Affordable Home Winterization Tips

Affordable Home Winterization Tips

Looking for ways to cut your heating bills while on a budget? Aurora Home Inspections has 5 helpful tips to offer to help you keep your home warmer and put a few dollars back in your pocket.

Home Energy Savings Tips

1. Make a Draft Snake.

Struggling with a drafty home? There is a very simple and very affordable solution. All you need is a fabric pouch, or a towel and some sand. Fill the pouch, or roll the towel with sand and place it along the foot of the door. It will keep the warm air in and the cold air out.

2. Bubble Wrap The Windows

It may look a bit strange but bubble wrap makes terrific window insulation. Wrapping your windows with bubble wrap will save you a tremendous amount on your heating bills.

3. Redirect Your Ceiling Fans

This is the simplest trick of them all, yet so many people don’t do it. Changing the direction of your ceiling fan in the winter will add warmth to the home, since the clockwise rotation will push the rising warm air down. Doing this alone could cut your heating bills by 10%.

4. Program Your Thermostat

Don’t waste heat when no one is home, or while you are sleeping wrapped up in blankets. Turning the heat down to 50-55 degrees can take your heating costs down as much as 10%. Upgrading to a programmable thermostat will allow you to accomplish this everyday without ever having to think about it.

5. Lower the Water Heater Temp

Have you ever adjusted the default setting on your hot water heater? Most people never do. A typical water heater will have the temperature set at 140 degrees. However, setting the water heater at 120 degrees instead will yield an additional 6-10% on heating costs and will still be a very comfortable water temperature.

 

Just doing these 5 simple affordable home winterization tips will create a significant amount of energy savings and efficiency in your home.

 

For more home winterization tips see:

Winterization Ideas To Keep Your Home Safe This Winter

Winterization Ideas To Keep Your Home Safe This Winter

Winterization Ideas To Keep Your Home Safe This Winter| Aurora Home  Inspections Bergen County NJ

Winter weather has already made some appearances in NY and NJ this year and soon will be here full time. If you have not completed your home winterization projects yet, now is the time! Don’t wait until it’s too late, and you are left in the cold. Aurora Home Inspections wants you and your family to stay safe and warm this winter. Here are a few last minute winterization ideas to keep your home safe this winter.

Have You Had Your Furnace Serviced Yet?

Before we get into any deep freezes this year, make sure you get your furnace serviced. If you wait too long, you could end up with no heat on some very cold nights. Too many people wait until the last minute, and by that time, you may have to wait a long time for an available plumber. In NY and NJ, we’ve already had some very frosty nights. Soon, that will be the story every night. Aurora Home Inspections urges you to have your furnace serviced before winter sets in.

There are also a few signs you should be on the look out for in case your heat is not working properly.

  • Check if your heater is short cycling, or not coming on at all when it is supposed to.
  • Is there any odor when the heat kicks on? It could be some gas not burning right.
  • Check your furnace cap for damage. Sometimes hail and other inclement weather can cause damage to the cap.
  • Check the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector and make sure you have one on each floor.

Last Minute Winterization

While you are waiting for a professional to look at your furnace, this is the perfect time to start disconnecting and draining water hoses and checking and changing all your filters in the home. It’s also a great time to look around the outside of your home and check on winterization projects you may have missed.

Home Energy Savings Tips

There are several small tweaks and projects around the house that are big energy savers. Just doing a few of these simple things will save you money and add tremendous energy efficiency to your home. Check out these blogs for more tips.

5 Home Energy Savings Tips You Can Do Right Now

Home Energy Savings Tips | NJ Home Inspections

Following a few easy steps will offer you a reduction in your energy bills and an major increase in your energy efficiency. Here are 5 home energy savings tips you can do right now.

Home Energy Savings Tips

Save More Energy With New Storm Windows

Storm windows are not new to the market, but lately they have been getting some major improvements. They are now made to be used year round, able to be opened and closed. There are new coatings on many brands as well called low-emissivity coatings, which help to cut heat loss even further. You will get the biggest payback from these windows if you use them over single-pane windows. You don’t want to use them over aluminum windows since heat build up between the two can damage the aluminum.

Air Tight Fireplace Doors Will Seal The Heat In

If you have a wood burning fireplace, upgrade your doors to an airtight model. Airtight fireplace doors will help keep the heat in your house, and prevent it from escaping up the chimney. If you have an older model fireplace that relies on room air for combustion, then upgrade to a door with operable vents. Make sure to keep the vents open only when you have a fire going. Otherwise, heat will constantly be escaping your home.

Wrap Pipes With Insulation To Limit Heat Loss

Insulating any exposed hot water pipes in your home reduces heat loss in the home and also makes your hot water heater more efficient by allowing you to deliver the hot water a lower temperature setting. If you insulate all accessible hot water pipes that are within 3 feet of the water heater, using quality pipe insulation, or pipe sleeve, you should see a return in energy savings. If you have a gas water heater, make sure to keep insulation at least 6 inches away from the flue.

Seal Electrical Boxes With Foam Gaskets

Energy experts tell us that one of the biggest sources of major heat loss in a home are electrical boxes that hold switches or outlets. You can combat this heat loss with foam gaskets, a very inexpensive solution. They won’t completely seal the boxes, but they will offer lot of help.

Check Attic Insulation For Air Leaks

Check your insulation in the attic for dark spots, or frosty areas. These spots will tell you where dirty air is escaping your home, or where warm, moist air is condensing and freezing when it hits cold attic air. Once you find and seal these leaks, you will retain a lot more heat in the home.

These steps are all quick, easy and fairly inexpensive ways to make your home more energy efficient. By doing even a few of these home energy savings tips , you will see a reduction in your energy bills.

Winterize Your Sprinkler System In New Jersey

Winterize Your Sprinkler System In New Jersey

A sprinkler system is a fairly large investment into your the care and maintenance of your property. This being the case, people often want to protect their sprinkler systems in the colder, winter months. With these months rapidly approaching in many regions, it’s time to winterize your sprinkler system in New Jersey. By using compressed air to blow out the sprinkler system you can ensure that your your sprinklers will continue to work for many years.

Winterize Your Sprinkler System In New Jersey | Aurora Home InspectionsMany people will ask, if the sprinkler system is underground, why does it need to be winterized? Although it may seem that being buried would keep the system from freezing, that is not necessarily true. In times of freezing weather, which we see our share of in New Jersey, the frost level will sink deeper and deeper and the season progresses. To truly be safe from freezing, the system would need to be buried as deep as the water lines to your house. Instead of taking the chance, go ahead and winterize.

Why Winterize A Sprinkler System In NJ

  • There are too many variables to rely only on burying your system. You don’t know how deep it is, or what is under the ground with your system.
  • Sometimes the cold can last longer than expected and the frost line will sink deeper and deeper.
  • Windy spots can cause the cold to go deeper in that area.
  • Concrete retaining walls, soil conditions, mulch or the lack thereof, vegetation, and other things influence how deep the frost can travel.

The Consequences of Not Winterizing A Sprinkler System In NJ

  • Pipes can and often will crack if they freeze when filled with water.
  • Pipe fittings can also crack.
  • The the most expensive parts of your system are vulnerable to breaking from freezing temperatures. These being the anti-siphon devices and valves.
  • All metal parts will be affected by periods of alternating freezes and thaws. Even if you get by for a few years, this cycle will eventually cause pipes to split.

 

5 Fall Home Maintenance Tips For NJ Homes

Fall Home Maintenance Tips For NJ Homes

Each change in season brings new home maintenance and prevention projects with its changes in temperature, weather, and aging of the home. In order to keep things running smoothly and avoid costly repairs from occurring, why not take the time now and get your home ready for the fall and winter seasons while conditions are still mild. Here are 5 Fall home maintenance tips for NJ homes to help get you get a head start.

Fall Home Maintenance Tips For NJ Homes

1.) Clear Your Roof/Gutters/Downspouts Of Debris

It’s easy to forget about your roof. After all, out of sight out of mind! But, if left unchecked, roof repairs can become a very costly and can also cause insurance problems. Make sure the roof is clear of debris, shingles are in good shape, and flashing around the chimney and any openings are free of leaks.

2.) Change Filters

It is a good idea, if you have an air conditioning system, to change the air filters. If you have a wall unit instead, take that out of the window or cover it with a waterproof cover. You should also change the filters in any stove vents and clothes dryers. Changing filters will help with Fall allergies!

3.) Prepare Your Fireplace and Chimney

Make sure your fireplace and chimney are clean free of creosote build up. Clean out old ashes and clean the flu. It is not a bad idea hire a chimney sweep and have it professionally done. Chimney fires are both very dangerous and unfortunately very frequent. You should also have the chimney inspected for cracks and leaks.

4.) Drain Your Hot Water Heater

Hard water and sediment could be building up in your water tank. It is the perfect time, ahead of the cold months to drain the water tank and check for debris and rust. If your tank is old or rusty, it is probably time for a new one. An old rusty tank is not at all energy or cost efficient.

5.) Take Care Of Your Irrigation And Lawn Needs

To prevent spring weeds and lawn damage from the cold, wet winter, make sure you fertilize your lawn. You will be much happier in the Spring when you have a healthy lawn! It is also a great idea to have an irrigation professional come out and fix any broken sprinkler heads before the cold sets in .

 

How To Close A Pool For The Winter

 

How To Close A Pool For The Winter In NJ

Labor Day has come and gone and soon it will be time to close up your backyard pool. There are several steps that need to be taken to make sure everything is closed down properly so you can have a hassle free spring next year.  If you aren’t 100% sure how to do this the right way, you should call a professional.  Here is Aurora Home Inspections tips on how to close a pool for the winter.

It is incredibly important that when you close up your pool you have the right chemical balance in place. This will keep the water from becoming too corrosive in the off season. If left unchecked, the water can produce heavy calcium deposits, which can eat away at the lining of your pool. This would not be a pleasant surprise in the spring.

To test your chemicals to make sure the balance is right you should use a pool test kit and follow the directions from the manufacturer. Make sure each time you handle chemicals you wear eye protection and rubber gloves to protect yourself.

How To Close A Pool For The Winter In NJ | Aurora Home Inspections

How To Test Pool Chemicals

The details will vary with each test kit you use. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on each step..

  • First you will need to check and adjust the pH level of the water.
  • Next check the water hardness and adjust to the right level of calcium.
  • Next is testing for alkalinity. This is how well the water resists a change in pH levels.
  • And finally check and adjust chlorine level in the water. Chlorine is a bacteria, virus and germ killer. But, UV rays can dilute the effectiveness. Because of this you will always need a chlorine stabilizer in pool water.

Final Pool Closing Steps

  • Drain the water so it is just below the skimmer opening.
  • Remove the directional fittings and install the freeze plugs.
  • Turn off the filter pump.
  • Drain all the pool equipment and put it away in storage for the winter.
  • Install the cover over the pool and secure. Never walk on the pool cover and always make sure you supervise kids and pets around the pool at all times.

 

How To Declutter Your Home

How To Declutter Your Home | Bergen County NJ Home Inspector

How To Declutter Your Home | Aurora Home Inpections

One of the many tips we give homeowners ahead of a home inspection is to clear the clutter!  If you are having your home inspected, you will want to clear areas of clutter so the home inspector can see everything that needs to be seen. Closets and basement and attics should be as clutter free as possible. But, even if you are not preparing for an inspection, decluttering your home can add a sense of peace and freedom to your space and your life that you will certainly enjoy. Here is how to declutter your home.

 

  • Set a timeline. You don’t have to do everything at once. You can set out a schedule for yourself to minimize the strain it puts on you and the time it takes up in a day. Maybe every Sunday morning for the next month you can take out some time and work on decluttering.
  • Instead of going room by room organize by category. Take all your books one day, your clothes another, etc. Put everything in that category in the middle of a room so you can see all of it. You will be surprised how much stuff you can accumulate and not even realize!
  • Keep What You Need and What You Love. If it has great sentimental value, keep it! You don’t want to regret any decisions after it’s too late. Also if you use it and it adds value to your life, keep it. Everything else, say good bye!
  • Put your things back away neatly. This is important! When you put away the things you decide to keep, put them away in a nice, organized fashion. That way, when nw clutter makes it’s way in you will instantly see things are starting to get out of control.

 

Not only will decluttering your house benefit your level of comfort in your home, but it will also help you down the road. If you plan on selling your home, you certainly will want a clutter free home. It’s much easier to sell a neat and clean space than it is a cluttered one. Clutter makes everything look smaller. Plus, you won’t want to move all the clutter to a new home!

 

Natural Mite and Mold Killer Recipe

Natural Mite and Mold Killer Recipe | Battling Allergies In NJ

Natural Mite and Mold Killer Recipe | Aurora Home Inspections
LittleGreenDot.com

Allergies are a common issue for people that live in NJ. We deal with a variety of seasonal allergies as well as being the perfect environment for mold and dust mites to thrive. As home inspectors, we look for issues in homes that harbor or enhance these allergens. Your home should be a place of comfort and rest. Not a breeding ground for dust and mold. So, when we came across this natural mite and mold killer recipe, we had to share it with you.

As we’ve mentioned before in our blog how to avoid common household allergens dust mites are one of the top complaints for new jersey allergy sufferers. The mixture of dander, dead skin cells, dirt and mites which make up dust thrive in weather conditions often found in NJ, therefore making many homes in New Jersey prime breeding grounds for dust mites and mold.

The dust mites actually are thriving on the dead skin cells that are found in the highest concentration in betting, carpeting and upholstery. They are somewhat controlled by regular cleanings and vacuuming but they are tough to truly eliminate. They are the part of dust that causes the most allergies, and of course the hardest to manage.

We all know how dangerous mold can be to your health and your home. From respiratory problems to skin rashes mold can wreak havoc on your body if exposed too long. It will also cause expensive damage to your home if left untreated. If you are planning on selling your home, you will not want any mold or mold damage to remain when the house is ready to go on the market.

The good news is there is a natural way to battle dust mites and minor mold outbreaks, and you can easily make and use it yourself!

The recipe for Bye-Bye Mites & Mold spray can be found at LittleGreenDot.com and can easily be made at home! It is a great defense against dust mites and mold as well!

For a mold inspection in your Bergen County area New Jersey Home Call Aurora Home Inspections!

 

What You Need To Know When Buying A Home

What You Need To Know When Buying A Home

What You Need To Know When Buying A Home

 

Buying a home is a big investment and can be scary, especially if you are a first time home buyer. There are many things to consider, from mortgage companies, to neighborhoods and schools. That is why an early home inspection can help you to learn what you need to know when buying a home, and save you a lot of stress, time and money.

What The Seller Needs To Tell You When Buying A Home

Though it can vary by state, in any contract there should be a contingency that will allow for termination should the home owner refuse to handle repairs that are needed, or will not discount the home price, without penalty to you. However, though this will cover your deposit, you will not be refunded for any loan application fees, or any other costs that you may incur throughout the process. To avoid this situation, schedule the home inspection as early as possible in the process. That way you are aware of any red flags early on in the purchase process.

You may in certain instances have a case for fraud if there were undisclosed problems with the property discovered after you have purchased the home. However, many times it is just not cost effective to pursue a lawsuit and it is also very hard to prove that these issues were known and covered up. You need to prove the seller knew, that they covered it up, deliberately misrepresented the property and that you have damages. This is a big undertaking.  A home inspection will save you from dealing with these types of issues.

In cases of fires and floods it is often required that these damages be disclosed even if the proper repairs were made. Make sure to ask to see all records of permits and repairs to see that everything was done correctly. Your home inspector will be able to see that repairs were done properly. Make sure they are aware of all issues prior to inspection.

What Sellers Don’t Have To Tell You

It is not normally required that a seller reveal things such as deaths in the home or illnesses anyone living in the home may have had. It is also not a necessary requirement to reveal past foreclosures though it is a red flag to check for maintenance issues. Its very important to ask questions and do your homework. Your home inspector can only see what can be seen. There are somethings that you will need to find out on your own.

Hiring a trustworthy home inspector like the ones at Aurora Home Inspection saves you time, money and stress. Your home should be a place where you can relax and unwind. When buying a home, be proactive and have your inspections early by a reputable company.

3 Important NJ Home Inspections

Important NJ Home Inspections

Important NJ Home Inspections | Aurora Home Inpection

Every responsible and conscientious New Jersey Home owner should have regular home inspections for the safety of their family and their investment. In addition to regular home inspections, there are 3 very important additional inspections that are imperative to the health of your family and home. These 3 important NJ Home Inspections are offered by Aurora Home Inspections in the Bergen County New Jersey area and the NY Metro area.

NJ Radon Inspection

Radon is a highly recommended home inspection by the EPA. It is estimated that radon exposure causes thousands of lung cancer deaths every year. The only thing that causes more lung cancer deaths than radon is smoking. If you smoke and also have a radon problem in your home, you are at very high risk for lung cancer.

NJ families can reduce their risk of radon exposure by having a radon inspection done in the home. This is the ONLY way to detect high radon levels. Once detected. there are systems that can be quickly put in place to reduce exposure by 99%.

NJ Mold Inspection

Just because you don’t see mold, it does not mean that mold is not present in your home. Mold, whether visible or not is a major heath hazard. It can and will damage your home extensively if not detected and remediated. Mold produces allergens and in some cases it produces toxic substances.

Depending on the kind of mold you are exposed to you make experience…

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throats
  • Migraines
  • Sinus infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Allergic reactions
  • Rashes or hives
  • Inflammation and pain in the joints
  • Mental status changes (depression, forgetfulness)
  • Extreme fatigue

 

NJ Termite Inspection

Termites are tiny but they do a huge amount of damage. A home inspector can detect new infestations that can be damaging your home from the inside out, not detectable from the outside. Termites eat from the inside out, so by the time you see the damage, it’s too late! The cost of termite damage is usually in the thousands. You can save yourself a huge headache and bill if you have your home inspected for termites.

 

Call us at Aurora Home Inspections (201) 476-9200 today for any of your home inspection needs. We are conveniently located in Bergen County, NJ and serve the Northern NJ and NY Metro areas.