Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Make sure your home does not scream"UNMAINTAINED"!


Whenever I tell someone I'm a SitePro Home Inspector, one of the first things people want to know is how busy I am. In many cases, they have already a preconceived notion that I'm busy in the summer and slow in the winter. Of course, every season has a slightly different set of motivations for sellers and on the Florida Panhandle, traditionally summer is the busiest market.

Spring sales however inevitably lead to summer sales and summer sellers have it a little harder from SitePro inspectors when it comes to performing regular maintenance. When the rains and cold weather of winter are in full force, SitePro inspectors will be a little forgiving in our reporting as it is not very reasonable to expect the seller can touch up the paint and even do a proper caulking job in the cold. However, when you have your home for sale in summer, there are not many excuses why you don't have your trim painted and replace any rotten boards in the deck before the home goes up for sale and a buyer or home inspector arrive.

From my lens as a SitePro inspector, there are two common types of home owners. Those who 'consume' the value of their home and those who 'maintain' the value of their home. A home that shows signs of care and maintenance tend to be homes that show well through the rest of the house inspection. Whereas when the paint on the facia boards is pealed off, I can just about guarantee the A/C filter will look like it was never changed and there will be other missing maintenance.

So what does this mean for home sellers in summer? Be aware of the non-verbal communications your house is telling the home inspector. You don't want your house to scream 'unmaintained' for the inspector to point out to the buyer when a simple afternoon of elbow grease would get so many maintenance items up to par. A good home inspector will call out these same deficiencies no matter what season they were found but as the caretaker of your home, you want your home to look your best for your buyer to avoid any surprises at closing.

SitePro, LLC
Van Hibberts


362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
850.934.6800  (Office)
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
Florida-State Certified Master Home Inspector Lic. #HI89
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
203(k) FHA/HUD Consultant #A0900
WDO Certificate #JE190791 
NACHI #10071802
"Looking Beyond The Obvious"


Nothing in this message is intended to constitute an electronic signature unless a specific statement to the contrary is included in this message.

DISCLAIMER: This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. Please notify the sender immediately by email if you have received this email by mistake and delete this email from your system. Email transmission cannot be guaranteed to be secure or error-free, as information could be intercepted, corrupted, lost, destroyed, arrive late or incomplete, or contain viruses. The sender, therefore, does not accept liability for any errors or omissions in the contents of this message which arise as a result of email transmission. If verification is required, please request a hard-copy version.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

When to Hire Someone to Fix Your Plumbing



If you have very low water pressure in your house, you will need to call in a professional. Low water pressure can because by several things such as the pipes being rusty or a poorly designed water line. If you have city water or well water, there could be a problem with how the water gets to your home that is causing the low water pressure. An experienced plumbing contractor will be able to find the problem and fix it.

If you do not have hot water in your home, it may be a bit tricky for you to attempt to find out what the cause is yourself. If you have a tank that is leaking, this may be the reason why you do not have any hot water. If you have an electrical unit, the causes may be things such as a bad heating element, fuses that are blown, an overload switch which is bad, circuit breakers not working properly or faulty thermostats. If you have a gas tank, the problems causing you to not have hot water may include a problem with the thermocouple burners. In situations like these, it is imperative that you contact a reputable plumbing company to get everything squared away.

A sewer line can get backed up and cause a huge problem in your basement or tub. Sometimes it is the result of a bad plug that is located within the line that flows to the main sewer. The main thing that gets lodged within a sewer line is roots from the trees. A plumbing professional can clean and repair those pipes for you.

Frozen pipes may be somewhat common in the wintertime. If your pipes do freeze, you want to check and see if the pipes are busted or cracked. If your pipes are frozen, you can use a hair dryer to try and thaw out the pipes. However, if this will not work, you will need to call in a plumber who may either try and thaw the lines out another way or they may just end up replacing the section of the line that is broken.

When trying to locate a plumber, be sure they have had proper training. There are three types of plumbers and they are classified by the amount of training they have. An apprentice plumber receives training through a local union. They follow an apprenticeship program for about three or four years. They learn through on-the-job training and some classroom structure. An apprentice plumber does get paid for on-the-job training.

A plumber becomes a journeyman once they complete their apprenticeship program and they can apply to be licensed. Most of the plumbers today are in the field of journeyman. To get a license to be a journeyman, you need to pass an exam and pay a licensing fee.

A master plumber must have received training at a technical school or have an Associates degree. The master plumber also needs to take an exam which combines written and practical skills. Master plumbers are also required to participate in continuing education each year.


Do you need a toledo plumbing specialist who can fix your pipes? 
Perhaps http://www.benjaminfranklinplumbingtoledo.com can help!
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Aaliyah_Arthur

Friday, July 26, 2013

When You Can Do Garage Door Repair Jobs Yourself



Your garage door is an important part of your life, and one which you normally take for granted, so when it goes wrong it can seem like a disaster. It affects not only your ability to get your car out and put it away, but often the security of your home itself. The question of who is the best person to do garage door repair jobs-yourself or a professional- is something you should always be keeping in mind, preferably from the time the garage door is new, not when it starts to go wrong.

One way of avoiding costly repair bills, of course, is to have the garage door checked and serviced on a regular basis. There are some aspects of this you can do yourself, such as carrying out a regular examination of the fittings, including the hinges and brackets, plus the plates on which the springs are mounted, and tightening all loose bolts and screws. You can also lubricate all moving parts, including the tracks, rollers and hinges, using an aerosol spray. However, using a professional to carry out a regular inspection will ensure that any potential safety issues can be identified before they cause a serious problem.

If you are checking your doors yourself, you may notice wear and tear in the rollers or hinges. This is something you may be able to fix yourself, but only if you are confident. If you are even slightly unsure, you should call a garage door repair service. If you notice rust or dents in the tracks, it is better to have these replaced by a professional.

There are some quite common problems you may find in your inspection of your garage doors, which you should definitely not try to fix yourself. One of these is broken springs, which can be very dangerous if they snap, because of the pressure they retain. The other problem you should not touch is cables coming off their tracks. For both of these you need to call in a professional garage door repair service.

Probably the most common problem encountered with overhead doors is the opener going wrong. There are a wide variety of problems that can occur. For example, the door fails to open when you press the remote; the opening and closing is only partial; the door opens without being commanded; or it opens and then reverses.

In any of these situations, there are a number of steps you can take yourself, before calling in a garage door repair service. First of all, check the power supply and check the batteries in your remote. Sometimes, replacing the batteries or reprogramming the remote is all it takes to fix the problem. Then you can unplug the opener and plug it in again, which sometimes resets the sensors. Finally, try cleaning the sensor's eyes, as dust on the eyes can block the signal.

If you still have no success, you need to check the type of spring system that operates your garage. If it is an extension spring, you might be able to fix it yourself. Common problems include broken pulleys, cables, springs or rollers. However, if it is a torsion spring, which will be mounted above the door-header, it will be too dangerous to fix yourself, and you must call the garage door repair service.

There are certainly some types of garage door repair that you can do yourself, provided you know what you are doing. However, never lose sight of the fact that overhead doors are heavy and dangerous, and also operate on electricity. If you are not absolutely confident, call the garage door repair professionals, and be safe not sorry.

Written by Chris Jackson a writer for Overhead Garage Door, Inc.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Chris_L_Jackson

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Buying a Foreclosure

Purchasing foreclosed homes in desirable areas at below-market values can be a sound investment strategy. Appreciation on their original prices may be tax-free.  Buying foreclosed rental properties can provide positive cash flow, as well as valuable tax deductions. On the other hand, buying a foreclosure involves homework, patience, and a certain amount of luck. For those wishing to get a bargain house through the foreclosure process, it’s best to learn the basics.Foreclosed homes are often sold at auction


Four Ways to Buy a Foreclosed Home
  • presale is when the prospective buyer negotiates with the current owner before the house is foreclosed upon. Presale discounts can be considerable, but communicating and reasoning with the owner isn’t always easy; they might have legal problems, lost their phone service or electricity, or greet you with suspicion, having already been hounded and threatened by creditors. And after time and energy have been invested, the deal can fall through if the owner comes up with the money to repay their debt, or for any number of unexpected reasons. With persistence, however, the seasoned real estate investor can profit from presales. To find out about presales, you can try one of the following avenues:
    • Ask your local county court how to search new notices of default.
    • Find out if the County Recorder has data available online.
    • Look in the "legal notices" section of the newspaper for properties that are coming up for sale at public auction. Take note of the address, the property owner’s name, the tax ID, and whatever other information is contained in the ad.
  • A foreclosed home may be sold at a public auction, in which buyers can expect a discount of 10% to 25% of market value. Interested bidders are generally required to show proof of financing, and must have a minimum cash deposit before they are qualified to bid. It might be impossible to gain entry to inspect the interior, too, which makes this type of purchase risky. The local building department may have permit records that can clue you in to the building’s layout and appearance.
  • A real estate-owned (REO) sale is a transaction where a foreclosed house is purchased directly from the bank. These properties typically wound up in the bank’s portfolio after failing to sell at auction. REO investments are relatively safe, as there are no tenants to evict or hidden liens and, unlike properties sold at public auction, buyers can usually receive a mortgage to pay for them. And purchasers might even get an unused house; the slow economy has left many builders at the end of their construction-loan periods without finding buyers for the homes, in which case the bank will foreclose on the brand new homes. Unfortunately, REOs are usually offered at near-market prices to recoup the costs of property taxes, maintenance and legal fees. To find REOs, try the following:
    • Check lenders’ websites, as they may have a list of their REOs, along with contact information for the appropriate real estate agent.
    • Call lenders and ask to speak to someone who handles their foreclosures.
    • Check newspapers.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development has tens of thousands of HUD homes whose previous owners defaulted on federally issued loans. After a period during which local governments gain exclusive buying privileges, they become available to individual buyers who pledge to live in the property. After another 10 days, investors may bid on the property. It’s difficult to make a profit on these houses, as HUD releases them at near-market values.
Tips for Foreclosure Purchases
  • Invest time in research and preparation. Those new to the field should spend some time learning the variables of foreclosure investing before making any purchases.
  • Budget carefully to prepare for the unexpected. The house may require unforeseen repairs, such as a leaky roof or unstable deck. The price tag of the home itself is often just the first of a series of fees. What if you planned on rental cash flow to cover the mortgage, but you can’t find a tenant?
  • Avoid buying a foreclosure sight-unseen. Try to see the house yourself before buying it, or hire someone to evaluate at it in your absence. Distant investors are buying up properties unseen in bulk, and they’re often unpleasantly surprised at how much they’ve been misled.
  • Evaluate the neighborhood. If the foreclosure is rife with problems, but it’s in a desirable area with high property resale values, it may still be worth it to make a low offer. An area with several foreclosures or a high crime rate can undermine an otherwise good deal, however.
  • Consider how long the house has been vacant. Building damage – and the costs required to make the house livable - generally increases with the time that has lapsed since the last tenant vacated. Pests are a particular issue in houses that have been empty for a long time, and plumbing defects and leaks increase in likelihood in such homes, as well.
  • Examine the landscaping. Left unchecked, trees can send their roots into the foundation, and vines can creep into the windows.
  • Has the house been professionally inspected by an InterNACHI inspector? Foreclosures can be notorious for damage suffered at the hands of past tenants, through both inadvertent and intentional vandalism and theft.
In summary, there are a number of ways to go about buying a foreclosed home, and buyers should exercise patience, persistence and careful planning before buying foreclosed properties.
by Nick Gromicko 

From Buying a Foreclosure - InterNACHI http://www.nachi.org/buying-foreclosure.htm#ixzz2ZugaU4Wt




Monday, July 22, 2013

Homeowners - Wind Inspections Reduce Your Mortgage Payment



Wind Inspections are helping homeowner's reduce their mortgage payments by applying for credits on their homeowners insurance policy.  Eligible credits include new home discounts, wind mitigation credits, type of construction discounts like concrete block with rebar, and alarm discounts like fire or burglary.  In Florida every county with a coastline has areas considered high wind borne debris zones.  Because of this classification, homes have to be constructed to withstand high winds and wind blown debris.  That means each roof truss must have a metal strap tying it down to the walls and the walls have to have reinforcing bar if made of cement or cement block and stud bolts through the bottom plate if they are made of wood.  These bolts and rebar secure the home to the foundation slab preventing a strong wind for lifting or twisting the structure.

Other important building designs include the use of 8-10d nails to fasten the roof deck, bracing on gables or hip roof construction, hurricane shutters over all the openings like windows and doors or the use of impact and wind resistant products.  The roof construction is generally the best reason to get a wind inspection because it corresponds to the largest reduction in a homeowner's premium.  Since every home built after 2002 and many built prior to that have the high wind type construction.  If you had your roof replaced in the past year, new Florida legislation made updating the roof construction mandatory.  That means many Florida homeowners are sitting on an opportunity to reduce their mortgage payments and don't even know it.

In today's economy, reducing your monthly mortgage payment can mean the difference that keeps you in your home. And it is as easy as getting a wind inspection. Some homeowners can qualify for inspections at reduced prices.  If you want to have a wind mitigation inspection conducted on your property some inspectors are helping to make it easier by offering their services for a discounted fee.  Outside of installing shutters and hurricane-proofing your home, you can shop your policy and get the best premium for the same coverage or more appropriate coverage that fits your needs.

By J. Malan

J. Malan is the owner of Malan Group LLC. Brevard, FL's first choice in water damage repair and emergency water removal and remediation. Malan Group LLC offers a free wind inspection on all claims they handle. When you experience an insurance claim, we can handle all your repairs and settle directly with your insurance company with no out of pocket expense to the propery owner. [http://www.malangroupllc.com]

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=J._Malan

SitePro, LLC is a Florida - Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector in the Pensacola, Florida area. 


362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
850.934.6800  (Office)
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
Florida-State Certified Master Home Inspector Lic. #HI89
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
203(k) FHA/HUD Consultant #A0900
WDO Certificate #JE190791 
NACHI #10071802






Saturday, July 20, 2013

Electrical Safety

Electricity is an essential part of our lives. However, it has the potential to cause great harm. Electrical systems will function almost indefinitely, if properly installed and not overloaded or physically abused. Electrical fires in our homes claim the lives of 485 Americans each year and injure 2,305 more. Some of these fires are caused by electrical system failures and appliance defects, but many more are caused by the misuse and poor maintenance of electrical appliances, incorrectly installed wiring, and overloaded circuits and extension cords.  Some safety tips to remember:
  • Never use anything but the proper fuse to protect a circuit.
  • Find and correct overloaded circuits. 
  • Never place extension cords under rugs. 
  • Outlets near water should be GFCI-type outlets. 
  • Don't allow trees near power lines to be climbed. 
  • Keep ladders, kites, equipment and anything else away from overhead power lines. 

Electrical Panels

Electricity enters the home through a control panel and a main switch where one can shut off all the power in an emergency. These panels are usually located in the basement. Control panels use either fuses or circuit breakers. Install the correct fuses for the panel. Never use a higher-numbered fuse or a metallic item, such as a penny. If fuses are used and there is a stoppage in power, look for the broken metal strip in the top of a blown fuse. Replace the fuse with a new one marked with the correct amperage. Reset circuit breakers from "off" to "on." Be sure to investigate why the fuse or circuit blew. Possible causes include frayed wires, overloaded outlets, or defective appliances. Never overload a circuit with high-wattage appliances. Check the wattage on appliance labels. If there is frayed insulation or a broken wire, a dangerous short circuit may result and cause a fire. If power stoppages continue or if a frayed or broken wire is found, contact an electrician.

Outlets and Extension Cords

Make sure all electrical receptacles or outlets are three-hole, grounded outlets. If there is water in the area, there should be a GFCI or ground-fault circuit interrupter outlet. All outdoor outlets should be GFCIs. There should be ample electrical capacity to run equipment without tripping circuit breakers or blowing fuses. Minimize extension cord use. Never place them under rugs. Use extension cords sparingly and check them periodically. Use the proper electrical cord for the job, and put safety plugs in unused outlets.

Electrical Appliances

Appliances need to be treated with respect and care. They need room to breathe. Avoid enclosing them in a cabinet without proper openings, and do not store papers around them. Level appliances so they do not tip. Washers and dryers should be checked often. Their movement can put undue stress on electrical connections. If any appliance or device gives off a tingling shock, turn it off, unplug it, and have a qualified person correct the problem. Shocks can be fatal. Never insert metal objects into appliances without unplugging them. Check appliances periodically to spot worn or cracked insulation, loose terminals, corroded wires, defective parts and any other components that might not work correctly. Replace these appliances or have them repaired by a person qualified to do so.

Electrical Heating Equipment

Portable electrical heating equipment may be used in the home as a supplement to the home heating system. Caution must be taken when using these heating supplements. Keep them away from combustibles, and make sure they cannot be tipped over. Keep electrical heating equipment in good working condition. Do not use them in bathrooms because of the risk of contact with water and electrocution. Many people use electric blankets in their homes. They will work well if they are kept in good condition. Look for cracks and breaks in the wiring, plugs and connectors. Look for charred spots on both sides. Many things can cause electric blankets to overheat. They include other bedding placed on top of them, pets sleeping on top of them, and putting things on top of the blanket when it is in use. Folding the blankets can also bend the coils and cause overheating.

Children

Electricity is important to the workings of the home, but can be dangerous, especially to children. Electrical safety needs to be taught to children early on. Safety plugs should be inserted in unused outlets when toddlers are in the home. Make sure all outlets in the home have face plates. Teach children not to put things into electrical outlets and not to chew on electrical cords. Keep electrical wiring boxes locked. Do not allow children to come in contact with power lines outside. Never allow them to climb trees near power lines, utility poles or high tension towers.

Electricity and Water

A body can act like a lightning rod and carry the current to the ground. People are good conductors of electricity, particularly when standing in water or on a damp floor. Never use any electrical appliance in the tub or shower. Never touch an electric cord or appliance with wet hands. Do not use electrical appliances in damp areas or while standing on damp floors. In areas where water is present, use outlets with GFCIs. Shocks can be fatal.

Animal Hazards

Mice and other rodents can chew on electrical wires and damage them. If rodents are suspected or known to be in the home, be aware of the damage they may cause, and take measures to get rid of them.

Outside Hazards

There are several electrical hazards outside the home. Be aware of overhead and underground power lines. People have been electrocuted when an object they are moving has come in contact with the overhead power lines. Keep ladders, antennae, kites and poles away from power lines leading to the house and other buildings. Do not plant trees, shrubs or bushes under power lines or near underground power lines. Never build a swimming pool or other structure under the power line leading to your house. Before digging, learn the location of underground power lines.

Do not climb power poles or transmission towers. Never let anyone shoot or throw stones at insulators. If you have an animal trapped in a tree or on the roof near electric lines, phone your utility company. Do not take a chance of electrocuting yourself. Be aware of weather conditions when installing and working with electrical appliances. Never use electrical power tools or appliances with rain overhead or water underfoot. Use only outdoor lights, fixtures and extension cords. Plug into outlets with a GFCI. Downed power lines are extremely dangerous. If you see a downed power line, call the electric company, and warn others to stay away. If a power line hits your car while you are in it, stay inside unless the car catches fire. If the car catches fire, jump clear without touching metal and the ground at the same time.


MORE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS :
  • Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring.
  • Hire an InterNACHI inspector. InterNACHI inspectors must pass rigorous safety training and are knowledgeable in the ways to reduce the likelihood of electrocution.
  • Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old and damaged appliance cords immediately.
  • Use electrical extension cords wisely and don't overload them.
  • Keep electrical appliances away from wet floors and counters; pay special care to electrical appliances in the bathroom and kitchen.
  • Don't allow children to play with or around electrical appliances, such as space heaters, irons and hair dryers.
  • Keep clothes, curtains and other potentially combustible items at least 3 feet from all heaters.
  • If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
  • Never overload extension cords or wall sockets. Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch, as well as lights that flicker. Use safety closures to childproof electrical outlets.
  • Check your electrical tools regularly for signs of wear. If the cords are frayed or cracked, replace them. Replace any tool if it causes even small electrical shocks, overheats, shorts out or gives off smoke or sparks.
In summary, household electrocution can be prevented by following the tips offered in this guide and by hiring an InterNACHI inspector.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Home Inspection: Roofing

Spring and fall are good times to inspect your roof and gutters. A routine roof inspection can usually find a problem before it becomes a major repair. Finding a problem early can save you a lot of money.

If at all possible, hire a professional roofer to inspect your roof twice a year. Roofs are dangerous places and an accident can result in serious injury or even death. To quote the late J.P. Getty, who knew a thing or two about money, "If money will solve your problem, you don't have a problem. You have an expense."

It's always safer and wiser to pay a roofer to inspect and repair your roof.

When hiring a professional roofer, be sure they have an established place of business and that they are licensed, insured and bonded. Also be sure the roofer has a permanent telephone and a tax identification number. A professional roofer will freely offer photocopies of all credentials. Many roofers are also certified by roofing manufacturers.

If, however, instead of hiring a professional roofer, you prefer to inspect your roof yourself, here are some things to keep in mind.

Begin with safety as your first priority.

Make sure the ladder is set up on solid, level ground.
• Tie the ladder top to the roof or eave to keep it from tilting or falling.
• Inspect the ladder for weakness, rot or damage.
• Extend the ladder at least 3 feet above the eaves.
• Angle the ladder away from the wall at least 1 foot for every 4 feet of rise.

While on the ladder, use both hands to firmly grip the rungs and climb. And always keep three points of contact with the ladder.

Once on the roof, or at the eave level, look for shingles that are buckling, curling or blistering. These are signs that the shingles are at the end of their life expectancy and will soon fail.

Also look for loose material and damage where pipes and chimneys penetrate the roof. These are notorious for failure and leaks. This is usually where a roof will fail first.

If you have gutters, inspect them for shingle granules, the tiny grit that protects shingles from the sun's ultraviolet rays. An excessive amount of granules in the gutter is also a sign that the shingles are at the end of their expected life.

Remember to inspect the roof from the attic space too. Sometimes water stains and damage will be apparent from below. Obvious water stains on the interior ceilings and wall should also be noted.

If damaged is detected, it's time to hire a professional roofer to either make repairs of install a new roof. When hiring a roofer, it's critical to do some homework. Not everyone with a hammer is a roofer. It takes a professional to know the materials and how to properly install them to assure a watertight seal that will protect your home from decades.

In addition to the credentials mentioned above, when hiring a professional roofer, be sure to check the references and warranties each prospective roofer offers.

Most professionals are also certified by roofing materials manufacturers and will be listed on the manufacturer's website as an approved installer. Such relationships are often essential to insure a warranty is valid and enforceable.

 By

A former contractor, Gary C. Horton now writes extensively on home improvement issues.
He owns http://rooferscolumbiasc.wordpress.com/, an internet portal that matches homeowners in the midlands of South Carolina with the best roofing contractors in the state.

If you own a home in the Columbia area of South Carolina, visit http://rooferscolumbiasc.wordpress.com/.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Gary_C_Horton

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Importance of Septic Tank Cleaning

Your home's septic storage might not be a pleasurable thing to maintain in any way but it's vital to do some septic tank cleaning because if you skip on that part, there will come a time when whatever goes into it will start to come back out. That's certainly something that nobody wants to happen, least of all you. There are certain tools as well as products that help in cleaning that you could use.

Similarly, there are chemical that helps specific bacteria grow inside that storage, letting them dissolve waste faster. There are numerous items that you shouldn't put down the drain and these include feminine products, grease, insecticides and soils, among others. Should any of them make their way down the drain, you risk backing your system up.

Getting your septic system pumped is an excellent cleaning method. It's highly recommended that you do it periodically and you can get in touch with the local authorities so you can get the information you need on how to get in contact with professionals who can pump that tank. You can also contact these professionals for periodical inspections or you can do the inspection yourself.

In inspecting it yourself, look for depressions around the area where the storage is. This could be a potential hazard since it shows that the tank might be nearing collapse. Additionally, look for any water collecting any place near the area. This might be the result of some cracks in the tank. The odor of sewage is an ominous sign that the storage might have ruptured somewhere. If that's the case, you should immediately do something about it.

Regular septic tank cleaning is vital for its integrity. Of course, you can get drainage products that can help for a better flow of water. Likewise, there are tablets that you can drop into the storage and they work like an effervescent. They will fizz up while inside it, cleaning up any grime and debris. Afterwards, they get flushed out of the drain pipe.

The proper authorities might recommend that you do the septic tank cleaning manually and this is especially so if you've got a big household. Cleaning lets the sides and the bottom get scrubbed and washed. You can hire a professional to this though so you won't have to. Septic tank cleaning may be hard but it's necessary. You don't want that storage to become a huge health hazard now, do you?

By

Get the best septic tank cleaning services. Contact Bubby's Septic Tank Cleaning for help in getting services for septic tank Clermont County OH.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Dexter_D._Bradley

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Peppermint oil mice repellent really works!



Mice and peppermint oil just don’t mix.  Are they allergic to it, is it their kryptonite, or is the odor of the oil is just too strong for the rodents and they turn tail and run?  Regardless, isn’t that just exactly what you had in mind, rather than having those nasty little varmints taking up residence in your house?  SitePro loves providing home used products rather than chemicals advertised which in many cases can be as bad as the rodents.

Who wants to deal with mouse traps anyways?  You risk setting them off on your fingers just getting them set up.  

Then sometimes the sneaky little rodent freaks figure out a way to clean off the bait. You’re stuck with cleaning up mouse poop constantly when they figure out the traps and avoid them. Something I’d personally rather not deal with, considering the mice in the Florida Panhandle carry many diseases like Hantavirus, which can be life threatening..  


Then there’s the whole ordeal of when you actually get the pleasant surprise of catching one of the varmints in the trap.  His vacant little beady eyes staring up at you with the body in an awkward death pose is always a Kodak moment.  Then it becomes your happy chore to dispose of the corpse, process and clean up the crime scene, re-bait and reset the trap again.  

Remember when dealing with the disposal and clean up to use rubber gloves.  Never handle the deceased varmints with your bare hands.  Spray dropping with diluted bleach solution before cleaning up.  

Opting for poison bait is no better.  The sneaky bandits will hoard the stuff finding all kinds of places in your house to stash it like in the walls, underneath appliances and furniture.  Once there they do eat it eventually and then die there or wander off looking for water.  Then you have to wonder about your pets or children finding the dead creatures or the poison.  It’s really not such a good thing if a pet eats a poisoned rodent.  
 
The better solution is to use Peppermint Oil for mice as a repellant keeping them out of your house in the first place.  The vermin are far better off living on their own being part of the food chain for the cats, coyotes, snakes, birds of prey and other woodland creatures as far as I’m concerned.

An important step it to keep them from coming into your house in the first place. Some people think they are attracted to food.  Yes, they can be. But why do you find mouse droppings in the storage shed and garage where there is nothing edible at all?  Well, they’re looking for a nice warm cozy place to live, build a nest, have babies and be happy.  So it’s a good idea to keep the house cleaned up of food sources for the pests to get at.  Store you food appropriately in air tight containers, as well as cleaning up after preparing and eating meals.

Same goes for trash.  Store your garbage cans as far away from the house as possible.    

Next, do some CSI work and find where those critters are getting into your house in the first place. Did you know that a mouse can flatten their bodies down to practically a quarter inch and squeeze through a tiny opening?  You will need to seal up any possible entry ways.  

Look for gaps around pipes coming in thru walls and floors, as well as other holes and gaps around the building both inside and outside.  Putty is your buddy here.  Caulking, expandable insulating foam sealant such as Great Stuff, or if the gap it too big use steel wool.  The rodents won’t chew thru steel wool.











Not only are you sealing off entry’s from mice, you will be sealing up air leaks as well helping to better weatherize your home.  Saving you money on your energy bills as well for an additional benefit.           
 
Now you’ll have a better idea of just where those nasty varmints are getting into you domain.  Place cotton balls with a couple of drops of peppermint oil on them in those spots.  Refresh the cotton balls with additional peppermint essential oil every couple of weeks or more often.  Alternatively you can use a spray bottle with a mixture of two teaspoons of peppermint oil to one cup of water and just spray around the entry areas.

You will notice a pleasant refreshingly cool, clean, heady fresh minty scent.  And you will learn how peppermint oil and mice just don’t mix first hand.

Van Hibberts
SitePro, LLC


362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
850.934.6800  (Office)
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
Florida-State Certified Master Home Inspector Lic. #HI89
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
203(k) FHA/HUD Consultant #A0900
WDO Certificate #JE190791 
NACHI #10071802
"Looking Beyond The Obvious"



Nothing in this message is intended to constitute an electronic signature unless a specific statement to the contrary is included in this message.

DISCLAIMER: This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. Please notify the sender immediately by email if you have received this email by mistake and delete this email from your system. Email transmission cannot be guaranteed to be secure or error-free, as information could be intercepted, corrupted, lost, destroyed, arrive late or incomplete, or contain viruses. The sender, therefore, does not accept liability for any errors or omissions in the contents of this message which arise as a result of email transmission. If verification is required, please request a hard-copy version.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Deck Safety and Proper Deck Construction

With summer coming into full swing, many of us are looking forward to spending time outside. Make sure your deck is safe for summer fun! Read this article from a fellow professional in Colorado about deck inspections for safety. It really drives home the importance of overall home inspection before buying a home.
6-11-13 DeckCollapse
Now is a great time to have a professional safety check done on your deck.  Doing a safety check now and making any necessary repairs means you’re ready to safely use your deck as soon as the warm weather returns.
Reasons for decks collapsing can include age of the deck, poor maintenance, exceeding load capacity and improper building methods.   To ensure the safety of your family and friends, have SitePro Residential & Commercial Inspection check your deck.
Having your deck inspected now can help you avoid problems later.  Please call SitePro at (850)934-6800 for more information or to schedule your deck inspection.
DECK SAFETY
(ARA) – Your deck is the perfect place to enjoy the warm weather with friends and loved ones. But an unsafe deck could possibly collapse, causing serious injuries to you and your guests.
The number of deck failures and resulting injuries has been increasing at an alarming rate. Between 2000 and 2008, there were at least 30 deaths reported as a direct result of deck collapses, and more than 75 percent of people on a deck when it collapses are injured or killed. With 40 million decks in the United States that are more than 20 years old, it’s important for homeowners to check their deck.
The North American Deck and Railing Association is dedicated to increasing public awareness of the necessity for regular inspection and maintenance of existing decks and proper installation of new decks.
A key element of enjoying your deck for years to come is making sure it is safe and code compliant. NADRA’s “10-Point Consumer Safety Checklist” is an efficient way to take a good look at the different parts of your deck, with an eye to what might need maintenance, repair or replacement. Safety first, fun second — make sure your deck is safe to enjoy.
You might also consider a professional inspection. “A professional inspection will examine every inch of your deck, provide information on your deck’s capacity limits, identify any dangerous problem areas and give you a map of what to keep your eye on in the future. If your deck is older, this might include a regular deck inspection schedule,” says Mike Beaudry, executive vice president for NADRA.
Older decks require closer scrutiny. Many of these decks were built before code requirements were in place to protect consumers. Some of these decks may have deck-to-house attachments using only nails. If your deck is older, it is even more important to have it inspected by either a home inspector (NADRA recommends ASHI-certified home inspectors) or a knowledgeable deck builder (see the listing at nadra.org). NADRA member deck builders are required to adhere to a code of ethics and comply with state licensing and insurance requirements.
If you find your deck is not safe to enjoy, NADRA advises taking immediate action to have it repaired or rebuilt as necessary.
To choose a deck builder, NADRA offers the following tips:
* Ask friends and family members for referrals and contact state and local licensing authorities and trade associations such as NADRA.
* Meet with and carefully evaluate all potential deck builders. Ask to see a portfolio and some samples of the decking and railing materials they prefer to use. Good builders take pride in their work and will be enthusiastic about the possibility of creating a relationship.
* Pay attention to the deck builder’s experience, licensing, insurance coverage and professional references.
When hiring a deck builder, there is more to consider than just price. In addition to the tips above, NADRA recommends homeowners contact their city or county building department to speak with an inspector knowledgeable about deck construction.
Van Hibberts
SitePro, LLC


362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
850.934.6800  (Office)
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
Florida-State Certified Master Home Inspector Lic. #HI89
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
203(k) FHA/HUD Consultant #A0900
WDO Certificate #JE190791 
NACHI #10071802
"Looking Beyond The Obvious"



Nothing in this message is intended to constitute an electronic signature unless a specific statement to the contrary is included in this message.


DISCLAIMER: This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. Please notify the sender immediately by email if you have received this email by mistake and delete this email from your system. Email transmission cannot be guaranteed to be secure or error-free, as information could be intercepted, corrupted, lost, destroyed, arrive late or incomplete, or contain viruses. The sender, therefore, does not accept liability for any errors or omissions in the contents of this message which arise as a result of email transmission. If verification is required, please request a hard-copy version.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Air conditioning not working as well as expected

Every once in a while I come across an air-conditioning system that does not seem to be working properly.  No matter how low the thermostat is set, there doesn’t seem to be any cold air coming out of the registers.
Lack of air from the registers can mean a number of things, ranging from a failed fan in the furnace, to leaking ducts or duct baffles closed.  But one of the biggest causes is ice build-up in the system.
The main air conditioning system is a combination of components as can be seen from the diagram here:
Components

Outside the home, there is normally the thing most people call the air conditioner unit.  This is in fact only a piece of the puzzle.  This unit is a combination of a compressor, a large coil, not unlike a radiator in a car, and a big fan.  The proper name for this unit is the condenser unit.
Coming from the condenser unit are two, usually copper, pipes.  One will be insulated, and the other, generally not.  These pipes go through a hole in the wall, and into the tin box above the furnace.   This is known as the plenum.  Inside this box are the final parts of the Air conditioning system, the evaporator coil and the evaporator drain lines.

So how does this all work?

Bear with me, as the next bit is a bit technical, so I’ll try to make it as simple as possible.
When you compress a liquid, it heats up, and it wants to boil, and turn into a gas.  If you cool the gas down it condenses back into a liquid, but still under pressure.  If you release the pressure very quickly, the boiling point drops, and the liquid evaporates, and the temperature drops rapidly also.
dry-ice-extinguisherThis can be demonstrated by firing off a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher.  Inside the extinguisher is carbon dioxide liquid at high pressure.  The normal boiling point of Carbon Dioxide is minus 78.5c, so at room temperature it’s a gas.  By compressing it, and cooling it, it turns into a liquid, which is then kept under pressure in the fire extinguisher.
When the pressure is released, the carbon dioxide drops rapidly in temperature, and turns into dry ice.
To test this theory for yourself, place some warm water on the back of your hand and blow on it.  Instead of heating your hand, you will feel your hand cool down as the water evaporates.
It is a combination of these things that helps air conditioners work.  Pressurising a gas, and then cooling it to form a liquid.  Transporting that liquid to somewhere else, where the pressure is released and the liquid evaporates and cools down, and then returning it to where it can be re-pressurized.
So going back to the diagram, the A/C refrigerant, is pressurised in the compressor, where it heats up as a gas.  It is then cooled by blowing cold air over the condensing coils from the big fan until it condenses into a high-pressure liquid.  Liquid under pressure will try to find it’s way to a lower pressure, so the liquid flows along the pipe, until it gets to the really low pressure in the evaporator coil.  Here the pressure drops very quickly, and the liquid evaporates into a gas again, cooling down as it does.  This is transferred to the air by the evaporator coils and is blown around the house by the furnace fan.
Warm, moist air traveling over a cold surface will cause condensation, which inside the plenum of the HVAC system turns into water and is drained through the evaporator drain lines.  The warmer gas then returns to the compressor to start its cycle all over again.

So what can go wrong?

The temperature drop at the evaporator coil dos controlled by the pressure of gas in the system.  Too much, and the gas will not cool enough, so the A/C will be ineffective.  This is unlikely to ever be the case, as there is a pressure relief valve at the compressor on the condenser unit to release gas that is over pressure.
When there is not enough pressure however, this is when things get interesting.  The gas is compressed much further, because there is less initial pressure in the system.  This then starts to decompress around the system, and when the gas reaches the expansion device and evaporator coils it evaporates so quickly, because there is less pressure in the system, that any moisture on the outside of the coils freezes.
This is much like the frost build-up you see on the coils inside a refrigerator’s freezer box.
The fan inside the furnace, keeps supplying warm moist air to flow over the evaporator coils, which creates condensation as it hits the colds coils, and then because of the extreme low temperatures freezes.
frozen_evaporator_coilThis continues until the coils are completely frost laden, and the air flow then stops.
The picture on the right shows an evaporator coil that has completely frozen.  This stops all airflow through the system, so even though there’s plenty of cold, there’s no cold air.

The problem is this is hidden from view, and so you are not likely to be able to tell if this has happened inside the plenum of the furnace, but there are other tell-tale signs.

The first is the lack of airflow at the registers when the air conditioning is on.  Even with the fan at full flow you will feel little airflow from the registers, and the upstairs registers, normally the furthest away  may have no air coming from them at all.

The second tell-tale is and ice formation around the high-pressure valve of the condenser unit outside.  This is a good indication of low pressure in the gas and excessive de-pressurisation in the system causing ultra low temperatures in the pipes and coils.

freezing condensor

You can see an example of this on the photo to the right.

How do you fix this?

It’s going to require a service call to have an HVAC engineer come out and re-pressurize the system.  At the same time they can check for leaks that may have created the low-pressure in the first place.  BUT WAIT!  Before calling out the HVAC engineer, it is important you shut off the A/C for at least 4-5 hours to let the ice melt. The engineer cannot work on the HVAC system f its frosted up, so this will just cost you a call out fee, the problem won’t get fixed and you’ll have to arrange a second call-out.
During the period that the a/c is off, keep an eye on it.  There’s a lot of ice that’s going to melt, and you want to ensure it comes out of the drain lines, and not just pour down over the electronics in the furnace below.

Why does the refrigerant pressure drop?

There are three reasons that refrigerant pressure is lost.  The first is from a leak.  These systems are designed to be very secure with respect to leaks, because the refrigerant is not environmentally friendly.  Older systems can leak, but the cause of a leak is usually a valve or fitting not being tightened properly by the installer.
The second reason for a pressure drop is refrigerant theft.  This is less common in Canada than in the U.S. but it does go on.  Refrigerant gas is not cheap, and the resale value is high.
The third and most worrying reason for pressure drop is that it may be being consumed as a drug.  Unprotected refrigerants are easily accessible with a simple pair of pliers or fingers, and the thieves can sniff the refrigerant directly from the valve or store it in a plastic bag for later use. Unfortunately, the “high” or “rush” an individual gets from “huffing” is from the oxygen being displaced in their body. This has resulted in documented cases of brain injury and even death to individuals.
If the HVAC engineer cannot find a leak when they are re-pressurizing, then you should ask if they can fit a tamper resistant cap to the filling valve.  They are readily available and not expensive when compared to the call-out fee and replacement refrigerant needed to get you’re a/c working again.

SitePro, LLC

Van Hibberts, CMI

362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
850.934.6800  (Office)
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
Florida-State Certified Master Home Inspector Lic. #HI89
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
203(k) FHA/HUD Consultant #A0900
WDO Certificate #JE190791 
NACHI #10071802
"Looking Beyond The Obvious"



Nothing in this message is intended to constitute an electronic signature unless a specific statement to the contrary is included in this message.


DISCLAIMER: This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. Please notify the sender immediately by email if you have received this email by mistake and delete this email from your system. Email transmission cannot be guaranteed to be secure or error-free, as information could be intercepted, corrupted, lost, destroyed, arrive late or incomplete, or contain viruses. The sender, therefore, does not accept liability for any errors or omissions in the contents of this message which arise as a result of email transmission. If verification is required, please request a hard-copy version.

Monday, July 8, 2013

How a Food Waste Disposer Works


This video animation shows a brief overview of how a food waste disposer (garbage disposal) works.InSinkErator Food waste disposers are an environmentally responsible way to handle garbage disposal, reduce Green House gas emissions and create a renewable source of energy.
For more information and videos on Garbage Disposal, visit http://www.insinkerator.com

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Trends in Bathroom Materials



Architects at a  World Architecture Festival speak about the popularity of different materials used in bathrooms.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Homeowner Safety Tips for the 4th of July and Other Firework Related Holidays

More fires are reported in the United States on the Fourth of July than on any other day, and fireworks account for more than half of those blazes, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Protecting your home, your roof, and those underneath should be first priority. In the rush to enjoy the holiday, don't forget to keep a cool head.

There is good reason to be concerned for your safety, for the facts are startling. Fires caused an estimated $38 million in property damage during the 4th of July holiday last year alone. One thing homeowners may not be aware of is that if you choose to set off fireworks in an illegal area any resulting damage may not be covered by your homeowner policy.

The worst part of the statistics is that children are the most injured during this time of year, and most fires from fireworks are caused by something as innocuous as sparklers.

When planning your 4th of July celebration, or any other fireworks related event, you should always make sure that your family and guest will be safe. Research local laws and even consider attending a professional display in your area rather than lighting your own fireworks this holiday.
If you plan on setting off fireworks at home, here are some safety tips.
  • Read and follow all direction on firework packages.
  • Consider a child's age before they are allowed to participate in the use of fireworks. Make sure they are supervised at all times.
  • Discuss fireworks safety with children at length before the show.
  • Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from houses or flammable materials such as dry leaves or grass.
  • Make sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Never ignite fireworks in a container.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby in case of fireworks emergencies.
  • Do not relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Instead, soak them in water and throw them away.
  • Do not place any part of your body over a firework while lighting it.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
Many of you have been so concerned with the devastation from Hurricane Sandy and the wind damage to your home, don't let that make you forget standard safety rules for the 4th of July like those listed above. New Jersey needs to stay first of all safe!

But also don't forget to have fun! It is Independence Day after all.

By

Denise Grier is the social media manager for Cook Construction Roofing Division, currently working in the New Jersey area on Hurricane Sandy relief. Visit their blog at http://cookconstructionroofing.biz and follow them on Facebook and Twitter from there.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Denise_Grier

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The 10 Best Places to Hide Valuables in Your Home

Burglary is a crime of opportunity.  And burglars don’t want to spend a lot of time looking through a home to find things of value to steal, which is why there are obvious locations that they always check.  That means that there are ways to outsmart them by hiding your valuables in not-so-obvious places, and sometimes even in plain sight.

Depending on the size and type of item, the best places to hide valuables are those that burglars don’t want to search through or wouldn’t bother with, including places that are inconvenient or difficult to search, messy, or uninteresting.

Here Are the Top 10:
  1. hollowed-out books.  Criminals tend to be uneducated, which is why they’ve turned to crime to  make their living.  They’re practically allergic to books!  But if you have only a couple of books on a bookshelf, this may be a clue that they’re actually hiding places for your valuables, so make sure your library is large enough to serve as a tedious place to search.

  2. a false VHS tape or VHS carton.  Who watches VHS tapes anymore?  Again, follow the rules above for books.  A few can be a clue, but many can be a time-consuming distraction.
  3. false containers in the kitchen cupboard, under the sink, and in the bathroom, such as fake food cans and boxes, false cleaning product bottles, and personal hygiene items, and even in a heavy tub of "cat litter."  Some false containers available on the market today actually look like false containers, so you might want to save yourself the expense and create your own.

  4. in the false bottom or under the plastic liner of a bathroom or kitchen trash can.  No one wants to go pawing through your trash in the slim hope of finding something worth pawning.
  5. wrapped in plastic and aluminum foil and stored in the back of the freezer.  This is also a good place to store documents and paper currency in case of a house fire.
  6. in a floor safe in the bedroom closet.  While this location may be obvious, a burglar would have to exert a lot of time and energy—and create a lot of noise—trying to break into a floor safe, which is also generally of the heavy variety, making it not only hard to open, but hard to steal whole, if the thief had plans to break into it later. 
  7. inside a house plant.  Using the same method as for trash containers, a plant’s soil can be contained in a waterproof liner that can be lifted up to hide items underneath.  Just make sure the items you’re hiding are in a waterproof container, too.
  8. inside a false wall outlet.  Make sure it’s not a live receptacle or in the way of any electrical wiring.
  9. within hollowed-out/removable building components, such as wainscoting, floor panels, door jambs, window sills, and cabinet doors.
  10. in the garage inside boxes marked with mundane labels, such as “Xmas Ornaments,” “Kid’s Clothes,” “School Projects,” etc.  Again, the more boxes you have, the longer the burglar will have to search—if he’s so inclined—to find something worth stealing.
Hiding Places to Avoid:
  1. areas that can damage your valuables with water or invasive matter, such as the water tank of a toilet, inside a mayonnaise jar that still has mayonnaise in it, or a paint can filled with paint.  There are high-quality waterproof containers on the market that will allow you to hide items in water (and possibly other places), but err on the side of caution.  Documents, jewelry and electronics that become wet or permeated with chemicals or food matter may be damaged beyond repair in your zeal to outsmart a tenacious burglar. 
  2. a jewelry box.  This is a good place to store jewelry that you can afford to lose, but not your diamond tennis bracelet or your grandmother’s antique wedding ring.
  3. your desk drawer, bedside drawer, or underwear drawer.  Too obvious.
  4. inside CD cases.  It’s true:  burglars still prefer CDs to MP3s.
  5. inside DVD cases.  DVDs and Xbox-type games are worth between $2 and $10 at pawn and re-sale shops; count on being cleaned out of your collection during a home burglary, regardless of the titles.
  6. a wall safe.  Unless it’s high-end and professionally installed, a wall safe can be dislodged by cutting the drywall seam around it, and wall safes are typically small and light enough to easily transport off site to be opened later.  Opt for the heavier and harder-to-access floor safe.
  7. inside picture frames with false backs/interiors.  These tend to be thicker than typical picture frames, so they’re easy to spot as a hiding place.
  8. a cookie jar.  Put cookies in it, not your grocery money.
     
  9. an electrical item or heated area, such as a lamp base, toaster oven, or HVAC duct.  You could accidentally ignite your valuables and put your entire home at risk for a house fire. 
  10. any locked box or locking file cabinet.  A box that has a lock on it will be stolen regardless of what’s inside, and the lock on a file cabinet can be popped out with the right tool and a little effort.
Other Precautions
For valuables that you can’t hide or lock up, such as a flat-screen TV, stereo system, and computers, make sure they’re insured through your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.  Unless you invest in a home security system (and sometimes even if you do), it’s not possible to protect every item in your home.  But you can take precautions to password-protect and GPS-activate laptops and smartphones so that their recovery is more likely, should they be stolen. 
Also, firearms should be properly locked in an approved gun safe that is stored out of reach for the safety of the home’s occupants, as well as to deter theft.

Place a pole in the bottom track of your sliding glass patio doors so that they can’t be forced open wide enough to permit the entry of an intruder.  Install burglar-proof window locks that will allow you to leave your windows open slightly for fresh air, but not wide enough to allow a person to get through.

Remember that burglary is a crime of opportunity, so don’t tempt fate by leaving any exterior doors unlocked (including sliding glass patio doors, and the door between the garage and the living area), hiding a spare house key outdoors (under the “Welcome” mat, a large potted plant, statuary, or a solitary or fake rock), leaving the doors to your attached garage open (even when you’re home), or leaving the curtains or drapes open so that your valuables are in full view of prowlers and passersby.  Your personal safety is at risk as much as your personal property.

Also, don’t over-share personal information with the world by advertising your absence from home on social media.  When leaving on vacation, have a trusted neighbor, friend or family member monitor your home and bring in the newspaper, mail, and random take-out menu hung on your doorknob.  Install light timers indoors and security/motion detectors outdoors to illuminate your property’s exterior.  And go ahead and apply security company stickers to your windows/doors that advertise that your home is professionally protected, even if it’s not. 
In short, do what you can to make your home a difficult, inconvenient and time-consuming target that will force a would-be burglar to move on.  And do your part to keep your neighborhood safe by reporting suspicious activity on your street to the police.