Tag Archive for: home maintenance

As we start to get older, one of the conversations that occurs at some point is… how long do we want to stay in our home? For some, the option of moving to a senior living community (or even just downsizing) is not appealing or feasible, for a number of reasons including financial means, the stress of moving, emotional attachment to a family home, or the fear of aging even more quickly once they lose their independence. “More than three-quarters of U.S. adults age 50 and older want to stay in their current homes as long as possible”. No matter what your age is though, it’s important to consider modifications to your home to make it safe for you and your guests. Did you know that over one in four Americans age 65+ fall each year? Whether you have a health challenge and need more support throughout your home, or would like to proactively ensure your home is safe for your family and guests, making a few small changes doesn’t have to break the bank and can give you peace of mind in your home.

Ensuring Safety at Home
Here are some key safety measures that can be taken to create a secure living environment as you age gracefully in your home. It’s important to be proactive vs. reactive especially when it comes to health and safety.
1. Install Handrails and Grab Bars: Adding handrails along staircases, in bathrooms, and next to the bed can provide much-needed support and stability for seniors.
2. Improve Interior Lighting: Adequate lighting can help prevent falls. Make sure that all areas of the home, especially hallways, staircases, and entranceways, are well-lit.
3. Remove Tripping Hazards: Remove or secure loose rugs, electrical cords, and clutter that can pose tripping hazards. Choose non-slip mats for bathrooms and ensure that all carpets are securely fastened.
4. Bathroom Modifications: Consider installing a walk-in shower with a seat, a raised toilet seat, and a handheld showerhead to make bathing safer and more comfortable.
5. Enhance Accessibility: If possible, consider widening doorways to accommodate wheelchairs or walkers. Lowering countertop heights in the kitchen can also increase accessibility.
6. Emergency Response System: Invest in a reliable emergency response system that easily allows you to call for help when needed (especially important if you live alone!).
7. Regular Maintenance Checks: Stay on top of home maintenance to ensure that all systems and structures are in good condition.
8. Non-Slip Flooring: Choose flooring materials that offer good traction, such as non-slip tiles, to minimize the risk of slipping and falling.
9. Accessibility Features: Consider adding features like a ramp at the entrance, lever-style door handles, and easy-to-use faucets to make daily activities more manageable.

10. Exterior Lighting: Use bright lights or motion detection lights around steps, walkways and driveways to prevent falls in the dark.

By implementing these safety measures, we can create a home environment that promotes safety, independence and minimizes the risk of accidents in our homes. Selecting someone to check out your home in you area is going to help maximize their understanding of what you need. Musselman Home Improvement helps local families feel safe in their home. No matter if you are in Bucks County, Montgomery County, Lehigh County or Chester County…we are here to support your needs. Now is the time to make a safety checklist for your home and hire a professional if you need help.

The water pressure within each of our homes can vary. Typically, the closer your home is to the water source, the greater your water pressure will be.


When the pressure begins to run high, you can begin to hear “screaming” noises, loud metal bangs, and even experience water leaks throughout your home. If this sounds like your home, you’re going to want to install a pressure-reducing valve (PRV) to regulate it.


The PRV protects your home from excessive water pressure beyond what your plumbing fixtures were designed to handle. The valves in your home are designed for water pressure less than 80 pounds per square inch (psi).


Installing a PRV can be relatively simple; you can call your local plumber or follow our step by step video to do it yourself.


  1. First things first, in any kind of home maintenance that involves plumbing work, the water in your home needs to be shut off and drained. This will help you avoid a potential mess or water damage when tapping into your water system.
  2. Locate the lowest faucet that is closest to the main shutoff and open it.
  3. Open all other faucets in the home and flush all the toilets as well to drain your home’s water lines.
  4. Make a cut in the main water line using a pipe cutter leaving enough room to install the pressure reducing valve. Sand down ends of pipe where cuts were made to remove burrs.
  5. Slide the valve over top of the cut ends of the pipe and secure with glue.
  6. Turn the water valve back on and the job is complete!

Watch Jon & Jack demonstrate these steps in the video below.


PRVs can help to fix a number of issues including water waste, protecting water-using appliances, and reducing the energy needed to heat water in your shower, dish washer, etc.


Home maintenance doesn’t have to be a headache. Identifying the problem is the first step, and then, with a little time and effort, you can keep your home in tip-top shape saving you hundreds if not thousands in bills and other expenses. 

When any of our clients who have just purchased a home move in, one of the first things we tell them to do is to check their smoke alarms.


Far too many homes have the alarms overlooked and pushed to the wayside, and according to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly two-thirds of home fire deaths are caused by broken smoke alarms or the absence of them altogether.


Regular maintenance of the smoke alarms in your home is vital, and is easier than most expect.


First, you’ll want to be sure that each level of your home and each bedroom has an alarm present. Then, walk around to each one and press the “Test” button. If you hear a beep, everything is in working order. If not, it may need a battery or entire alarm replacement altogether. You’ll want to do these tests monthly.


If swapping out the battery doesn’t do the trick, we have a step-by-step on how to replace the entire hard-wired alarm (even if you aren’t an electrician):


  1. Make sure the power in the given room is shut off. We cannot stress the importance of this enough as live wires are highly dangerous.
  2. Remove the alarm from the ceiling and have the new one at the ready. There will be a top piece and a base that can be removed with a screwdriver or drill. Many smoke alarms come with a series of wires that you can match up to the existing wiring in the ceiling and plug right in with ease.
  3. Once the wire is connected, install the new base plate piece with either a screwdriver or drill. On the back of the alarm itself, there will be a place to jot down the date so you know when it was last replaced. Then, plug the other end of the wire into your alarm and connect it to the base with a slight twist until it locks into place.


A few more helpful tips for the smoke alarms in your home…


  • Purchase ones that are backed up by battery in case of a power outage
  • Dual smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are a great two-in-one option to keep your home safe
  • Keep a chart somewhere in your home that you can write down each time your alarms are tested and whether or not you had to replace the battery or alarm itself 
  • Replace batteries twice a year just to be safe, daylight savings is a good reminder to do so
  • Involve all members of your household with proper maintenance of alarms


In the video below, watch Jon demonstrate the replacement of a hard-wired smoke alarm so you can implement the steps in your own home’s detectors.


A fire extinguisher is something found in just about every home (or at least, they should be).


But how many of us actually know how to properly use one should the situation arise?


Without the knowledge of proper use, a fire extinguisher is practically useless.


The first thing you need to know is there are three components that make up a fire: a fuel source, oxygen, and a heat source.


Removing just one of these pieces will put a stop to the fire, and that is where your extinguisher comes into play.


When operating a traditional fire extinguisher, remember the acronym P.A.S.S.


PPull the pin.

AAim at the base of the fire.

S Squeeze the handle.

SSweep back and forth, until the fire is out.


Placement of the extinguishers in your home is vital as well. You want to make sure you keep them in the following potential hazard areas of your home for ease of access:


  • Kitchen – this is where the majority of home fires start. Keep an extinguisher handy, but away from any sources of heat, like under your sink.
  • Laundry room – your dryer is another big hazard.
  • Garage – Chemicals, vehicles, and other machinery are all known for starting fires.
  • Outdoors – Fire pits and grills, though outside of the home, can easily spread to structures.


Watch the video below for a helpful visual demonstration by Jon of a few different types of extinguishers.



One of the top causes of house fires are dryer vents that are clogged from years of neglect.


With all of the lint and debris stuck in your clothes dryer, it creates the perfect conditions for a fire to catch and spread quickly throughout the home.


The easy-to-remove filter that we often scrape clean after each load of laundry is just the surface of the lint that is inside your machine and throughout the ventilation system.


To be safe, we have to get inside the works and make sure we get it all out. 


Cleaning your dryer vent at least once a year can put your mind at ease that there is one less potential fire hazard lingering in the hidden parts of your home.


But how does one go about getting inside the dryer and clearing it’s vents?


Jon has created a video that you can watch below that goes over all of the necessary tools and a complete demonstration on cleaning out your dryer vent.




Some ventilation systems, however, are not as easy to access as the one in the video above. In these cases, you will want to hire a professional duct cleaner to handle the job. A small expense to pay for the assured safety of your home and family.

The last of the leaves are finally falling from the trees…and right into your gutters.


It’s mid-to-late fall, and the gutters on your home are likely at maximum capacity, having endured months of debris build-up and clogging them to the point that water can no longer drain through.


Though it may seem insignificant, when this clogging occurs, you could be in for more serious problems down the line. When rain water has no route of exit from your roof, it can begin pooling in places that will cause leaks in your roof or even cracks in the foundation of your home.


To avoid this from happening, we recommend cleaning out your gutters regularly as it is crucial to a safe and healthy home and here are just a few reasons why:


  1. Prevents water damage. Rainwater won’t drain properly when gutters are filled with debris. When that water overflows, it can cause water damage to the interior and exterior of your home.


  1. Protects your roof. With clogged gutters, rainwater has nowhere to go, leaving you with a rotten or a leaky roof.


  1. Keeps pests from causing trouble. Gutters full of leaves and what not can make desirable homes for rodents, birds, and insects. Keep those critters at bay by keeping them clear.


  1. Reduces the risk of a cracked foundation. That rainwater with nowhere to go can pool around the foundation of your home and crack it when expanding and freezing happens in the winter months.


  1. Saves you money. A clean gutter can help prevent expensive future repairs. Take preventative measures now to avoid a costly bill.


There are many companies out there that offer gutter-cleaning services, however, if you are more of a DIY person, there are also plenty of tools on the market designed specifically for this task.

To get this done with ease and as little mess as possible, the best tool for the job is a wet/dry vacuum to suck up all of the debris. This avoids any scooping out or blowing around of the junk that’s caught in there.

Wood-destroying insects, or WDIs, are not limited to just termites. Carpenter bees, carpenter ants, and various beetles such as the Wharf Borer are all examples of common insects that love nothing more than to make a meal out of the wood in your home.


The havoc they can wreak on wooden structures is extremely dangerous for any type of home;

First, they look for the kind of wood they prefer: damp or rotting wood that is easier to chew. Then, starting with small, almost invisible holes, they work their way inside and continue chewing until a vast network of tunnels has spread throughout inches if not various feet of your home and weakening the structures severely.

Once these pests have made themselves at home, chemicals to kill off the nest and removal and replacement of damaged wood will be necessary. Preventing future infestations, however, is always a possibility.


To ensure your home does not fall victim to a hoard of wood-hungry critters, the following measures can be taken:


  • Making sure the wooden structures around the outside of your home are stained or painted and do not make direct contact with the soil
  • Keeping moisture levels to a minimum by fixing leaky pipes or faucets, cleaning gutters, or use pressure-treated wood
  • Seal any and all possible entryways to your home such as cracks in foundation, ducts, and around windows, doors, and air conditioners
  • Inspect any kinds of wood brought in to your home to see if they’ve been stored properly, including antiques
  • have at least a 2-inch clearance between the house and planter boxes or soil-filled porches
  • eliminate all wood-to-soil contacts such as trellises, fence posts, stair casings and door facings
  • separate shrubbery from the house to help make it easier to inspect the foundation line
  • remove wood scraps or stumps from around foundations
  • have at least 12″-18″ clearance between floor beams and the soil underneath

You might have them and not even know it…


A wood-destroying insect, or WDI, such as termites, carpenter bees, carpenter ants, and various beetles like the wharf borer, can cause major damage to the wooden components and structure of your home.


Because they are hidden behind walls or beneath floors, these insects can go undetected for years leaving your home in unsafe conditions. Anywhere the wooden structures of your home touch soil is a possible access point for termites and other WDIs.


If you see the presence of termites in window sills or other areas inside your house, it is most likely already infested.


The outside of your home can also leave tell-tale signs of WDI infestation; Check areas like porches, sidewalks, patios, and areas near windows and door frames. If you notice damage or decay on wood features, a wood-destroying insect could be to blame. Pay extra close attention to the wooden parts of areas that are touching the soil such as fences or stairway railings as these are the perfect gateway to the core structure of your home.


The best way to find out whether or not your home has fallen victim to the appetites of WDIs is to get yourself a WDI inspection. This service includes a close look at both the outside and insides of your homes to determine what insect, if any, is affecting your home, what damage they have caused, and what you can do to prevent future infestations.

It can be difficult to figure out just whether or not you need a WDI or wood-destroying insect inspection on your home. After all, you can’t very well see through the walls in your home to know if it’s been infested or not.


So, how can you determine if a WDI inspection is needed in your home? Trick question.


Everyone and every home should get inspected for WDIs.


Because it is so hard to tell if your home has fallen victim to termites or other wood-munching insects, it’s a good idea to get it inspected regularly, new home or not.


There are a few signs to look for around your home that can be indicative of an infestation such as:


  • Decaying or rotting wood structures visible in and outside of the home
  • Small holes in wooden decks, fence posts, window sills, or doorways
  • Small piles of dust below holes
  • Wings or dead bodies of insects in the corners of your home
  • Tiny tubes made or wood or other debris that insects use for shelter


Even if you feel you’ve thoroughly inspected your home for these signs, however, that doesn’t mean you don’t have an infestation. 


The best way to find a WDI infestation and put a stop to it is to schedule an inspection today so you can put your mind at ease knowing you’re getting rid of the problem and helping to prevent it in the future.

Nothing is worse than stepping into your basement and being ankle-deep in water.


When your sump pump fails, it can quickly lead to flooding that not only can have a negative effect on the foundation of your home, but ruin just about anything stored in your basement as well. But most of us want to avoid the possibility of this failure from ever happening, so, how do you know how to care for your pump and when it needs replaced?


An important piece of information to know is that, just like any mechanical device, your sump pump has a lifespan.


Specifically, 8-12 years is the average time frame you’ll be able to get out of it before replacement is necessary. If you aren’t sure how old the pump is, but know that your house is over that 8-12 year limit, it’s a good idea to swap it out proactively.


To make sure the pump that you do have installed is running properly and efficiently to maximize that lifespan, there’s a few things you can do to regularly maintain it.



First, we want to take a look into the water inside the pump to make sure there’s no dirt and debris inside that could be clogging certain elements, making it work harder and straining the system.


Next, there will be a switch inside that you can pull up to test that everything is in working order, water is flowing as it should, and even be able to pin-point where something might not be functioning so you can repair it ASAP.


Watch Jon in this video below demonstrate step by step how to check to see if your sump pump is in good health:



At Musselman Home Inspection, we like to be a resource for all things home maintenance, and this specific piece of equipment falls into that category. For more information and assistance on any and all things sump-pump, feel free to reach out and we will be more than happy to provide demonstrations, recommendations, and any additional help you might need.