Welcome back, Queen Jewish Link readers! Hopefully, our summer was restful, and now down to serious business as we approach the Yomim Naraim. That being said, I’m not quite ready to throw in the summer towel.

Over the past year, I have received numerous questions regarding maintenance issues found in the home. While we may be on vacation, our homes continue to require attention and maintenance. I compiled a few letters/emails from clients and QJL readers.


Dear Jay,

I recently purchased a home and noticed cracking around the door. One of your articles mentioned foundation cracking; should I be concerned with these cracks?

Concerned Home Owner


Dear Concerned Owner,

Thank you for reading my articles in QJL! Excellent question. There are so many types of cracks! A foundation crack has very specific signs: a door may not open well, kitchen cabinets may be leaning, large vertical cracks may appear in corners of the room, etc. Small cracks around a door are generally not a concern. Environmental issues (weather) and wear-and-tear on materials can cause this condition. My best answer is to clean and fill in the crack with a flexible caulking, and repaint. Generally, that will resolve the problem.


Dear BoDECK Inspectors,

I have been noticing a rotten-egg type of smell, especially when the restroom is used or when I’m using my washing machine. The toilets aren’t clogged, and my washing machine appears to operating fine? Can you guide me in this mystery?

Rotten Eggs


Dear Rotten Eggs,

Another excellent question! I personally love a good mystery. These types of “unknowns” are frustrating, and let’s just say it, awful on the nose! Rest assured, you don’t need Pepto Bismol thrown into your toilet or washing machine to fix its “tummy”! Those smells can be attributed to sulfur gases. Sewer gases are part of our sewage system. BH, because homes are “vented” (I wont explain in this letter), we are spared the smell and most importantly the buildup of dangerous sewage gases (they are toxic and can sometimes cause an explosion under certain circumstances). Without actually inspecting the situation, your home’s sewer vent may be clogged. This can be in the toilet, under a sink, and sometimes a blocked roof vent. In some extreme cases, the sewer lines are clogged and need cleaning. I suggest placing a call to your plumber to investigate. For difficult cases, I would be glad to inspect the property and assist you.


Dear Jay,

Every spring, I notice what looks like wings around my window sill. I just wipe them off, and then again, next year they are back! But I saw some of those wings and in my basement areas near the boiler room and what looks like mud tubes? What the heck is going on in my house!?



Dear Worried,

You wrote to right place. Without actually examining the home and the surroundings, it’s difficult to determine if your home has termites or wood-destroying ants along with termites. The wings generally are a sign of termites. The mud tubes you describe are how they travel to and from their favorite restaurant, “Bistro Wood”! Since you mention ants that fly, those insects can destroy wood as well. I strongly suggest you call in an exterminator who specializes in identifying and treating for wood-destroying insects.

I hope some of these letters shed some light on home issues. Wishing all my readers a good Chodesh Elul!

Jay Aron is a licensed NYS Home Inspector, and seasoned Electrical Engineer, and owner of Bodeck Home Inspections in Kew Gardens Hills. He is available for home inspections including houses, condos, and co-ops. For more information, call 516-417-6111 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.