Aging-In-Place Upgrades That Look Great And Make Sense

Do the words “aging in place” and “home improvement” conjure images of institutional-looking grab bars in bathrooms and overhead kitchen lights that could illuminate an airport runway? Many people eschew certain types of home improvements for the same reason others refuse to wear hearing aids – the negative connotations of age.
Changes in mobility, vision, hearing and stability are a reality of growing older for many Americans. Certain types of home improvements can make your home safer and more comfortable as you age, allowing you to live there longer. From lovely skylights that fill rooms with vision-friendly natural light and fresh air to slip-resistant flooring in designer colors, those “aging in place” home improvements can be beautiful as well as functional.
Here are a handful of aging-in-place upgrades that shout “fabulous” instead of “fogey”:
In the kitchen
We all spend a great deal of time in the kitchen, and it’s the room where we also do the most work. Upgrades that improve your ability to reach important appliances, enhance vision and boost safety will help you use your kitchen more efficiently for as long as possible.
Age-related vision changes can necessitate increasing the amount of light in your kitchen. Task lights and under-cabinet lighting can focus illumination where you need it most, and hide discretely out of sight without disrupting the clean lines and unmarked beauty of kitchen cabinets.
Overhead lighting is also important, but rather than opting for industrial-type lights that may cause harsh glare, consider introducing natural light. Research published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology suggests that natural light may be better for aging eyes than artificial light. A skylight is an upscale, beautiful home improvement that can benefit boomers with natural light.
Skylights can also help improve indoor air quality. Most exposure to environmental pollution occurs by breathing indoor air, according to research by the Greenguard Environmental Institute. No leak solar powered fresh air skylights, like those made by Velux America, not only provide healthful natural light, they also provide passive ventilation to reduce fumes, humidity and stale air – improving overall indoor air quality.
You can increase a skylight’s energy efficiency with solar powered blinds. The complete daylighting system, plus installation, is eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit. To learn more about these Energy Star-qualified skylights, visit The website offers a skylight planner app to show you exactly how skylights and blinds will look in your home, as well as a tax credit calculator to figure your savings.
In the bath
Falls are a leading cause of injuries that result in hospitalization of older people. Most falls in the home occur in the bathroom, so taking precautions in this much-used room makes sense. Like them or not, grab bars improve safety in the bathroom. Fortunately, bathroom fixture manufacturers seem to understand the need for products that blend safety and beauty. It’s now easy to find grab bars in a variety of attractive finishes and designs that complement your interior decor.
Lighting is also important in the bath, and a fresh air skylight can be beneficial in this room. Skylights provide natural light and passive ventilation while ensuring privacy in the bath. If your bathroom is on the ground floor, without direct roof access, you can still enjoy natural light by installing a Sun Tunnel tubular skylight.
Flooring is another opportunity to blend beauty and practicality in the bathroom. Replacing slick, traditional ceramic tiles with slip-resistant flooring such as stone, vinyl or textured ceramic tile, can be visually pleasing and safety-enhancing at the same time.
Outside the house
Navigating from the car to the front door can be fraught with peril for older folks, yet many people dislike the way certain assistive devices, like ramps, look in front of their home. If you’re not ready to add a ramp, a decorative railing for outdoor stairs is a great alternative. It’s easy to find good-looking options and virtually any home contractor can help you create a railing that meets your safety needs and meshes well with your home’s exterior design.
Outdoor lighting is also important for safety. Make sure walkways are well lit with low lamps that put illumination directly at your feet. New high-output solar lights are a great way to effectively light a path while minimizing energy costs. Finally, keep concrete sidewalks and brick pavements in good repair. Take care of uneven spots or loose pavers right away, to reduce the risk of falling outside.
Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!

Common Mistakes Homeowners Make When Choosing A Home Improvement Contractor…

And How To Avoid Them
Courtesy of Your Friends at The Home Detective
(BPT) – Consumer complaints and lawsuits regarding home improvements are on the rise according to Ripoff Reports; a homeowner that does not do their homework before embarking on a project could find themselves with poor workmanship, inferior products, health and safety issues or even legal problems.
So what’s a homeowner in need of a fix up to do?
“Start by reviewing the three most common mistakes people make when embarking on a home improvement project,” says Dave Harrison, chief marketing officer of Champion Windows, Sunrooms, Roofing and Home Exteriors (, one of the nation’s leading home improvement companies.
Mistake number one: Buying Only on Price
Your home is probably one of the most expensive items you own, so making improvements is not the place to budget shop.- “Make sure you are getting quality products professionally installed. A properly done home improvement should only have to be done once,” added Harrison, “and remember the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’.”
Mistake number two: Not looking at the Long Term Investment Benefits
When your home improvement project is finally over, you should be getting more than an upgrade to your home; you should also see an increase in your home’s value. When you do it right you can reduce energy and maintenance costs and increase comfort and pride in your home, and never have to worry about it again for as long as you own your home.
On the flip side a poorly executed project can lower the value of your home, have to be re-done in several years and even put your family’s health at risk. For example, water damage from faulty windows could cause mold.
Mistake number three: Not Knowing How to Screen a Contractor
“I’ve seen many independently owned contractors close their businesses after a short year or two,” said Harrison. “When selecting a contractor to work with it is important to get a sense of who they are, what products they use and how long they have been in business.”
According to Harrison there are four essential questions to ask during this screening process:
– Who designs it?
– Who builds it?
– Who installs it?
– Who guarantees it?
“When you don’t get the correct answers to these four questions you may end up with an inferior investment, expensive surprises, property damage or even lawsuits and liabilities,” says Harrison. “Ultimately, the answer you want is that there is a single source of accountability for your project. Having one company design, build, install and guarantee the product and work, as Champion does, can save you time, money and hassles in the long run.”
Make sure you have a contractor relationship you can trust for the long-term. This long-term relationship starts with a quality product and professional installation and includes a lifetime warranty from a company that has longevity and provides you with a sense that they will still be in business five or ten years down the road. -You should also ensure that your warranty is transferable, applies to all systems, applications and materials, and is non-prorated. A non-prorated warranty is considered to be the most valuable as it means that the manufacturer or seller will replace or repair the item at no cost to the buyer if there is a problem with a product.
And you should consider an inspection before and after your major project to make sure that things were done properly, structurally and safe.
Be sure to call The Home Detective 206-745-3975 for your inspection needs or schedule Online right from our website. We look forward to working with you.

Your Seattle Home Inspector Wants You To Know Why Installing The Wrong Smoke Alarm Could Be A Fatal Mistake

What You Don’t Know About Your Smoke Detector Could Kill You…The difference between Photoelectric and Ionization smoke alarms
Imagine your car air bags deploying randomly when you hit a pothole or speed bump but failing to deploy over half the time in a collision. That is the stark reality with the smoke alarms that are most often found in North American homes. Like most, I had always assumed that a smoke alarm was a smoke alarm. What I now know is that there are two basic types of residential smoke alarms sold in the U.S.: ionization and photoelectric. In real-world fatal fires, these two types of alarms behave very differently. In this case – different is not good. Understanding the difference could very well save your life.
“A smoke detector that sounds approximately nineteen minutes after smoke reached its sensing chamber is like an airbag that does not deploy until nineteen minutes after a car accident.”
- Judge David E. Schoenthaler, Mercer v. Pitway/BRK Brands (First Alert)
Ionization Smoke Alarms – Generally are more effective at detecting flaming fires, which consume combustibles quickly and spread rapidly. Sources of these fires include paper burning in a wastebasket, or grease fires on a stove.
Photoelectric Smoke Alarms – Generally are more effective at detecting smoldering fires, which smolder for hours before bursting into flame. Sources of the fires include cigarette smoldering in couches or bedding.
For maximum protection, install both types of smoke alarms on every level of the home.
Silent Alarms; Deadly Differences
Over 90% of U.S. homes have ionization sensor smoke alarms installed. Around 5% of U.S. homes have photoelectric sensor alarms installed. Approximately 4% have no alarm of any kind installed. (footnote 1) Back in the 1960s, residential smoke alarms were almost unheard of and the fire death rate was about 7 to 8 fatalities per 1,000 U.S. home fires. Between the mid-70s and now, we have gone from about 10% of U.S. homes having smoke alarms to 96% of U.S. homes reporting having at least one smoke alarm. (footnote 2) Surprisingly, after installing smoke alarms in over 100 million U.S. homes over 30 years, the odds of dying in a fire remain about the same. Perhaps it’s just me, but that doesn’t make sense.
Between 1977 and 2009 the number of U.S. home fires and fire deaths have fallen by roughly 50%. However, the risk of dying when a fire occurs today is only slightly lower than in the 1970s. Over the period, the rate fluctuates considerably up and down between 6.5 and 10 deaths per 1,000 fires. This brings into question the value of installing hundreds of millions of ionization alarms.
Click Here to Read More… Courtesy of the ASHI Reporter
Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!
206-745-3975 Call Us Today!

Home Inspections Seattle; How To Prevent Washing Machine Hose leaks

It never fails, you go out of town and bam, your washing machine water hose springs a leak and floods and damages your hardwood floors on the main level. What can you do to prevent this? Your Seattle Home Inspector will give you some expert advice on how to prevent washing machine water damage while you’re away.
Washing Machine Hoses
Failure of washing machine water hoses is one of the leading causes of residential water leaks and damage. The standard rubber hoses have a typical life of up to 5 years.
There are however, better grades of hoses available that will minimize or eliminate potential for leaks, bursting and water damage. Changing and installation of new hoses is simple and can be done in 15-30 minutes.
The most common, and much safer hose are the ones with the braided stainless steel covering. These hoses can be purchased at many hardware stores and are much stronger and resistant to bursting. These hoses are going to cost you ar0und $30 for the set. There is a one brand of the braided hoses that goes for about $50 for the set and has a 20 year guarantee.
Take the time to complete a full inspection of your water hoses. Replace them if they show any signs of wear or deterioration. Upgrading your washer hoses is well worth the effort and the peace of mind that you are protected against sudden bursting of an old water hose.
If you or someone you know is looking for a Home Inspection in Seattle WA, please call The Home Detective at 206-745-3975, we’ll help keep you from buying The Money Pit!

Seattle Area Home Inspector Reveals Why…

Over 4852 Families in The Greater Seattle Area Have Chosen
The Home Detective For Their Seattle Home Inspection Since 1995!
Most home inspectors want to be left alone when they do the home inspection. They view you, their client, as a distraction. Not at The Home Detective. We want you to be at the home inspection with us, looking over our shoulder and seeing what we’re seeing. We know that you will get a much more complete understanding of your home if you can see things with your own eyes.
Also, this gives you a chance to ask us questions about your home, questions that might not occur to you when you read our report. We’ll share with you what needs to be addressed, and why. You’ll get a real education about your new home, and we’ll explain everything in easy-to-understand terms. We are a “Jargon Free” Company!
Four words…We enlighten, not frighten. We educate you with objective, unbiased facts and information so that you can make an informed decision about the property.
Our ASHI Certified Inspectors will spend as much time as it takes to conduct a thorough home inspection on the property you are purchasing, from the roof to the foundation and everything in between.
When you choose us, we become Your Personal Building Consultant For Life. What does that mean? Well, if you ever have any questions about your home – how to maintain it, improvements you’re considering, anything – just give us a call. If we can’t help, we’ll help you find someone who can.
Our schedule is flexible…We know that your schedule is very hectic so we work hard to accommodate you!
We typically schedule two home inspections a day – one in the morning, the other in the afternoon. This helps ensure that we always have plenty of time to do a thorough home inspection for you.
Can’t get away during the week? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We are also available to do your home inspection on Saturdays and Sundays. Our Sunday home inspection schedule is limited, so please let us know as soon as possible that you want to do your home inspection on a Sunday. We’ll do our best to accommodate you!
We’re available seven days a week as well so feel free to give us a call on the weekend to schedule your home inspection!
We provide home inspections throughout the Greater Seattle area, from Federal Way and Bonney Lake, to North Bend and Woodinville, to Snohomish and Everett, and everywhere in between.
Free bonuses when you choose The Home Detective ~ You get a 350 page Home Owner’s Manual ($31.00 value) FREE!
Also, we have a VERY SPECIAL offer from ADT Security for a FREE HOME SECURITY SYSTEM – a package worth almost $300.00! These are FREE bonuses just for you. One way we can say “Thank You” for choosing us.
Oh, one more bonus for you. We’re also going to alert you if any of your major appliances are recalled. For as long as you own the home. For FREE! Even if you replace the appliances. Watch this video to learn more.
Join The Ranks Of Over 4,852 Happy Families!
So, for a detailed home inspection, and a thorough education about your new property, plus lots of extra value, call The Home Detective Today at 206-745-3975 or 206-786-8649 to schedule your home inspection! Or you can schedule your inspection here on our website 24/7 by clicking Schedule Now
We look forward to the opportunity of serving you and your family!
Please Know We’re Available Days, Evenings and Weekends To Take Your Calls And Schedule Your Inspection. CALL RIGHT NOW 206-745-3975

What Is A Home Inspection

And What Does It Cover?
For most people, the home is the largest investment they’ll ever make. And before you purchase, a thorough home inspection by a qualified home inspector is a must.
Home inspections are not typically required before purchase but most contracts have the inspection clause in them but remember, a home inspection is an inspection of the home at the time of the inspection. It is not a guarantee or a warranty.
The home inspection will typically cost between $300 and $400 and will depend on several features of the home; age, size, square footage, etc.
The home inspection can last between 2 to 4 hours and will depend if the report is printed on site. The inspector should verbally summarize the inspection for you.
Some inspectors offer additional inspections and testing at an additional cost. Those could include termite, mold, radon, Infrared, etc.
The most common problems found on the home inspection would be electrical, plumbing, homeowner workmanship, roof and foundation issues.
Be sure to read the report. It should include a narrative of any issues found along with pictures and descriptions.
A home maintenance inspection is a good thing to get so that you can stay on top of any negative conditions of your home and keep items repaired to save you money down the road.
A pre-inspection is a very good thing to do before putting the home on the market. This is an added cost to the seller but provides a written report as to the current condition of the home and could uncover any concerns that might compromise a sale. This also allows the seller to get the repairs done in a timely manner without being pressured and possibly paying more for the repairs because are rushed to get repairs done before closing.
A buyer should still have their own inspection done, even if the seller had a pre-inspection done.
Be sure to be there for your home inspection. There is so much you will learn about the home and any issues also, you’ll be able to ask the inspector questions and get them answered. You should get your inspection report that day or by the following day. The report should be detailed and clearly understandable and should list the condition of the home from top to bottom and include a summary page of the findings.
To Schedule Your Home Inspection, Call Us Today at 206-745-3975 or Schedule Online here on our Website

Your Seattle Home Inspection

The home buying process can be confusing and stressful. Not only do you need to consider things such as location, you also have to worry about whether the home itself has any problems that could become costly surprises down the road.
The Home Inspection is an unbiased, professional assessment of the condition of the house. It provides you an expert opinion and professional report on the condition of the physical structure and various systems within a house – Giving you Peace Of Mind on what is likely the largest purchase you’ll ever make.
In order to prepare the report, an inspector must conduct a visual inspection of the house. The inspection process typically takes about 3 hours to complete. This of course may vary, according to the size and condition of the home. We strongly encourage you to accompany the inspector during the inspection. This will give you a chance to ask questions and become familiar with the systems of the home.
We will inspect all the structural elements and systems of the home. Items that will typically be included in an inspection are:
1. Framing (structure)
2. Roof and attic
3. Foundation
4. Walls
5. Electrical system
6. Plumbing system
7. Heating and air conditioning systems
8. Kitchen
9. Bathrooms
Additional items and systems unique to a particular home can also be inspected.
When the inspection is complete, we’ll tell you of any problems that were discovered and discuss them with you. We will also tell you about any routine maintenance that should be performed, as well as answer any questions you may have. You’ll also receive a full written report of the inspection.
Our goal is to discover and inform you of anything we find that might affect your purchase decision. We’ll tell you about any problems we find, and make repair recommendations. We’ll also inform you of what maintenance tasks are required to keep the home and its systems in top condition.
Protect your investment and your family! Get A Home Inspection.
Proudly Providing Seattle’s Home Inspections.
Request a time for an Inspection by calling us at 206-745-3975 or schedule online 24/7 by Clicking Here.