Winter Maintenance

Posted by on Jan 4, 2011 in General, Safety, Seasonal | 0 comments

Winter is a quite time and your home requires very little maintenance, however there is always a few things to do.  Here are some tips. Your furnace is running a lot these days so the filter gets dirty quickly.  Clean or replace it monthly, this helps the furnace circulate warm air throughout your home and saves you valuable energy dollars. Drain a bucket or two of water from the clean out valve at the bottom of your hot water tank, you may have to consult your owners manual.  This will control sediment and maintain efficiency, saving you more energy dollars. Clean your humidifier two or three times during the winter and monitor your moisture levels.  You can find more information about humidity on my website by following this link   http://jbrinspections.com/?p=79 Vacuum your bathroom fan grills. Vacuum radiator grills on the back of refrigerators and freezers and the drip trays. Vacuum your smoke detectors, dust and spider webs can prevent them from functioning.  Test them with smoke. Check your fire extinguishers and recharge them if necessary Check fire escape routes and egress points, are your basement windows free of snow buildup?   This is also a good time to review your home for fire prevention.  This is a good resource http://www.cmhc.ca/en/ab/cayoho/cayoho_003.cfm Poor some water down your floor drain to keep the trap full and run the water on any seldom used sinks or tubs. Examine doors and windows for ice build up or cold air leaks.  Make a note to repair any concerns in the spring. Check for ice damming and look in the attic for frost build up.  If you find these conditions occurring this is an indication of poor ventilation or poor insulation.  CMHC has a great resource about identifying and preventing ice dams. http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/grho/moaiprre/moaiprre_009.cfm Check your plugs and outlets for wear.  Inspect your power cords.  If they are wearing out replace them immediately. Taking care of these items on a regular basis keeps you safe, increases the life of your home’s components and ultimately saves you money!  Do you want to save more money in the future while making your home more comfortable to live in?  Call us to complete a thorough energy audit in your home and we can help you make a plan to improve your homes energy...

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10 Easy Ways to Save Energy in Your Home

Posted by on Oct 22, 2010 in General, home improvement | 0 comments

Most people don’t know how easy it is to make their homes run on less energy, we want to change that. Drastic reductions in heating, cooling and electricity costs can be accomplished through very simple changes, most of which homeowners can do themselves. Why make your home more energy efficient? Here are a few good reasons: It saves money. It costs less to power a home that has been converted to be more energy-efficient. It increases indoor comfort levels. It reduces our impact on climate change. Many scientists now believe that excessive energy consumption contributes significantly to global warming. It reduces pollution. Conventional power production introduces pollutants that find their way into the air, soil and water supplies. 1. Find better ways to heat and cool your house.  As much as half of the energy used in homes goes toward heating and cooling. The following are a few ways that energy bills can be reduced through adjustments to the heating and cooling systems: Install a ceiling fan. Ceiling fans can be used in place of air conditioners, which require a large amount of energy. Periodically replace air filters in air conditioners and heaters. Set thermostats to an appropriate temperature. Specifically, they should be turned down at night and when no one is home. In most homes, about 2% of the heating bill will be saved for each degree that the thermostat is lowered for at least eight hours each day. Turning down the thermostat from 75° F to 70°F (25° C to 21°C), for example, saves about 10% on heating costs. Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat saves money by allowing heating and cooling appliances to be automatically turned down during times that no one is home and at night. Programmable thermostats contain no mercury and, in some climate zones, can save up to $150 per year in energy costs. Install a wood stove or a pellet stove. These are more efficient sources of heat than furnaces. At night, curtains drawn over windows will better insulate the room. 2. Install a tankless water heater. Demand water heaters (tankless or instantaneous) provide hot water only as it is needed. They don’t produce the standby energy losses associated with storage water heaters, which will save on energy costs. Demand water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. Therefore, they avoid the standby heat losses required by traditional storage water heaters. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. Either a gas burner or an electric element heats the water. As a result, demand water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water. You don’t need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water. 3. Replace incandescent lights. The average household dedicates 11% of its energy budget to lighting. Traditional incandescent lights convert approximately only 10% of the energy they consume into light, while the rest becomes heat. The use of new lighting technologies, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), can reduce energy use required by lighting by 50% to 75%. Advances in lighting controls offer further energy savings by reducing the amount of time lights are on but not being used. Here are some facts about CFLs and LEDs: CFLs use 75% less energy and last about 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. LEDs last even longer than CFLs and consume less energy. LEDs have no moving parts and, unlike CFLs, they contain no mercury. 4. Seal and insulate your home. Sealing and insulating your home is one of the most cost-effective ways to make a home more comfortable and...

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When should you get an inspection?

Posted by on Aug 16, 2010 in General | 0 comments

When should you get an inspection? Most home inspections are done when a purchaser is purchasing a home from a previous owner.  There are many other times you may want to get a home inspected. Are you building a home?  Most builders are very good, however even the best builder can make mistakes.  They use many trades.  A third party inspection will document any deficiencies so you have a record to refer back to as these deficiencies are completed. Is your warranty almost up?  An inspector will see problems that a home owner may not. Have you been living in your home for a number of years?  It may be time to do some upgrades.  An inspector can let you know what systems in your house may be in need of attention so you can plan for future repairs. Have you had a leak or a flood? Does anyone in your home suffer from Asthma or other respiratory problems?  Is your house damp and musty smelling?  These are reasons to suspect mold in your home.  We can inspect for that as...

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Gutters and Downspouts

Posted by on May 27, 2010 in General | 0 comments

One of the most common things I find when inspecting a home is the proper use and maintenance of the gutters and downspouts.  These systems are designed to keep water away from the foundation of your home.  By extending the downspouts 6 feet or more away from your home you prevent water from saturating the soil next to the foundation.   Water next to the foundation will expand and contract during the freeze and thaw cycles of winter, putting undue stress on the foundation of your home.  A damaged foundation is one of the most expensive repairs you will encounter on a home.   Given the relatively low cost of replacing and maintaining your gutters and downspouts I am surprised how many home owners neglect this key component of their home. One other point I would like to make, most modern homes have downspouts that easily lift up out of the way and lock in place.  This feature should be used only to move the downspouts out of the way to do lawn or yard maintenance.  Once you have completed the tasks at hand, replace the downspouts in the down position ready to do their job during the next rain storm.  I have yet to meet someone who runs outside at the first sign of rain to “put down” the...

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