Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Central Air-Conditioning System Inspection


A building's central air-conditioning system must be periodically inspected and maintained in order to function properly. While an annual inspection performed by a trained professional is recommended, homeowners can do a lot of the work themselves by following the tips offered in this guide.Exterior Condenser Unit

Clean the Exterior Condenser Unit and Components

The exterior condenser unit is the large box located on the side of the building that is designed to push heat from the inside of the building to the outdoors. Inside of the box are coils of pipe that are surrounded by thousands of thin metal "fins" that allow the coils more surface area to exchange heat. Follow these tips when cleaning the exterior condenser unit and its inner components -- after turning off power to the unit!
  •     Remove any leaves, spider webs and other debris from the unit's exterior. Trim foliage back several feet from the unit to ensure proper air flow.
  •     Remove the cover grille to clean any debris from the unit's interior. A garden hose can be helpful for this task.
  •     Straighten any bent fins with a tool called a fin comb.
  •     Add lubricating oil to the motor. Check your owner’s manual for specific instructions.
  •     Clean the evaporator coil and condenser coil at least once a year.  When they collect dirt, they may not function properly.
Inspect the Condensate Drain Line

Condensate drain lines collect condensed water and drain it away from the unit.  They are located on the side of the inside fan unit. Sometimes there are two drain lines—a primary drain line that’s built into the unit, and a secondary drain line that can drain if the first line becomes blocked. Homeowners can inspect the drain line by using the following tips, which take very little time and require no specialized tools:
  •     Inspect the drain line for obstructions, such as algae and debris. If the line becomes blocked, water will back up into the drain pan and overflow, potentially causing a safety hazard or water damage to your home.
  •     Make sure the hoses are secured and fit properly.

Clean the Air Filter
The air filter slides out for replacement    

Air filters 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 manufacturer’s instructions. A dirty air filter will not only degrade indoor air quality, but it will also 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.

Cover the Exterior Unit

When the cooling season is over, you should cover the exterior condenser unit in preparation for winter. If it isn’t being used, why expose it to the elements? This measure will prevent ice, leaves and dirt from entering the unit, which can harm components and require additional maintenance in the spring. A cover can be purchased, or you can make one yourself by taping together plastic trash bags. Be sure to turn the unit off before covering it.
Close the Air-Distribution Registers

Air-distribution registers are duct openings in ceilings, walls and floors where cold air enters the room. They should be closed after the cooling season ends in order to keep warm air from back-flowing out of the room during the warming season. Pests and dust will also be unable to enter the ducts during the winter if the registers are closed. These vents typically can be opened or closed with an adjacent lever or wheel.  Remember to open the registers in the spring before the cooling season starts.  Also, make sure they are not blocked by drapes, carpeting or furniture.

In addition, homeowners should practice the following strategies in order to keep their central air conditioning systems running properly:
  •     Have the air-conditioning system inspected by a professional each year before the start of the cooling season.
  •     Reduce stress on the air conditioning system by enhancing your home’s energy efficiency. Switch from incandescent lights to compact fluorescents, for instance, which produce less heat.
In summary, any homeowner can perform periodic inspections and maintenance to their home's central air-conditioning system.

From Central Air-Conditioning System Inspection - InterNACHI http://www.nachi.org/central-air-conditioning-system-inspection.htm#ixzz2rka7OiQe


by Nick Gromicko

Monday, January 20, 2014

Elements of an Energy-Efficient House

Designing and building an energy-efficient home that conforms to the many considerations faced by home builders can be a challenge.  However, at InterNACHI, we believe that any house style can be made to require relatively minimal amounts of energy to heat and cool, and be comfortable. It's easier now to get your architect and builder to use improved designs and construction methods. Even though there are many different design options available, they all have several things in common: a high R-value; a tightly sealed thermal envelope; controlled ventilation; and lower heating and cooling bills.
 
Some designs are more expensive to build than others, but none of them needs to be extremely expensive to construct. Recent technological improvements in building components and construction techniques, and heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) systems, allow most modern energy0saving ideas to be seamlessly integrated into any type of house design without sacrificing comfort, health or aesthetics. The following is a discussion of the major elements of energy-efficient home design and construction systems.
 
The Thermal Envelope

A "thermal envelope" is everything about the house that serves to shield the living space from the outdoors. It includes the wall and roof assemblies, insulation, windows, doors, finishes, weather-stripping, and air/vapor-retarders. Specific items to consider in these areas are described below.
 
Wall and Roof Assemblies

There are several alternatives to the conventional "stick" (wood-stud) framed wall and roof construction now available, and they're growing in popularity. They include:
  • Optimum Value Engineering (OVE)
    This is a method of using wood only where it does the most work, thus reducing costly wood use and saving space for insulation. However, workmanship must be of the highest order since, there is very little room for construction errors.
  • Structural Insulated Panels (SIP)
    These are generally plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) sheets laminated to a core of foam board. The foam may be 4 to 8 inches thick. Since the SIP acts as both the framing and the insulation, construction is much faster than OVE or its older counterpart, "stick-framing." The quality of construction is often superior, too, since there are fewer places for workers to make mistakes.
  • Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF)
    These often consist of two layers of extruded foam board (one inside the house and one outside the house) that act as the form for a steel-reinforced concrete center. This is the fastest and least likely technique to have construction mistakes. Such buildings are also very strong and easily exceed code requirements for tornado- and hurricane-prone areas.
 
Insulation

An energy-efficient house has much higher insulation R-values than required by most local building codes. For example, a typical house in New York state might contain haphazardly installed R-11 fiberglass insulation in the exterior walls and R-19 in the ceiling, while the floors and foundation walls may not be insulated at all. A similar but well-designed and constructed house's insulation levels would be in the range of R-20 to R-30 in the walls (including the foundation) and R-50 and R-70 in the ceilings. Carefully applied fiberglass batt or roll, wet-spray cellulose, or foam insulation will fill wall cavities completely.
 
Air / Vapor Retarders

These are two things that sometimes can do the same job. How to design and install them depend a great deal on the climate and what method of construction is chosen. No matter where you are building, water-vapor condensation is a major threat to the structure of a house. In cold climates, pressure differences can drive warm, moist indoor air into exterior walls and attics. It condenses as it cools. The same can be said for southern climates, just in reverse. As the humid outdoor air enters the walls to find cooler wall cavities, it condenses into liquid water. This is the main reason that some of the old buildings in the South that have been retrofitted with air conditioners now have mold and rotten wood problems.
 
Regardless of your climate, it is important to minimize water vapor migration by using a carefully designed thermal envelope and sound construction practices. Any water vapor that does manage to get into the walls or attics must be allowed to get out again. Some construction methods and climates lend themselves to allowing the vapor to flow towards the outdoors. Others are better suited to letting it flow towards the interior so that the house ventilation system can deal with it.
 
The "airtight drywall approach" and the "simple CS" system are other methods to control air and water-vapor movement in a residential building. These systems rely on the nearly airtight installation of sheet materials, such as drywall and gypsum board, on the interior as the main barrier, and carefully sealed foam board and/or plywood on the exterior.
 
Foundations and Slabs

Foundation walls and slabs should be at least as well-insulated as the living space walls. Uninsulated foundations have a negative impact on home energy use and comfort, especially if the family uses the lower parts of the house as living space. Also, appliances that supply heat as a by-product, such as domestic hot water heaters, washers, dryers and freezers, are often located in basements. By carefully insulating the foundation walls and floor of the basement, these appliances can assist in the heating of the house.
 
Windows

The typical home loses over 25% of its heat through windows. Since even modern windows insulate less than a wall, in general, an energy-efficient home in heating-dominated climates should have few windows on the north, east, and west exposures. A rule-of-thumb is that window area should not exceed 8% to 9% of the floor area, unless your designer is experienced in passive solar techniques. If this is the case, then increasing window area on the southern side of the house to about 12% of the floor area is recommended. In cooling-dominated climates, it's important to select east-, west- and south-facing windows with low solar heat-gain coefficients (these block solar heat gain). A properly designed roof overhang for south-facing windows is important to avoid overheating in the summer in most areas of the continental United States. At the very least, Energy Star-rated windows (or their equivalents) should be specified according to the Energy Star Regional Climatic Guidelines.
 
In general, the best-sealing windows are awning and casement styles, since these often close tighter than sliding types. Metal window frames should be avoided, especially in cold climates. Always seal the wall air/vapor diffusion-retarder tightly around the edges of the window frame to prevent air and water vapor from entering the wall cavities.
 
Air-Sealing

A well-constructed thermal envelope requires that insulating and sealing be precise and thorough. Sealing air leaks everywhere in the thermal envelope reduces energy loss significantly. Good air-sealing alone may reduce utility costs by as much as 50% when compared to other houses of the same type and age. Homes built in this way are so energy-efficient that specifying the correct sizing heating/cooling system can be tricky. Rules-of-thumb system-sizing is often inaccurate, resulting in oversizing and wasteful operation.
 
Controlled Ventilation

Since an energy-efficient home is tightly sealed, it's also important and fairly simple to deliberately ventilate the building in a controlled way. Controlled, mechanical ventilation of the building reduces air moisture infiltration and thus the health risks from indoor air pollutants. This also promotes a more comfortable atmosphere, and reduces the likelihood of structural damage from excessive moisture accumulation.
 
A carefully engineered ventilation system is important for other reasons, too. Since devices such as furnaces, water heaters, clothes dryers, and bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans exhaust air from the house, it's easier to depressurize a tight house, if all else is ignored. Natural-draft appliances, such as water heaters, wood stoves and furnaces may be "back-drafted" by exhaust fans, which can lead to a lethal build-up of toxic gases in the house. For this reason, it's a good idea to only use "sealed-combustion" heating appliances wherever possible, and provide make-up air for all other appliances that can pull air out of the building.
 
Heat-recovery ventilators (HRV) or energy-recovery ventilators (ERV) are growing in use for controlled ventilation in tight homes. These devices salvage about 80% of the energy from the stale exhaust air, and then deliver that energy to the entering fresh air by way of a heat exchanger inside the device. They are generally attached to the central forced-air system, but they may have their own duct system.
 
Other ventilation devices, such as through-the-wall and/or "trickle" vents may be used in conjunction with an exhaust fan. They are, however, more expensive to operate and possibly more uncomfortable to use, since they have no energy-recovery features to pre-condition the incoming air. Uncomfortable incoming air can be a serious problem if the house is in a northern climate, and it can create moisture problems in humid climates. This sort of ventilation strategy is recommended only for very mild to low-humidity climates.
 
Heating and Cooling Requirements

Houses incorporating the above elements should require relatively small heating systems (typically, less than 50,000 BTUs per hour, even for very cold climates). Some have nothing more than sunshine as the primary source of heat energy. Common choices for auxiliary heating include radiant in-floor heating from a standard gas-fired water heater, a small boiler, furnace, or electric heat pump. Also, any common appliance that gives off "waste" heat can contribute significantly to the heating requirements for such houses. Masonry, pellet and wood stoves are also options, but they must be operated carefully to avoid back-drafting.
 
If an air conditioner is required, a small (6,000 BTUs per hour) unit can be sufficient. Some designs use only a large fan and the cooler evening air to cool down the house. In the morning, the house is closed up and it stays comfortable until the next evening.
 
Beginning a Project

Houses incorporating the above features have many advantages. They feel more comfortable, since the additional insulation keeps the interior wall temperatures more stable. The indoor humidity is better controlled, and drafts are reduced. A tightly sealed air/vapor retarder reduces the likelihood of moisture and air seeping through the walls. Such houses are also very quiet because of the extra insulation and tight construction.
 
There are some potential drawbacks. They may cost more and take longer to build than a conventional home, especially if your builder and the contractors are not familiar with these energy-saving features. Even though the structure may differ only slightly from a conventional home, your builder and the contractors may be unwilling to deviate from what they've always done before. They may need education and training if they have no experience with these systems. Because some systems have thicker walls than a typical home, they may require a larger foundation to provide the same floor space.

Before beginning a home-building project, carefully evaluate the site and its climate to determine the optimum design and orientation. You may want to take the time to learn how to use some of the energy-related software programs that are available to assist you. Prepare a design that accommodates appropriate insulation levels, moisture dynamics, and aesthetics. Decisions regarding appropriate windows, doors, and HVAC appliances are central to an efficient design. Also evaluate the cost, ease of construction, the builder's limitations, and building code-compliance. Some schemes are simple to construct, while others can be extremely complex and thus more expensive.
 
An increasing number of builders are participating in the federal government's Building America and Energy Star Homes Programs, which promote energy-efficient houses. Many builders participate so that they can differentiate themselves from their competitors. Construction costs can vary significantly, depending on the materials, construction techniques, contractor profit margin, experience, and the type of HVAC chosen. However, the biggest benefits from designing and building an energy-efficient home are its superior comfort level and lower operating costs. This relates directly to an increase in its real-estate market value.
 

From Elements of an Energy-Efficient House - InterNACHI http://www.nachi.org/energyefficiency.htm#ixzz2qwPozxNJ

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Single Family Price and Cost Breakdown - National Association of Home Builders Survey



NAHB recently published the latest construction cost survey. The survey shows that the average home was built on 14,359 square feet of land, had 2,607 square feet of finished area, and sold for $399,532.

Table 1. Single Family Price and Cost Breakdown - 2013 Results


The average share of the home’s sales price which goes to the construction costs jumped from 59 percent in both 2009 and 2011 to 62 percent in 2013. Finished lot costs, accounting for the second largest share of the sales price, dropped from 22 percent in 2011 to 19 percent in 2013. Builder profits are up from an all-time low of 6.8 percent in 2011 to 9.3 percent in 2013. The remaining ten percent of the sales price goes to overhead and general expenses (4 percent); sales commission (4 percent); financing costs (1 percent); and marketing costs (1 percent).

Please make special note that ‘Building Permit Fees’ only represent 1.5% of the total cost to build a home, on average, in the USA.

Van Hibberts, CMI

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
Florida-State Certified Master Home Inspector Lic. #HI 89
Certified Owens-Corning Roof Data Technician
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
WDO Certificate #JE190791 
InterNACHI #10071802
362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
850.934.6800  (Office)                                          
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)  

                     
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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Aluminum Siding Inspection

Aluminum siding is generally in decline as an exterior cladding material because vinyl siding and other materials have become more popular choices.  However, it is still among the most common forms of siding found today.  It provided many advantages over other materials when it was introduced in the 1940s.  It was installed on many affordable homes through the 1970s.

InterNACHI inspectors will encounter aluminum siding on many home exteriors and can benefit from knowing more about this common form of exterior cladding.  Homeowners may be interested in the drawbacks of this material, as well as some of the advantages it still provides in certain situations today.



History and Manufacturing

Aluminum siding is made from aluminum coil stock, which is chemically coated to protect the metal and then painted for further protection, as well as aesthetics.  After coating, the siding is baked for durability, with enamel often added to create desired textures.

One of the earliest architectural uses of aluminum came in the 1920s when it was used to produce ornamental spandrel panels for the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building in New York City.  By the 1940s, aluminum siding was being produced for use on residential structures, and quickly became popular due to the advantages it provided over other materials in use at the time.  A Pennsylvania subdivision built in 1947 was reportedly the first housing project to use solely aluminum siding.

Its popularity remained fairly steady until the 1970s, during the energy crisis.  Aluminum siding requires a great deal of energy for production, as well as consumption of a significant amount of raw materials.  These factors largely contributed to its decline in use as other forms of exterior cladding became more popular.

Pros and Cons

Although aluminum siding is seeing less use these days, it possesses some attributes that may be seen as advantageous over other materials in certain situations.  There are also some areas where aluminum siding doesn’t stack up quite as well as other options.  Here are some pros and cons to consider with aluminum siding.

Advantages
  •     Aluminum siding is very lightweight.
  •     It is fairly durable.  When properly maintained, it can last from 40 years to the life of the structure.
  •     It accepts the application of paint well and can be painted any desired color.
  •     Aluminum siding does not rust.
  •     It is fireproof.  In case of fire, it will not burn or melt like other claddings.
  •     It is waterproof.  When properly installed, it provides excellent water-resistant capabilities for exterior walls.
  •     Since aluminum siding contains no organic material, it will not rot or serve as a source of food for termites.
  •     An enamel coating baked onto the surface of the siding can mimic the look of other materials, such as wood grain, which gives the siding a more traditional look.
  •     Aluminum siding is recyclable.

Disadvantages
  •     Aluminum siding can dent easily, and the damaged area may be difficult to repair or replace.  Many siding manufacturers offer a thin backing board of insulation that fits behind each panel.  This backing can help protect against dents.
  •     Although the siding takes the application of paint well, it may need to be repainted every five to 10 years.  If any oxidization has occurred, it must be removed before new paint is applied, which can make for a labor-intensive process.  In general, repainting aluminum siding requires preparation similar to repainting a car.
  •     Scratches in the siding will usually be immediately noticeable and unsightly because they can reveal the metal surface below the paint.
  •     Although aluminum will not rust because it contains no iron, as opposed to steel siding, it can corrode.  It can also be stained by the rust on adjacent materials.
  •     The sound of rain and hail striking it can be loud enough that some people avoid using it for this reason alone.
  •     Aluminum siding has gone out of style aesthetically, and is generally considered less desirable than both more traditional and newer, modern forms of exterior cladding.
  •     The production of aluminum siding requires a large amount of energy and raw materials.

Inspection Tips

Here are some things that inspectors can keep in mind while examining exterior walls clad in aluminum siding:
  •     Since metal siding can conduct electricity, some jurisdictions require that the siding be grounded as a safety measure.  Inspectors can check with the local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) to find out if grounding is a requirement.
  •     Aluminum siding can be distinguished from vinyl siding by visual inspection.  Any dents in the siding are a clue that it is aluminum, as opposed to vinyl, which may show cracks or breaks.
  •     Lightly tapping on the siding can also help determine what the material is.  Aluminum has a slightly hollow and metallic sound when struck.
  •     Distinguishing between aluminum and steel siding can be more difficult and may require the use of a magnet, which will interact with steel but not aluminum.  Rust spots are another sign that the siding is steel.
  •     Properly installed aluminum siding should not be in contact with the ground.  The AHJ can be consulted for the minimum required clearance.
  •     If the siding has been installed in contact with the ground or below ground level, outward bulging at the bottom can be an indication that the building sills and/or lower walls have been damaged by rot or pests.
Aluminum siding was very popular in the latter part of the 20th century and is still installed on many homes across the United States today.  InterNACHI inspectors who know more about this common type of exterior cladding will be at an advantage when inspecting exteriors and answering clients’ questions.

by Nick Gromicko and Ethan Ward

From Aluminum Siding Inspection - InterNACHI http://www.nachi.org/aluminum-siding-inspection.htm#ixzz2qMzbxovS








Sunday, January 12, 2014

Factory-Built Fireplaces

There’s nothing like coming home and warming up next to a roaring fire during the long, cold months of winter, or even chilly evenings in any season.  Long commutes to work in the cold and the increasingly short hours of daylight in the fall and winter are made more bearable by the comfort and familiarity of family gatherings by the fire.  It may be for this reason that some type of wood-burning enclosure has remained a staple of many households, even though open fire is no longer a necessity for cooking and heating.  With this in mind, let's take a look at one of the more modern options available, the factory-built fireplace.

What is a factory-built fireplace and how does it differ from a masonry fireplace?

The traditional masonry fireplace is based largely on the innovations of Count Rumford, an18th-century inventor.  His applied theories on thermodynamics led to the design of a restricted chimney opening to increase updraft, which allowed fire to burn in an enclosure without smoke filling the room.  Rumford’s design quickly achieved wide popularity in London households, and he became something of a celebrity as news of his innovation spread.
Factory-built fireplaces now make up approximately 75% of all types of fireplaces. Unlike traditional masonry fireplaces, which are built on site, factory-built fireplaces are designed to allow for installation at a later date, although they are just as often used for new construction.

A factory-built fireplace is made up of a firebox enclosed within a steel cabinet, and a steel chimney or flue.  It is lightweight, inexpensive, safe and efficient, and can be installed fairly easily on any floor of a home.  Pre-manufactured masonry fireplaces are also available, and they incorporate engineering techniques not often used in field-constructed fireplaces, such as a listed venting system.

Zero Clearance

Factory-built fireplaces are also often called “zero-clearance” fireplaces because of their minuscule safe-clearance requirements.  An insulating air blanket is incorporated in the design to keep the outer wall of the fireplace cool, which allows safe installation in very close proximity to wood framing.  In general, ½-inch of clearance to combustibles is required around the outside of the firebox enclosure, and 2 inches of clearance are required around the chimney, except where the firestop is installed if a chimney passes through two levels of a house.  Different manufacturers may have different suggested clearances, and it is important for installers to note this for proper and safe installation.

Safety and Maintenance

Factory-built fireplaces pass rigorous testing standards established by the  Underwriters Laboratories and the American Gas Association.  Properly installed, factory-built fireplaces have an excellent safety record.  However, as in any situation where an open flame is involved, there are some things to keep in mind in order to avoid any risk of fire hazard.



If the fireplace is installed on top of any combustible material, such as carpet or wood, it must rest on a metal or tile panel that extends the length and width of the appliance.

Any combustible flooring near the fuel opening must be insulated with non-combustible floor protection.

Room air-inlet and outlet grilles must be unobstructed.

The same fire-safety precautions that are used for a traditional fireplace should be observed when a factory-built fireplace is in use.

In order to ensure safe and optimal operation, normal maintenance and cleaning are required, similar to those used for a traditional fireplace.  The chimney should be inspected monthly during the heating season to determine if creosote (the black, oily accretion that builds up as a result of incomplete burning of wood) has accumulated.  A professional chimney sweep should be hired to clean out the unit at least once a year.

by Nick Gromicko and Ethan Ward

From Factory-Built Fireplaces - InterNACHI http://www.nachi.org/factory-built-fireplaces.htm#ixzz2qBiaIxiC

Friday, January 10, 2014

Best Landscape Design Practices



If the right landscape design practices are abided by it is often quite easy to create an eye pleasing and well-groomed backyard. If just starting out with gardening, the thought of landscaping even a small-scale garden might seem to be quite overwhelming, but once the right design techniques for landscaping a garden have been learnt, it can become a much easier process. Here are some of the basic principles to look at when looking to update a rather neglected backyard -

Balance - a quite simple practice of landscaping a backyard is to use a technique known as balance, which basically means you can plant flowers or position rocks or borders on either side of a single feature. An example of that would be to create a border of plants or similar down each edge of a front pathway. This simple practice is also quite effective if done on a front porch. The main point of balance is to ensure that visual appearance of the individual elements work well together, and that one side isn't able to overwhelm the other.

Besides symmetrical balance, where one side matches the other, you can also look at the more creative asymmetrical balance, where you are essentially getting objects to balance, which might well be quite different in appearance, but offer a comparable visual weight or comparable landscape elements, such as plants, trees, rocks or borders. This type of balance is often a lot more difficult to achieve, but is certainly able to offer a more interesting finish.

Color - a key feature to any well-designed backyard is its color, which might range from the vibrant and bright flowers, plants, and shrubs to pebbles, fences, and similar yard features. A good rule of thumb is to go with two or three well-chosen colors and repeat those throughout the garden. By following this principle, you should be left with a garden that offers continuity with a mix of colors which are able to draw the eye, and gives the impression of a well-planned landscape.

Continuity - similar to most design practices, it helps to use continuity in a yards landscape to create the right level of coordination and organization. The right continuity can be achieved using a well-thought-out group flowers, shrubs, or plants. While the same can be said for using build materials which are able to complement the main residence or outbuildings, such as the shed, garage, or workshop.

Get more information on Houston landscaping services for creating a truly appealing backyard. Houston landscape experts can offer a wide-range of services, which might consist of landscape design or maintenance, patios, to draining systems.





By Sam J Loeb

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

Monday, January 6, 2014

Why Hire A Professional To Paint Your House

Anyone can apply paint, but not everyone can get it done properly. A poorly done DIY paint job can be annoying, apart from being a waste of energy and funds. If you want to have a paint job that is attractive and will last for years, consider hiring a painting company.

Other reasons why hiring a professional painter is a good idea:

Painting entails concentration and attention to detail. This can be difficult to do when you're painting the outer wall of the second story of your home. Painting companies have the appropriate instruments or equipment not to mention training to perform the job effectively and safely.

If your home was built before the 1980s and needs to be repainted, there's a chance that the old paint contains lead. Contact with lead may be detrimental to health. Professional painting companies have employees who have training in lead-safe work practices and thus are capable of doing work safely, reliably, and effectively. Reliable painting companies will also offer inspection for lead and risk evaluation prior to starting the work.

A good paint job is usually a result of sufficient prep work. Without proper prep work, the new paint will chip or show signs of deterioration earlier than anticipated. Accidental paint splatter will also be averted if you hire contractors. Contractors will also clean up and dispose all hazardous wastes, which include flammable thinners.

A painting company can also finish the work promptly. Many people have attempted painting rooms by themselves, convinced that it will be just a simple weekend project. Unfortunately, a lot of these people found themselves still with a job in progress weeks after. Painting companies will also complete the task without interfering with your daily life as much.

Recommendations when picking a painting company:

Make sure to work with state-licensed painting contractors only. Painting contractors can differ substantially when it comes to price, so obtain no less than three bids. Also secure references from every single bidder and review prior work in person. Make certain you are hiring a contractor that has workers' compensation and liability insurance policies. Once you have chosen a professional painting contractor, make certain that all project expectations are made in writing. Remember to evaluate the contract before signing it so you avoid being surprised by hidden fees down the road.

Keep in mind that reputable companies will usually not ask for more than 10% of the total project price as down payment. Don't complete the final payment until you are happy with the job.

Everyone can apply paint, but not all can do a good job. If you want to know more about residential painting, please tap here.

 By Roy Coopers
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Roy_Coopers

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Ten Tips to Speed Up Your Home Inspection


Speed up your home sale by preparing your home ahead of time using the following tips. Your home inspection will go smoother, with fewer concerns to delay closing.

    Confirm that that the water, electrical and gas services are turned on (including pilot lights).

    Make sure your pets won't hinder your home inspection. Ideally, they should be removed from the premises or secured outside. Tell your agent about any pets at home.

    Replace burned-out light bulbs to avoid a "light is inoperable" report that may suggest an electrical problem.

    Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace dead batteries.

    Clean or replace dirty HVAC air filters. They should fit securely.

    Remove stored items, debris and wood from the foundation. These may be cited as "conducive conditions" for termites.

    Remove items blocking access to HVAC equipment, electrical service panels, the water heater, attic and crawlspace.

    Unlock any locked areas that your home inspector must access, such as the attic door or hatch, the electrical service panel, the door to the basement, and any exterior gates.

    Trim tree limbs so that they're at least 10 feet away from the roof.  Trim any shrubs that are too close to the house and can hides pests or hold moisture against the exterior.

    Repair or replace any broken or missing items, such as doorknobs, locks or latches, windowpanes or screens, gutters or downspouts, or chimney caps.

Checking these areas before your home inspection is an investment in selling your property. Better yet, have your InterNACHI inspector ensure that your home is Move-In Certified™.  Your real estate agent will thank you!


From Ten Tips to Speed Up Your Home Inspection - InterNACHI http://www.nachi.org/tentips.htm#ixzz2p9XqXVng