Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

DIY Spring Curb Appeal Landscaping

Posted on: April 12th, 2016 | No Comments

Curb appeal landscaping helps in a house sale.Curb appeal landscaping should be top priority now that the winter months are blowing away and spring is on the horizon. An overgrown or neglected garden may make the first impression in your potential house sale, turning buyers off before they ever make it through the door. That means less money in your pocket as well as a longer time on the market.

 

To remedy the situation, you have options. You may choose to hire a professional landscaping team. This option reduces your net profit on the sale but also reduces the time spent on preparations. However, with a little research and a free weekend, you can turn a drab yard into an appealing green oasis.

 

In getting your property ready to go on the market, utilize these five steps for DIY spring curb appeal landscaping:

  1. Assessment – Start your curb appeal landscaping endeavor by assessing the size and scope of the project. How much ground do you have to cover? Which areas present hazards or need complete revamping? Are there any features that work or should be highlighted, such as a particularly lovely oak tree? Make a plan for each area, but don’t overdo it. You want to showcase the yard as beautiful to many different tastes, and that means letting the buyer fill in the blanks, so-to-speak. Give them some freedom of movement with your choices. And ultimately, showcase the house!
  2. Cleanup – Your yard may include dead or fallen branches and trees to clear away or grass that needs to be ripped up. Maybe the soil should be tilled or weeds need clearing. Whatever green you take away, consider sending it to a green waste recycling facility.
  3. Irrigation – Now that the yard is primarily clear and uncluttered, you may want to assess or upgrade the irrigation system. Are there sprinkles in appropriate places? If not, are they needed? Perhaps you are building a low-maintenance yard or the house is in a dry climate. Take note of these things before proceeding.
  4. Planting – Finally, it’s time to plant! Follow your plan from the assessment step, adding life and color to your yard in a way that would catch your eye if YOU were seeing it for the first time. It need not be an expensive upgrade. A few flowers around a tree, in front of the house, or along a stone path can be a nice, welcoming touch!
  5. Fertilizer and Finish – Step back, take a breather, and congratulate yourself on a job well-done. Observe how the yard develops within the next week or two. If grass, plants, flowers, etc. need a little nudge to get going, add some fertilizer. Also, if your house was already on the market, be sure to ask your realtor to use updated house photos.

Are you ready to sell? Along with proper preparations and staging, don’t forget to Inspect-It 1st! A house inspection by the current owner goes a long way toward encouraging a quick and profitable house sale. Contact Inspect-It 1st today at (877) 392-6278.

8 Easy Upgrades to Help Sell Your Home

Posted on: March 9th, 2016 | No Comments

8 Easy Upgrades to Help Sell Your HomeTrying to sell your home comes with a set of challenges especially if it’s older or outdated. Some buyers relish the opportunity to transform a house into their dream home while others may want it updated to their standards on your dime before they even make an offer. To meet your buyers in the middle, here are eight quick DIY home upgrades to help increase appeal and value before you try to sell your home.

  1. Update the Front Door: First impressions are everything when trying to sell your home. A front door can give the exterior of your home its own personality and make a bold statement. Update your front door by painting it a fun color and install an imaginative new door knocker or consider upgrading to an entirely new door. A front door is the first thing your potential buyers see, so keep it looking fresh and welcoming!
  2. Replace Kitchen Hardware: Nothing can boost your chances to sell your home quite like a kitchen upgrade! Take your kitchen from the 1990’s to the 21st century by updating your cabinets handles and knobs. You can find a variety of stylish handles and knobs that have patterns, different shapes, glass, wood, and various metals to give your kitchen the updated look it needs.
  3. Update the Lighting: Light fixtures can say a lot about the age of your home. Spending the money to upgrade light fixtures can not only make your home look good, but can also increase the value. Allow yourself time to shop around and find the perfect colors and metal finishes for your home to ensure that the new fixtures don’t stand out too much, but feel right at home.
  4. Add a Kitchen Backsplash: Bring color to your kitchen by adding a cool backsplash. A backsplash is a unique focal point that brings the space between your cabinets and counter to life. Sticking to neutral tones will help sell your home quickly but don’t be afraid to step out of the box when it comes to patterns and designs.
  5. Small Bathroom? Add Wallpaper!: Small bathrooms are the perfect place for patterned wallpaper and stylish accents to bring a tiny space to life. Sell your home faster by upgrading this small space with your favorite pattern and spark interest from potential buyers.
  6. Update Faucets: Dated or dirty faucets are an extreme turnoff to potential buyers. When it comes time to sell your home, it’s important to make sure buyers know you took care of your home. If your faucets have permanent water spots or old caulk, upgrading them will make your kitchen and bathroom look cleaner and pricier.
  7. Plants. Plants. Plants.: Nature makes people feel calm and welcome. Planting outdoor flowers and bushes will increase curb appeal and draw buyers to your home. Also, try placing some fresh plants throughout your home to give off that comfortable feeling.
  8. Choose an Accent Color: Bring your home to life by choosing an accent color that will flow throughout each room. Easily add this accent color throughout your living room by updating curtains, throw pillows, vases, and other home decor to pull the room together. Having colors from the same palette throughout your home will easily give your home the breath of life it’s been needing!

After you tackle these eight projects, you may find that the value of your home will go up or an increase in foot traffic during open houses. Take the time to focus on what your home needs before it hits the market. This can help you sell your home fast and for a higher price. To give potential buyers an added piece of mind, have Inspect-It 1st give an honest property assessment so everyone is on the same page! Set up your property inspection today!

DIY Yearly Home Inspection Tips

Posted on: January 4th, 2016 | No Comments

A man completing a home inspection.It’s a new year, meaning it’s time for you to take control of your home with a yearly DIY home inspection, completed by, you guessed it, yourself! Whether or not you are selling your home in the near future, don’t forget about the importance of an annual home inspection. This will keep you aware of your home’s normal wear and tear, while also keeping you informed about needed repairs and updates. Doing this can make it easier to sell your home down the line. Tackling your own inspection might seem like an intimidating task because it involves looking at areas of your home that you may not fully understand. With these tips, you can get started on your DIY home inspection.

 

  • Outdoors. The outer area of your home, whether small or large, is a good place to start. The grading of your home should slope away from your foundation at least six inches within the first ten feet. If anything, the slope should be even greater than this. If you are experiencing any water or flooding in your basement, there is a possibility of poor grading outside. Other key issues to look for outdoors are standing water, branches or shrubs scrapping the house, fence condition, and concrete slabs with cracks.
  • Indoors. Throughout the interior of your home, there are a variety of places you should be examining when completing your DIY home inspection. Start in your attic. Check for stains on the ceiling (which could indicate a leak), decaying or rotting wood, and take a look at the electrical wires. Also, keep your eyes peeled for anything out of the ordinary. If something doesn’t look quite right, call a professional. As you move through your home inspection, look at the walls and ceiling for cracks and whether they are level. All doors and windows should open and shut without force, and heating and cooling should be flowing throughout each room. Also, make sure that the lights are working properly and all water sources are running efficiently. Check for stains underneath sinks indicating possible water leaks. Keep in mind that there are other areas to review during your home inspection, these are just a start.
  • Miscellaneous. There are a few things to check no matter what room you are inspecting. Look for caulking in good condition, evidence of moisture where it shouldn’t be, and check for surface cracks. Check smoke and carbon dioxide detectors, visible wiring, and be sure that heating and cooling systems are operating without excessive noise and with a clean air filter. Also, walk around to see if you detect odors coming from your heating and cooling systems. This is a possible sign of improper care that should be addressed by a professional.

Now that you have these tips, walk around your home and look for signs of general wear and tear. It’s important to catch small issues before they become big problems. Being proactive about maintenance can help you save on repair costs when you decide to sell your home at some point in the future. If you come across an issue that doesn’t seem right, consult a professional. It’s better to be safe in your home, than sorry that you didn’t address an issue when it first arose. If you come across any issues that require further inspection by a professional, set up a home inspection with us at Inspect-It 1st®! We will inspect the interior and exterior of your home to make sure you and your family have a safe and happy space to call home.

Gutter Cleaning for Beginners

Posted on: June 9th, 2014 | No Comments

Gloved hand performing yearly gutter cleaning.In a previous blog, we mentioned gutter cleaning as an essential part of any spring house cleaning checklist. We received a number of questions about this topic and wanted to answer all of them for you! After reading this, you’ll know most everything you need to about gutter cleaning and maintenance. Then, you can decide whether this task is a DIY project you want to take on yourself or project you’d prefer to hire someone else to do.

 

The importance of gutter cleaning cannot be understated. Gutters only work when they are free of debris and organic matter. If this is not removed, there is a risk of the gutters overflowing and consequently –  water pouring off your roof into the ground below. Water can also seep into the eaves of your home causing damage that could otherwise be avoided. To avoid these issues, it is a good habit to clean gutters at least once a year – twice to be on the safe side.

 

The first thing to take into account when doing your own gutter cleaning is safety. Roofs can be dangerous so take precautions to prevent slips and falls, especially from taller roofs. Be sure to use a sturdy ladder when climbing to the level of your gutters. Some people prefer to stay on the ladder when pulling out the debris and organic matter in gutters, others like to get on the roof directly to clean them out. Either way, being aware of your surroundings, footing and balance are all important to avoid falls. Appropriate apparel, including shoes with a heavy tread and wearing lightweight breathable fabrics can make gutter cleaning a safer and more pleasant experience.

 

Once you’ve prepared for the cleaning it’s time to dive in. Most of what you will find when doing your annual gutter cleaning is decomposing leaves, branches and other organic matter – all great for compost bins! Instead of throwing on the grass to fertilize your lawn, consider raking as much as you can into a compost pile or simply an area of yard where you like to put yard waste. You won’t believe what great fertilizer it will make next spring.

 

While you’re on the ladder gutter cleaning, be sure to pay close attention to the downspouts as organic material can flow down and get stuck. Once you have determined these are clean, make sure you also have a splash block at the bottoms of your downspouts to keep the water from eroding the ground at the base and potentially causing water problems in your home’s foundation.

 

Once you have emptied the gutters, the gutter cleaning can truly begin. Power washers are a perfect way to remove dirt and other materials from your gutters and can be rented at a resonable price from your local hardware store. Anyone who’s used a power washer once knows how fun it can actually be – you’ll find yourself looking for all sorts of outdoor projects that could use a deep clean after winter! When gutter cleaning with a power washer, be careful not to apply too much pressure straight onto the gutters, but rather spray at an angle. If you notice the gutters appear to be unsturdy, consider purchasing new spikes to reattach your gutters to the rafters inside. Over time, these can tend to work themselves out but are easy to replace.

 

Caulking cracks and leaks can also help prevent rotting in the eaves and other damage to your home or gutters. Scrape out old caulk with a chisel, allow the space to dry, then apply new bead silicone. Finally, check downspouts to ensure they are still riveted to the house. If not, reattach them with a rivet gun which can be purchased affordably at your local hardware store as well.

 

Gutter cleaning isn’t the most glamorous yard work, but it is incredibly important. By following the suggestions we have provided above, you can be assured your gutters will do their job during the next rainstorm. Not super excited to get up on your roof, or even stand on a ladder? Most professional landscaping crews offer gutter cleaning services.

 

Learn more about spring home upkeep in our previous blogs on exterior improvements and spring lawn care. Considering a move in the near future? These improvements can not only boost curb appeal but also property value. Home inspectors, like those at Inspect It 1st, examine not only a home’s interior but the exterior as well and assess for any hazards or other modifications that may need to be made. Download our Top 5 Exterior Home Maintenance Tips PDF to learn more. Or, for a full list of inspection services, click here.

 

Home Window Replacement Choices

Posted on: May 25th, 2014 | No Comments

A man doing his own home window replacement.Home window replacement can be quite the undertaking. There are a number of variables to consider when purchasing them. It can be staggering and frankly, an overwhelming process. There is much to consider – from materials and styles to prices and ease of install, picking the right windows for your home will take time and patience. The biggest difference between window varieties is generally what they are made of. Of course, all windows have glass panes, but the materials that surround the glass can include vinyl, fiberglass, wood or aluminium.

 

Wood – This classic building material is known for it’s natural beauty. Wood can also can be easily painted or stained to change it’s natural appearance. In the past, wood has been considered a top-notch building material, but it’s propensity to rot and it’s susceptibility to termites means it has become less appealing to homeowners. Still, new weather stripping techniques and hardware innovations can eliminate draft and other imperfections in these windows. One major pitfall with wood frames is the maintenance. You should check them on a yearly basis for rot, termite damage, cracks and other weather damage. When choosing wood for your home window replacement project, keep in mind the environmental impacts as well. To ensure environmental responsibility, purchase your windows from producers that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

 

Vinyl – The most common home window replacement choice is vinyl. These low cost and durable windows are also energy efficient, making them attractive to residential buyers. Vinyl windows are waterproof and impervious to things like termites and moisture – which can lead to rotting. Vinyl is also an excellent insulator and because they are so lightweight, they can be easily installed by an ambitious DIY-er. One drawback of vinyl is the appearance, the seams are not attractive and factory direct colors are generally white and tan with a few other colors available by special order. Epoxy-based paints appear to adhere but the constant expansion and contraction of the material can cause cracking that would require touch ups. Finally, the process and materials used to create vinyl windows may be long lasting, but the sustainability of the PVC creation process and the chemicals released during its long decomposition do not lend these windows well to the term “environmentally friendly”.

 

Fiberglass – The popularity of fiberglass windows is on the rise. These durable, attractive and energy efficient models generally run about double the price of vinyl, but the maintenance-free aspect and longevity make them well worth the investment. Additionally, these frames come in a variety of colors, including a convincing wood finish – and can be easily painted. There are also frames available with a wood interior and an exterior sash that can be painted to your personal preferences. Because these frames are hollow, manufactures have chosen to inject insulation into this space, making fiberglass windows excellent insulators. Worried about your home window replacement carbon footprint? Fiberglass is easy to fabricate and therefore has a lower embedded energy factor and low energy is required to produce them.

 

Aluminium – Aluminium‘s strength and durability make it a favorite of architects by allowing more space for glass however, these windows do carry a higher price point and are therefore less popular with consumers. Aluminum comes is huge range of colors and finishes that are long lasting and tough. Unfortunately, aluminum is not an effective insulator and does corrode in salty air, so it should not be installed in coastal climates. Its low energy efficiency does not outweigh the recyclability of aluminum.

 

The four options listed above are of course not the only choices for your home window replacement project. Glass blocks, awnings and jalousie windows all offer aesthetic differentiation, interest and beauty wherever they are installed. By researching your options and comparing the factors important to your specific project, you can ensure that you choose the best windows. When installing your new windows, be sure to hire someone who is experienced with the material you have chosen to use. Proper installation is important not only for energy efficiency reasons but should you ever choose to sell, home inspectors, like those at Inspect-It 1st, examine your windows for proper installation and upkeep.

 

Looking for a trustworthy home inspector for your sale? Inspect-It 1st is the Nation’s Premier Property Inspection Franchise. Find a qualified home inspector near you!

Spring Lawn Care – Greening Your Garden

Posted on: April 24th, 2014 | No Comments

Spring lawn care - green grass.In our last blog, we provided tips on spring cleaning for your home’s exterior including tips for lawns and flowerbeds. Spring lawn care can be vitally important for improving the look of your home, as well as encouraging biodiversity around your property. Learn more about how to get started with your yard below. Before you know it, you’ll be a certified green thumb! After you’re done, drop in a comment with your favorite spring traditions involving your home’s lawn and garden.

 

First things first, assess the situation. How does your lawn look? Are your flowerbeds a mess of old growth and debris from a long winter? Understanding what may cause issues and what to address first will help you to prioritize and move forward with your plan of attack. Be sure to wait until the grass has perked up after a long winter so new growth has a chance to grow in.

 

Once your lawn has had time to settle in, it’s time to give it a good cut. Be sure your blades are sharpened so they will slice the blades of grass, rather than tear them. Next, it’s time to rake. Remove thatch from the surface of the soil. By removing this debris you allow air to circulate near the soil and help to dispel any snow mold that may have formed, especially in colder northern climates. Now that air can reach the soil below, aeration is the next step. Rent an aerator from your local hardware store and run it over the entire lawn so water and air have the ability to seep into the soil and feed your grass.

 

Seeding your lawn can now begin. Seed any thin spots or places that are bare with grass seed meant for your climate and and lawn. Fertilizer is also important, especially if you did not fertilize last fall. Make sure to pick a fertilizer that is formulated for spring as it will give your lawn the nutrients it needs to start the season out strong. After all this work, upkeep should be somewhat straightforward. Simply water and cut the grass regularly and remove any debris or weeds to keep your lawn healthy. Next fall, be sure to fertilize as well as remove any weeds that may have popped up.

Now that your lawn is all ready, it’s time to turn to the garden.

 

Much like the lawn, it’s important not to start too early. In cold climates especially, you should wait until the temperatures are consistently above freezing before uncovering your flowerbeds. Once you reach this point in the spring, it’s okay to uncover and clean out the beds. Remove any debris, mulch or garbage that may have gotten into the flowerbed during the winter months.

 

Once you have cleaned out the bed, you can go ahead and prep the soil. Get a good mix of manure, decomposed organic matter and soil from the bed. Filling the flowerbeds with healthy soil will help fertilize the plants and flowers you will be planting throughout the rest of the growing season. Be sure to edge the garden as well to prevent grass from entering the flowerbed.

 

While you wait to clean the garden, you can start seedlings in your home. Using a small grow light, you can start some of your favorite plants indoors so they are big enough to plant when the time comes. You can also begin pruning headier plants in the early spring. Cut back shrubs and woody plants to promote new growth. Just don’t get too carried away with the pruning as it can kill the plant.

 

Once you have prepped the flowerbeds and your seedlings are large enough to plant, it’s time to get digging. Try setting up the garden a few different ways to determine what you think looks best. Then, plant away! Avoid handling your plants too much as the added stress can break their stems and prevent them from growing. Dig a deep enough hole, place the plant in the ground, cover the roots, and pack the dirt lightly to ensure the plant is secure. Once your entire flower bed is planted, give it a good watering – but be careful not to overwater and drown the roots.

 

Spring lawn care can set you up for a very bountiful and beautiful lawn and garden. Not sure where to start when creating your garden space? Try looking at local gardening catalogues to get an idea of flowers you may like or walk through a local garden center to find your favorites and get inspiration. Be sure to find plants that are suitable for your climate. You can find your climate/planting zone through the National Gardening Association.

 

Spring Cleaning – Conquer Curb Appeal

Posted on: April 3rd, 2014 | No Comments

Spring cleaning a deck. Spring cleaning isn’t just for closets and crawl spaces. Spring is the perfect time to get outside and clean up your home’s exterior, too. Springtime is the time to rejuvenate your gardens and lawn, clean the patio and gutters, and even the garage. Feeling a bit overwhelmed by this seemingly endless list of to-do’s? We’ve put together an easy outline of a few of the biggest areas you can start with.

Garage:

  • Sort everything – Go through boxes, corners and rafters. Get rid of things you haven’t used and things that are broken or worn out. Be sure to donate and recycle what you can! Also, bring hazardous waste to your local recycling place for proper disposal.
  • Plan and get organized – Buy shelving units, plastic storage containers and peg board to keep things off the floor and out of high traffic areas. Measuring total amount of space available first before you go out to purchase those items is a good idea.
  • Don’t backslide – Keep up on cleaning tasks throughout the rest of the year. Next year’s spring cleaning won’t be such and overhaul.

Lawn:

  • Rake the lawn to perk up the dormant blades of grass and remove any dead matted grass.
  • Aerate to ensure oxygen and water can reach the roots.
  • Fertilize your newly aerated grass to ensure the right nutrients are available for your grass to start the spring off strong.
  • And don’t forget to water your grass each week!

Gardens

  • Clean the flower beds: Remove debris including grass, leaves, litter or anything that’s not supposed to be in there.
  • Weed: Get the pesky dandelions and other weeds away from your plants so they don’t steal nutrients from your budding flowers.
  • Prune trees and shrubs: Encourage new growth by pruning back dead branches.
  • Mulch: Keep weeds from growing by putting mulch in your flower beds.
  • Bonus: Create a compost pile for all the yard waste you’ve removed. It will be great fertilizer for next spring!

Home Exterior and Patio

  • Gutters: Clean any yard waste that has accumulated in your gutters. If you aren’t comfortable getting on a ladder, most lawn services can be hired to clean them out.
  • Windows: Remove and clean screens and windows.
  • Patio: Sweep and inspect your patio for cracks, splinters or other potential hazards. Determine the best cleaning method for the material it’s made out of and give it a good scrub. Hose down any patio furniture to remove dirt and cobwebs. Clean your grill and check outdoor lighting fixtures to ensure everything is in working order.
  • Fencing: Check to make sure there are no holes in your fence that need repairing and that footings are still strong.

Looking to sell? Spring is a great time for home sales – and curb appeal is something to keep in mind. Home inspectors check both the interior and the exterior of your home. Exterior outlets, lighting, spigots, fences, windows, siding, roofs and gutters are all inspected for hazards or defects. By taking stock of your exterior each year during spring cleaning, you can catch these problems and repair them in a timely manner. For more information about what to expect from an inspection, check out our maintenance checklist.

 

Spring is a time for renewal. By prepping your home’s exterior during spring cleaning, summer and fall will be that much more beautiful around your home. Once you’ve conquered the backyard, it will be the perfect excuse to host the first barbecue of the season! Enjoy!

Professional Landscaping: Is it Worth the Investment?

Posted on: February 11th, 2014 | No Comments

Professional landscaping - Landscaper laying sod in a yard. Have you ever driven through a neighborhood full of perfectly cut grass, beautiful gardens and manicured hedges? You may think to yourself, I could do that! Maybe you can, but landscape architecture is a profession backed by a four year degree and extensive knowledge in botany, horticulture as well as engineering and design. So, what can professional landscaping bring to your yard and is it worth the investment?

 

The rule of thumb for professional landscaping is that by spending 10% of your homes value on landscaping can add up to 20% to the selling price. This is not an immediate return on investment however. It takes about 5 years for plants to fill in, trees to put down strong root and everything to meld together to create a lush gardenscape and lawn. After 5 years you can expect a 75-100% return on investment plus the value it will add to your home in a sale.

 

Yards can also mean a lot to potential buyers. As the first thing they see when they pull up, a well kempt yard gives a great first impression and sets expectations on the inside of the house as well. All factors equal, it is possible a buyer will choose one house over another simply due to the landscaping. Knowing that professional landscaping has already been done also may draw buyers because it is an investment they do not have to make in the future. Maintaining an already landscaped yard is much easier than starting from scratch.

 

Once you decide to use a professional landscaper there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Certifications for landscape architects do exist. Alongside a four year degree, the American Society of Landscape Architects provides certification to landscape architects. “The Society’s mission is to lead, to educate, and to participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments.” Members obtain certification, continued education and professional support and can be trusted for any landscaping project, large or small.

  • There are lots of options when it comes to landscaping. From simply sprucing up your yard to a complete overhaul, landscape architects are trained and qualified to provide any level of assistance. On a smaller scale adding new gardens, laying sod and planting trees can do wonders for your yard. Other trends include adding terraces, arbors, pools, paving stones along plants, trees and sod. A landscape architect can help assess your property and make suggestions based on your expectations.

  • Maintenance is required. From mowing and pruning to watering and weeding, landscaping takes commitment. You can always build a plan with your architect for upkeep on your own. If that seems a bit overwhelming, landscaping companies generally have teams of people that will come to your house as often as you like to help as much or as little as you wish.

Professional landscaping can seem like just one more thing to do on your property but, the investment is well worth it. From the increase in your property value, to the compliments from your neighbors and homegrown bouquets around the house, landscaping can bring more than just a monetary reward. By doing your research, requesting the guidance of a professional and keeping up with maintenance you will surely see the fruits of your labor for years to come.

 

Are you a new Homeowner? Here’s how to be an awesome homeowner!

Posted on: January 24th, 2014 | No Comments

Homeowner tips for upkeep and maintenance.A new house is exciting! Decorating and making it home is the best part. But, what happens when the move is over and you’re a homeowner in your house as life continues? Houses are also a lot of work. Maintaining your home is the key to maintaining the resale value. Here are a few areas to focus on to keep your home safe and fun:

 

  1. Safety – Keep an eye out for dangers within and around your home. Whether it be an exposed wire or cracked pipes, these things can depreciate the value of your house and put your family in danger. Be realistic with DIY projects too, if you don’t feel 100% confident you can do it correctly and safely, call a professional.

 

  1. Green – By replacing regular light bulbs with fluorescent bulbs you can cut down on electrical bills. Solar panels and other eco-friendly practices can benefit you in the long run especially when it comes time to sell. Create a compost pile in your backyard for easy access to homemade fertilizers, too. By getting in the habit of composting, recycling and upcycling you can cut back significantly on the amount of waste your household produces.

 

  1. Exterior – Curb appeal factors in when it comes time to sell your home. Maintaining the outside of your home has both aesthetic and practical purposes. Peeling paint and broken siding can allow moisture into the walls and cause mold to grow. Beautification also becomes a factor, especially if you plan on selling. Determine your hardiness zone to ensure you select plants that will thrive in your area. By maintaining your lawn & gardens as well as siding & gutters you ensure your home is both attractive and safe.

 

  1. Interior

  • Pipes/Plumbing – Leaking pipes and broken plumbing can cause serious damage and mold growth that can be harmful to you and your families health. If you notice any leaks or problems with your homes plumbing call a professional, this isn’t something you should DIY.

 

  • Furnace – Furnaces are expensive. Get yours checked 2x a year. Ensuring proper maintenance is being given to your furnace can keep you from spending thousands on a new furnace or even prevent a fire started by a furnace problem.

 

  • Flooring – Missing tiles, broken wood flooring and other flooring issues can devalue your home and cause safety issues as well. Be sure to maintain your flooring and fix any issues that may arise. Felt pads will protect your floors from furniture scratches.

 

A home can be the biggest investment you ever make so maintaining it is important. Should you decide to sell your house in the future, this maintenance will help to ensure you pass inspections and get the full value of your home.

Inspect-It 1st has information about home inspection services. In addition the website provides a maintenance checklist that divides the house into sections and outlines maintenance tips and suggestions throughout.

5 Overlooked Areas to Check for Energy Loss In Your Home

Posted on: August 23rd, 2013 | No Comments

EnergyAre you sick of receiving inflated energy bills? Have you already tried fiddling with your thermostat?  Replacing your light bulbs? Unplugging your appliances and electronics? Are you looking for an alternative to paying a professional several hundred dollars to figure out what’s wrong with your home? You’re in luck. Here’s a list of 5 often overlooked culprits and ways to find out if these issues are sucking the energy from your home and money from your wallet:

  1. Fireplace damper – Warm air from your home is often drawn into the chimney flue, and it can sneak out if you have an ineffective damper.  You can test the damper by closing it and holding a lit candle inside the firebox.  If the flame gets blown out, or close to it, you know air is flowing up the chimney.A chimney sweep can clean your fireplace and replace your damper.

  2. Drafts – Close doors, windows, and fireplace flues and turn off combustion appliances (gas-burning furnace, water heater).  Turn on exhaust fans (usually located in the kitchen and bathrooms), or use a window fan to blow air out of the home.  Light sticks of incense and stand near areas you suspect have drafts.  The smoke from the incense stick will waver or flow in the direction of the air leak.  If you have air leaks around your windows, consider replacing them or winterize them.
  3. Switches and outlets – Behind those light switches and outlets is a gaping hole that, if not properly insulate, allows air to escape.  To check the problem, remove the plate covering the outlet and place a tissue over the opening.  Tape the top edge of the tissue to the wall.  If the bottom half of the tissue blows, you have a sizable leak that needs to be addressed.  You can combat the problem by buying pre-cut foam gasket or an outlet cover at a hardware store.
  4. Ducts – In an average home with forced-air heating and cooling systems, 20-percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks or holes.  To check for leaks, turn on your heating or cooling system fan and feel for any air seeping out from the duct work.  Also, shine a flashlight through the vents to spot disconnected or kinked ducts.  Seal the leaks or holes with mastic or foil tape.  Do NOT use duct tape.  Use foam to seal areas where ducts connect to vents and registers or where they pass through walls and floors.
  5. Attic hatch – You can check to see how much air is escaping through the attic hatch by applying the same incense test you used to look for drafts.  Seal the hatch by installing foam weather stripping on the edges of the opening and then put foam board insulation on the back of the hatch door.  You can also buy a pre-insulated hatch cover kit.

Our home inspection company's history began in 1991 with the establishment of American Home Inspection. Over the course of the following seven years, a home inspection business prototype was developed that could be implemented anywhere in the United States. Our founders believed they had a unique methodology of providing homebuyers and sellers with consistent, professional and unbiased home inspections.

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