One of the most attractive advantages of being a home owner is that, as we live, love and play each day, our home’s value appreciates. “Appreciation” is the best reason for buying a home and staying put – it’s money in the bank each year.
Home improvements add even more to our home’s value, as well as increasing our comfort level and our over-all feeling of satisfaction and pride in our home.
Among all home improvements, replacing or updating windows brings major rewards: utility bills drop, Dad’s recliner by the big picture window is actually a cozy and warm spot, and when you do sell your home, nothing impresses a buyer more than the lure of good windows.
What are double-glazed windows?
Double-glazed windows consist of two panes of glass separated by a layer of air, or inert gas, and then sealed. The glass and the air act as insulators. In addition to two layers of glass, and the sealed air pocket, the exterior layer of glass, the one that faces the interior of the room, has a specially coated surface. This coated surface reradiates or reflects heat in cold months, as well as reducing some heat gain during hot weather.
Why are some double-glazed windows better than others?
Double-glazed windows with an inert gas between them (usually Argon) are considered a better insulator than just the sealed pocket of air. Gases have a higher density level than air, allowing less heat to escape, or less cold to enter.
The choice of glazing film makes a compelling difference. No matter your climate, new technologies of low emissivity (low-e) films can further reduce energy losses by about 25 to 50 percent. The interior of your home can benefit from a reduction of fabric-fading UV rays, as well as reduced condensation resulting from warmer interior window surfaces.
What are storm windows?
A storm window is a separate window that is removed and stored at the end of the season. The storm window is purchased either as an outside window attaching to the exterior existing window frame, or as an interior storm window, installed from the inside of the house. Storm windows are generally made of glass, plastic, or plastic sheets. Plastic options are Plexiglas, acrylic or polyethylene, all of which are generally less expensive than glass. While glass offers more clarity, it is also more fragile. Plastics are lighter but less durable than glass and are susceptible to scratching and yellowing.
When are storm windows a good option?
Storm windows are feasible when cost is the determining factor. According to the U. S. Department of Energy, storm windows are not a good insulating factor, but they do significantly reduce air leakage.
Which is best: Interior or Exterior Storm Windows?
Interior storm windows are easily cleaned and removed from the comfort of inside your home. Exterior storm windows must be very sturdy, and able to resist the elements of your climate. Interior storm windows have no outdoor exposure so there is less maintenance and less need for durability.
The interior storm window works by preventing the air, in your already cozy room, from exiting out the window. The exterior storm window prevents the outside air from penetrating the exterior window and entering your cozy room.
Interior storm windows usually utilize weatherstripping to create a superior seal. Exterior storm windows cannot use weatherstripping as it absorbs and traps moisture from the outside elements. Exteriors use a tiny “weep hole” to allow moisture to escape, which may slightly compromise the efficiency of the exterior storm window.
Both double-glazed and storm windows will add a measure of security to your home environment. Each additional layer of glass or plastic is a disruption for an intruder. Add home security to the increased “coziness” factor” and the importance of reduced energy bills, and the need to update single-paned windows becomes clear.
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Home renovation or remodeling is rarely a small undertaking. As a homeowner, you’ll be counting the cost in dollars and in disrupted living and inconvenience. One of your biggest considerations should be the return on investment (ROI) of any upgrade. But the reality of remodeling is that despite the chaos, at the end of the day, it will add to your family’s quality of life and increase the value of your home.
Remodeling is a big undertaking, so it’s best you pick the upgrades that are going to give your home the best resale value possible. Knowing that the project will be adding to your home’s value takes some of the sting out of the costs.
Probably the two best home improvement projects to make your home most attractive to buyers are renovating your kitchen or bathroom. After structural soundness, buyers consider these two rooms to be the most important factors in buying a home.
The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in your house, and a bathroom upgrade is a great choice for a home improvement project. Bathroom renovations give some of the highest resale profits.
These are some of the most popular bathroom upgrades that can greatly add to a home’s appeal:
Bathroom upgrades run the gamut from relatively easy projects you can tackle yourself, all the way to full-blown renovations where you’ll need to hire a professional.
Kitchens deserve to be front and center in your remodeling plans. After all, the family kitchen is the room most used by everyone. It truly is the heart of the home.
The most cost-effective kitchen fix is what the experts call a minor remodel. This gives an older kitchen a whole new look with cabinet refacing, up-to-date countertops, and the latest in energy-friendly appliances.
Whether to do major remodels versus minor remodels is a decision only you will be able to make. Guidelines for financial considerations depend on the size of your project, with HomeAdvisor putting the average price of a kitchen remodel at $10,640 - $28,986. The timeline for this project is two to three weeks.
Most people have personal reasons for tackling a renovation. Long before the financial considerations kick in, you will have some unique renovations you want to make, so you’ll be willing to endure the dust and turmoil of a remodeling project.
It’s important to consider if you will be remodeling for your own use. In this case, you should be planning accordingly for the upgrades you will personally enjoy.
On the other hand, if the property is going to be listed on the market shortly and you are intending that the renovation will bump up the home’s value, a different set of parameters apply. The upgrades that you undertake should be popular improvements that will add to the home’s appeal.
This is your home and castle. If you’re not planning to sell in the immediate future, timely upgrades will greatly enhance your day-to-day enjoyment. If you are planning a move soon, a home renovation project becomes a creative endeavor that can boost your bottom line.
A lot of people who have automatic dishwashers don't use them, but they might save money on water and electricity if they did.
Even though 68 percent of homeowners own dishwashers, about 20 percent use them less than once a week, suggesting people are hand washing dishes.
Many reasons could account for this, but one of them should not be cost. Dishwashing by hand uses 3.5 times more water than a modern dishwasher and three times as much electricity, according to a 2011 study by the University of Bonn.
Appliance maker Bosch says more than 40 percent of families argue about the proper way to load a dishwasher.
About 60 percent agree about whether to pre-rinse. Nearly 39 percent of the arguers say they disagree on whether knives should point up or down, while 30 percent argue about where plastic containers should go.
General Electric Co. has defined three main types of dishwasher loaders:
Dishwasher manufacturers and home style maven Martha Stewart agree on some basics for the right way to load a dishwasher:
According to home expert Martha Stewart, the following items should never be put in the dishwasher: Acrylics and plastics, aluminum, antiques, blown glass, bronze, cast iron, china with metallic decoration, crystal, any item with bone or wood inlays, gold-plated flatware, iron, knives (they get dull), nonstick pans, milk glass, pewter, rubber tools, tins, wooden spoons.
Is pre-rinsing really necessary?
Doesn't everyone pre-rinse dishes?
Maybe they do, but they don't have to, according to soap and dishwasher manufacturers.
Except for removing large particles of food, pre-rinsing can actually hinder dishwasher cleaning, says the makers of Cascade. Enzymes in Cascade are designed to attach to food particles. Without particles, they have nothing to attach to, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Dishwashers made by Whirlpool have 'TargetClean' options in which sensors detect soil on dishes. Jet sprays focus on those casserole dishes and power off baked on food.
The Samsung Zone Booster setting puts more water pressure on one side where especially dirty dishes are stacked.
Recently we at Infinity Home Inspections inspected 9 houses in a 3 day period and found 7 Houses of the 9 had Mold!
That's Incredible, 7 out of 9 houses had Mold, think about that number for a moment. It's a high ratio.
What is Mold?
If you suspect there is Mold in your home, stay clear of it and call someone to do an Inspection to determine if you have Mold and how to rectify the situation. Mold can be toxic and cause allergic reactions, everyone has a different reaction to Mold.
Sealing gaps around doors and windows can make your home feel warmer—and save you 10 to 15 percent on your energy bills. But with so many different types of weatherstripping lining shelves at the hardware store, choosing the right one for a particular job can feel like a guessing game. To help, we've broken down the most common options by material and profile so that you'll know just what to install to chase away the chill.
V strip, also known as tension seal, is a durable plastic or metal strip folded into a 'V' shape that springs open to bridge gaps.
Where It Goes-
Along the sides of a double-hung or sliding window; on the top and sides of a door.
How to Install It-
Cut to desired length with scissors, then peel and stick, or install with finishing nails.
Felt is sold in rolls, either plain or reinforced with a pliable metal strip. Though inexpensive, it usually lasts only a year or two.
Where It Goes
Around a door or window sash; in the door's jamb so that it compresses against the door.
How to Install It
Cut to desired length with a utility knife, then staple or nail in place.
Door sweeps are flat pieces of plastic, aluminum, or stainless steel fitted with a strip of nylon, plastic, or vinyl or a sponge brush to fill the space between door and threshold.
Where It Goes
Along the bottom of the interior side of a door.
How to Install It
Cut to your door's width if needed, and install with screws.
TUBULAR RUBBER, VINYL, OR SILICONE
Tubular rubber, vinyl, or silicone is an effective air barrier; versions made of a narrow sponge rubber or vinyl tubing come attached to a wood or metal mounting strip. Silicone types are usually inserted into milled grooves.
Where It Goes
At the base of doors and windows; top or bottom of a window sash; bottom of a door; between a door and its jamb.
How to Install It
Peel and stick, or fasten with screws through slot holes; silicone seals are pressed into a channel you create with a router.
How do you know if your weatherstripping is insufficient?
Typically you wont know, but Hire a Home Inspector with Infinity Home Inspections and have them perform an Annual Home Inspection, low cost Inspection that identifies where your Home needs Improvement. Call them at (786) 400-0570
Your homes attic stores a lot of important features that benefit your home and your wallet. Hurricane straps help reduce potential hurricane roof damage and give you a nice discount on your homeowners insurance, Plumbing stacks run through your attic as well. Your homes insulation is typically located in your attic as well.
Do you know if your home even has Insulation? Is it enough Insulation? Can there be too much Insulation?
An Annual Home Inspection from Infinity Home Inspections can help you answer all these questions.
What does it mean if you do not have enough Insulation?
Adding insulation increases energy efficiencyAdding insulation to your home can reduce heating and cooling costs. Homes built after 1982 are required to have R-19 insulation. However, if your home was built before 1982, you may benefit from adding insulation. Installing additional insulation:
*image property of www.zillow.com
Water leaking from your toilet tank will not only cost you money when it comes to your utility bill, but it can also cause water damage to your bathroom floor and premature wear of your toilet's internal workings. To find out whether your toilet tank is leaking, add some red food coloring to the water in the tank. Come back in about an hour and see if the water in the bowl is pink. If it is, you have a leak.
If you find that your toilet is leaking from the tank to the bowl, the flapper needs to be replaced. To change your toilet's flapper, first shut off the water supply to your toilet. To do this, simply turn the water valve located directly behind the toilet. Remove the tank lid and flush the toilet in order to empty the tank. Use a towel or sponge to mop out any excess water left in the tank. Remove the flush chain from the lever, and then slide the old flapper up off the overflow tube. Slide the new flapper in place over the overflow tube, reconnect the chain, and turn the water supply back on.
An Annual Home Inspection can help identify this and many other issues that are costing you money. Infinity Home Inspections offers Annual Home Inspections.
image courtesy of: www.plumbingsupply.com
Here's a question: when can a $2.00 battery make the difference between life and death for you and your family? Here's the answer: when that battery powers your home's smoke detector. This is especially true during the winter, which is when most house fires occur according to the Red Cross. So right now is the best possible time to make sure your detectors are in good working order - or to install them, if your home lacks this essential protection. Anything less could lead to tragedy. Let's shed a little light on this topic and see what we can learn.
Some Alarming Statistics
House fires receive only a fraction of the media attention paid to disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes. That's unfortunate when you consider these troubling facts:
● More than 90% of the 70,000+ calamities to which the Red Cross responds each year are fire-related.
● The financial loss caused by house fires averages more than $17,000.00.
● The most likely victims of a residential blaze are seniors and children, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Fire is an insidious foe that preys on society's most vulnerable members.
● 74% of fatal fires occur in homes with no working smoke detectors. This leads to our next subject.
Smoke Alarms are Cheap, Effective Insurance
Basic detectors cost around $15.00, putting them within the financial means of almost any US household. Advanced models offer premium features like unit-to-unit communication and ease of testing. But even the most affordable units are better than nothing at all. So invest in these affordable, effective products today, before your home goes up in smoke.
How Often to Check Your Smoke Detectors
You should test your detectors once a month. You'll find instructions for doing so in the owner's manual, which you should keep with your other important papers. In most cases, the test involves pressing a button on the unit for a few seconds. It will sound an alarm indicating the unit is in good working order, after which you can end the test. You should change out the batteries whenever it's time to move your clocks forward or back in spring and fall, unless the directions say otherwise.
Some smoke detectors make a special chirping or buzzing sound when the battery weakens. Replace the cell as soon as possible with a fresh alkaline unit if you hear this noise.
Know What to Do, Just In Case the Worst Occurs
Your family should have a plan for exiting your home if a fire breaks out. Make sure each member of your household knows the procedure. Practice evacuating your residence from time to time.
Checking your smoke detectors is but one step you should take to protect your possessions and your family during fall of the year. Here are some added steps to perform while you're focused on prepping for winter:
● Check your carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries with fresh cells.
● Make sure your pipes are insulated to prevent freezing and bursting.
● Inspect your chimney for signs of wear or damage.You should have a pro clean your chimney at least once each two years, more often if it sees frequent use.
● Check your driveway and walkways for cracks that could become trip hazards in freezing weather. Fill these gaps with polyurethane compounds meant for this purpose.
Summer is behind us and winter is almost here. Get ready for it now by checking your smoke detectors and taking the other measures outlined in this post. You'll thank yourself for your diligence down the road, when you look back on the season with fond memories and not lasting regrets.
Infinity Home inspections is Miami, FL's most trusted home inspection company that is a team of certified home inspectors. When someone needs to hire a local home inspector for 4 Point inspection or Wind Mitigation inspection, etc., then we are their best option that they can count on. Our services can be accessed or hired, 24 hours a day, every day, because we work round-the-clock to help our clients decide whether or not they should be investing on a particular home or property.
Certified Home Inspection Services in Miami, FL and surrounding South Florida
Our home inspections in Miami, FL are recognized to be the best services with an extensive portfolio of the clients who regularly hire our house inspections. We are providing certified home inspections and some of our inspection services include pre market inspection, pre closing inspection, and pre listing inspection, etc. So, if you have been looking around for any such services in the area, then you can call us to experience the best services at the lowest rates.
Experienced and Certified Home Inspectors
Do you need to hire a certified home inspector in Miami, FL to make sure that whether or not you are going to hire the right house? If so, then we will provide you the help of an experienced and certified home inspector. Our home inspectors well trained and highly qualified professionals that can handle this job with perfection.
At Infinity Home inspections, we are using state-of-the-art technology that empowers us to perform the exceptional job. We know that nothing great is possible without the use of high end technology, if we want to ensure the greatest services to the clients, in order to lead the industry as a reliable company. So, you will experience the best home inspection services from us, whenever you need it. (786) 400-0570
For simplicity shutters, windows, and doors that have been proven to resist the impact from large windborne debris (defined by the test standards as a 9-pound 2x4 lumber missile striking end on at 34 mph) are referred to as impact rated products. Just because you live in an area where the building code requires windborne debris protection and you buy a new shutter, window, or door does NOT mean it is impact rated. It has to be a product that has passed the testing required by the debris impact test standard and it must be properly installed. Each product that is approved for installation on homes in the State of Florida will have a Product Approval that includes installation requirements. If your shutters, windows, or doors are impact rated products with a Florida product approval appropriate for your area (more about that in the next paragraph) and they have been installed according to the manufacturer’s installation requirements, then you know that they comply with the minimum requirements of the building code for your area. You are not relying on word of mouth or a salesman’s pitch.
If you live in Miami-Dade or Broward counties (High Velocity Hurricane Zone, (HVHZ)) your new shutters, windows, or doors have to meet (have a product approval indicating it meets) the 1st standard listed below. If you live elsewhere in Florida your new shutters, windows, or doors have to meet the 1st or 2nd standards listed below. This is what the building department will check when you or your contractor applies for a building permit prior to installation and what a building inspector will verify was installed. The building inspector will also inspect to ensure that the product was installed in compliance with the requirements of the product approval (the manufacturer’s installation requirements) when he inspects after installation. Specifics of installation requirements may well vary according to the wind zone and exposure category that are dependent on the geographical location of your house.
Shutter and Awning systems have been in use for over 200 years. They can be designed to provide protection from wind and water, increase security, block solar heat from the sun, increase privacy, and some are designed for purely decorative use. Here we focus on their impact resistance and the test standards that have been developed in the last 20 years to assess their ability to provide protection from windborne debris. Shutter systems may also provide some additional protection from water damage. However, this is not their primary purpose nor are they tested in any way to determine a specific level of water penetration protection. Impact resistant shutter systems are designed to protect the openings in a house from the type of failure that will lead to a huge increase in internal pressure in the house and reduce the likelihood of hurricane propelled flying debris from entering through the openings.
All houses leak air around windows and doors, and a myriad of other gaps and cracks. Since the roof and three of the four walls typically see negative or outward acting pressures as the wind blows at and around a house, normal leakage results in the internal pressure being slightly negative, which would tend to help hold the roof down and the side and back walls from being pulled outward. If an opening is created on the windward side of the house that is large enough to allow enough wind flow into the house to overcome the leaks through all of the other walls and roof (attic), then the pressure that would have occurred at that opening builds up in the house, much like someone blowing up a balloon. That pressure buildup works to try and push the roof up and the side and back walls outward, in the same direction as the forces caused by the wind blowing around the house. In some cases, this internal pressure can double the uplift on the roof or the outward forces on the side and rear walls. Research has shown that the internal pressure begins to build up when the opening on the windward face reaches about 1% of the area of the wall and the internal pressure completely follows the pressure that would have occurred at the opening when the area of the opening reaches about 4% of the area of the wall. By protecting the openings from the kind of failure that can lead to internal pressurization and the reduction in the chances of debris entering your house, shutters significantly decrease the chances that the house will be pulled and pushed apart by the wind and they provide increased safety for occupants sheltered inside. This is the primary function of an impact resistant shutter system. The impact resistant testing standards are designed to establish the shutter’s ability to meet the minimum level of protection as defined in building codes for Windborne Debris Areas of the country.
Test Standards: National model building codes, such as the International Residential Code, define the Windborne Debris Areas as areas in hurricane prone regions where the design wind speed is greater than or equal to 120 mph and areas within 1 mile of the coast in hurricane prone regions where the design wind speed is greater than or equal to 110 mph. These design wind speeds and the resulting map for Florida (see Priorities and Incentives) are defined as 3-second gust wind speeds occurring at a height of 33 feet (10 meters) above the ground at an open location like an airport.
Impact rated residential doors and windows or the protective systems for doors and windows are tested to determine their ability to resist the impact of large wind borne debris (missiles) by shooting 2x4s of specified lengths and weights against them at specific speeds. Several different groups have developed engineering standards that establish missile sizes, test methods and acceptance criteria for the tests. For houses, the typical large missile test consists of a 9-pound 2x4 piece of lumber impacting the shutter or product end on at 34 mph.
The referenced standards for opening protection in hurricane windborne debris area are listed below with numbers so that they can be referred to more briefly later.
By now it is probably clear that the performance requirements for Miami-Dade are higher than for the rest of Florida. For some products there is no cost premium for meeting the higher performance requirements of Miami-Dade or Broward Counties. If there is a difference in price you may want to weigh the advantages vs. cost of meeting the higher performance standard.
This information is property of
Certified Home Inspector.