November 18, 2021

Happy laughing african american young man rising up joyful son.There’s nothing like moving — whether it’s across town or across the country — to make you realize just how much stuff you have! When moving, you’re likely to let some things go, but probably also add some new appliances, furniture and other items to your list of possessions. That’s why once you’re settled into your new home, it’s an ideal time to create or update your home inventory. Here are the three components of an effective home inventory:

Photos or video.

You can take photos or video, but you’ll want shots of entire rooms and close-ups of items such as electronics, jewelry, collectibles, guns and any individual items of significant value. It’s a good idea if you’re using video to provide narration as you walk through each room, explaining what you are recording. Take your time while taking photos and videos. If you ever have to make an insurance claim, you’ll want as detailed information as possible about what you own. Don’t forget to include items inside closets and in drawers.

Take video outside the home as well, including the interior of any outbuildings or storage.

A written inventory.

You’ll also want to prepare a written inventory of your belongings. You can create a Word document on your computer or use a blank sheet of paper. Free apps and worksheets are available, too. Keep your written inventory with receipts for items you’ve purchased. Include as much detail as you can about each item. Rather than ’55-inch television set,’ include the year, manufacturer and model if you can. The more expensive the item, the greater your detail should be.

It’s a good idea to get in the habit of keeping receipts for big-ticket items in a file that can be included as part of your home inventory.

Safe storage. 

If you have a fireproof safe, keep both your visual and written inventories there or in another safe place. You also may want to keep a copy off-site as well, in a safe deposit box or with a trusted friend or family member. If your written and visual inventory is saved electronically, make sure it’s backed up.

Having a home inventory makes surviving and dealing with a home disaster a lot less stressful. Hopefully, you’ll never need one. But if you do, it can make all the difference in the world. Can you imagine trying to recount every single item in your home that was damaged, destroyed or stolen? With a home inventory, you’re more ready for the unexpected.

If you are buying a home in Rapid City or any where in the Black Hills, give Red Horse Home Inspection a call a 605-490-2916 or schedule a home inspection online.  Our thorough home inspection reports will give you the information you need to negotiate with confidence.  Take a look at a sample home inspection report and see our latest reviews.  We travel to Sturgis, Spearfish, Lead, Deadwood, Custer, Hot Springs, Hill City, Keystone, Hermosa, Box Elder, Summerset, Piedmont, Black Hawk, and Belle Fourche.

close up of portable electric heater from home inspection in rapid cityBrrr! Feeling a bit chilly? Space heaters are a popular way to get a bit of extra warmth at home or in the office during the spring, fall and winter months.

However, many of us don’t realize that space heaters are dangerous. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires every year are caused by space heaters. Although there have been a lot of advances in the technology of these mini-appliances, there are still several risks you should be aware of:

Risk #1: Plugging your space heater into an extension cord.

Don’t do it! Plug your heater directly into a wall outlet. Using an extension cord could lead to overheating, which can lead to a house fire. Before using a space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully. Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.

Risk #2: Tip-overs.

Only use space heaters that have a tip-over safety feature. Many newer space heaters come with a sensor that kicks on when the space heater tips over. This sensor immediately shuts off the heater, preventing fires from starting. If your heater is older and doesn’t have this feature, it’s time to replace it with a newer model. Also, avoid using a space heater in a high-traffic area where it can be a tripping hazard.

Risk #3: Having the heater come into contact with flammable objects.

Keep any space heater at least three feet from all furniture, window treatments, or anything else that is considered combustible. Never set anything on top of your space heater.

Risk #4. Leaving your space heater unattended. 

Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you’re leaving a room or going to sleep. Keep an eye on children or pets, which can be injured or tip it over.

When purchasing a space heater, make sure it has a label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory. When used safely, space heaters can provide the warmth you need to make it through another chilly winter. Make sure everyone in your family is aware of the risks and safety tips mentioned above.

If you are buying a home in the Black Hills of South Dakota give Red Horse Home Inspection a call or schedule your home inspection online. We also offer radon and water testing.  We offer home inspections in Rapid City, Sturgis, Spearfish, Deadwood, Lead, Custer, Hot Springs, Hermosa, Box Elder, Summerset, Black Hawk, Hill City, Keystone, Belle Fourche, and everywhere in between.  Take a look at a sample home inspection report and see our latest reviews.

Red Horse Home Inspection LLC offers thorough home inspections in Sturgis, SD and through out the Black Hills.  If you are looking to buy a home in Sturgis, let Red Horse Home Inspection help you out.  Our home inspections will give you the information you need.

Inspection Report

We use the latest and most modern home inspection writing software.  Our reports are easy to read and understand.  We include plenty of pictures, so if you can’t  make it to Sturgis to attend the inspection you will feel like you were there.  Red Horse Home Inspection understands how important is to get the information as fast as possible, so we try our best to get you the finish report within 24 hours.  Take a look at some of  our inspection reports from Sturgis and surrounding areas.  I am always available for questions, so if you have any questions about your report please give me a call I will be happy to answer them.

What We Inspect?

So your offer got accepted on a home in Sturgis.  Now it’s time to hire a home inspector and you want to know what it is that they inspect.


I inspect roof coverings, structure, gutters, downspouts, flashing, and more.


Walkways, exterior doors, eaves, soffits, fascia and more.


All major heating and cooling systems to make sure you get them in working order.


Sinks, tubs, faucets, shut-off valves and more.


I check the service drop, mast, meter & base, grounding, outlets and more.


Built-in appliances, doors, windows, flooring and more.

If you are buy in a home in Sturgis, SD give Red Horse Home Inspection a call or schedule your inspection online.

Red Horse Home Inspection


home inspection near rapid city, sd

The reasons why you may be looking into getting landscaping done at your home are almost endless. Having a beautiful oasis where you can entertain your family and friends, enjoy a cold drink after a long day, or just relax on the weekends can do wonders for the comfortability of your home. Besides just making your house more beautiful, why is landscaping an important part of owning a home? Below are a few of the main reasons why. 

It will help you love where you live 

You spend a lot of time at home and your environment has a direct effect on your mood, productivity and overall enjoyment of life. Having a backyard patio surrounded by beautiful gardens, or a water feature that you can listen to while taking an afternoon nap can turn your home into your own private paradise. By investing in landscaping, you’re not only investing in the value of your home, but you’re investing in the value of your everyday life and the enjoyment you’ll get out of your property. 

Landscaping makes your home more inviting 

If you love to entertain and have friends and family at your house, it will give you a chance to allow them to feel more comfortable while they are at your home. Well-designed landscapes are appreciated by everyone, and if you’re the type that likes to entertain, then creating a fun atmosphere that is natural and beautiful will have people asking when you’re going to throw your next barbecue. Just make sure you hire the right landscaping company to do the job! 

Improves your home’s curb appeal 

Improving the curb appeal of your home will do multiple things. It will give you a sense of pride in your environment, will help improve home value, and will have your friends and family complimenting you on your taste and style. Improving curb appeal is one of the main ways that landscaping will help improve your property value while allowing you to enjoy your property just a little bit more.

September 16, 2021

close up of burning fireplace at home inspectionAutumn is in the air. Can you feel it? While the cooler temperatures are a nice reprieve from the summer heat, it’s important to prepare your home for the winter with fall chores.  Here are 3 fall chores for every homeowner you shouldn’t overlook.

1. Chimney maintenance. If you have a wood stove or fireplace, it’s important your chimney remains clean and free of buildup. Even a slight buildup can increase your risk of a house fire. An annual chimney cleaning and inspection by a professional can ensure your chimney is ready to go for the winter. A professional cleaning can remove buildup of creosote, a highly flammable byproduct of burning wood. You also will be alerted to any potential problems and ensure your home stays warm and cozy all winter long.

2. Gutters and downspouts. The leaves are changing colors and starting to fall, leading to clogged gutters and downspouts. Clogged gutters can prevent ice and snow from melting and draining properly, causing costly damage to the interior and exterior of your home during the winter months. A properly installed and maintained downspout system can ensure your home has the proper flow of water off the roof and away from the foundation. Inspect your gutter and downspouts several times in the fall. Replace any gutters or downspouts that are damaged.

3. Sprinklers. If you haven’t winterized your sprinkler system, it’s the right time to get that task completed. If water is still running through your pipes during the first freeze, it could lead to cracked pipes and gaskets and costly repairs. Drain and disconnect all garden hoses, too. To prevent pipes freezing and bursting, ensure that pipes are well insulated. Do you know how to locate and turn off the water shut-off valve in the event pipes do freeze? Ideally, all older children and adults living in your home should know how.

If you are buying a home in Rapid City give Red Horse Home Inspection a call or schedule online.  We offer home inspections, radon inspections, and water test.  Take a look at our latest reviews and a sample home inspection report.  Check our our Google My Business page to see our latest blogs and see some of our latest finds.

Making sure that your property is sloped to allow proper drainage can mean the difference between a trouble-free rainy season and a flooded basement a few times a year.  Unwanted moisture intrusion—even at a level not serious enough to cause interior flooding—can create insidious problems that will be difficult to completely eliminate, such as weakened structural elements, mold growth, and other damage and health hazards.

Most problems with moisture in basements and crawlspaces are caused by poor site drainage. The ground should slope away from window wells, exterior basement stairs, and other means of egress. The bottom of each of these areas should be sloped to a drain. Each drain should have piping that connects it to a storm water drainage system (if there is one) or that drains to either a discharge at a lower grade or into a sump pit that collects and discharges the water away from the building.

Rain:  During the next heavy rainstorm without lightning, grab an umbrella and go outside. Walk around your house and look around at the roof and property. A rainstorm is the perfect time to see how the roof, downspouts and grading are performing. Observe the drainage patterns of your entire property, as well as the property of your neighbor. The ground around your house should slope away from all sides. Downspouts, surface gutters and drains should be directing water away from the foundation.

One important maintenance task is to monitor and maintain the drains and piping. Drains and piping should be open and clear of leaves, earth and debris. A garden hose can be used to check water flow, although its discharge cannot approximate storm conditions.

House on a Hillside:  Where a building is situated on a hillside, it is more difficult to slope the ground away from the building on all sides. On the high-ground side of the building, the slope of the ground toward the building could be interrupted by a surface drainage system that collects and disposes of rainwater runoff. Swales can be used to direct surface water away from the foundation. There are two general types of surface drainage systems: an open system, consisting of a swale (often referred to as a ditch), sometimes with a culvert at its end to collect and channel water away; and a closed system, consisting of gutters with catch basins.



Well-maintained landscaping and other improvements are important for the enjoyment of a healthy and durable property.

Plants, Trees & Shrubs:  Check the location and condition of all trees and shrubbery. Those that are overgrown should be pruned or trimmed. Where trees or bushes have overgrown, complete removal may be necessary. Trees need to be trimmed.  Overhanging branches should not interfere with a chimney’s draft, be too close to utility wires, or deposit leaves and twigs on the roof or inside gutters and drains. Trees and shrubbery that are very close to exterior walls or roofs can cause damage. They can make it difficult to perform homeowner maintenance, inspections and repairs. Branches around the perimeter of the house should be pruned back. Tree roots under concrete walks can cause damage. Roots are usually exposed near the surface and can be cut back. Tree roots can cause a home’s foundation to crack by pushing against it from the outside. If you have any of these issues, consider hiring an arborist. An arborist is a specialist in the cultivation and care of trees and shrubs, including tree surgery, the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of tree diseases, and the control of pests. Find a certified arborist in the U.S. at and in Canada.  Schedule your home inspection with Red Horse Home Inspection.

August 19, 2021

87286497 - a studio photo of letters of the alphabetHave a little one in your house? You’ve likely did your fair share of child proofing in every room of your home. Unfortunately, there are a number of hazards in homes today that many parents do not realize pose a safety threat. What should you look out for? Here’s a look at some everyday items that are dangerous to children:

  • Clothing hampers: On the surface they seem innocuous, but mesh hampers can be dangerous. Why? They often have sharp wires. And if they come detached, they can cause eye injuries.
  • Magnets: Alphabet magnets are a staple in many households. They’re great to teach the basics of language, right? What could go wrong? Think again. If a child swallows a magnet, they can cause serious harm to their digestive tract.
  • Detergent pods: Their color makes them look visually appealing to curious kids. But the contents are toxic if consumed. Keep other poisonous household products, such as liquid detergent and bleach, out of reach.
  • Hard candy: Hard candies are a choking hazard to little ones. Never give hard candy or gum to children ages 4 and younger.
  • Immersion blenders: A versatile kitchen tool, these appliances can spell trouble. Why? Because the power button is on the side and can turn on accidentally. Always make sure the gadget is unplugged and out of reach of small hands.
  • Prescriptions: Often brightly colored like candy, medications can appeal to little ones. Not only are they choking hazards, but they can be poison too little bodies. Always keep your pharmaceuticals on a shelf or in a medicine cabinet, ideally locked. Make sure your guests do, too.
  • Recalled child products: From toys to formula, the most dangerous item in your home can be something that’s already been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC). Do your family a favor and sign up for alerts.

Red Horse Home Inspection is here to help.  If you are buying a home in the Black Hills of South Dakota give us a call at 605-490-2916 or easily schedule online.  We are based out of Rapid City but we service the entire Black Hills and surrounding area.

A building’s central air-conditioning systems must be periodically inspected and maintained in order to function properly. While an annual inspection performed by a trained professional is recommended, homeowners can do a lot of the work themselves by following the tips offered here.

Clean the Exterior Condenser Unit and Components

The exterior condenser unit is the large box located on the side of the house that’s designed to push heat from the indoors to the outdoors. Inside of the box are coils of pipe that are surrounded by thousands of thin metal “fins” that allow the coils more surface area to exchange heat.

Follow these tips when cleaning the exterior condenser unit and its inner components — after turning off power to the unit, of course.

  • Remove any leaves, spider webs and other debris from the unit’s exterior. Trim foliage back several feet from the unit to ensure proper air flow.
  • Remove the cover grille to clean any debris from the unit’s interior. A garden hose can be helpful for this task.
  • Straighten any bent fins with a tool called a fin comb.
  • Add lubricating oil to the motor. Check your owner’s manual for specific instructions.
  • Clean the evaporator coil and condenser coil at least once a year.  When they collect dirt, they may not function properly.

Inspect the Condensate Drain Line

Condensate drain lines collect condensed water and drain it away from the unit.  They’re located on the side of the inside fan unit. Sometimes there are two drain lines—a primary drain line that’s built into the unit, and a secondary drain line that can drain if the first line becomes blocked.

Homeowners can inspect the drain line by using the following tips, which take very little time and require no specialized tools:

  • Inspect the drain line for obstructions, such as algae and debris. If the line becomes blocked, water will back up into the drain pan and overflow, potentially causing a safety hazard or water damage to your home.
  • Make sure the hoses are secured and fit properly.

Clean the Air Filter

Air filters remove pollen, dust and other particles that would otherwise circulate indoors. Most filters are typically rectangular in shape and about 20 x 16 inches, and about 1 inch thick. They slide into the main ductwork near the inside fan unit. The filter should be periodically washed or replaced, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions. A dirty air filter will not only degrade the quality of the home’s indoor, but it will also strain the motor to work harder to move air through it, increasing energy costs and reducing energy efficiency. The filter should be replaced monthly during heavy use during the cooling seasons. You may need to change the filter more often if the air conditioner is in constant use, if any family members have respiratory problems, if you have pets with fur, and/or if it’s particularly dusty indoors.

Cover the Exterior Unit

When the cooling season is over, you should cover the exterior condenser unit in preparation for winter. If it isn’t being used, why expose it to the elements? This measure will prevent ice, leaves and dirt from entering the unit, which can harm components and require additional maintenance in the spring. A cover can be purchased, or you can make one yourself by taping together plastic trash bags. Be sure to turn the unit off before covering it.

Close the Air-Distribution Registers

Air-distribution registers are duct openings in ceilings, walls and floors where cold air enters the room. They should be closed after the cooling season ends in order to keep warm air from back-flowing out of the room during the warming season. Pests and dust will also be unable to enter the ducts during the winter if the registers are closed. These vents can typically be opened or closed with an adjacent lever or wheel.  Remember to open the registers in the spring before the cooling season starts.  Also, make sure they’re not blocked by drapes, carpeting or furniture.

In addition, homeowners should practice the following strategies in order to keep their central air-conditioning systems running properly:

  • Have the air-conditioning system inspected by a professional each year before the start of the cooling season.
  • Reduce stress on the air-conditioning system by enhancing your home’s energy efficiency. Switch from incandescent lights to compact fluorescents, for instance, which produce less heat.


Evaporative Coolers

What is an evaporative cooler?

An evaporative cooler, also known as a swamp cooler, wet-air cooler, and desert cooler, is a device designed to cool air via the evaporation of water.  This is a natural and energy-efficient way to achieve a comfortable indoor temperature.  An evaporative cooler cools indoor air by drawing outdoor air into the unit and passing it over pads that have been saturated with water from a reservoir in the unit.  The water evaporates into the air as it passes over the pads, and the result is a 15° to 40° drop in temperature.  The cooled air is then directed through interior areas where a lowered temperature is desired, forcing warm air outside through open windows.  Because of this, evaporative coolers steadily circulate fresh air through the interior, unlike air conditioners, which circulate the same air over and over again.  They also cost far less than air conditioners and use around a quarter of the energy, making them a very efficient alternative.

How does evaporation work to lower air temperature?

This process can be observed naturally near a waterfall, lake, river or ocean. When dry air passes over water, the air absorbs some of the water.   The air temperature drops because the temperature and vapor pressure of the water and air attempt to equalize.  Until the air is saturated and unable to hold any more water, liquid water molecules turn to gas in the air, a process that uses energy to change the physical state of the water.  Heat moves from the higher temperature of the air to the lower temperature of the water, which causes the air to cool.

How an Evaporative Cooler Works

An evaporative cooler is basically a large fan with pads, moistened by water, which are located in front of the fan.  The fan pulls the hot, outside air inside, and the air is cooled after passing over the wet pads.  The pads are usually made from wood, wool or fiber, though some plastics and melamine paper are now also used to make cooler pads.  However, wood absorbs some of the water, which allows it to cool the passing air to a lower temperature than some synthetic materials.  The thickness of the pad also plays a part in the cooling efficiency because a larger pad allows longer air contact, so a 10-inch pad is more efficient than a 4-inch pad.  The pads need to be replaced every season or two, but they are fairly inexpensive.

Small water distribution lines wet the top of the pads, which become soaked.  Once the water trickles through them, collecting at the bottom in a sump, a small re-circulating pump sends the water back to the top of the pads to soak them again.  When enough water is lost through the evaporation process, a float valve adds water to the sump so that the pads can continue to be soaked.  Under normal conditions, a cooler may use between 3 and 15 gallons of water per day.

Because evaporative cooling takes air from the outdoors, cools it, and circulates it indoors, there must be a way for the warm air inside to escape when it is displaced by the incoming cool air.  By leaving doors and windows open strategically, it is possible to direct the path of incoming cool air to areas where it is needed most.  Even smaller units can be effective for larger areas when used in this way.  Many types of cooling units are currently manufactured, including small units for installation in windows, as well as large units meant to be installed centrally to blow air through ductwork and into individual rooms.

Evaporative Cooling vs. Air Conditioners

The most important factor to keep in mind when determining whether an evaporative cooler can be utilized effectively in a particular situation is the moisture content of the outside air.  Since the air will not hold additional moisture once it reaches its saturation point, no drop in temperature will occur through evaporation if the air is already saturated.  Because of this, evaporative cooling cannot be used effectively in wet or humid climates.  Meanwhile, in areas where the air is hot but humidity is low, the coolers can be used as a cost-effective and energy-efficient alternative to air conditioners.  Such areas in the U.S. include Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, northern Texas, and some parts of California.  

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of using evaporative cooling vs. traditional, phase-change air conditioners.

Advantages of Evaporative Coolers:

  • Evaporative coolers are less expensive to install, estimated at about half the cost of refrigerated air conditioning.
  • Operating costs are lower, as well.  Power consumption, limited only to the fan and water pump, is estimated at one-fourth of that used for air conditioning.
  • Low maintenance is also an advantage of evaporative coolers because the only mechanical parts in most units are the fan motor and water pump, which can be easily replaced or repaired at low cost.
  • Ventilation is increased due to the air being constantly cycled through the cooler to the interior and back outside through open windows and doors.
  • The increased humidity content in the interior air that results from evaporative cooling can be desirable in dry climates.
  • The cooling pads, when properly maintained, act to filter air, removing contaminants as the cooled air enters the interior.

Disadvantages of Evaporative Coolers:

  • High-humidity conditions will not allow the cooler to function effectively.
  • Supplied air from the evaporative cooler is typically 80% to 90% relative humidity, which is sometimes not desirable for indoors, as it can acchome inspector inspecting furnaceelerate corrosion, shortening the life of electronic and other equipment, and/or simple be uncomfortable.
  • High humidity also causes condensation, which can become a problem with electrical equipment, old wood, paper and books, and develop into potential mold and mildew problems.
  • Water must be constantly supplied to the pads.  Water that has a high mineral content will eventually leave deposits on the pads and the interior of the cooler.  The water supply line may also need to be protected from freezing and potentially bursting during the cold season.
  • Odors and outdoor contaminants can be blown into the interior if sufficient filtering isn’t in place.  Asthma sufferers may need to avoid environments whose evaporative coolers are poorly maintained.

Evaporative coolers can be less expensive and environmentally friendlier alternatives to traditional air conditioners, depending on the climate and other factors.  Like any home system, homeowners should plan on becoming familiar with their evaporative cooler in order to maintain it seasonally.



Thermostats are devices designed to control the heating and cooling system in the home so that the air temperature remains comfortable. Homeowners should understand how thermostats operate, as well as the more common problems associated with them.

Thermostats can be manually controlled or set to activate automatically based on timers or room temperature readings. Most thermostats contain two meters:  the “set” temperature that the thermostat is asking for, and the actual temperature. On a traditional dial-type thermostat, the user can increase the set temperature by rotating the dial clockwise, and lower it by rotating it counter-clockwise. Newer thermostats usually have digital displays, which can be used to adjust automated heating and cooling schedules.


In order to avoid false or “ghost” readings, which will cause unnecessary furnace or air-conditioner cycling, the thermostat must be installed so that it correctly reads the room temperature.

The following locations may cause the thermostat to give false readings:

  • near a heat source, such as a fireplace, hot water pipes, bright lights, direct sunlight, and electrical appliances that produce heat;
  • in a drafty hallway, or near a window or exterior door that is left open often; and
  • on an outside wall. Outside walls are affected too much by outside temperatures, which may make the thermostat “think” the air in the house is warmer or cooler than it really is.

Common Thermostat Problems and Solutions

  • erratic operation or fluctuating temperature. This is often caused by poor pin connections between the thermostat and the backplate when the backplate is flexed against an uneven wall. To allow the backplate to flatten out, loosen the screws that attach the backplate to the wall, then snap the thermostat back onto the backplate.
  • a thermostat that doesn’t respond to changes in room temperature. This can happen when there is air passing over the temperature sensor from a hole in the wall behind the thermostat, through which wires enter from the air-handling unit. To rectify this, insulate the hole behind the thermostat with fiber insulation, spray foam, or any other insulating material.
  • a temperature reading that is inaccurate. A convenient way to test the temperature sensor is to tape a thermometer to the wall next to the thermostat and wait 15 minutes. A faulty thermometer needs to be recalibrated. Instructions for recalibration vary by manufacturer.
  • loss of power. This may be caused by the following two situations:
  1. If the air handler powers the thermostat, check the circuit breaker meant for the air handler and make sure it has not tripped.
  2. If batteries power the thermostat, make sure they are lithium, not alkaline. Alkaline batteries will die rapidly or cause erratic thermostat operation.

Maintenance and Other Tips

  • Give the thermostat’s interior a light dusting with a small, soft-bristle paintbrush. Canned air can also be used to blow off dust. Twist the screws to remove the cover. Be sure to clean the contacts, which are small metal plates within the unit. The wires coming from the transformer attach to the contacts. Do not touch any of the interior parts with your fingers.
  • If the base is loose, re-tighten the screws. Check the wires coming from the transformer. If any corrosion is present, remove the wire from the contact and clean it. Use a wire stripper to remove the surrounding insulation, cut back the wire, and reconnect it.
  • Make sure the terminal screws are tight.
  • For wireless thermostats, make sure the model number of the thermostat matches the model number of the receiver. If the model numbers don’t match, the thermostat and receiver will not be compatible and won’t function properly together.
  • Make sure that your thermostat has been set to the proper position for the season: cooling or heating. The air conditioner will not run with the switch set to “heating” and, conversely, the heating system won’t run if the thermostat has been set to “cooling.”
  • Thermostats that contain a mercury switch must remain perfectly level or they may not control the temperature setting.

A Few Notes on Energy Savings

  • Many people believe that furnaces work harder than normal to warm an area back up to a comfortable temperature, which will counteract energy savings gained from turning the thermostat down. This belief is a misconception that has been disproved by years of studies and research. Fuel is saved between the time the temperature is stabilized at the lower level and the next time heat is needed, while the fuel required to re-heat the space is roughly equal to the fuel saved while the building drops to a lower temperature.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Energy, consumers can save 10% on their utility bills by setting their thermostat lower by 10° to 15° for eight hours. This can be easily accomplished with a programmable thermostat.
  • Be careful not to set the thermostat so low in the winter that indoor plumbing pipes freeze, or so low during the summer that mold may be allowed to grow prompted by excess indoor humidity.

Programmable Thermostats

Using a programmable thermostat in the winter, you can automatically turn down your heat at night or when you’re not at home.  In the summer, you can save money by automatically turning your air conditioner up at night or when you’re at work.

Using a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the times that the heating and air conditioner go on and off according to a preset schedule. As a result, the equipment doesn’t operate as much when you’re asleep or when the house (or a part of it) is empty. Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings (six or more temperature settings a day) that you can manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program.

Follow us on Facebook for weekly maintenance and safety tips.  If you are buying a home in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota schedule your home inspection with Red Horse Home Inspection.  Easily schedule online or call 605-490-2916.


August 05, 2021

smoke detector rapid city home inspector

smoke detector

It’s a sad, but true fact. Each year, U.S. fire departments respond to hundreds of thousands of home fires, some involving injuries or deaths. That’s why we wanted to share some important fire safety tips to keep you and your family safe.

Most people don’t realize that in a home fire, smoke is often more dangerous than the fire itself. Smoke quickly obscures escape routes and makes it difficult to take in oxygen. Smoke also is dangerous because of the superheated air and toxic gases, which can permanently damage delicate tissues in the lungs. That is why a speedy evacuation is vital. You may have only seconds to get everyone out of the house in time. Don’t waste precious seconds on retrieving personal possessions.

More than half of all deaths from residential fires occur from 11 pm to 7 am, when most people are sleeping. If a fire should break out during nighttime hours, many people assume they will smell the smoke and get out in time. Yet fumes and gases resulting from a fire can make you sleepy, weak and confused. That’s why it’s so important to have fire detectors in every area of the home, to make sure batteries are changed regularly and to periodically check that the detector is working properly. It’s estimated that 60 percent of all house fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke detector. The piercing sound of a detector can save your life! Test all smoke alarms at least once a month by pressing the test button to be sure the alarm is working. Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old. Make sure you have smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.

Fires can start in any area of the home and can be caused by smoking, candles, grilling, faulty heating or electrical equipment and cooking. Home fires are more likely to start in the kitchen than in any other room in the home. Carefully monitor what you’re doing when you cook. Never throw water onto a kitchen fire arising from spilled grease or oil. You could spread the flames and also place yourself in extreme danger of incurring serious burns. Use a fire extinguisher instead. Each home should have one or more fire extinguishers, and you should make sure you know how to use them quickly in an emergency.

Do you have a fire evacuation plan? All family members should know what to do in the event of a fire. Conduct fire safety drills both at night and during daytime hours until all your family members know exactly what to do and where to go in the event of a home fire.

Follow Red Horse Home Inspection on Facebook.  If you’re buying a home in the Black Hills of South Dakota schedule your home inspection online or call 605-490-2916.

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red horse home inspection rapid city investment propertyPurchasing an investment property can be a fantastic way to create wealth, and similar to any other investment, doing the research beforehand is a pivotal step you need to take. If you’ve decided make your first real estate investment, congratulations! Making a real estate investment can be an excellent way to secure your financial future, so your choice is wise. 

Buying Your First Investment Property


Everything, from doing your research to getting your finances in order to choose the area you want to buy in, requires due diligence on your part. Thus, if you want to make sure your purchase is worth it, in your best interest, and cash-flow positive, there are a few steps you need to take before you close on your first investment property.


Educate Yourself


Education is imperative to success in the real estate industry. There is a massive learning curve when investing in either rental or commercial properties. Still, you can ease it by equipping yourself with sufficient knowledge, especially since so much information is available on the Internet now. If you’re genuinely into real estate, the learning part will be fun, but if you have to force yourself to learn, this may not be the ideal path for you. 

Set Your Finances in Order


Master Passive Income points out that there are numerous options available today for financing your first investment property. As you’re learning how to purchase your first real estate, you might start considering applying for mortgage loans. Various loan options offer different benefits, so you need to spot and choose the right mortgage option that best suits your financial situation and goals. 


Still, there are a few things you need to take care of before going for a home loan. Unlike the 3-percent down payment on the property you’re living on, BiggerPockets notes that you’ll need at least a 20-percent down payment for purchasing investment properties. Besides, you shouldn’t carry debts with your investment portfolio, so pay them off before getting started in real estate investing.


As a real estate investor, consider running your business as a DBA (doing business as), which is beneficial as part of your marketing and branding strategy. A DBA name is basically a pseudonym for your legal business name. Many entrepreneurs use it to avoid using their own surname or, for corporations, because an assumed name makes expansion easier, as it’s not necessary to create a completely new corporation. 


Decide What You Want to Buy


Before proceeding further, you need to define your investment goals. For instance, do you want to buy a multi-unit property or a single-family home? Is the low-maintenance setup of a condo better suited for your long-term goals? You can typically get more revenue with a multifamily house, but single-family homes tend to have more equity appreciation potential if you decide to sell later on.


It’s also smart to nail down a price point and set your budget. Take into account the management of the property and who will do it, the rent you can charge according to the location of the property, home type, and eventual updates you plan to make. Besides the 20-percent down payment you need to have ready, consider other expenses you may have, such as conveyancing, the real estate agent, pest and building reports, and insurance. 


To attract lenders, you also need to clean the property, buy furniture if required, sort out the utilities, upgrade it and perhaps hire a property manager to continue taking care of the place after you are renting it. Make sure they are trustable, reachable, and do a great job in managing the property for you. Hiring a home inspector like Red Horse Home Inspection will also help assuage any major maintenance concerns the lender may have about the property.

Decide the Where


The geographical location is also imperative. When looking for an investment property, focus on the trendier neighborhoods in the area, and try to limit your search to homes zoned for particular amenities, such as a school, grocery store, national park, and so on. 

The Bottom Line


Buying investment property could earn you a good chunk of money, and many still consider it the ideal way to become financially independent. Once you educate yourself and learn about the industry, sort out your finances, and know what and where you want to buy, you are ready to make an offer on your first investment property. 


If you’re looking for home inspection experts to evaluate an investment property or a home to buy in Rapid City and surrounding areas, Red Horse Home Inspection is more than happy to help. Schedule your inspection or contact the professionals at 605-388-2924.