With February already upon us, perhaps we’re longing for those hot summer days. While we may not feel like it now, we will be grateful for air conditioning as the weather gets warmer. So, it might be time to start thinking about spring cleaning our central air conditioning system. Its important to have a professional perform a yearly check on this, but there are some basic maintenance steps that a homeowner can carry out to ensure a well-maintained a/c system.
One of the first steps to take is checking the filter. Give it a good cleaning or, if it looks too bad, replace it. This is important because an air filter that is dirty will reduce the air quality in the home and also put a strain on the unit’s motor.
Throughout the wintertime, dirt and debris can build up around the outside unit. The area should be cleared of all leaves, branches, spider webs etc. You will most likely find that when you remove the cover of the a/c unit, a lot of dirt will have accumulated there also, and this will need cleaning. The inside of the unit has hundreds of metal fins that surround coils of piping. Some of these fins will most probably have bent but they can be straightened using a tool called a fin comb.
Drainage lines are fixed to the a/c unit and are designed to drain away condensed water. These lines can become clogged which will mean the unit cannot function properly. Have a check of them and make sure they are not blocked and are fixed firmly to the unit.
If you feel the motor needs oil, check the operating manual first to make sure the right type of oil is used.
While it may be a little early to think of summer, good planning of spring cleaning and maintenance will ensure some enjoyable time around the home during the warm months.
There are so many nature lovers out there who love to see various kinds of wildlife in their backyards. While observing nature can be a very enjoyable experience, there are times when it can become a nuisance. For example, how do you feel after spending hours working hard on your yard, only to have it ruined by an animal or rodent? Perhaps the first option you think of is using some type of chemical deterrent, but, before you do that, why not try some possible alternatives first. Here are just a few you could try:
One of the first steps to take is identify what kind of creature or animal is causing all the damage. By doing this, you will be able to find the best type of deterrent for it. Generally, animals are drawn to a yard because of a food source, it might even be certain plants or shrubs that are in your yard. If this is the case, you might want to remove whatever plant life or other food source that is attracting them.
Another method you could try is some type of barrier around the perimeter that is designed for keeping out wildlife. It could also be a visual deterrent or even a sound that frightens them away.
If you do not find these methods are working, a last resort is to capture the offender and relocate it somewhere else. Before you do this, though, ask the advice of your local wildlife agent or animal control center who will be able to advise you. Lastly, after looking at all your options, you may realize that the creature is not that bad after all and decide to do nothing at all. Either way, you have options.
While we live in hope that we can find our dream home at a bargain price, the reality is that does not always happen. What if you do happen upon that perfect property but find out there are already multiple offers on it? With a property in such high demand, you probably want to do all you can to be the one to acquire it in the end. Maybe you feel that, in order to sweeten the deal for the seller, you could offer to skip certain aspects of the home buying process like the home inspection, for example. Is this wise though? Is the home inspection just an added optional extra?
This brief video will help you see why this isn’t the case, why the home inspection is there to protect you as the home buyer and why its never something that should be skipped, even with a home that’s in high demand. Remember, this is a big investment so it’s important that you do all you can to ensure it stays a great investment.
Maintaining your home well is the key to avoiding expensive home repairs later on. While some repairs jobs seem obvious, others might not be so apparent. One area that a home owner should be aware of is the possibility of wood rot also referred to as wood decay. Not to be confused with the damage caused by carpenter ants or termites, wood rot is caused by a fungus that flourishes in warm, damp environments. However, it is pretty hardy and can survive in even more extreme temperatures and humidity.
What are some areas of the home that would be more susceptible to wood rot? Well, lets think about what it needs to survive: oxygen, moisture and a food source. Many areas of a home can provide these things. Here is a few of the places you might find wood decay:
This is just some of the places around a home where you should look out for signs of wood rot. As a homeowner, perhaps you are worried about this being an issue in your home. In order to help you identify possible signs of wood decay, why not have a home inspection performed? In this way, you can know what you should look out for and be advised on what to do if you do find it.
If you have recently relocated to a new area and need to find someone to work on your home, perhaps you’re wondering how you can find someone trustworthy, who will do a thorough, professional job. What are some ways to find out if the person you want to hire will be honest and not try to rip you off?
One thing that is good to remember is that a professional trades-person will have no problem answering any questions you have and will not mind if you ask them for their credentials and whether they are insured for the work. Be wary of anyone who is pushy and who wants an immediate decision on hiring them.
It is expected that you might be required to put down a small deposit for the work but never pay the whole amount up front and be weary of anyone wanting a large deposit. Also, make sure you get a fixed price for the job and have it down in writing. That way, you will not be responsible for those unforeseen “added extras” that very often come up after a quote.
Try not to give out your address before you have been quoted a price over the phone or email. Sometimes, depending on how affluent an area you live in, you might be quoted different prices based on where you live and not on the actual job.
While there are many honest workers out there, remember to ask questions about previous jobs, their experience and their exact address etc. An honest person with nothing to hide will have no problem providing this information.
The title of this blog might surprise some people, after all, isn’t composting a really good thing to do, especially for the environment? While there are many advantages to composting such as being environmentally friendly and good for the soil, the risks appear if we do not handle it properly. What do we mean by this?
To understand better, it’s a good idea to think about what compost is actually made up of. Rotting food and plants in varying stages of decay can produce a number of unsafe pathogens. If compost is not handled correctly, a person could be affected by these pathogens.
Let’s consider some of these pathogens and see why they are dangerous.
A variety of fungal conditions can result from compost. Being exposed to them as well as other bacterial pathogens can cause different ailments. One of those is known as Farmers Lung and can produce symptoms similar to pneumonia. Another condition called Aspergillosis can develop from the inhalation of spores which are produced by decaying plants.
Another fungus which is found in compost is Histoplasmosis. This type of fungus develops from the feces of birds and bats.
Other diseases that could potentially arise from exposure to compost are Tetanus, Paronychia (an infection which can develop around toenails and fingers) and also Legionnaires Disease.
Although these sound like very worrying ailments, taking the proper precautions while dealing with compost should prevent these from happening.
Are you looking for a home inspector? Perhaps you have decided to sell your home and purchase another or maybe you are buying a home for the first time. Either way, you will need a professional home inspector to complete the sale or the purchase of your home. We know you will agree that having the right people for the job is essential and choosing the right home inspector is no exception. Please enjoy this brief video that will help explain what you should look for in a great home inspector.
We are here to assist you with all your home inspection needs, both now and in the future. If you have questions about what to expect from a home inspection and why its so important, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or contact us in any way you prefer. We will be happy to help.
Selecting a home to live in is a huge decision and there are many options to choose from. Among those options are pre-manufactured homes. While you may have done some research on the matter, here are some helpful tips to help you before you make the final decision:
The nice thing about pre-manufactured housing is that there is a great variety to choose from to fit a variety of budgets. Obviously, you are aware that it is just the house you are purchasing, so you will need a piece of land to put it on. You may want to purchase a separate piece of land, but you could also lease land that is intended specifically for manufactured housing. Another option is buying the land and house together.
Make sure you are well acquainted with the manufacturers warranty. Sometimes you could void it out if the homeowner’s maintenance guidelines have not been adhered to. You will also want to find out if the warranty covers for the installation and transportation of the home.
Get to know all you can about the legal requirements for this type of housing. Find out about utility connections and zoning laws etc.
When your home finally arrives, its very important to have it inspected thoroughly to make sure there are no issues or defects with the home. Have a home inspection performed on it so that you can feel confident the home is in good working order. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to schedule a home inspection for your pre-manufactured home.
We are well aware that tornadoes wreak havoc and destroy property. If your home ends up in the path of a tornado, what sort of damage might you find? Depending on the severity of a tornado, you might see some very obvious damage, but, even if you didn’t see a lot of damage, there are some areas in the home you would want to check.
Stress cracks are something you should check for. Look at where the walls meet the ceiling to see if you can see any signs of this. Use a level to check that walls and floors have not shifted.
One area of damage that often occurs from a tornado is uprooted trees. These can damage underground gas lines, creating a leak. Its important to check that this hasn’t happened before you turn on the gas in your home.
A house can sustain all kinds of damage from being shaken in a tornado. Plumbing fixtures and pipes could have twisted and cracked. To check these are not leaking, turn on all the faucets in the home and make sure water isn’t running out where it shouldn’t. Look under sinks, cabinets and even ceilings for signs of water leaking. Damage to the foundation is also a possibility. Take a look at the masonry for signs of cracking and check crawlspaces for any changes or damage.
It is likely there will be damage to the roof after a tornado. This is something you will need to fix immediately as the house will be more prone to water damage. This will show up later on in the form of mold and water stains on walls.
If you have a chimney, this is another area that must be checked for damage. Damage to a chimney can be very dangerous as it can hinder proper ventilation, putting the homes occupants at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
If you would like more information on inspecting your home, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Tornado's, as we know, are extremely destructive. When faced with this type of a threat, what can we do to protect ourselves if we are at home during a tornado? Here are a few suggestions:
What are some further ways to protect yourself if the weather forecast shows potential for a tornado?
Yes, tornados can be frightening and unpredictable, but knowing ahead of time what to do, will help to keep you safe.
Devereaux Van Dyne, Certified Professional Home Inspector