Roof Repair: Mind The Gaps, Banish The Squirrels

house roof - home inspection miamiAn Article Courtesy of Atlantic Building Inspections

Cold can aggravate a roof issue and quickly turn minor defects into costly repair bills; in fact, the latest “Cost vs. Value” report from Remodeling Magazine estimates the average roofing replacement costs over $20,000.

So, whether you’ve already noticed signs of wear on your roof or just want more “overhead” peace of mind, pay special attention to two seemingly small aspects of the roof that homeowners often overlook:

Gaps: Seal It, Patch It:

Be sure to check for any gaps around gutters, skylights and roofing vents then utilize the correct caulking, patching, and sealants. Sealing these areas can keep out moisture and reduce heating costs – and many sealants are specially designed to adhere directly to exterior surfaces. Even the tiniest cracks and gaps can allow moisture to enter, not to mention rodents, squirrels, and other unwelcome varmints.

Pipes: Don’t Leave a Welcome Mat for Squirrels:

Roof venting pipes are another area to closely inspect. One of the more common roof problems involves cracked rooftop venting pipes made with cheap lead tops as they corrode over time. To make matters worse, squirrels and other critters are known to relentlessly chew their way into a home via these thin pipe flashings as the lead entices these unwelcome varmints to gnaw at them, thus providing interior access for damaging rain, snow and more pests once whittled away.

“Squirrel infestation is a very big problem throughout many areas of the United States, especially older homes,” explains Amanda Williams, marketing manager at Quarrix. “This is exactly why we developed a durable, lead-free and easy-to-install vent pipe flashing called Pipe Boot that simply slides over the existing vent, nails into place, and then twists securely to form a weather-tight seal.” With Pipe Boot, no specialty installation tools are needed as the telescoping sleeve allows for varying pipe sizes and can withstand frigid winter temperatures via a patented design.

Enlist the Pros Quickly When There’s Trouble:

Waiting too long to call in a certified professional can lead to bigger issues. For example, squirrels quickly reproduce and can potentially gnaw on electrical wiring or crawl into difficult-to-reach wall spaces, making extraction a nightmare. It’s a wise move to seek out a reputable roofing specialist, especially when dealing with roof damage from weather or critters, or both.

The roof is no place to cut corners, and no matter the season, even seemingly minor roofing issues can put your home and valuables at risk. For a thorough seasonal roof maintenance checklist, visit: Quarrix.com/Checklist or call 800-438-2920. – (BPT)

Roof Repair Tips

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4 Laundry Personalities: Where Do You Fit?

clean and organized laundry area - home inspection miamiHelpful Information From Atlantic Building Inspections

Chic, trendy, sporty, bohemian, sophisticated, fun, classic — you probably have a clear vision of your fashion and style personality. But do you know your laundry personality? How you wash the clothes you wear is every bit as personal and unique to you as the clothes themselves. Knowing your laundry personality could help ease the load and make the chore easy and fail-proof.

A quarter of American households say they overload their washer most of the time, according to a survey commissioned by LG Electronics. Even people who say they are doing their laundry efficiently still have complaints with the process. In fact, more than three-fourths believe washers can be improved.

Recognizing your laundry personality and choosing products that cater to your unique style will make doing laundry an easy, and perhaps even enjoyable, affair! Here are the four common laundry personalities, their identifying traits, and tips for achieving maximum efficiency:

The Light Loader:

Does your desire to separate and preserve clothes, including those delicate special care items, ever leave you with the only option of running the washer with just one or two items? You’re not alone. According to a recent survey commissioned by LG Electronics, 60 percent of Americans admitted to running a full load of laundry for six items or less.

The LG TWINWash system will put an end to that, letting consumers tackle two loads of laundry at once, or independently. The industry-first two-in-one washing machine includes a front-load washer ergonomically placed on the top for larger loads, and a smaller washer, the LG Sidekick, which sits on the pedestal for those small specialty loads. The LG SideKick provides an additional 1-foot capacity and has six cycles to choose from: normal, intimates, hand wash, activewear, rinse + spin and tub clean, allowing consumers to wash those smaller loads, saving time and energy.

 The Super Sorter:

Does the thought of washing dark jeans and a pink blouse in the same load leave you light-headed? You and 20 percent of Americans prefer to avoid mixing items of different colors in the same load. Some of those surveyed also don’t trust washing items like delicates (52 percent), jackets (49 percent) and blouses (30 percent) in the main wash.

Facilitate your separation efforts by using multiple baskets or hampers in your laundry room. Label them — darks, whites, delicates, workout, etc. — and encourage family members to drop their dirty clothes in the appropriate basket. For items not trusted for the main wash, the LG SideKick, part of the TWINWash system, can help tackle smaller loads, ensuring they’re properly washed by one of the six cycles.

The Dumper:

Do you do minimal separation? You’re joined by a majority of Americans that load up their washer. A recent survey concluded that 80 percent of Americans have purposely overloaded their washer to avoid doing the second load of laundry. Plus, 22 percent of Americans have deemed clothes not properly cleaned because of an overloaded washer. High-efficiency front-load washing machines alleviate both of these problems. Unlike traditional top-load washing machines with agitators, front-load washers offer greater capacity while using much less water, which actually cleans clothes better! It’s a myth that more water equals cleaner clothes. Plus, they have faster spin speeds than their top-load counterparts, which means your clothes come out the dryer, saving you time and energy when drying your clothes.

Use color-safe detergent and cold water for every load of colors. With today’s super-efficient detergents and better washing machines, you don’t need hot or even warm water to get clothes clean; cold will work just fine and will reduce the chance of colors fading or bleeding into each other.

The Habitual Dry Cleaner:

Summer is a busy — and sticky — time, running from work to outdoor barbecues during the hottest months of the year. And refreshing that summer wardrobe between pool parties is key to the habitual dry cleaner looking and feeling their best. That’s where the LG Styler comes in. The LG Styler is a fashion-forward, one-of-a-kind clothing management system that can refresh and sanitize clothing in as little as 20 minutes. Just get back from an outdoor cocktail party? Simply place your favorite dresses, shirts or suits inside and let LG’s TrueSteam technology work its magic to reduce wrinkles and odors from things like sweat or smoke, without any harsh chemicals. While it doesn’t replace dry cleaning, it can certainly help reduce trips to the cleaners while keeping your clothes crisp and ready to go before your next brunch date or happy hour.

Whatever your laundry personality, you can find a washer, dryer, and detergent that will make your chore easier and less time-consuming. Then, you can spend that time on other things. In fact, Americans surveyed say if they could cut their laundry time in half, they’d spend that extra time hanging out with their kids, watching TV or doing other things they enjoy.

17 Laundry Hacks Everyone Should Know

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HVAC Energy-Efficiency Terms

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Whether you’re looking to lower heating and cooling costs, or have a passion for protecting the environment, maximizing the energy efficiency of your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is a smart move. The more energy efficient your system, the less you’ll spend running it every year, and the smaller your home’s environmental footprint will be.

Efficiency ratings are intended to help you decide which products are best for your home, so it’s important to understand what all the related terms mean. HVAC systems manufacturer Luxaire, which has received ENERGY STAR’s highest rating for two components, offers some guidance on interpreting energy-efficiency ratings and terms.

ENERGY STAR:

Launched in 1992 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the ENERGY STAR program is a voluntary labeling system designed to help consumers identify energy-efficient products. ENERGY STAR rates products in more than 70 categories. Over the past 20 years, ENERGY STAR-rated products have helped consumers save $362 billion on energy bills and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2.4 billion metric tons.

“Products that earn the ENERGY STAR rating are proven to operate using less energy. For example, in order to earn the highest rating, the ENERGY STAR Most Efficient designation, Luxaire’s Acclimate AC8B Split System Air Conditioner and Echelon HC8B Split System Heat Pump demonstrated performance levels of up to 20 Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and 12.5 Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) for cooling and heating performance, and 10 Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) for heat pumps,” says Ken Ely, product manager, Luxaire heating and cooling.

ENERGY GUIDE LABEL:

Federal regulations require heating and cooling equipment to carry an EnergyGuide label that provides an estimate of how much energy the equipment will use. The label also compares the unit’s energy use to that of similar products and gives an estimate of how much it will cost to operate the equipment in a year.

In addition to energy efficiency labeling, it’s important to know some measurement terms. Generally, for all these terms, a higher number equates to better efficiency.

SEER:

SEER measures the energy efficiency of air conditioning systems and heat pumps. The ratio measures the amount of cooling provided by an air conditioner in comparison to the amount of energy the system uses — measured in watts per hour — over a hypothetical season. SEER can give you an idea of how energy efficient a unit will be under average conditions. However, a number of factors, such as how you use and maintain a unit, can influence energy efficiency, so it’s important to realize a unit might perform differently in your home.

EER:

EER is very similar to SEER, except instead of measuring efficiency over a season, EER tells you how efficient an air conditioning unit might be when operating at a typical temperature.

HSPF:

HSPF is meant to help you understand a heat pump’s energy efficiency over a season. It’s typically referenced alongside SEER to give a better picture of a system’s probable energy efficiency. The HSPF formula uses BTUs (British Thermal Units, a measurement of heat) to estimate the useful heat output divided by the total electricity (in watts per hour) the heat pump uses during a heating season.

AFUE:

One more energy measurement to know is the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency rating. The AFUE measures average efficiency for furnaces, boilers and water heaters. Like SEER and EER, the measurement is for a theoretical heating season.

To learn more about energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, visit www.luxaire.com/greensavings and follow @LuxaireHVAC on Twitter. For more information on the ENERGY STAR program, visit www.energystar.gov. To learn about how to read the EnergyGuide label, visit www.energy.gov. – (BPT)

Tips To Reduce Electricity Consumption of an Air Conditioner

 

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Solving The Nation’s Water Problems

mother and daughter on the kitchen sink - home inspection miamiBrought to you by Atlantic Building Inspections

Cooking dinner, washing dishes, showering and flushing toilets — these are daily activities for most Americans. If you did any of these in the last 24 hours, you’ve contributed to the roughly 355 billion gallons of water that are used each day in this country.

Water is our most basic, physical need, but it’s also one many people take for granted. While most Americans are fortunate enough not to know a world where they don’t have access to clean water, continuing that same safe access in the future is not guaranteed. In fact, preserving the nation’s clean water supply requires a significant change from current practices, along with a commitment from both utility workers and the general public to work together in solving one of America’s greatest challenges.

Understanding The True Cost Of Water:

The average person uses about 70 gallons of water every single day, and this number does not factor in the water allotted for general uses such as agriculture, energy production, fire protection or manufacturing. Yet despite this myriad use, the average consumer’s monthly water bill remains around $45, far below what many Americans pay for their cell phone, a night out or their television package.

It appears a bargain, yet 50 percent of Americans surveyed by Grundfos for the Who Runs the Water that Runs America Initiative believe they are paying a fair price for water, and only 2 percent report they should be paying more when comparing their water use to their water bill. Those in the utility sector tell a different story, with 70 percent reporting they aren’t generating enough revenue to cover their costs and fund infrastructure improvements.

A Side Seldom Seen By Consumers:

Jayne Swift, project manager for the global engineering firm CH2M, knows firsthand the difficulties utilities face. Responsible for water delivery in Crestview, Florida, Swift recognizes that most people don’t think about their water beyond their immediate needs. “Few people think much about where the water comes from when they turn on the faucet, or where it goes and who manages it after it goes down the drain,” she says. “We treat wastewater to protect public health, and we treat and deliver clean, safe water for consumption. When something goes wrong, we have to respond and correct the issue ASAP.”

Across the nation, those issues are arising more and more often. America’s water infrastructure is aging, and each year more than 240,000 water mains break at a total repair cost of more than $1 trillion. These breaks and/or leaks in the water mains account for 12 percent of the nation’s water is wasted each year. And as the infrastructure system continues to age, that number is expected to grow.

Consumer Challenges Around What Not To Flush:

An aging infrastructure isn’t the only challenge utility professionals face. In some communities, a much larger problem already exists. For example, when Jim Holzapfel, water utility director for the city of Naperville, Illinois, is asked the largest problem his department faces, the answer comes quickly. “Flushable wipes,” says Holzapfel. “They are nearly indestructible.”

Naperville Water Distribution and Collections Manager Tony Conn agrees. “We have a multi-residential facility that feeds into a particular pump station. Normally we’d pull the pumps twice a year to do maintenance. But in the last four months, we’ve pulled these pumps 53 times, all because of flushable wipes.”

Holzapfel says that wipes flushed down the drain can cling and weave together. When they do, the wipes form a rope-like mass that plugs pumps and damages equipment. Sometimes this plug can be so large that it can break a 2-inch-diameter pump shaft. The plugs can be expensive for consumers as well.

Holzapfel says Naperville’s utility — which serves a population of about 151,000 — receives approximately five calls per week for sewer backups in homes. “After investigating the issue, we often find out flushable wipes have plugged their service line,” says Holzapfel. “At that point, it’s not a utility issue. Unfortunately, it’s now an individual customer that has a sewer backup that they have to take care of and pay for.”

“The word ‘flushable’ can be interpreted by others (the consumer) to mean something different than intended or what is recommended and/or practical,” says Conn, recommending that flushable wipes are better disposed of in the trash can. “Just because it’s flushable doesn’t mean you should flush it.”

Working Together To Improve Water Use:

While water utility professionals work tirelessly to preserve the nation’s water system, they cannot do it alone. To stave off the problems threatening the nation’s water supply and make real improvements to the existing water infrastructure, it will require consumers to think about their water beyond the point it leaves their tap. It will require them to reduce their water usage and realize that if a change is not enacted now, the results down the road will be even more expensive for everyone.

The Who Runs the Water that Runs America initiative is working to increase consumer awareness of the water challenges that exist in the United States. Visit www.whorunsthewater.com to learn more about the water situation in your area, how it compares to other regions of the nation and what you and your family can do to improve it. Ten minutes — the length of a shower — could make all the difference in the world. – (BPT)

Water Conservation Tips

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Home Innovations that Protect Against Moisture

water removal pump - home inspection miamiBrought to you by your friends from Atlantic Building Inspections

There is an insidious enemy that every homeowner dreads: moisture and the damage and degradation it can cause if left unchecked. Luckily, home improvement manufacturers have discovered new ways to prevent moisture from penetrating the home in the first place. With new home product innovations, there is no reason to suffer the costly and damaging effects of rain, snow or ice.

Unique fasteners add longevity to decks:

Innovative fastening methods can extend the life of your deck and provide a beautiful fastener-free surface that also stands up better to weather and moisture. Although there are several kinds of deck fasteners that conceal the fastener, edge fastening is the latest method. “With edge fastening, which delivers real screws into the edge of the deck boards with a series of unique guides and drill bits, fastener-related splitting and cracking can be eliminated,” said Greg Palmer, Director of Marketing at National Nail’s CAMO Edge Fastening. “This can add to deck life because moisture is not seeping into those cracks and splits, causing accelerated degradation.” He adds that the company has also expanded its warranty to cover the deck boards, as well as the screws. “Edge fastening works great for composite, PVC and all types of wood decks and creates a safer, fastener-free surface.”

Exterior cladding that resists moisture:

When searching for alternative exterior products that have beauty and curb appeal, make sure they repel moisture, especially near the foundation or near the gutters at the roof line. It is now possible to have the look of rich wood cedar shake or a variety of stone looks to cover foundations or to upgrade the ugly space under decks. New technology enables polymers to actually be stained or finished to be indistinguishable from the real thing. “There are new levels of realism in shakes that resemble true cedar,” said Ralph Bruno, president, Tando Building Products. “Beach House Shake” by Tando is an example of this superb realism — it installs easily and is impervious to moisture with little to no upkeep.” He adds that homeowners can keep moisture at bay and have luxurious exteriors without sacrificing beauty.

Protect your home in every season:

As if heavy spring rains and winter’s melt-off didn’t threaten homeowners’ properties enough, the hurricane season is expected to be more erratic than in years past — with a predicted early start and activity right into late fall. Thankfully, there are new, affordable technologies to quickly remove standing water from homeowners’ properties, keeping it away from their foundations. “Having both dependable sump pumps and multi-use pumps are the first lines of defense against storm damage,” said Jeremy Cantor, VP of Marketing for WAYNE Pumps. “One example is the innovative WaterBUG Submersible Water Removal Pump, which can remove large volumes of standing water quickly and easily from flat grassy yards, basement floors, and even tight spaces like window wells because it has both top and side water flow.” He emphasizes that having reliable multi-use and sump pumps in your home can save thousands of dollars in property damage and basement repairs.

Seal it or patch it to keep water out:

Water damage doesn’t have to happen, and by having the right caulks, sealants and hand tools, homeowners can easily do the job themselves and save on contractor costs. And, if moisture gets ahead of you, there are ways to repair the damage and prevent it from happening in the future. After winter, check windows, under door frames, gutter lines, concrete and other vulnerable areas that need sealing or patching. Very often, the simple act of sealing these areas with the right type of caulk can make a big difference in keeping out moisture. “One of the most popular sealants on the market is LIFETIME Ultra, which is a perfect solution for outdoor fix-ups after winter’s damage,” said Alan Crupper, VP of Marketing, Red Devil, Inc. He added that premium acrylics like this work very well and are paintable, unlike silicones. “You need a caulk that has a tight seal, won’t sag or crack no matter the temperature and especially for outdoors, one that adheres well to any surface.”

No matter the season, moisture can put your home and valuables at risk, so don’t delay in taking preventative action or repairing damage where it starts. With innovative new technologies on the market, you can easily protect your home from nature’s wrath. – (BPT)

Submersible Water Removal Pump

 

 

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A Room-By-Room Guide To Decluttering Your Home

clean bathroom  - home inspection miamiBrought to you by your friends from Atlantic Building Inspections

Controlling clutter in your home can be a challenge; 48 percent of Americans say their houses are cluttered with stuff they don’t use anymore, according to a survey by ClearVoice Research. Multiple studies have found a cluttered home can negatively affect your mental and physical health, while a cleaner home can make you feel happier and healthier.

A UCLA study found mothers in cluttered homes had higher stress levels while dealing with their stuff, while an Indiana University study found people with clean houses are healthier than those living in cluttered homes. You may realize clutter isn’t good for you, but it’s not always easy to get organized.

Here is a Room-by-Room Guide to Cutting the Clutter:

Entryway – Basic tactics:

* Decide what belongs in your entryway and what doesn’t. The size of the space will influence this decision. If your entryway is a spacious mudroom, you might choose to store shoes, boots, umbrellas, and backpacks there. If you have a modest foyer, you may decide you only have room for car keys. Remove anything from the space that doesn’t help it serve its purpose in your home.

* Add storage/organization that helps space meet its purpose. Wall-hung key racks can keep important keys at your fingertips. Shoe racks are available in a variety of sizes and styles to fit your space and décor while keeping footwear organized and off the floor.

* If space allows, adding built-in storage such as cabinets and shelves can help keep an entry space organized and visually appealing.

Family room – Basic tactics:

* Assess the kind of clutter that builds up in your family room. Perhaps your clutter consists of children’s toys, magazines, and newspapers, or multiple remote controls for entertainment components. Once you know what kind of clutter you’re collecting, decide if it belongs and must be accommodated, or doesn’t and should go.

* Add storage solutions specific to your needs. For example, storage ottomans can double as extra seating and a place to store frequently used toys. A caddy can keep remote controls organized and at hand.

* Sometimes furniture that’s too large for space can add to the feeling of a cluttered and congested room. Assess your family room furniture. Is it the right size for space, or is it overwhelming the area? Replace overly large furnishings with ones that better fit the room.

* If you have the room for it, a large shelving or cabinet unit can help contain clutter. Add decorative containers to help keep everyday items like toys, magazines and other frequently used items organized on shelves.

Bathroom – Basic tactics:

* Tackle the linen closet and trash any partial bottles of shampoo, tubes of toothpaste and towels that have seen better days. Be brutal. If you haven’t used that half bottle of body wash so far, chances are you never will.

* Clean out your medicine cabinet. Discarding expired prescription medicines can help reduce the risk of someone accidentally taking the wrong medication.

* Showers can be among the most cluttered spots in a bathroom. If you’re ready to take your bathroom organization to the next level, ditch the rack hanging from your showerhead and the precarious corner shelving and upgrade your shower to one with a built-in organization, like Sterling Store+ shower. The showers feature built-in recesses and tracks where you can snap in a variety of storage accessories and shelves, such as a soap dish, storage bin, towel bar or shower hook. The storage is fully customizable, and all accessories are removable and dishwasher safe. Visit www.sterlingplumbing.com to learn more.

Kitchen – Basic tactics:

* Countertops frequently host a wealth of kitchen-related clutter, from the mail you brought in yesterday and forgot to go through too small appliances you use once or twice a year. Clearing off countertops can make a kitchen feel visually more appealing, look bigger and function better. Remove and store rarely used small appliances, ditch the ceramic container of utensils and store those items in drawers instead.

* Pantries and Cabinets can be nearly as cluttered as countertops. Adding shelving and storage units within cabinets can help keep pots, pans, lids, and dishware better organized and more easily accessible.

* Some people need a bit of extra incentive to stay organized. If that’s you, consider replacing solid cabinet doors with glass ones that reveal what’s inside. Knowing the contents of your cabinets are always on display can help inspire you to keep them tidy and organized. Plus, glass-front cabinets are an opportunity to create an appealing visual display. – (BPT)

How To Declutter Your Home in 5 Easy Steps

 

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Repair or Replace? What To Do With A Worn-Out Cooling System

 

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Helpful Information from Atlantic Building Inspections

Sooner or later, every homeowner will face the same tough decision: Can you repair that malfunctioning system or appliance one more time, or is it finally time to replace it? Summer temperatures can heat up the repair-or-replace debate for homeowners living with an older cooling system.

To arrive at an answer, you must weigh numerous factors, including which option is more cost-effective over both the long- and short-term, how the existing or new system will affect the air quality of your home, and just how much reliability you require. Your decision can affect your wallet and the comfort of your home for years to come.

Guidelines  from The Heating and Cooling Systems Experts at Champion(R):

When you can still repair

Sometimes, it may be preferable to repair a minor problem than to replace a system. Your cooling system might still be a candidate for repair if:

* It’s less than 10 years old and/or is a high-quality, energy-efficient model.

* The repair is still covered under warranty, or you will be able to pay for the repair without financing the cost.

* The cost of the repair will be far less than the cost of replacement.

* You can reasonably expect the repair to solve your problem.

* Repairing the problem means that specific issue isn’t likely to reoccur throughout the system’s remaining lifespan.

When it’s time to replace

It can be much easier to recognize the signs that it’s time to replace a worn-out cooling system. They can include:

* A system that is 10 or more years old.

* Frequent and repeated repairs that are adding up to be very costly.

* Even after repairs and/or maintenance, the system still doesn’t adequately cool your home.

* Very high energy bills. Modern cooling systems are significantly more energy-efficient than older units.

* You can afford to finance a replacement, but can no longer afford to pay cash for repairs.

* The unreliability of the worn-out cooling system is affecting the comfort of your home and causing you to feel stress.

Replacing a cooling system

When you decide replacing a cooling system makes the most sense for your needs, you’ll need to start looking for a new system. Here are some points to keep in mind:

* Choosing an energy-efficient unit like the Champion(R) Momentum(TM) Variable Capacity Air Conditioner can greatly reduce energy bills while improving the comfort of your home. Refer to the system’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) to get an idea of how much more energy-efficient the new unit is. Modern air-conditioning systems can be over 50 percent more efficient than ones manufactured a decade ago.

* It’s important to right-size your new cooling system. A system that is too small for your home won’t be able to deliver the desired comfort level and will use more energy working harder at maintaining cool temperatures. A system that is too large will also use more energy and may result in uneven cooling throughout the house. Your Champion dealer can provide a load calculation and energy analysis to help you determine the right size system for your home.

* Depending on the age of your home and your cooling system, you may have to repair or replace other elements, too. Have your home’s ductwork, insulation, refrigerant piping, electrical service, wiring, thermostat and other cooling system components inspected, too. Ensuring all the parts of the system are in top working order will help your new air-conditioning unit work at its best, too.

To learn more about the advantages of replacing a worn-out cooling system, what you should look for in a new system and where to find a dealer near you, visit www.championhomecomfort.com/repair. – (BPT)

HVAC: Repair vs Replace Your Heating and Cooling System

 

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Six Factors Driving The Cost Of Your New HVAC System

father and kids bonding - home inspection miamiMore than half of homes in the U.S were built before 1980, according to U.S. Census figures. With most home heating and ventilation systems lasting around 20 years, millions of American homeowners will be looking at replacing their HVAC systems this year. If you’ll be among them, understanding the factors that influence the cost of a system could help save you money in the long run.

“The cost of HVAC systems can vary widely, and most people who face replacing a system have never gone through the process before,” says Steve Hoffins, director of marketing, Luxaire, a heating and cooling systems manufacturer. “Sorting through your options can be challenging. However, finding the right system for your home can greatly influence energy efficiency, your home’s comfort and its resale value.”

Here are six factors that affect the cost of installing a new heating and cooling system, and what you should know about each:

The size of your home

You can probably guess that the larger the home, the bigger the system you’ll need to adequately heat and cool it. If a system is too small for the home, it will work harder, be less energy efficient and possibly wear out sooner.

However, too big isn’t better, either. In fact, says Hoffins, “Most homes have heating and cooling systems larger than they actually need.” A system that’s too large for a home can create uneven temperatures, poor humidity control, maintenance problems and a loss of efficiency.

Research can help you identify the size HVAC system that’s just right for your home. You can also ask your product dealer to provide a load calculation and energy analysis for your home.

Energy efficiency

Replacing an HVAC system affords you the chance to improve your home’s energy efficiency and save money over the long term. A quality, energy-efficient HVAC system may cost more than a less efficient one, but you can anticipate recouping the expense, plus additional savings over the lifetime of the system.

System type

From gas furnaces and split system air conditioners to heat pumps and packaged heating and cooling units, there are multiple ways to heat and cool your home. Most people replacing all or part of an HVAC system will opt to stick with the same type of system they’re replacing. However, you may find a different option will work better.

Different types of systems come with different product and installation costs. Before deciding what’s right for your home, research your options and talk to a qualified dealer about benefits and costs of each.

Ductwork

When you’re installing a new HVAC system, it’s important the ductwork in your home works with the type of system you’ve chosen, and that it’s been properly installed and maintained. Improper ductwork can create hot or cold spots in a home, reduce system efficiency and even allow the growth of mold from condensation. An HVAC professional can help you assess if your ductwork is in good shape before you invest in a new heating and cooling system.

Accessories

Certain types of accessories can make your new HVAC function more efficiently and provide you with greater ease of use. If your furnace is 20 years old, chances are good your thermostat is the same age, so you’ll want to replace that, too. Programmable thermostats can be reasonably priced and help enhance the energy efficiency of your HVAC system. Other accessories such as an electronic air cleaner can help enhance the air quality inside your home. You’ll want to carefully consider the accessories you’ll be adding, and factor them into the total anticipated cost of your new HVAC system.

How you’ll pay for it

Replacing an HVAC system costs thousands of dollars. If you don’t have enough cash saved to cover the cost, you may choose to finance all or part of the expense. You could use a credit card, but high interest rates mean you could end up paying thousands more in interest for your HVAC system. Manufacturer or dealer financing may be a lower-cost option. For example, select participating Luxaire contractors offer financing with appealing terms such as deferred interest, no interest with equal monthly payments and convenient monthly payment options.

To learn more about Luxaire home comfort systems, visit www.luxaire.com or follow @LuxaireHVAC on Twitter. – (BPT)

 

How Much does an HVAC System Cost?

 

Atlantic Building Inspections has been providing Residential Home Inspections Pre-Purchase/Pre-Listing, Commercial Inspection, Chinese Drywall Visual Assessment, Mold Sampling, Four Point Insurance Inspections and Wind Mitigation Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Palmetto Bay, Coral Springs, Hialeah, Aventura, Pembroke Pines, Ft Lauderdale, Florida areas since 2000.

Easy DIY Tips To Save On Your Winter Energy Bills

Miami Home Inspectors man measuring a woodHere’s what Americans have to look forward to this winter: While the south will be drier and warmer, the northern U.S. can expect “wetter, cooler conditions,” predicts the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“Regardless of the outlook, there is always some chance for extreme winter weather, so prepare now for what might come later this winter,” says Mike Halpert, deputy director for NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

As a homeowner, what can you do to get ready for the season’s frigid blasts, in order to keep your family warm and comfortable while avoiding heart-stopping heating bills?

Whether you have an older or a newer home, chances are it could use additional insulation to make it more energy efficient. Approximately 90 percent of U.S. single-family homes are under-insulated, according to research conducted by Boston University for the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association. With proper insulation, “residential electricity use nationwide would drop by about 5 percent and natural gas use by more than 10 percent,” says Dr. Jonathan Levy, professor of environmental health at Boston University.

Fortunately, adding insulation in a few key spots in the home isn’t difficult, and is within the skill level of many do-it-yourselfers. Two key areas to check for proper insulation are the attic hatch and basement walls.

If your home’s hatch to the attic is above a heated space (versus in an “unconditioned” space such as the garage), it could be a prime source for heat loss. “Hot air rises, and many attic hatches are not properly sealed and insulated, so homeowners can be losing big money through that opening,” says Tom Savoy, technical director for Insulfoam. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends inspecting the attic hatch to make sure it is “at least as heavily insulated as the attic, is weather stripped, and closes tightly.” For the insulation, homeowners can easily cut and attach rigid foam panels made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) or graphite polystyrene (GPS), notes Savoy.

Rigid foam insulation is also easy to install on basement walls, in garages and attics. Some manufacturers even offer DIY Insulation Kits Kits to help simplify the job. Available at home improvement stores nationwide, such kits can be used for a quick weekend project to boost your home’s energy savings.

Because insulating the attic hatch and basement walls happens inside the home, you can complete these jobs even in the dead of winter in order to start seeing immediate savings on your energy bills. – (BPT)

 

How To Save Money On Your Winter Energy Bills

Atlantic Building Inspections has been providing Residential Home Inspections Pre-Purchase/Pre-Listing, Commercial Inspection, Chinese Drywall Visual Assessment, Mold Sampling, Four Point Insurance Inspections and Wind Mitigation Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Palmetto Bay, Coral Springs, Hialeah, Aventura, Pembroke Pines, Ft Lauderdale, Florida areas since 2000.

Turn Your Empty Attic Into New Living Space With Miami Home Inspectors Help

When your family outgrows your home’s available space, moving to bigger digs isn’t always the best option. Maybe you really love your current home. Perhaps you can’t find a bigger home in your price range in the area of your choice. Whatever your reason for staying in place, expanding the home you already have can be a cost-effective option when your family needs more room.

Converting an unused attic into usable living area is a reliable, cost-effective way to gain more space in a home. It’s also a good investment; when you add an attic bedroom, you can expect to recoup about 77 percent of the construction cost when you resell the house, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report.

 

Three time-tested techniques can help you turn an empty attic into the extra space you dream of:

1. Rely on natural light for beauty, visibility and cost savings.

Attics don’t usually have many windows, and adding them can be difficult if the ceiling is sloped. Adding dormers – a typical solution – can be costly and time-consuming, and eat up wall space that is often at a premium in attics.

Skylights or roof windows can be a better, more cost-effective way to bring natural light and fresh air into an attic. Installation is faster and cheaper than adding dormers, and they work well on slanted ceilings. Energy Star-qualified, solar-powered, fresh-air skylights like those from Velux America make it easy and affordable to bring natural light and fresh air into an attic space.

Add solar-powered blinds in designer colors and patterns, and the skylight becomes an even more valuable piece of the room’s overall decor. Solar-powered skylights close automatically in case of rain. They, and the blinds, are operated by programmable remote control, making it easy to adjust the amount of sunlight that enters the space. Both products, plus the installation costs, are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit to the homeowner. Learn more at www.whyskylights.com.

2. Pay close attention to insulation.

In any home, the attic is often the hottest spot in the summer and the coldest in the winter. The amount and quality of insulation in the attic directly affects the comfort level in the space – and the overall energy efficiency of your home.

Have an insulation pro evaluate the insulation in your home’s attic before you begin planning your conversion. You may need to add insulation or even replace older, inefficient types – a move well worth the investment since insulation is so important to your home’s overall comfort and energy efficiency. Many insulation pros will recommend spray insulation for attics because it goes easily between existing joists. Plus, it can create a tight air barrier without losing the inches of space required for thick fiberglass batt insulation.

3. Get smart about plumbing.

If your attic conversion will incorporate a bathroom, good for you! Bathroom additions return more than 56 percent of your initial investment when you resell, according to the Cost vs. Value Report.

If pipes are already present in your attic, adding a bathroom can be simple. If no plumbing exists, consider cost-effective alternatives that will have less impact on the space, like up-flush plumbing. Because it fits into the kind of tight spaces that often occur in attics, up-flush plumbing can be an easy, cheaper way to plumb a sink, toilet or shower stall in an attic space.

Converting an unused attic into living area can be a great way to expand your space without moving. Plus, when you finally are ready to move one day, that attic renovation may end up paying for itself by boosting the sale price of your home. – (BPT)

 

Watch How Attic Turns Into Living Space

 

 

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Call (786) 477-5975 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

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