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.

Image source: Pexels

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.


July 15, 2021

by clinton_l

red horse home inspection near rapid city sd

contractor talking to clients

Do you understand the difference between a property appraisal and a home inspection? Surveys show that many home buyers — even those who have purchased homes before – have some level of confusion about these two key aspects of a home purchase.

Appraisals are designed to estimate a property’s value based on a number of different factors. They are typically ordered by lenders during the home buying process to make sure they don’t approve mortgages for more than properties are worth. Appraisers typically document and photograph property amenities, inside and out. Appraisal reports typically take into account a minimum of three comparable sales of nearby properties to arrive at an accurate appraisal value.

While an appraisal can give a home buyer a good idea of a property’s value, it is no substitute for a home inspection. A home inspection, by comparison, is a detailed, hands-on evaluation of a property’s condition. Inspections are typically ordered by a home buyer, not a lender. Homes don’t get a ‘pass’ or ‘fail,” a grade or rating. The inspector simply compiles what he or she observes in terms of property condition in a report. Anything an inspector sees that is unsafe or in need of repair is noted.

While a home appraisal is virtually a mandatory part of the home buying process if you’re taking out a mortgage loan, a home inspection is entirely voluntary. But that doesn’t make inspections any less important. Inspectors look for costly and hidden defects and problems, such as roof issues, faulty heating/cooling systems, structural problems and leaky pipes, that could lead to costly headaches down the line for anyone who owns the home. They’ll also document any of a number of less serious issues.

Many home buyers who pay for a pre-purchase inspection make their offer contingent upon that inspection. Inspections are even more critical when purchasing a distressed property, due to the more limited amount of information potential buyers may have access to about a property’s condition and possible problems.

When you’re ready to buy or sell a home, give us a call at 1-605-388-2924 to learn more about the importance of home inspections.  Easily schedule online today

July 01, 2021

fire extinguisher red horse home inspection inspector rapid cityA new home is definitely a big reason to celebrate. What better way to mark the day than with a thoughtful housewarming gift? If you enjoy giving practical gifts, a fire extinguisher is an incredible choice for a new homeowner. Every homeowner should have one on each floor or area of their home. And many people forget to buy one. Moving into a new home? Put a fire extinguisher on the top of your shopping list.

Fire extinguishers are life savers. Class A fire extinguishers are designed to put out fires involving paper, wood and plastics. Class B are for flammable liquids such as oil and grease and Class C are for electrical fires. Class ABC models work on all the fires above. The higher the rating number on an A or B fire extinguisher, the more fire it can extinguish. But higher-rated units are often heavier — too heavy for some people to hold and operate. If you’re buying a fire extinguisher, make sure it can be easily picked up and operated.

Do you know how to use a fire extinguisher? In an emergency, fire fighters say many people can’t get one to work on the first try. Read the informational material that comes with your device. Consider having local fire department personnel show you how to use it or attend a training class. The acronym PASS can help you remember the basics of operation: Pull the pin to release the handle, aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire, squeeze the trigger, and sweep the discharge stream at the base of the fire.

Fire extinguishers are not designed to fight a large or spreading fire. Even against small fires, they are useful only under the right conditions, such as when a fire is confined to a small area, like a wastebasket; when everyone has exited the building; after the fire department has been called or is being called; and if the room is not filled with smoke.

Today’s fire extinguishers are less expensive, lighter and more effective than they were years ago. There are even designer fire extinguishers on the market today that blend in with your home decor and serve as a conversation piece!

If you are buying or selling a home in the Black Hills give us a call at 605-490-2916or schedule your home inspection online.

Follow Red Horse Home Inspection LLC on Facebook and get weekly safety and home maintenance tips.

rapid city home inspector inspection black hills

Trying to find the perfect home? As you search through the options available on the market, you may come to a game-changing realization: Your perfect house doesn’t exist – yet. However, you can make your dream home a reality.


That said, you can’t do it alone. When it comes to building a home, you need experienced professionals by your side to guide you through the process. Here’s a look at the five pros you need, courtesy of Red Horse Home Inspection


  1. Realtor


The first step is to purchase the land your dream home will sit on. For this, you will need a realtor. Picking the perfect realtor, though, can be difficult. It’s important to ask questions, such as, “How many sales have you handled in my target neighborhoods?” “What’s your fee?” “Who else will be working with me?” and “Has a client ever filed a complaint against you?” Once you find someone who checks all the boxes, it’s time to move on to the next step.


  1. Builder


No matter what kind of home you want, you’ll need someone to build it. Creating a new home is hard work, and it requires serious industry knowledge and trustworthy experience. If the work is done incorrectly, fixing it can be an expensive problem. You need to know that your house is built properly so you can live a safe, happy, and affordable life inside of it.


The best way to find a reputable home builder is through recommendations, and by interviewing several different prospects. Checking out customer reviews gives you a good sense of what working with any given builder will be like. Interviewing a mix of home builders and getting multiple quotes will help you settle on the right person who can affordably make your dream home a reality. 


  1. Inspector


You need to get a good inspector like Red Horse Home Inspection to check your home at different building stages. Some builders have in-house inspectors, but it’s always a good call to have an independent inspector check out the work, as well. This way you have an increased sense of trust and confidence that the inspections are thorough and honest.


  1. Designer


Once your home is built, you’ll want to make the interior your own. Even if you have a pretty good sense of your own décor style, it’s a good call to hire a designer to help you bring it to life. There are many subtle aspects of interior design that can make or break your aesthetic. A pro will be able to identify all the best opportunities to make your space great.


To pick a great designer, take a look at several different portfolios and find a few that have examples you like. Meet them in person or do an informal interview over the phone. If you like their work and you get along well, it’s probably a good fit. Hiring an interior designer will typically cost between $2,000 and $5,000.


  1. Landscaper


Getting your interior in shape is only one aspect of making your dream home perfect. You also need to make sure the exterior looks the way you’d like it to. Regular care and maintenance might be manageable on your own, but consider hiring a landscaper to lay down the groundwork. A good landscaper will have a sense for where to put different kinds of plants and lawn décor.


There are several great things about having a professionally landscaped space. First and foremost, it will make your yard an escape from the hustle and bustle of regular life. Secondly, however, it can be very practical. Landscapers can advise which plants thrive in different environments, allowing you to make the most of your environment.


On the same token, consider hiring a tree removal service if you have any tree you no longer want or pose a risk to your property. Search “tree service near me” online to see what’s available, and then use review sites to get an idea of what customers think of these contractors. Keep in mind that it can cost between $50 and $1,500 to have a tree professionally removed.


The house-search grind loses its appeal when nothing’s quite right. If you can’t find what you want, why not build a new home? With these experts by your side, you’ll be able to bring your vision to life.


Photo Credit: Unsplash 

From U-Factors to UV Rays, All You Need to Know


Did you know that 25% to 30% of your home’s heating or cooling bill is spent on heat gain or loss through the windows? That’s more than a quarter of the money you pay to run your furnace or air conditioner taken up by inefficiency. While no window can perfectly eliminate gain or loss, energy efficient windows can go a long way to help you better insulate your home, reduce your energy consumption, minimize your energy bill and help the environment.


It’s no wonder that there are government and industry rating systems and recommendations to help you make the most informed choice about what energy efficient window might be right for you. But these systems can sometimes seem impenetrable and meaningless without understanding the different kinds of benefits and savings energy efficient windows offer. Below is a quick primer to assist you on your way to bettering your home and helping the environment—with windows!


Bottom-Line Benefits of Energy Efficient Windows


Replacing your existing windows is not inexpensive, but it might be a wise decision for any one of the many benefits offered by energy efficient ones, including:


  • Savings on utility bills. The Efficient Windows Collaborative, a public-private non-profit promoting efficient windows, estimates that replacing your existing windows can save you at least 15% on your monthly heating costs in cold climates and between 11% and 37% in hot climates. New homes benefit too: by 24% for cold climates and at least 12% in hotter ones. Those are benefits you can take to the bank.


  • Consistent comfort. Inefficient windows become places where air is exchanged between your home and the outside world. Cold air can pool by your windows, fall to the floor and create an uncomfortable draft while hot air and excessive sunlight can warm rooms in your house to an unpleasant degree. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has determined that the more efficient your windows, the lower the probability of discomfort you’ll experience at home.


  • Avoid condensation. Have you ever had droplets form on your window panes during the winter? Did this moisture drip to the floor, leaving streaks on your wall? Energy efficient windows can reduce the occurrence of condensation and help save you from streaks, corrosion or other damage caused by moisture.


  • Protect your furniture from sunlight. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can damage your skin, of course, but they can also damage your sofa, carpets and wood floors through fading. Energy efficient windows can come with low-emissivity coatings that not only improve the insulating abilities of your windows, but protect your home’s things from UV damage as well.


Which Energy Efficient Window is Right for Me?


Depending on whether you live in a hot or a cold climate, what you need from a window might be different. There are three factors that can play a particularly important role in determining which energy efficient window is right for your home:


  • The U-Factor. This is the rate at which your windows permit non-solar heat to be exchanged between your home and the outside world. The lower the U-Factor, the less heat transferred and the more energy efficient your window is. Lower U-Factors are helpful for both those who want to keep the heat in and those who want to keep the heat out.


  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). This number reflects the amount of heat produced by the sun’s rays in your home through the window. The lower the number, the less heat can be produced. Those in cold climates might therefore want a higher number to allow the sun’s rays to provide some warmth outside of summer, while those who enjoy the hot sun most of the year might prefer the solar-blocking properties of a low SHGC.


  • Condensation Resistance. For those who live in cold climates a window with a higher number, which will be more resistant to forming water droplets indoors, might be the right choice. 


Though energy efficient windows can do a lot of work to help your home heating and cooling costs, they can only work properly if installed correctly. Great companies like Local Home Pro provide the level of expertise necessary to ensure the maximum benefit from your beautiful new windows. 


June 03, 2021

home inspection near rapid city, sd Black hillsReady to make a move? Finding the right property can be a daunting task. In addition to selecting a design and a floor plan that you like, you also have to think about the condition the house is in.

Although it might be tempting to sign a mortgage as quickly as possible and start the moving process, it makes much more sense to invest in a thorough home inspection first. We take great pride in offering our customers home inspections covering areas of the home such as:

Walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors. We’ll look at a wide range of structural components throughout the house.

Interior plumbing system. We’ll look for signs of leaks and other issues, such as water damage.

Foundation. The foundation is the backbone of any building. We’ll look for any issues there, too. In some cases, foundations can be repaired, but it’s often an extensive and costly process.

Roof. Roofs protect us from the elements, but they’re also exposed to wind, water, and the sun’s harsh UV rays. An inefficient roof can jack up utility costs and make your home inefficient. A roof that needs to be replaced can be costly. We’ll take a look at the roof, attic and visible insulation.

Heating and cooling system. Weather permitting, we’ll take a look at both of these systems and how well they work.

Electrical system. We’ll take a look for any visible signs of electrical issues.

After we complete our home inspection, we may recommend additional testing by a specialist in a specific area if we spot an issue we’re concerned with, such as termites. We always welcome home buyers to accompany us on our home inspections, because we can answer any questions they may have before they receive our written report.

Don’t rush through the home buying process. Take your time and make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. Call us today to learn more. 1-605-490-2916.  Easily schedule your  inspection online.  Follow us on Facebook and get maintenance and safety tips.

Side view of Happy African american couple having fun together in living room at homeMoving into a new home is a happy — and hectic — time. There’s so much to do! Your to-do list is overflowing in the days and weeks after purchasing a home. That’s why we wanted to share with you two tasks that you’ll want to put at the top of your to-do list to help keep you and your family healthy and safe.

Replace the batteries and inspect the smoke alarms. It’s one of the first things you’ll want to do after getting the keys to your new home. The batteries in battery-powered smoke detectors should be changed at least once a year. The units themselves should be replaced every 10 years. You’ll want to test units monthly. If you aren’t sure how old the smoke detectors are in your new home, replace them.

Make sure you have enough smoke detectors, too. The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms be installed inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Interconnected smoke alarms are the best way to go —when one smoke alarm goes off, they all go off. Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan. Make sure your family has one.

Check or install carbon monoxide alarms. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. It’s an invisible, odorless gas. Because you can’t see, taste or smell it, carbon monoxide can kill you before you know it’s there. Make sure your new home has CO detectors on each floor and make sure that they are replaced every five years. (Check each alarm’s manufacture date so you know when it’s time for replacement.) You don’t need carbon monoxide detectors only during the winter months — carbon monoxide is a year-round threat.

Install a CO alarm outside each sleeping area, inside every bedroom, and on every level of the home, including the basement. Choose an alarm that is tested and listed by a Nationally Accredited Lab such as ETL or UL.

Follow Red Horse Home Inspection LLC on Facebook to get weekly safety and maintenance tips.

If you are ready to schedule your home inspection give us a call at 605-490-2916 or schedule online.

Red Horse Home Inspection services the Black Hills of South Dakota.  This includes Rapid City, Summerset, Sturgis, Spearfish, Lead, Deadwood, Custer, Hot Springs, Hill City, Keystone, Hermosa, Rapid Valley, Belle Fourche, Box Elder, New Underwood, and surrounding areas.