November 1 , 2003 (PALM SPRINGS, Calif) — The California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) recommends the following preventative measures, along with recommendations to wisely clean up your home if you live with the smoke and soot range of the recent fires threatening the state. When you have a dry winter with below average rainfall, coupled with low humidity and high winds, it is imperative to exercise high caution both to prevent fire damage and to avoid further compromises to your home’s systems and components after the soot settles.
To help curb the spread of fire to your home’s structure, make sure to keep foliage growth away from your home. Establish a green belt wherever possible; rake and remove all dry plant materials that may accumulate on your property. Also, make sure your fireplace chimney is equipped with a weather capped spark arrestor. You may also consider replacing that old wood shake or shingle roof with Class A roofing materials such as cement shake or ceramic tile. However, make sure that your roof framing support system will bear the extra weight of a tile system.
Clean up as best you can by sweeping and hosing off the ashes. However, do not hose large amounts of ashes down the storm drains as an accumulation of this could easily plug up the system. Remember, ash makes excellent soil compost and mixing it into your garden soil would be far better than simply adding it to your normal garbage collection. And don’t forget to wear protective mask while doing your clean up.
Additionally, make sure to replace the filters on your air conditioning system to avoid the accumulation of soot that may cause your system to work inefficiently and to avoid a potential respiratory irritant. Soot and dust build-up in forced air heating ducts is a common source of indoor air pollution and is known to cause adverse health effects in some individuals, especially those who are prone to allergies. To have your ducts cleaned, contact a licensed heating contractor or a certified chimney sweep. To prevent future dust problems in your heating system, be sure to maintain a clean air filter at all times.
A professional home inspector can help you access any damage to your home’s systems and component. Since 1976, the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA), a non-profit voluntary membership organization has been providing education, training, and support services to the real estate inspection industry and to the public. Inspectors must adhere to CREIA's Code of Ethics and follow the Standards of Practice developed by the association. These Standards of Practice have been recognized by the State of California, and are considered the source for home inspector Standard of Care by the real estate and legal communities.
CREIA requires its members to successfully pass a comprehensive written examination of property systems and complete 30 hours of continuing education each year. Members can accumulate credits through various sources of education including monthly chapter meetings, conferences, and other approved activities. CREIA keeps records to ensure that members are complying with the requirements. Educational topics cover a variety of technical subjects including updates and advances affecting the profession of real estate inspection. CREIA is dedicated to consumer protection and education. To locate a qualified CREIA inspector near you, call CREIA at (800) 388-8443, or visit their website at www.CREIA.org.