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Choosing the right home inspector can be difficult.
Unlike most professionals, you probably will not get to meet me until after you hire me.
Furthermore, different inspectors have varying qualifications, equipment, experience,
reporting methods, and yes, different pricing.
One thing for sure is that a home inspection requires work, a lot of work.
Ultimately a thorough inspection depends heavily on the individual inspectors own effort.
If you honor me by permitting me to inspect your new home, I guarantee that I will give you my
very best effort.
This I promise you. Tom
Thermostat - Save Energy!
How A Programmable Thermostat Works
Thermostats do two things: (1) Compare the thermometer reading of
a room's temperature to the "ideal" thermostat temperature
you select, (2) Give start-and-stop commands to the heating or cooling
system in order to achieve an indoor temperature that is as close
to your "ideal" thermostat setting as possible. By diong
those two things a thermostat plays the role of a "comfort detective"
in your home.
The big advantage of a programmable is that you can program many "ideal"
temperatures for different times of the day or night, or for different
days of the week.
A BREAKTHROUGH FOR INCREASING EFFICIENCY WITHOUT SACRIFICING COMFORT
setback is simple: when you need heating or cooling, you program the
thermostat to order your system to work achieving the ideal temperature.
But when you don't need as much heating and cooling you program the
thermostat to "setback" the ideal temperature for awhile.
And you can achieve the same kinds of savings with summer cooling
setbacks when the house is empty during the day, or after you've fallen
asleep in your cool comfortable bedroom.
THERMOSTAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
are lots of different programmable thermostats with different features.
Talk to an expert and get the one that's right for your system and
has the features you want without making you pay for the one you'll
Air Quality > Humidity Control
Keeping your home's humidity levels in check can significantly
improve the healthfulness and comfort of your home.
When it comes to feeling comfortable in your home, the old saying
"it's not the heat (or cold) - it's the humidity" rings true. Other
than ambient temperature, nothing affects a body's perception of comfort
more than the humidity level. And there's a fairly narrow range between
what is considered "too much" and "too little" of it.
Industry experts state that keeping your home's humidity between 30-60%
can help reduce the effects of many unwanted conditions. Excess humidity
or too little humidity can not only lead to an unhealthy home but
also cause permanent damage to your home and belongings.
Too Little Humidity
• You experience chronic physical symptoms such as
sore throats, dry/itchy skin, nose bleeds or sinus irritation.
• Your home's wood floors are shrinking and cracking.
Joints in wood furniture are becoming loose or failing.
• Wallpaper is peeling, while your paint or plaster
is starting to crack.
• Annoying and sometimes painful static shocks are
• Your thermostat is cranked up, as is your energy bill, but you still
• Your piano and other musical instruments are falling
out of tune.
Too Much Humidity
• Your skin often feels clammy, sweaty or sticky.
• Musty-smelling odors are invading your living
• Wood floors, trim or wood furniture is warping
or rotting, paint is peeling.
• Condensation, frost or ice have formed on the
inside surface of your windows. Water pipes are "sweating".
• Damp spots, or worse, mold and mildew, have formed
on ceilings or walls.
• Your allergies or asthma have gotten worse due
to the growth of mold, mildew and dust mites.
• Your house is a breeding ground for termites, cockroaches
and other pests.
What You Can Do to Treat the Symptoms
• Use ventilation fans in kitchens and bathrooms
when in use. Ensure that your fans are venting directly outside.
• Cover dirt floor crawlspaces under your house
with plastic to act as a vapor barrier.
• Check to make sure your dryer is vented to the
outside. Don't dry wet clothes on drying racks in the house. Air-dry
them outdoors if possible.
• Ensure air conditioning drip pans are clean and
drain lines unobstructed.
• Fix any water leaks in pipes, toilets, showers,
Now that you've air-sealed your attic and basement, check your attic
insulation levels and add more if necessary. The attic is the easiest
place to add insulation to improve your comfort and the energy efficiency
of your home.
Do I Have Enough?
No matter what kind of insulation you currently have in your attic,
one quick way to determine if you need more is to look across the
span of your attic. If your insulation is just level with or below
your floor joists (i.e., you can easily see your joists), you should
add more. If you cannot see any of the floor joists because the insulation
is well above them, you probably have enough and adding more may not
be cost-effective. It is important that the insulation be evenly distributed
with no low spots; sometimes there is enough insulation in the middle
of the attic and very little along the eaves. If your attic insulation
covers your joists and is distributed evenly, you probably have enough.
Much Should I Add?
Insulation levels are specified by R-Value. R-Value is a measure of
insulation's ability to resist heat flow. The higher the R-Value,
the better the thermal performance of the insulation. The recommended
level for most attics is to insulate to R-38 or about
10 to 14 inches, depending on insulation type.
Add the Right Kind of Insulation
When adding additional insulation, you do not have to use the same
type of insulation that currently exists in your attic. You can add
loose fill on top of fiberglass batts or blankets, and vice-versa.
If you use fiberglass over loose fill, make sure the fiberglass batt
has no paper or foil backing; it needs to be "unfaced."
If you choose to add loose fill, it may be wise to hire a professional,
as the application requires the use of a blowing machine, although
some home improvement stores offer rentals of this machine.
WATER WISE "OUTDOORS"
over watering your lawn. Once inch of water per week in the summer
will keep most grasses healthy.
• Water lawns early in the morning or in the evening during
hotter summer months. Avoid watering on windy days.
• Choose plants that are drought tolerant, heat tolerant,
and are tolerant of the minimum winter temperatures.
• Use a broom and not a hose to clean sidewalks and driveways.
• For plants that need more water, use a watering can
or hose on low pressure.
• Use lots of mulch around shrubs and trees to retain
moisture, reduce runoff, moderate soil temperatures and help with
• Avoid over-fertilizing! Get a soil kit to determine
what nutrients your soil needs.If you apply fertilizer only in the
spring and fall, your grass will be healthy, use less water and need
mowing less frequently.
• If you have a swimming pool, get a cover. You'll cut
the loss of water evaporation by 90 percent.
Caution with Space Heaters:
Space heaters can take the chill out of a room, but they should always
be used with caution. If you use a space heater, make sure it includes
a tipover switch that shuts the unit off automatically if it accidentally
Keep space heaters off carpeting and at least three feet from draperies, blankets or sofas.
Never leave a space heater unattended. If you use a natural
gas or kerosene space heater, be sure it's vented to the outside. Avoid
purchasing a used space heater to be re-used in your home.
take the water from the gutters and discharge it into drains or onto
the ground. Underground drains (usually made of clay tile, or cast
iron or plastic) have a habit of plugging or breaking from frost action.
This cannot be determined from a visual inspection. If the underground
drain malfunctions, localized water problems will likely develop in
the basement in the area of the downspout. If this occurs, there are
two options. Exterior digging and repairs can be undertaken; however,
it is usually more advantageous to simply disconnect the downspout
and redirect it to discharge away from the house.
All downspouts which discharge onto the ground should discharge a
good distance away from the house (six feet or more, if possible).
The slope of the ground in this area should be away from the house
to direct water away from the basement.
Note: Where downspouts discharge from the upper roof
onto a lower roof, the section of the lower roof in the path of the
water will deteriorate quickly. It is best to extend the downspout
along the lower roof to discharge directly into the lower roof gutter.
GAS APPLIANCES, HEATING AND VENTING
potential hazards can be identified and repaired only by a qualified
contractor. Have a qualified Home Inspector, or contractor make an
annual inspection of all of your natural gas piping, gas appliances,
heating systems and venting. The following signs are indicators that
a dangerous condition may exist with your gas appliances, and/or venting.
If you see any of the following call a qualified Home Inspector to
perform an inspection, and he will document any repairs necessary.
flames that are pale yellow or wavy.
• Gas appliances that are not vented to the
• Rust corrosion or excessive dust on gas appliances
• Excessively dirty, clogged or missing furnace
• Gas appliance valves that are missing or
not properly installed
• Blocked, broken, rusted, disconnected, corroded
or unsealed appliance vent piping
• Soot near burners or appliance venting
• Venting not approved by the appliance manufacture
• Evidence of discoloration at the appliance
burner,burner access door or vent areas
• Gas appliances installed in a garage less
than 18 inches above the garage floor
• Gas appliances that are missing at a fire
The Air Filter
remove pollen,dust and other particles that would otherwise circulate
indoors. Most filters are typically rectangular in shape and about
20 inches by 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 manufacture's
A dirty air filter will not only degrade indoor air quality, but it
will 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 building occupants have respiratory
problems, if you have pets with fur, or if dusty conditions are present.
you have questions or would like to comment E-Mail
me, Tom Kollias
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