Monday, March 26, 2012

Make Hay While the Sun Shines

Make Hay While the Sun Shines

In Florida, spring is already in the air.  Time to get outdoors and weed the gardens, rake and clean up the yard.  Now is a great time to check to be sure your house is ready for the rainy season.  As long as you’re outside anyway, let’s have a look around:  
  • Service the AC unit before the season.  Restricted airflow makes the system work harder and costs you money every time it comes on.  Your comfort is important. Efficient operation help ensure you are comfortable.  Some things you can do yourself  such as replace or clean the filters, and make sure nothing is blocking the airflow to the outdoor compressor. Some things should be left to the pros, like AC service from my friends at Climate Design
  • Clean the roof, gutters, downspouts and splash blocks. Leaves and debris left on the roof can cause decay of the shingle and the waterproof membranes, resulting in leaks. Remove the leaves from the valleys on the roof, then clean out the gutters, proceed to the downspouts if they are clogged, and make sure the water can run away from the downspouts without backing up towards the foundation.   A leaf blower works great for this, but BE CAREFUL on the roof! If you’re not comfortable with heights, or wearing bad shoes; DON’T DO IT!
  • Clean windows and door frames.  A squeegee and sponge is very effective for cleaning glass.  Mix a good squirt of dish soap with 8 oz. of vinegar in a bucket with warm water.   Wring the sponge out, then wash the window with the sponge.  Squeegee off the suds and debris, while avoiding lifting the squeegee off the glass.  Vacuum or wipe the debris from the window tracks, and lubricate the moving tracks with a little silicon spray lube.
  • Caulk windowsills, doorsills, and thresholds: Fill cracks, caulk edges, repaint or replace if necessary.  Check the caulk seal at every window and door to ensure they are intact.  If they require service, carefully dig out the old caulk as best as possible.   Replace with a high quality outdoor rated silicon caulk.
  • Trim trees.  Any branches overhanging the house can cause damage during a storm, and should be trimmed back.  Be sure to hire an experienced arborist that knows how to properly trim trees without damaging them.
  • Check roof eaves and soffits for loose vents, or damage.  Make sure the vents are open to the attic so fresh air can get into the attic.  If they require repainting, use care to not clog up these vents.  The attic and the house can quickly overheat if the soffit vents are clogged.  The Air conditioner (and your electric bill) will be taxed trying to keep the house cool with excess heat trapped in the attic.
  • Check walls for cracks and peeling or flaking paint.  You may have to plan to seal & paint the house.
  • Secure or store any loose outdoor materials (such as firewood under a tarp)
A little clean up and maintenance now, in the spring, can go a long way to save you money and help your house last through the tough rainy season coming.  The official opening day of Hurricane Season is June 1st.   The old saying;  “Make hay while the sun shines,” makes a lot of sense to take care of your house.

I’m Terry, your Commendable Home Inspector.

We Offer Home Inspection services in the area around Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs and New Port Richey, Florida.

Visit our Website to schedule your inspection!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Homes don’t “Fail” an Inspection

The idea of a home inspection is not to “pass” or “fail” a house, but rather to give the customer an idea of the conditions of the major systems in the house and how well these system may perform in the near term, or budget planning if a component may require replacement. The major systems include the shell components such as the roof, walls, windows, and doors. The grounds, swimming pools, any other various exterior components are examined. The heating and cooling systems are assessed along with the electrical and plumbing components. The built in appliances are tested.   This is all to help determine the expected life of household systems or if any systems are in danger of imminent failure based on performance or age.
In the case of a buyer,  the expected life of component systems and home quality information are critical to avoid a hidden, very expensive surprise just after spending so much money on the purchase.  The shock and disappointment of discovering that you need a new $6000 Air Conditioner after you just spent all your savings on a down payment is sadly disheartening, and could potentially lead to financial disaster.  This is the protection that a Home inspection offers.  This is the “Peace of Mind” that we refer to often in my brochures and literature.  A Commendable Inspection gives you “Peace of Mind” with the reassurance of knowing what your real costs may be.
One of the ways we do this is by examining how well the property has been maintained. If the windows are caulked every few years, it’s much less likely to have window leaks.  Clean filters and coils on the AC system mean the fans don’t work so hard to keep the air flowing summer and winter.  Timely maintenance is a mantra I’ll repeat over and over because it’s true. We’ll be exploring maintenance issues and the “how-to” of maintenance here in the blog and on our Facebook site with a series of videos.  Hope you’ll subscribe to my musings. 
I’m Terry, your Commendable Home Inspector.
We Offer Home Inspection services in the area around Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs and New Port Richey, Florida.

Visit our Website to schedule your inspection