When it comes to owning a home, the safety of you and your family is a necessity. You will want to inspect the home to ensure all areas are safe and secure. This includes any handrail or banister associated with your stairs. If you have young children you will want to teach them how to navigate up and down the stairs. Having handrails in place is a great start. How do handrails on stairs help keep you safe? They are a guide and provide stability as you move up and down the stairs.

Let’s take a look below at some more details regarding handrail safety.

What Is A Stair Handrail?

The primary function of a stair handrail is to provide support and stability while walking up or down the stairs. Having something safe to grab onto allows you to navigate the stairs more quickly and confidently. Gliding your hand down the handrail is the key. It is recommended that you use the “tennis-racket grip” to maintain a safe hold on the handrail at all times.

What Is The Purpose Of A Handrail?

Believe it or not, handrails serve a great purpose. Aside from just being something to grab onto while on the stairs, they will provide an aesthetically pleasing sight to your stairs. Let’s take a look below at how handrails on stairs help keep you safe.

  • Prevent accidents – Handrails are installed to provide you with something to grab onto while navigating up and down the stairs. This keeps you from having accidents if you trip on a step or miss a step.
  • Provide mobility – For homeowners that might not have great balance, the handrail provides them with more mobility as they can go up and down the stairs in a safe manner.
  • Liability protection – Having a handrail in place protects any liability on the homeowner. Imagine not having a handrail and someone tripping on your stairs. This would be potential for a lawsuit if someone were to get hurt.

How Can I Make Handrails More Visible?

To increase the safety of a handrail you will want to do a few things to make them more visible. Let’s take a look below at what those things might be.

  • Take extra precautions on stairs if you happen to wear bifocal glasses.
  • Consider a matte finish on the treads so that you can avoid any glares.
  • Improve depth perception by using angular lighting and color contrast.
  • Don’t use any patterned carpeting. This may hide the depth differences on the stairs.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know how handrails on stairs are meant to keep you safe you can explore other safety areas in your home. Use a springtime maintenance checklist to ensure that you have the whole home up-to-date.

Next, while you are working to determine if the handrail is safe and secure, you might encounter a dent in your wall. Understanding how to repair dents in your wall will save you from having to hire an additional contractor to repair them for you.

Lastly, if you are having a home inspection done, it is a great idea to know what to expect before, during, and after the home inspection is complete. This will give you an advanced idea of how everything will play out.

When Do I Call A Professional?

When you purchase or build a home with a second story or a split-level you will want to ensure that the handrail is intact and properly working. Additionally, this should be covered during the home inspection of the purchase. Also, if proper building codes are not followed you will want to have this corrected. For safety reasons, hire a professional to assist with the installation of a new handrail.


Anytime you are upgrading your home or making changes you will want to follow the building codes. Hiring a professional that understands building codes is key. Consequently, hiring someone who specializes in handrail installation is key. Also, call on your local home inspection team to check the stairs and other areas of the staircase to ensure that everything is safe. Reach out to Blue Guardian Home Inspections for a staircase handrail inspection during a complete home inspection in Kendall, Kane, Dupage, and LaSalle Counties of Illinois.

When it comes to owning a home there can be various nuances to the home. Some homeowners enjoy a wood-fired fireplace, while others have gas fireplaces installed. No matter which one you have in your home, you must understand the maintenance needs. Having a fireplace is an exciting amenity, but should not be taken lightly. Gas fireplaces can be activated in a variety of ways. One of those is by using a wall key. Wondering how to turn on a gas fireplace with a wall key? Insert the wall key into the ignition hole and turn the key to open up the gas flow.

Let’s take a look below at some more detailed steps.

What Tools Do I Need?

Believe it or not, only a couple of tools are necessary to complete this project. You will need the following items for this project:

  • Gas fireplace wall key for wall switch
  • Long matches or a kitchen lighter

Where Is It Located?

With the gas fireplace, there is a gas valve knob that prevents the flow of gas when the fireplace is not in use. Luckily, you can partially or completely open the gas valve knob as you require a gas flow for your fireplace. In this case, there is a round metal flange that consists of a square or hex hold in the center. This is your gas valve knob. You can find this on either wall side about a foot off the floor. Additionally, they can be located at ground level on the fireplace apron or ground level on the flooring of the actual fireplace.

What Are My Steps?

Just like any project, there are steps for using the wall key to ignite your gas fireplace. Let’s take a look below at the recommended steps.

  1. Find the gas valve knob – Locate the gas valve knob on the wall or floor of the fireplace. Keep the wall key close to the unit so that you don’t lose it.
  2. Open the fireplace – It is necessary to open the glass doors or screen of the fireplace.
  3. Find the ignition area – You will see a pipe with holes or valves. This is where the pilot light to light the fireplace is located.
  4. Get your lighter ready – Have your long matches or lighter ready to go, once you open the gas flow.
  5. Use the key – Insert the wall gas metal key into the valve and make sure it is a clean fit.
  6. Slowly turn and open – Rotate your wall key a quarter of a half turn in the counter-clockwise direction. It is important to slowly open the valve so that you do not flood your fireplace with a massive amount of gas.
  7. Light the gas – Use your lighter or matches and light the gas.
  8. Continue to open the valve – Once the flame is lit, you can continue to turn the gas valve in the counter-clockwise position. Continue opening until the valve stops. If you want the flame to stay short turn the valve down. Just be careful not to turn it too far or the flame could go out.
  9. Remove the wall key – Be sure to remove the wall key once you have your gas flow set. You don’t want to accidentally break off the wall key or mistakenly turn off your flame.
  10. Turn off the gas flow – When you have finished using your gas fireplace, replace the wall key and turn the valve clockwise until it completely stops turning to close the gas valve. You will notice the flame begin to simmer down and eventually go out.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know how to turn on your gas fireplace with a wall key, you can begin reading up on if your gas fireplace needs to be cleaned. Chances are this is a good idea to prevent residue from the gas flames from building up on your fireplace.

Next, be sure that you understand the by-product of your gas fireplace. It might be a good idea to install carbon monoxide detectors in your home in case your gas fireplace is giving off too much carbon monoxide.

Lastly, while you are working to maintain your gas fireplace, this might be time to maintain other areas of the home. For example, changing the air filter in your HVAC unit should be done on a semi-annually timeline. If you use your HVAC system a lot and have pets in the home, you might want to consider changing the air filter more often than every 6 months.

When Do I Call A Professional?

If you are struggling to light the gas fireplace with your wall key, there may be an issue with the gas line. Call on your local master plumber that has experience working with gas lines. They can troubleshoot what is happening with the lack of gas flow to your fireplace, or determine if there is a gas leak. Also, reach out to your local home inspection team for an equipment inspection. Additionally, they can recommend a reputable master plumber or gas company to assist.


Knowing the ins and outs of your gas fireplace is important for the safety of you and your family. Additionally, having the common sense when you smell gas to shut everything off and get your family to safety is key. If you smell gas, you should call on your local home inspection team to inspect all of your home systems. Additionally, they can bring in a master plumber with gas line experience. Call on Blue Guardian Home Inspections for a full home inspection in Kendall, Kane, Dupage, and LaSalle Counties of Illinois.

Imagine just getting home from work and a storm has knocked out the power to your home. Now it is impossible for you to open your garage door with your remote, so getting soaked is likely going to happen. You park your car and run inside your home so that you can manually open the garage door and safely park your car. How to manually open a garage door? This involves understanding where the emergency release cord is and what steps are necessary.

Let’s take a look below at the details involved with manually opening and closing a garage door.

How Do I Open It From The Outside?

Opening your garage door from the outside can be a little more tedious than opening it from the inside. If you lose power you will need to know how to manually open your garage door from inside and outside your home. Let’s take a look below at the recommended steps.

  • Find the emergency release kit – At the top of your garage door, there is a small lock. The lock keeps the emergency release cable. Keep in mind, you need the key to the lock to release the door.
  • Emergency release cord – Use the key to open the lock tumbler and locate the release cable. Pull the emergency release cord to trigger the release mechanism and place your garage door into its manual mode.
  • Unlock the garage door – Use your key to unlock the next lock that is responsible for keeping the door closed. Turn the handle on the door so it is facing a vertical position.
  • Push the door up – Grab the exterior garage door handle and lift the door. Once the door is open, ensure that it will stay open. You wouldn’t want to drive your car into the garage and have the door close on top of the car.
  • Close the door – Once you are successfully in the garage, you can close the door from the inside of the garage and place it in the closed position.

How Do I Open It From The Inside?

Opening your garage door from inside the garage is a fairly simple task. Let’s take a look below at what the steps are to accomplish this task.

  • Unlock the garage door – In some cases, homeowners use the bottom latches on the garage door to keep intruders out. You will need to unlock the latches to open the door.
  • Unplug the electric garage door opener – Unplug the garage door opener. This allows you to ensure that you won’t get shocked or electrocuted if the power is restored.
  • Emergency release cord – Find the red handle that hangs from the center rail. The red cord attaches the garage door to the trolley of the center rail.
  • Pull down on the cord – Once you have located the release lever, pull down on the cord to disconnect the door from the trolley.
  • Push or pull up – Lift the garage door by using the bars or center garage door handle to elevate the door up and open. Be sure the door is going to stay open or place some locking grips under the bottom wheels to keep the door in place.
  • Close the door – Once you have pulled your car into the garage, you can pull the door closed and lock the door with the manual locking bars.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know how to manually open and close your garage door, you should consider reading up on how to tighten the garage door springs. This is a necessary part of garage door maintenance. You can always hire a professional if you aren’t comfortable with this task.

Next, another good part of garage door maintenance is understanding how to lubricate your garage door. This is necessary to keep the parts from sticking and not working properly. Keeping the parts greased and lubricated is necessary for their longevity.

Lastly, if all else fails with your garage door maintenance, consider researching when to replace your garage door. Planning for this project allows you to save your funds and not worry about the added expense.

When Do I Call A Professional?

When it comes to garage doors, you will almost always call on a professional garage door installation company to troubleshoot any of your issues. Additionally, reach out to your local home inspection team. If you are needing to manually open and close your garage door, you might have other underlying issues. Using your local home inspection team will allow you to find out exactly what’s going on with your garage door.


Garage doors can be finicky. They have so many working parts, that if not maintained, could break down and cause some issues. Consequently, most homeowners don’t realize the necessity to clean and grease the wheels and track of the garage door. If you want longevity out of your garage door and do not want to open and close it manually, simply maintain it. Reach out to Blue Guardian Home Inspections for a full home inspection in Kendall, Kane, Dupage, and LaSalle Counties of Illinois.

Owning a home requires you to maintain a lot of appliances and equipment. For most homeowners, realizing something isn’t working typically happens after damages have occurred. If you have a sump pump in your home, you likely have a basement floor to keep water out of. Sump pumps are great for maintaining a clean and moisture-free basement space and preventing water from getting in. Keep in mind that sump pumps will eventually fail. How long do sump pumps last? If installed correctly, a sump pump will last between 7-10 years. Longevity is based on proper maintenance.

Let’s look below at why a sump pump’s life expectancy will vary based on its maintenance.

What Is A Sump Pump?

Sump pumps are known to serve multiple purposes. There are portable sump pumps and sump pumps that are installed in a basement well to keep the water. When your basement is not waterproofed, excess groundwater can make its way into your basement.

Therefore, the job of a sump pump is to cycle out the moisture. Sump pumps are installed in a pit that has electrical wiring, piping to relocate the water, and a motorized pump. Also, in some cases, a battery backup power accompanies the sump pump to keep it from failing.

When Will I Know It Is Time To Replace It?

Believe it or not, there are a variety of reasons why a sump pump fails and should be replaced. Let’s look below at what signs it is time for a sump pump replacement.

  • Constantly running – Sump pumps are installed to handle a certain amount of gallons of water per hour. If the pump that is installed cannot handle the volume of water it will cycle on for minutes at a time to remove the excess water. If this occurs it is likely that the pump is too small or is not powered up properly.
  • Weird Noises – Consequently, if you hear a low humming noise or strange noises from your sump pump there is likely an issue. Any humming noise coming from the pump could mean that the bearings inside the motor are starting to freeze up. Additionally, the impeller in the motor could also be jamming. If this happens, you will need a master plumber to come and replace your sump pump.
  • Frequent cycling on and off – Sump pumps that cycle on and off regularly are failing to relocate the excess water volume promptly. This malfunction could cause the pump motor to overheat and break down. It is recommended that you have a bigger sump pit or well and pump installed. Having a basin that can handle 20 to 30 gallons is smarter than investing in a new sump pump every couple of years.
  • Not turning on – When you are experiencing heavy rainstorms, your sump pump is working very hard. Keep in mind that your sump pump also kicks on when you have snow melting, dripping pipes, or ground pressure. If your sump pump does not turn on, it can cause you to have major water damage in the basement. The moment that you notice it is not turning on you will need to call on your local master plumber.

Sump pump repairs are often needed if your sump pump’s electrical system is experiencing power outages and float switch control issues. Test the pump after a power outage to ensure that the sump pump is running and able to push water out of the basement. Consequently, call on your local master plumber to make any repairs.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know how long your sump pump should last, this would be a good time to read up on how to unclog a sump pump. You might not have time to call a local master plumber to assist, so the more info you can gather is a good idea.

Next, read up on ways that you can prevent your basement from flooding during a heavy rainstorm. If the sump pump is unable to keep a large amount of water out of your basement during a heavy rainstorm, you will want to utilize other options.

Lastly, keep an eye out for water leaks in your home. If water is leaking or moisture levels are up, mold can start to grow. Areas that are damp and have high moisture levels become a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

When Do I Call A Professional?

The moment when your sump pump stops working is when you need to call a master plumber. The sump pump in your basement is necessary to keep groundwater out of the basement. Also, if any part of the sump pump begins to fail, you could end up experiencing some major flooding. Call on a master plumber to assist you with a sump pump replacement. Additionally, call on your local home inspection team to inspect all of your plumbing. Also, they can refer you to a reputable master plumber.


Sump pumps are key for keeping your basement free and clear of water. If you build out your basement, you will want to ensure that your sump pump is working properly. Additionally, no homeowner wants a flood in their basement. Call on your local home inspection team to get your sump pump inspected during a full home inspection. Contact Blue Guardian Home Inspections for a full home inspection in Kendall, Kane, Dupage, and LaSalle Counties of Illinois. They will inspect your sump pump system and basement during a full home inspection.

Winter is ending and spring is around the corner. This means it is time to do some springtime maintenance. Whether you have just built your home or purchased an older one, there is always some spring maintenance to do. Cracks will appear in ceilings and walls and you will want to make the necessary repair promptly. At the same time, you want to look at a springtime maintenance checklist to ensure you take care of your home for the upcoming months. What causes cracks in walls and ceilings? Ground shifting during home settling can cause cracking. Also, moisture damage and ceiling weight.

Let’s take a look below at some more specifics regarding cracking in your walls and ceiling and some spring maintenance ideas.

How Many Types Of Cracks Are There?

Believe it or not, there are about 6 different types of cracks that can be referenced in a home. The names of these cracks will vary based on the type of crack. Let’s take a look below at what those are.

Hairline Ceiling Cracks

These cracks are typically caused by a drywall mud issue or a plastering problem. These cracks are fairly standard as the walls and ceilings expand and contract from humidity and moisture. Additionally, they are not structurally concerning.

Straightline Ceiling Cracks

You will often see this type of crack in your ceiling if the drywall installer did not use the proper amount of plaster. Also, these types of cracks are caused by the installer not doing their job. They are not structurally concerning.

Yellow or Brown Ceiling Cracks

These cracks are indicative of a water leak. Additionally, you will want to inspect the attic and other areas of the home for potential water leakage.

Spiderweb Ceiling Cracks

Once the home begins to settle, it becomes uneven. To what extent depends on how much pressure the home is putting on the ground underneath. Spiderweb ceiling cracks are a structural concern. Also, you should have a structural engineer take a look at your home.

Cracks Between the Ceiling and Walls

Truss uplifting causes cracks in walls and ceilings, they are likely caused by truss uplifting. The truss is the frame of your roof and ceiling. When extreme weather or winds come into play, the trusses can expand more than usual. This causes the truss to pull away from the ceiling and create an issue.

Bowed Ceiling and Large Ceiling Cracks

The moment that you notice a bowing ceiling and any large ceiling cracks you will need to call a structural engineer. At this time, there is major structural damage occurring. Water damage and foundation settling could be the culprits.

What Causes Cracking In A Home?

Believe it or not, what causes cracks in walls and ceilings can be attributed to two main issues. Poor workmanship and the natural setting of the home are the main reasons. Also, springtime maintenance can reduce these issues. Let’s take a look below at what can cause this to occur.

Foundation Issues

As the house settles, the foundation can shift. If the foundation was not supported correctly, then it will cause other structures in the home to break down. As more stress is placed on other structures of the home, cracking can occur.

Moisture Damage

Anytime that water touches a material like drywall, it begins to break down. The moisture from a leaking roof or pipes can break down the materials that make up your ceiling. This will cause the paint to start cracking and chipping.

The Top Floor is Too Heavy

If you have a second floor and the rooms do not have strong support, the weight of the floor above the ceiling will start to put pressure on the underlying ceiling. Second-floor bathrooms are typical culprits of this issue. Also, placing too many boxes and heavy containers in the attic will put pressure on the underlying ceiling.

The Drywall was Poorly Installed

If the contracting company that completed the drywall installation did a poor job and rushed the material installation, you could end up with cracking. Additionally, if the drywall that was used happened to be a poor product, it will break down quicker and cause cracking.

Old Age

The older the home the more you will need updating and repairs. Keep in mind, it is common to see cracks and structural changes in your home as it ages. Don’t panic. Take an aggressive approach and make the repairs promptly. This ensures that further damage does not continue to occur.

Will A Spring Maintenance Checklist Help Me With This?

Yes, keeping a spring maintenance checklist and other seasonal maintenance checklists will help you avoid the destruction of a crack in your ceiling and walls. Let’s take a look below at what we can do to ensure our house stays structurally sound.

  • Inspect the roof – No matter what type of roof you have, inspecting the roof is necessary to keep the structural integrity of your home intact. This allows you to discover any water leaks or degraded materials that will need replacing.
  • Repair the cracked paint – At this time, it is a good idea to re-paint any cracked or peeling paint areas. This will keep your home looking fresh and clean for springtime.
  • Clean the gutters – Hire a company or get on a ladder and sweep your gutters clean. Cleaning out the gutters will reduce the stress on your walls and roof. Also, this will ensure that the gutters will not clog and cause water damage.
  • Clean and repair any screening – If you have a screen enclosure or rips in your window screens, now is a great time to make those repairs.
  • Check the seals around your doors and windows – Ensure that all seals are safe and secure around your windows and doors. Also, check for cracks and a need for replacement.
  • Replace your HVAC filters – Keeping your HVAC filters new and clean allows your system to work more efficiently.
  • Clear any overgrowth around your AC compressor – For the proper airflow to make its way through your air conditioner, it needs space to work. Additionally, keeping vegetation and overgrowth from blocking the airflow is key.
  • Drain the water heater – As sediment builds up in your tank, it can start to clog the tank. This reduces the efficiency of your water heater. Draining the water heater in the spring will remove the sediment.
  • Clean the dryer and washing machine – Remove all lint from your dryer vent by vacuuming it. Also, check the washing machine fill hose for cracks or clogging.
  • Clean the Refrigerator coils – Use a vacuum and suck up any dust from the bottom refrigerator coils. Pull the refrigerator out from the wall and look at the bottom and back of the refrigerator. Also, if you see dirt and debris, you will need to vacuum.
  • Replace smoke detector batteries – This would be a great time to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors.
  • Clean all exterior surfaces – This includes cleaning the driveway, decks, patios, fencing, and any other exterior of the home. Use a pressure washer to assist with this project.
  • Fix and damage to the exterior surfaces – This includes your decking, driveway, fencing, and other exterior surfaces.
  • Get your lawn equipment ready – Make sure to sharpen the blades and change the oil in your lawn mower. Also, check the fluids in any other yard equipment that you might use.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you understand what causes cracks in walls and ceilings, you can look into other areas that might need repair. Additionally, after you make repairs, you will want to know how to paint your ceilings.

Next, be sure to understand what drywall needs replacing in the home. Replacing wet drywall is highly recommended. However, if you determine that you have caught the problem in time, you could simply use industrial fans to dry out the existing drywall. Of course, you do run the risk of creating a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Lastly, having a spring checklist is just as important as having a winter checklist. In fact, having a maintenance checklist for all seasons is a great idea. Also, as a homeowner, you don’t want to forget any maintenance needs. Consequently, keeping something like a winter, spring, and summer checklist will help you keep up with the maintenance needs of your home.

When Do I Call A Professional?

Conducting your annual spring maintenance checklist is key for moving into the summer months with a fully functional and energy-efficient home. Additionally, you wouldn’t want to push through the various weather changes in the springtime without a completed checklist. Also, this bodes well for keeping your home from developing cracks in the walls and ceilings of your home. Consequently, reach out to your local home inspection team to get a full assessment of the working parts and structures of your home.


Springtime maintenance is important for the home. Additionally, cracks in your walls or ceilings are clear indicators of some structural damage to your home. Also, in most cases, they are the result of other issues in the home. Consequently, calling on your local home inspection team allows you to get to the bottom of the cracking and other issues. Reach out to Blue Guardian Home Inspections for a full home inspection in Kendall, Kane, Dupage, and LaSalle Counties of Illinois.

Choosing a home can be stressful and challenging. It is a great idea to go into your home purchasing exploration with a list of amenities and materials that you would like to see in and on the home. Selecting a home with a roof that is durable and lights up the aesthetics of the home is key. Keep in mind that you can always change the look of the metal roof. Can you paint a metal roof? Yes, you can paint a metal roof, but if the roof is new, you need to wait six months for it to weather.

Let’s take a look below at what benefits you from painting a metal roof.

What Are The Benefits?

Painting a galvanized metal roof can provide a variety of benefits to the homeowner. Let’s take a look below at what those benefits might be.

  • Aesthetics – when the roof is dull, painting it will bring out a new pop to your home. Enhancing the curb appeal of your home is important for keeping up the value of the home.
  • Lifespan increases – adding a new layer of paint to your metal roof will increase the protection of the roof. New paint also keeps the roof looking fresh.
  • Sustainability – painting your metal roof with light-colored paint can help reflect heat energy from the home. The more you can deflect heat energy, the longer your home stays cool. Also, the less you need to use your ac unit.
A variety of painted metal roof panels

What Tools Do I Need?

Any time that you are looking to complete a project, tools, and materials are always necessary. To successfully complete this project you will need the following items below:

  • Power washer – this will prepare the metal roof by cleaning away dirt, debris, and mold.
  • Paint rollers and brushes – these products needed are to apply the new paint.
  • Ladders or scaffolding – these are necessary for your safety, and to ensure that you are secured on the roof.
  • TSP cleaner – this removes the old paint.
  • Wire brush or wire wheel – these tools will scrape away the old paint so that the new paint can adhere.
  • Rust-inhibitive metal primer – this primer allows the paint to adhere to the metal surface.
  • Desired paint color – find the right type of paint and apply this after the metal primer so that the metal roof shines.

What Are The Steps?

When it comes to projects around your home, you will always want to follow the recommended steps or manufacturer’s instructions. Let’s take a look below at the recommended steps.

  1. Old paint – using a paint scraper, remove the old paint by scraping away the loose paint with a putty knife. Be careful not to press too hard and damage the metal.
  2. Pick the right day – choose a day when the weather will be fair. Typically, an early Fall or Spring day will suffice. You want to ensure the day is dry and cool. Metal roofs absorb heat and will get very hot.
  3. Apply the primer coat – using the tools above, roll on or spray on the initial primer coat. Also, wait an hour for the primer coat to dry.
  4. Apply a coat of the new paint – in the same steps that you applied the primer coat, you will now apply the new paint coat. Additionally, allow an hour for the paint to dry before applying a second coat. This ensures a vibrant color.

How Much Does It Cost?

Choosing to paint your metal roof can be an expensive decision. Putting money aside for this project is a good idea. In most cases, this project has an average cost of around $2,300. The size of the roof and the slope of the roof will determine how expensive this project can become. The national average range for pressure washing and painting a metal roof is from $1,150 to $3,630.

Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know about painting your metal roof, here are a few other areas of maintenance.

One of those is if your metal roof needs gutters. The answer is yes as all roofs need gutters for the runoff but you need to make sure that you find the right ones. Gutters will also keep wood from rotting on your home as well as keep soil from eroding.

Another area is hail damage on the roof. We don’t know when hail storms are going to happen and unfortunately, sometimes they leave damage on the roof. There are some obvious signs of damage such as missing shingles, bruising of shingles, dents, and dings. These can happen because of the slope of the roof or even the age of the roof.

Lastly, summer is upon us soon and it will be a good idea to perform chimney maintenance. You used your fireplace and chimney through the winter and you want it to be clean for next fall. This is a great time to contact a professional to do chimney maintenance so you can see if there are any issues. A good chimney sweep is also a good idea to get rid of the soot and debris.

Painting a metal roof with a paint sprayer

When to Call a Professional

Painting a metal roof requires you to strip the old paint and apply new coats to the roof. It would be a great idea to hire a professional painter who has experience painting metal roofs. When you purchase the home, you will want to know how old the metal roof is. This allows you to plan ahead for when it is time to paint your roof again. Hiring a professional keeps you safe from climbing on the roof.


Upgrading your home often requires a professional. Attempting to get on your metal roof to paint the roof is not the best idea. In this case, hire a professionally licensed painter who has experience painting metal roofs. Also, call on your local home inspection team to inspect the condition of the roof. You will want to make repairs to the roof before you paint it. Reach out to Blue Guardian Home Inspections for a roofing inspection during a full home inspection in Kendall, Kane, Dupage, and LaSalle Counties of Illinois.

Garage doors can be rather interesting pieces of a home. Most homeowners never consider the maintenance side of a garage door. Often you just push a button and expect the door to open and close without any issues. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. In some cases, it is necessary to tighten some of the garage door parts, such as the springs. Ever wonder how to tighten garage door springs? Depending on which spring you are tightening will determine how you tighten it.

Let’s take a look below at how we can tighten side-mounted extension springs or torsion springs.

What Are The Types Of Garage Door Springs?

Believe it or not, there are two types of garage door springs. Let’s take a look below at each type.

Torsion Springs

Torsion springs are most often installed as part of bigger automatic garage doors. Typically, these doors are 10 feet wide or wider. Depending on the size and weight of the door, you could see two over the shaft of the door. This type of spring requires professional adjustment. It is a very dangerous and difficult task to adjust these types of springs and it is not recommended that a homeowner attempt this. Let the professional make the adjustments.

Side-Mounted Extension Spring

You will notice these extension springs on both sides of the garage door. They are parallel to the track and cable and the pulley that holds them in place. These types of springs are easily adjusted or repaired by a homeowner. However, for your safety, reach out to a professional.

How To Tighten A Garage Door Spring – Equipment Needed

Just like with every project, tools, and materials are needed to tighten garage door springs. Let’s take a look at the suggested list of tools and materials needed for each adjustment.

How To Tighten A Garage Door Spring – Making Adjustments

Knowing how to tighten the garage door spring is a tough task. Adjusting the garage door springs will vary. Each type has a different way of adjusting them. Let’s take look below at some steps for adjusting the springs.

Side-mounted Springs

There are 6 simple steps for adjusting or tightening the side-mounted springs on your garage door. Let’s take a look at what those steps are.

  • Open the garage door and disengage it from the garage door opener.
  • Place a C-clamp under the wheels at the last panel of the garage door. This ensures that the door will not shut while you are working on it.
  • Detach the spring hook so that you can regulate the tension.
  • Attach the spring to a hole that is higher on the track to increase the tension on the garage door. This allows you to regulate the opening and closing of the door. Reduce the tension on the side of the door where there is a gap if the garage closes unevenly.
  • Increasing the safety cables requires you to shorten them by tightening the knot. If you want to reduce the tension then you will lengthen the cables by weakening the node.
  • Lubricate the springs and ensure that the door is working properly.

Torsion Springs

Adjusting the torsion springs on a garage door has a different process than how you adjust the side-mounted springs. Let’s take a look below at the necessary steps.

  • Ensure that the garage door is closed and install a C-clamp on the track above the last wheel. This ensures that the garage door won’t suddenly open while you’re working.
  • The point where the spring ends is the location of the winding cone. Locate the winding cone so that you loosen the screws.
  • Place a steel bar or winding taper into the bottom of the hole of the cone to ease the screws out.
  • Regulate the extension by reducing or increasing the tension. If the door closes too quickly, you must increase the pressure by winding the cone upwards. However, if the door closes too slowly, or won’t close all of the ways, wind the cone downward so that you decrease the tension.
  • Stretching the spring will require you to leave the bar in the bottom hole and remove the other one. Applying force from the bottom and up to the bar.
  • Now tighten the set screws that you loosened earlier. This locks the spring into its new placement.
  • Test the door and if everything is working properly, lubricate the wheels and springs and reconnect the door to your electric door opener.
How To Balance a Garage Door - Torsion Spring Adjustment - Easy/Clear Instructions

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you understand how to tighten your garage door springs you should probably start looking into when it is a good time to replace the garage door. If you are experiencing the need to make repairs to your garage door on a regular basis, you will want to replace it. Be sure to call a professional and your local home inspection team to make the right garage door selection.

Next, it is possible that you aren’t even sure where to begin with your garage door maintenance. If this is you, be sure to read up on how to inspect your garage door and springs. This information can save you a lot of time and money. Knowing more about the process will also help reduce any added maintenance stress.

Lastly, there are always recommended safety tips when dealing with anything that is mechanical. Garage doors seem easy to move, however, they are rather heavy. Understanding the dangers that your garage door could provide is key to keeping your family safe.

When Do I Call A Professional?

When it comes to tightening garage door springs or fixing or repairing garage doors, it is a great idea to call a professional garage door installation company. They are more equipped and have the expertise to adjust your springs so that the garage door functions correctly. Also, it is a great idea to put the garage door down on your yearly maintenance list. This ensures that the door or doors are working properly throughout the year. Additionally, reach out to your local home inspection team for a full garage door inspection during a full home inspection. Consequently, they can recommend a reputable garage door installation and repair company.


The moment that you have to tighten the garage door spring or have issues with the garage door, is the moment when you want to call a professional for help. Most homeowners are not equipped with the proper tools to conduct any garage door repairs. Additionally, if you do not know what you are doing, there can be a substantial safety hazard while conducting garage door repair. Call on your local home inspection team and they can check to see if your garage door needs any repairs or updating. Reach out to Blue Guardian Home Inspections for a full home inspection in Kendall, Kane, Dupage, and LaSalle Counties of Illinois.

When you purchase a home, oftentimes you are looking for as many perks and amenities as you can get. In many cases, one of those amenities is a garbage disposal. Homeowners love having garbage disposal to help them cut down on food waste being discarded into the trash can. What can go in a garbage disposal? Vegetables and fruits that do not have peels, soft foods that aren’t starchy, and ice are all ok.

Let’s take a look below at some more details regarding garbage disposals.

What Is A Garbage Disposal?

If you happen to have a garbage disposal, then you are in luck. These appliances are great at reducing food waste by shredding the excess food into tiny particles to be washed down the drain line. Garbage disposals are used to keep solid foods from clogging up your P-trap. The P-trap is located under the sink drain and is necessary to keep sewer gases from entering your home.

Be sure to put the right food in the garbage disposal.

Which Items Are Safe To Put Down A Garbage Disposal?

Believe it or not, knowing which items are safe to go into your garbage disposal and not safe to go in is important. If you put the wrong food items into your garbage disposal you can cause a clog or even damage your plumbing. Let’s take a look below at what is good to go into the garbage disposal.

  • Ice – Putting ice cubes into the garbage disposal helps clear food particles that have stuck to the walls of the disposal. Also, the ice can help keep your blades sharpened inside the disposal as the ice bounces around and gets shredded.
  • Soft or liquid foods – Essentially, any type of food that has the same consistency as baby food. Vegetables and fruits that do not have their peels or skin on them are good to be put into the disposal unit.
  • Citrus fruit – Using citrus fruit in your garbage disposal is a great way to kill the bacteria in the unit and keep it smelling fresh. Use oranges, lemons, or other citrus fruits without the peels to keep your garbage disposal smelling divine.

What Should Never Go In A Garbage Disposal?

Knowing what you can put down a garbage disposal is a great first step. However, there are many food items that should never go down a garbage disposal. Certain food could cause damage to your disposal or plumbing and create many headaches for the homeowner. Let’s take a look below at what food items we should avoid putting down the garbage disposal.

  • Egg shells or coffee grounds – The reason why these food items are not good for disposal is due to their tiny nature. Also, keep items that are so small that they could get stuck under the blades of the disposal. . Additionally, any small food will stick to the walls of the garbage disposal.
  • Banana peels, potato peels, Corn husks, or onion skins – any food that has stringy fibers in it are not good for the blades in the disposal. The stringy peels can clog your disposal and create a backup of water in your plumbing.
  • Starchy foods – Keep pasta and rice, peanut butter, or other grease oils from going down the disposal. They can solidify and expand as water is added or removed.
  • Lack of water – Anytime that you are flushing the food down into the garbage disposal you need to make sure that your run cold water. Having running water helps rinse the disposal as it shreds the food.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you are aware of what you can and cannot put down the disposal, you should read up on how to loosen a tight P-trap. If the P-trap is getting clogged you will need to loosen and remove the P-trap for proper cleaning. Also, if you don’t have the tools to do this, call on your local master plumber.

Next, be sure to read up on how long your garbage disposal should last. You don’t want to be caught off guard by an added appliance expense. Especially, if you can avoid abusing your disposal by putting the correct foods down it.

Lastly, another area of plumbing that you need to be aware of is regarding your electric water heater. Also, if you turn on your faucets and no hot water comes out, you might need to reset your electric water heater. Reading up on how to do this is important for troubleshooting a solution. If you still cannot get the electric water heater to start, call on a licensed electrician to assist.

When Do I Call A Professional?

The moment that you notice your disposal is making noises, smelling bad, or getting clogged you should look to replace it. Cleaning your disposal with baking soda and vinegar is a great first step for keeping it from smelling. However, this might be a temporary fix. Also, be sure to rinse all food particles down the drain. This ensures it doesn’t sit and clog up your disposal. Additionally, if you continuously have disposal issues, call on a master plumber to come to assist. Additionally, reach out to your local home inspection team. Consequently, they can inspect your entire plumbing system and let you know if other repairs are needed.


Having the information of what can and cannot go down the disposal is invaluable to a homeowner. Most homeowners fail to even read the manufacturer’s recommendations. Starting with a quick list of what can and cannot go down the disposal is key. Be sure to reach out to your local home inspection team for a full plumbing inspection. Also, they can recommend a reputable master plumber for all of your plumbing needs. Call on Blue Guardian Home Inspections for a full home inspection in Kendall, Kane, Dupage, and LaSalle Counties of Illinois.

Imagine waking up on a cold day and you are just wanting to take a hot shower to warm your body’s internal temperature. You step into the shower and there is nothing but cold water coming out. No matter how far you turn that faucet handle, cold water keeps spewing out. Immediately, you realize your water heater is not doing its job. It is time to reset the water heater. How to reset the water heater? Check the breaker and flip it to the on position. Then, push the red reset button on the water heater.

Let’s take a look below at what else might be involved with the water heater reset button.

Why Is There A Reset Button?

The electric water heater reset button on the water heater is meant to stop the power flow to the water heater. The safety feature is meant to kick in when the thermostat isn’t working properly or if there is a power surge. The reset button will keep the water in your water heater from getting too hot.

How Do I Locate And Reset The Water Heater?

Locating the rest button can be rather simple. Typically, the button is red and located near the thermostat. It can also be found behind the metal access panel that can be removed from the unit.

Keep in mind that there might be a lower thermostat button that could be a second reset button. You can push this and release it to determine if the heater will trip again. If the heater trips the breaker after pushing either reset button you will need to call a professional.

In short, to reset the electric water heater, flip the breaker off, push the reset button, and flip the breaker back on. If the water heater doesn’t trip off, then your reset button worked. If the breaker continues to trip, then you call a professional.

What Are Some Reasons For The Water Heater To Stop Working?

Believe it or not, the water heater could stop working for other reasons beyond a faulty reset button. Let’s take a look below at what some of those other possibilities might be.

  • A faulty thermostat will prevent the water heater from working correctly.
  • There is a malfunctioning reset button on the hot water heater.
  • The home has electrical issues and nothing to do with the water heater parts.
  • A loose wire in the water heater can cause it to trip the breaker by heating the water too high and the high-limit switch kicks in.
  • If the high-limit switch isn’t working the water will get too hot. If the switch trips, it is malfunctioning or allowing the water to get too hot.
  • If there is a short in the heating element the water might get too hot and trip the high-limit safety thermostat switch.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you understand what the reset button is on a water heater and where it is located, you can read up on how long it takes a water heater to heat up the water. Once you have reset the water heater it will take some time to heat up the water.

Next, if you want to keep your hot water going for longer, you can learn about what you can do to make hot water last longer in your home.

Lastly, while you are getting your water heater looked at this is a great time to go over your winter maintenance checklist. One of those items on the checklist is your water heater. This will ensure that you have hot water during the winter months.

When Do I Call A Professional?

The moment that your water heater begins to trip or starts to not work, you will need to call a professional. A professionally licensed electrician will need to come out and check your circuit breaker to make sure that the circuit isn’t the issue. Also, consider calling on your local home inspection team. They can inspect your electrical system and water heater to see if the water heater needs to be replaced.


Having a functional water heater is a necessity for homeowners. Without a water heater, you have no hot water for showers or appliances. No hot water in a dishwasher means you cannot sterilize your dishes while being cleaned. Most water heaters will last between 8 and 12 years. If you maintain them properly, you will get the maximum lifespan out of a water heater. Typically, having to use the reset button is a minor issue. However, reach out to your home inspection team to inspect the entire water heater and your electrical system. Call on Blue Guardian Home Inspections for a full home inspection in Kendall, Kane, Dupage, and LaSalle Counties of Illinois.

When it comes to your HVAC system conducting regular maintenance is important. As a homeowner, you do not want to get any surprises about your HVAC unit. Make sure that you check your air filters and other maintenance suggestions as recommended. If you notice a change in the airflow of your HVAC system, then you should look into calling a professional. They can come out and test your equipment to determine how strong the airflow is. How strong should air come out of vents? The recommended airflow for each room is typically 50 cubic feet per minute.

Let’s take a look below at what this all means.

What Is The Best Way To Measure The Air Flow?

Believe it or not, there are professionals available to help you measure the airflow in your home. Let’s take a look below at what they use to do this.

  • Calibrating air balancing hood – Any vent grille that is flat against the wall or ceiling will have this tool placed over the grille. All of the airflow of the fan from the HVAC unit is then caught by the air balancing hood.
  • Airflow traverse and an Anemometer – This is used to measure the air velocity. The airflow traverse can only be used on a long straight exhaust duct. Drill a few holes into the air duct and place the anemometer over the holes to catch the airflow velocity.
  • Non-contact tachometer and a static pressure kit – Check the manufacturer’s fan performance table to determine the expectation of the fan. Measure the fan speed in RPMs by using a non-contact tachometer. Then use a static pressure kit to measure the static pressure of the airflow. Together the RPM and static pressure can be compared with the manufacturer’s fan performance table.

How Strong Should It Be?

Typically, the strength of your airflow is dependent on the system that you have installed. Each manufacturer has a standard when it comes to creating their units. However, the strength of the system can vary based on the motors and fans or parts installed. Airflow should be equal throughout the home.

The reality is that the airflow strength depends on the systems’ strength. The air in each room of your home should be changed over 8 times per hour. Typically, the smaller the room the faster your airflow will change. You can measure the airflow in cubic feet per minute. Most small rooms, like a bathroom, have an air movement of 50 cubic feet per minute (CFM).

What Prevents The Air Flow?

When it comes to HVAC there are many areas that could prevent airflow. Let’s take a look below at what those items are.

  • Vent-blocked or closed – Vents are typically on the wall or roof of your home. Make sure that nothing is in the way of blocking the vent and that you can see through the grid.
  • Closed damper valve – When a damper valve is closed it will prevent airflow through the ductwork. In some cases, an automatic switch will open and close the damper valve.
  • Leaky ducts – If your ducts become loose or somewhat disconnected the air will escape from the openings and your airflow will be substantially reduced.
  • Low air pressure – Clean your air filters or replace them. Dirty air filters create lower air pressure.
  • Clogged duct – In some cases, rodents can get trapped in your ductwork. This will create a blockage of airflow. Also, over time, if your air filters aren’t replaced, dirt and debris will begin to build up in your ducts. This too will create a blockage or a clog.
  • Misshapen flex duct – Some ducts are flex ducts and they are used to connect a furnace with air vents and trunk lines. If the flex duct does not stay expanded then the space inside the flex duct is smaller and slows the rate of airflow. The system has to work harder to push the air back through your vents because it is a smaller space.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you have an understanding with regard to how strong air should come out of vents you can read up on if leaving your air conditioner on fan or auto is better. Knowing which mode is best for your home will save you money on your utility bill.

Next, be sure to study how long your HVAC system should last. If you aren’t conducting the proper maintenance on your HVAC system, then you likely won’t have your system very long. Always conduct the recommended maintenance on your HVAC system as suggested by the manufacturer of the unit.

Lastly, while you are getting your HVAC system inspected and serviced, this might be a good time to conduct all of the other necessary maintenance to prepare your home for the winter months. Having a checklist is a great idea so that nothing is neglected or missed.

When Do I Call A Professional?

Anytime there is a concern with your HVAC, you should always reach out to a professional HVAC service technician. Make sure that you are getting your HVAC unit serviced twice a year. Also, do your research and find out who is reputable in the local area. Call on your local home inspection team to get your HVAC system inspected during a full home inspection. They can give you a suggested list of repairs before any professional HVAC service technician tries to over-charge you for service.


If you are a homeowner that loves to complete projects, then it should be very simple for you to change your air filters on a regular basis. However, testing the airflow of your HVAC system requires specific tools and knowledge of how they work. It is recommended that if you are concerned with the airflow in your home you call on a professional HVAC technician. If you aren’t sure who to use, call on your local home inspection team. They will inspect your HVAC system and refer you to a reputable HVAC technician. Reach out to Blue Guardian Home Inspections for a full home inspection in Kendall, Kane, Dupage, and LaSalle Counties of Illinois.