Cockroaches are extremely resilient, multiply in abundance, and are known spreaders of disease. It's no wonder, then, that a person is horrified when they find them in their home or apartment. In this month’s blog, we are going to offer some practical suggestions for preventing a cockroach infestation.
The first, and most obvious step is to get rid of the things that attract cockroaches. Although they can survive in many kinds of environments, the things they love most are moisture, grease, and dirt. A place that provides all these elements is the kitchen, so naturally, it needs to be kept extra clean. The kitchen should be thoroughly cleaned regularly which would include scrubbing behind and underneath all appliances, even the big ones. Keep food in containers with tightly sealed lids. You should also place a tight lid on the trash can. If you have pets, it's best not to keep their food out for long periods of time. Also, try to keep the sink as clean and dry as you can.
Another place that provides ideal conditions for cockroaches is the bathroom so try to maintain this area by keeping it as clean and dry as possible.
Cockroaches tend to keep out of well-lit areas so it may be a good idea to leave a few lights on at night to help deter them.
Check your home for areas prone to excess moisture this will include dripping taps or leaking pipes, etc. which can attract cockroaches. You will also want to search for potential points of entry and seal them up.
If you already have an out-of-control cockroach infestation problem, then it would be best to consult with a pest control company for advice on how to tackle the problem.
When a water heater is not working properly, it can disrupt the comfortable running of the home, this is the reason we pay particular attention to them during a home inspection. One question that will often come up regarding water heaters is how long do they generally last before needing to be replaced? The short answer is that you can usually expect a water heater to last for about 10 years, however, let's consider some reasons why the lifespan of a water heater can be drastically reduced.
The correct installation of the water heater is an important first step when it comes to its longevity. To save money, homeowners often resort to installing the water heater themselves, only to find out that it is not as simple as they thought. This is especially the case with tankless gas heaters. Thought must also be given to where the water heater is installed. It should always be positioned upright and placed in an area that has good ventilation. Do not install a water heater in an area that has a high risk of flooding as this can cause the heater's exterior pipes to rust which will reduce its efficiency and lifespan. Another thing to have in mind when deciding where to install the water heater is future inspections and maintenance. You will want it to be easily accessible.
Perhaps one of the more obvious things that will affect your water heater's lifespan is the amount of use it gets. The more water it has to heat, the harder it has to work which will increase the level of wear and tear.
How can you tell if you are buying a good quality water heater or not? Like most goods, you get what you pay for so, the more expensive the water heater, the longer it is likely to last. Another good indicator is the length of warranty the heater comes with. A longer warranty generally means the water heater has been built better and will have a longer lifespan.
A wood-burning stove is a great way to heat a room or house, depending on its size. Of course, like all appliances, it needs care and maintenance to keep it running safely and problem-free. The following is a brief list of ways to ensure your wood burner stays in tip-top shape:
If you have just installed a wood burner or have moved into a home with one then it's good to be aware of the need to have it inspected regularly. Creosote tends to accumulate in the stovepipe which could become rather hazardous, so this is an important step to take. You should also check that you have the correct number of working smoke detectors in the home.
Be sure to only burn wood in your wood-burning stove. Other fuels like coal, for example, burn hotter than wood does, and this may become a safety hazard. Many other items should not go into a wood burner, among them are pressure-treated or painted woods, plywood, particleboard, colored paper, and gift wrap. These items all release toxic fumes when burned which could endanger the home's occupants.
Another important step is the safe disposal of the wood burners' ashes. A good idea is to place them in a metal container filled with water.
What types of wood are good to burn in your wood-burning stove? It is best to use dry wood instead of wood that is freshly cut as it contains much less water and burns hotter. Softwoods like pine are good for starting the fire because it ignites quickly after the fire is lit, you could start burning hardwoods like hickory or ash which burn cleaner and hotter. You will also find that cutting the wood into smaller logs will help.
Termites can present a real threat to a structure so if you have been told that you have termites on your property, your concern may well be warranted. However, before you go ahead and spend a fortune on treating the problem, you may want to consider getting a second opinion first. Why is that?
We can’t all be experts when it comes to finding or fixing problems in our homes, which is why we call in professionals. Sadly, though, at times this can attract less than honest people. Termite inspections are no exception. This means you may be told you have a big termite problem that will be expensive to fix when in reality the problem isn’t that bad at all.
Of course, not all companies are out to con you, but it is helpful to recognize some of the warning signs. For example, if you have been approached by someone offering free termite inspections, be extra cautious as it is likely they will find a termite problem that doesn’t exist or exaggerate one that does just so they can charge a lot to fix the problem.
It is also wise to have a basic knowledge of termites so that you can spot the signs of their presence. This way, you can ask the termite inspector to show you whereabouts on your property they have found the evidence of termites. Some obvious signs of termites are lines of soil or mud and hollowed out wood along the grain. This may be of concern if it is found on the house itself but if you are shown this evidence on your property, such as on a fence or a woodpile, etc. do not be too alarmed.
As we have mentioned, if you are concerned that you are not being told the truth regarding termite damage, it would be best to seek the opinion of other companies in the vicinity to compare their services and prices. If it is determined that you need to have the problem treated, make sure you have a signed contract, detailing the length of time the treatment is guaranteed for.
It is a wonderful feeling to finally get the keys to your new home and start moving in. If you have recently moved to a new house you are, no doubt, still settling in. However, it is important to quickly establish a good routine of home maintenance. While it's true that you will have just had the home inspected, a home maintenance checklist will help you to avoid major issues later on, saving you a lot of money.
So, what are some things that should be included in your home maintenance routine? The following short video will help to answer that by providing a brief guide to looking after your new home. You may also want to include an annual maintenance inspection to make sure your home remains in great shape. We are here to answer any questions you may have regarding home inspections and taking care of your property after the move, so please feel free to give us a call.
Making your home attractive to a prospective buyer does not need to cost you a fortune. Instead of spending money remodeling areas of the house that need an update, why not try the following suggestions?
A shabby looking kitchen or bathroom can make the home look dated but, instead of ripping them out and installing new, why not try to update the existing ones? By refinishing kitchen cabinets or re-glazing bathtubs and sinks, etc. you can give them a whole new lease of life and make them look a lot more modern.
Look for ways to add more light to a dark space. For example, do you have heavy window treatments blocking much-needed light from a window? You may also want to trim back any trees or foliage that is shading windows, which will make the room look dark. Also, never underestimate the power a clean, bright fresh coat of paint has to transform a home.
Are you someone who loves a room full of belongings? Too much clutter can make a room look a lot smaller than it is which does not tend to appeal to a buyer, so it may be best to remove a lot of your possessions and place them in storage while you have the home on the market.
Many people have rooms in their house that are barely used, like a guest room for instance. It may be a good idea to repurpose a room like this into one that would be more useful, like a home office. You should also think about rearranging rooms to highlight their best features. Try looking up various staging techniques to give you some ideas.
Lastly, remember to take good quality photos that will showcase your home's best features. Most people will decide to view your home in person based on the photos they have seen of it online so you want it to look its best.
When selling a home, a homeowner will naturally want to get the best price they can for it, perhaps considering major improvements to increase its value. Although a renovation may seem like a good idea, it doesn’t always work out to be a good investment when selling. So, here are some things you can do that will make your home appealing to a potential buyer, but that will cost you much less than a renovation:
A simple way to start making your home appealing to a buyer is to give it a thorough cleaning. A buyer is often looking for a clean bright space so look at ways you can do this. Could you get more light into the room? This can be done by removing heavy window treatments, cleaning the windows and, trimming back any foliage outside that is covering the windows.
Do you have a lot of possessions cluttering up a room? Rooms full of clutter do not appeal to potential buyers so you may want to clear away a lot of items and put them in storage if necessary. You also want to think about the best way to use space. Is there a guest room that is hardly used? Could it be staged as a home office or other useful space? Clearing a room will make you realize how big it actually is.
Older kitchens and bathrooms can make a home look dated but, instead of ripping them out and installing new, could they be given a refresh instead? You could refinish kitchen cabinetry or even re-glaze a sink or bathtub which will extend their life for a while longer. Never underestimate a fresh coat of paint. It can transform a home and can be done fairly inexpensively.
A good thing to remember is that many people will first look at your home online. Staging each room so that its best features stand out will make your home look attractive in photos. If home decoration isn’t your thing there are professional staging companies that can help.
So, when selling your home, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on major renovations. These simple techniques may work just as well.
In this month’s blog, we are going to highlight a few of the ways that you can ensure that your front door is a safe and secure one. While some of them may seem obvious, perhaps there are others that you may not have thought of.
The first and, possibly the most obvious security feature, is the doors lock. The door should be fitted with a good quality deadbolt. Some homeowners like to use a chain for added security, which is a good idea but only when used along with the deadbolt. Another good idea is to install a bump-resistant lock as bump keys are popular with would-be intruders. As an additional security measure, you could also have a peephole fitted so that you will be able to check who is at your door before you open it.
The construction of the door itself is very important when it comes to how secure it is. The door should be constructed with solid materials and have a steel or solid wood core. Regular maintenance of the door is also very important and should not exhibit signs of deterioration such as rotting, cracking, or warping.
Glass panels, while an attractive feature, can be a security risk. If at all possible, the locks position should be as far away from glass paneling as possible. This is so that if the glass is smashed, the lock would be difficult to reach. Mail slots are also fitted in some doors. To prevent someone from accessing the inside lock there should be a box or cage on the inside which surrounds the mail slot.
After reading this blog, perhaps you have thought about some improvements you can make to the security of your front door.
Lighting is a major factor in a home’s design and can make all the difference when creating a warm and inviting living space. Although electrical lighting can be used to make a dark space brighter, natural lighting a much more appealing option. But, what if a room's design does not allow for traditional windows, what other natural lighting choices are available? Let’s look at a few of them:
One of the more common alternatives to adding natural light into a dark space is skylights. Skylight windows a very effective at adding a maximum amount of natural light into a room. If you do decide that you want to install skylights in your home, make sure they are double-paned windows and check that the flashing is done correctly, otherwise, you may run into problems.
Clerestory windows are another good natural light option as they are short and wide in design and are usually installed high on a wall. The positioning and shape of the window allow a good amount of natural light but, because of the roof overhang, it does not allow excessive heat into the room during the summer months. Because the sun is in a lower position in the winter, however, it does help to heat the room in the colder months.
Yet another way of adding natural light into a dark space is with light tubes. As the name may suggest, these are tubes covered in a highly reflective material. A lens is also fitted to the tube which can minimize the intensity of the midday sun but also enhance low-level light. A light diffuser helps to distribute natural light evenly through the room.
These alternatives to traditional windows can help to make your home an inviting space to live in.
Everyone desires a comfortable home that is also energy efficient, but many may wonder how easy it is to achieve, especially with an older property. One, surprisingly easy way, is by sealing and insulating gaps and holes throughout the home. This is a job that can be done by the majority of homeowners so you can save even more by doing it yourself. Here are a few areas throughout the home that may benefit from sealing or insulating:
Perhaps one of the first areas to check is the attic space as this is where you will notice air escaping the most. Gaps and holes are likely to be found where the attic meets with the floor, under attic knee walls, and in dropped ceiling areas. If you find any holes, close them up. What about gaps or holes that are particularly small, how can you find out where they are? One clue would be patches of insulation that appear darker than the rest which is an indication that air is escaping. Another place that will benefit from foam board insulation or weatherstripping, is the attics access panel.
What other areas of the home might you notice air leaking? Some areas you will want to check are wall-mounted or window air conditioning units, window frames, doors, electrical outlets or receptacles, baseboards, and piping.
While this is just a small list of the areas in a home that will benefit from sealing and insulation, doing so will go a long way in helping your home feel more comfortable. They will also help to improve indoor air quality and save you money on cooling and heating costs.
Devereaux Van Dyne, Certified Professional Home Inspector