Water is vital to the existence of all living things. Catching and storing rainwater has been a survival tactic for thousands of years. What are some benefits of catching rainwater in our day and time? How can we catch rain and use it for our well being? Let’s consider the answers to those questions in this blog post.
Firstly, if you plan on a good amount of rainwater “catch” you’ll need something big enough to store it all in. A rainwater barrel, tarp, water well, or cistern are used by many. Then there are those beautiful rainwater chains and gardens that are becoming very popular. Have a system in place that will allow rain to be diverted from the roof of your home to the select place where you will be storing your rainwater for use.
There are of course a few things to be cautious of. It not likely to happen but disease can sometimes develop in this water if it is left untouched for a period of time. Additionally, as time goes on, the bacteria in the water will die and actually naturally help to purify the water for use. By using rainwater it can reduce the amount of water actually used by the water company. We all love cutting down on costs when possible.
Patience is needed when catching rainwater. It will take some time for the water to fill up your catcher. Hope for rain, although it’s difficult to predict the weather patterns. Just know that having a catcher in place will be a great investment for when the rain does come.
Would you consider your home clean even if it’s cluttered?
While all of us might define cluttered and clean differently, some are very bothered by clutter others not so much. Whatever the case, there are lots of good reasons to live clutter-free. Our everyday life is definitely affected by clutter, and if you are looking to sell your home it will make a big difference if the home is not only clean but clutter-free as well.
A major reason for living clutter-free is so that you can clean your home effectively. This is especially important in areas like the attic and garage where mice, bugs, and other pests can take up dwelling. When your home is clutter-free it’s much easier to find unwanted intruders and clean thoroughly.
Can a clean yet cluttered home make an impact when you are selling your home? Unfortunately, it will have a negative influence. A prospective buyer won’t see the full potential of the home and you may not get the interest you could have received. In addition, a home filled with clutter is not as appealing to the senses. In order to ensure an open house that is successful and draws lots of potential buyers, declutter the home first and then clean it well. You would never want to give the impression that you have no storage room or your home lacks the space for storing things properly.
When you live clutter-free your home can always be impressive to others at any time.
Many times you will see on a TV show like HGTV, or in a news article someone using infrared to find issues. But what do all those red and blue blobs mean exactly? And is thermal imagig something that is important to have done - especially during a home inspection?
The short answer to the second question is yes - thermal imaging is very important during a home inspection. Thermal imaging doesn't see through walls or give anyone x-ray vision. But what it does do is allow its user to see temperature differentials in surfaces.
And that is exactly what those blue and red blobs are on the camera. Blue is typically cooler areas and red is typically hotter (relative to the surface temperatures around it). That may not sound like much at first glance, but this allows a trained user to find electrical issues that can't be seen with the human eye. It makes leaks more apparent - because as the moisture evaporates, it creates "blue blobs" on the IR camera.
These are just a couple of examples of why thermal imaging is important - especially on a home inspection. It is far more complex than that though, so be sure to hire a qualified thermal imaging inspector.
Flashing - we likely hear people talk about it, know that it is important, and know that if we don't have it then we have an issue.
Flashing is typically a thin sheet/strip of water-resistant material (usually metal or plastic) that's installed at key areas of your home to keep water out. Examples of this are roof intersections, penetrations, valleys, and more. It is also used around things like windows and doors, where roofs meet your home's walls, in key areas around stucco, and along foundation walls. All of this so that it can do one essential job: direct water away from the home.
Flashing guides water away from the home in critical areas. Without proper flashing, our homes would be lost to the elements. Knowing this, when hiring a contractor to build or repair a home, be sure to ask about their flashing methods and what materials they will use. Also, be sure to ask your home inspector about the condition of your home's flashing. Because while not always seen, flashing is one of the big "Heros" of your home!
Staying fit and healthy is always on a lot of people’s minds but, having the time to do so can be challenging. Keeping gym equipment at home is a solution for many but, how can you make sure this area of the home does not become a safety concern? We mention this because there are, unfortunately, thousands of injuries reported each year relating to exercise equipment, and a good amount of these are involving children.
Safety tips to keep in mind
It can be so much more enjoyable to exercise while listening to music or watching tv but be cautious about having it so loud that you would not hear someone coming into the room. If it’s possible, position the equipment so that it’s clear to see if anyone enters the room.
Make sure that barbells are safely stored away when not in use and that they are not within reach of children.
Treadmills can cause all sorts of injuries if not used properly. They generally come with a key that attaches to whomever is using it so, be sure to use this safety feature as it will immediately switch the machine off the moment it detects a problem. Keep the safety cord away from a child’s reach and make sure that anyone who uses the equipment is aware of how it operates.
We are well aware of how challenging it is for a child to not go near things that look like so much fun to play with. When not in use, keep all gym equipment in its locked position and unplug it so that a child does not accidentally turn it on. If you are able, lock the room when you are not using it.
Whenever you work with power tools, it is very important that you use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). PPE is used as a collective term for devices that you wear to protect yourself from injury. This could be earplugs, safety glasses, gloves, boots or similar items.
So what do you need to think of when using these? Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Many people talk about finding renewable energy sources these days. This could be something you are thinking about, especially if you are about to build your own home. There are a few options to choose from but one of the most common is solar energy. But, how can you know if it is a good choice for you? Some questions to ask yourself are: Does solar energy create any kind of environmental impact? Will it save me money? And, is it costly to install? Let’s briefly consider these points.
Solar panels are a very good option environmentally as they use the sun as their energy source, which means they are not depleting much needed energy sources on the earth. They do not create any noise pollution because they require no moving parts to operate. However, the manufacturing of solar paneling does have some impact environmentally, as does many other options.
Are solar panels expensive to run? While you will find the installation of solar panels to be expensive, the long-term savings will make up for it. Some people are even able to make money by selling the surplus energy they generate back to the power company. They can do this with the use of net metering.
Although we have only briefly covered these points, its clear to see that there are many advantages to using solar energy. This might not be the best option for everyone though, so take the time to research solar energy and whether this will work for you.
When might it be time to replace your roof? This depends on the age and type of material used, but since it is a major investment, it is wise to have your roof inspected to ascertain the state it is in, and how likely you are to have a large expense in the future. The decision you might need to make is whether to replace it or repair it.
This decision should not be taken lightly. Even though it might be tempting to just get a quick and easy fix and patch your roof where it is needed, the yearly repair bills might add up to a greater cost over a longer period than it would cost to re-roof. Additionally, when repairs fail or aren’t done properly, damage can occur to the underlying structure.
With a proper inspection in conjunction with an estimate from a trusted roofing company, you can make an informed decision.
Landscaping around a home is usually designed to be both pleasing to the eye and a relaxing space to be surrounded by but, could it be more than that? Can it be designed in such a way that it also helps with the home’s energy costs? How is that possible you may ask? Well, this is done by landscape shading. Landscape shading is where trees and shrubs are positioned in specific locations so that they provide shade to areas of the home that see the most sun. This is a method that has been shown to reduce a home’s indoor temperatures by as much as 9 degrees.
To make a success of landscape shading it needs to be planned out extremely well. Its important that trees are planted in just the right place so that they cast shade on the home at the time it is required most. Another factor to have in mind is the type of trees you use. You will get more shade the denser the tree. You will also want to consider if you wish to benefit from the sun’s warmth on the home during the winter months, if so, make sure you select deciduous trees which will provide full shade during summer but lose their leaves during winter.
You may also want to think about the rate that trees grow, if you are looking for quick results, why not choose vines instead? You can grow them to wrap around a fence or trellis positioned in the area you would like shade. Shrubs are a good option for areas like pathways or driveways.
So, as we can see, the smart use of landscape design can not only look beautiful but can also work for you by helping to cut down on the home’s energy costs.
The home should be a safe place of relaxation but, sad to say, many injuries are reported each year from accidents that take place within the home. Tip-over accidents are one danger present in a home, with children being most at risk. Let’s look at some of the causes of this and ways to prevent it.
Most new furniture items come with safe assembly guidelines and must adhere to strict safety standards, however, if the consumer does not follow these guidelines, the item they purchase could become very unsafe. For example, if you purchase a bookshelf or dresser, etc. it should be fixed to a wall using straps or L brackets. This will ensure that the item cannot tip over easily and cause injury.
In general, if a child sees something it wants, it will go to great lengths to obtain it. This might involve climbing on furniture items to do so. While it’s good to keep items you don’t want a child to have out of reach, it’s also a good idea to keep them out of sight to eliminate the temptation.
When shopping around for furniture, choose pieces that are sturdy with a wider base, this will minimize their risk of tipping. Store heavy items in lower drawers and shelving which will also increase their sturdiness.
One household item that can easily tip over is the television. If it’s not attached to a wall, keep the television on a low-lying stand or unit and make sure all electrical cables are well out of the way of children.
These are just some of the safety measures you can take to keep your home safe.
Mike McFadden, Certified Master Home Inspector in Orlando, FL