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.
Searching for a home to buy can be a very stressful experience, especially if this is your first time buying property. Perhaps you’ve come across properties listed “as is” and are wondering whether they are a wise option or not. So, why are homes listed “as is” and are they a good investment?
There are various reasons why a homeowner might put their home for sale in “as is” condition. For example, it could be that they don’t want the hassle of fixing it up before putting it on the market, or they may not want to be held responsible for the condition it's in after the sale. But does this mean that it’s going to be a bad investment? Not necessarily.
A lot will depend on the person buying the home. If it is in their ideal location and the price is within their budget, then it may be a wise choice. However, there are some very important steps you should take before making the final decision. First, you will need to find out the true condition of the home. A simple walk through of the property will not tell you everything about it and, while many areas require the homeowner to provide a written disclosure stating its condition, very often key information is omitted.
The best way to ensure you know all you can about the home is to have a thorough home inspection performed on it. The home inspection will find any areas of serious concern that may affect your decision to buy the property and will also give you a good idea of how much money will need to be spent to get it to your standard.
Having a basic knowledge of your home and the way it functions is beneficial for a homeowner. And while you don’t have to become an expert in construction, observing areas that are falling into disrepair will help you to know when to call in a professional. With this thought in mind, we are going to talk about the chimney and what signs you can look out for that show it is in need of repair.
The first thing to think about when determining if your chimney needs repairing is whether anything has happened that would cause damage. For example, has something fallen on it such as a tree limb or scaffolding? Have you experienced any natural disasters like a tornado or a bad storm? Even a small earth tremor can do some damage. The weather is another factor that, over time, can begin to cause erosion to materials like mortar and brick.
It is also important to perform a visual check of the chimney to determine its condition. One simple way to do this is to stand a short distance from your home so that you can see the chimney from ground to roof. Does the chimney look like it might be starting to separate from the rest of the building? Does it seem to be leaning or listing at all? Next, have a look at the chimney’s footings, are there any signs of deterioration? Do a quick test of the mortar by using a screwdriver to scrape some of it, if you notice it crumbling away easily, this is a sign that maintenance is needed.
As you can see the majority of homeowners can perform a few simple checks to see if areas of their chimneys need repair work. It's important to note, however, that while these checks are good at determining the condition of outer areas of the chimney, there are other areas that will need professional attention.
Devereaux Van Dyne, Certified Professional Home Inspector