the item sparks joy.
Read more about her method here https://konmari.com/pages/about
Tips for decluttering:
  • Mementos - save one item per “theme”
  • Take photos of things to ‘Save” and retain the memory
  • Take small bites - resolve to do one system/room/category at a time
  • If you haven’t used it or needed it in a year you can part with it
  • Use Peter Walsh’s 10-minute declutter exercise - 2 trash bags, 10 minutes, put trash in one bag and donations in the other - the exercise starts as a superficial decluttering but if you add it to your weekly routine you’ll make real changes in the amount of clutter in your home
  • Paper is a deep issue. for now designate a place: mail, coupons, magazines, catalogs
Unsure about whether to keep or toss? Use the cardboard box test: put items you think you can’t part with and put them in a sealed cardboard box (one you cannot see through) Store the box and if you haven’t opened the box in 12 months you haven’t needed anything so you can toss or donate the box.
Tips for organizing:
  • Don’t buy storage containers or systems until you’ve decluttered and inventoried the things you are keeping.
  • Designate a place for every single thing. 
  • Keep it up. Now that your stuff is newly and neatly organized you’re not done. Every system requires upkeep.
  • Keep counters clear. Put everything in its place.
  • Store items in a way that makes it easy and obvious to see what you have. Fold and store clothes in a single layer (see the Konmari method for folding and storing clothes for ideas), organize your pantry with taller items at the back, and use clear containers and bins.
  • Use boxes and trays to separate items and organize drawers - organize items by size. 
If you’re selling a house - keep it ultra uncluttered. Nothing on the counters (kitchen and baths), minimal knick-knacks on the shelves, closets cleaned and stacked, etc. It helps people visualize themselves and their stuff in the space.

When Your Basement Floods

A flooded basement is no picnic. What can you do about it? Below are a few tips to help you prevent flooded basement situations and also what to do if you do find water soaking the floor.
  • Insulate pipes - cold pipes can freeze and burst
  • Be vigilant when new appliances or plumbing is installed - if the installation has anything to do with your plumbing do your research and ask questions until you understand. If you can get a guarantee for work against flooding, get one.
  • Be cautious what you flush  - diapers, feminine products, paper towels, can clog the main drain causing water to back up.
  • Take action - the longer you wait to deal with even a slow leak the more damage you can expect and thus a higher bill.
  • Never put carpet in the basement - Carpeting has to be professionally cleaned or torn up, hauled away, replaced and installed.  Opt for tile or another water-resistant flooring.

If you do have a problem with water in your basement, call for professionals right away - check our list of Preferred Contractors. 


New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.  Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. ~ Mark Twain
Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man. ~ Benjamin Franklin
And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
New Years Day is every man's birthday. ~ Charles Lamb
New Year's Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time. ~ James Agate
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