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.

Switch To CFL Bulbs To Reduce Energy Costs

Switch To CFL Bulbs To Reduce Energy Costs

Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) have made their way into the mainstream after being invented in the 1970’s as a result of the energy crisis. However, due to a bit of a rocky history, consumers have been slow to get on the wagon. Many of the early versions of CFL bulbs had a delay in reaching full brightness and gave off a cold looking light. But advances in manufacturing and design have eliminated these issues and offer a tradition warm light for a more homey feel. The best part of CFL bulbs are their energy saving abilities. Here is why you should switch to CFL bulbs to reduce energy costs.

The best part of CFL bulbs are their energy saving abilities. Here is why you should switch to CFL bulbs to reduce energy costs.

Benefits Of CFL Bulbs

  • Choosing a CFL with an Energy Star label will generally save you over $30 in electricity costs over the lifetime of the light bulb compared with an incandescent lightbulb over the same time period. CFL will pay for itself within 6 months.
  • CFL bulbs typically last for 5-9 years, which is 10 times the average lifespan of an incandescent light bulb.
  • CFL bulbs come with a 2 year warranty. So you do not need to worry if you get a bad one.
  • While CFL bulbs are more expensive upfront, they are a long term money saver.

Where Not To Use CFL Bulbs

There are some places where a CFL bulb does not make sense and will not save you money. Anything other than standard lighting fixtures, digital timers, motion sensors, dimmer switches should be looked at and verified for use before hand. The packaging on the particular CFL bulb should advise you of compatibility. The same goes for outdoor and enclosed fixtures. You may also want to avoid use in fixtures that are turned on and off frequently, and areas that are subject to extreme temperatures, For those areas you will want weatherproof bulbs.

For more energy savings tips and an inspection of your home in NJ and NY contact  Aurora Home Inspections in Bergen County, NJ.

We are Licensed and Certified Inspection experts who inspect homes, condos, townhouses and apartments.

We can provide inspections for the following:

  • Residential Buyer Inspections
  • Pre Listing Inspections for sellers
  • Commercial Inspections
  • Radon testing
  • Wood Destroying Insect testing
  • Mold testing
  • Indoor Air Quality testing
  • VOC testing
  • 11th month warranty inspection

 

Changing Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Batteries Could Save Your Life!

Change Batteries In Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors NJ

Change smoke and carbon monoxide batteries | Aurora Home Inspection Bergen County NJ


 

Fall is the perfect time of year to consider the level of fire and carbon monoxide threat in your home. At Aurora Home Inspections, we urge you, when the clocks fall back this year and daylight savings time ends, to change the batteries in all the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Changing smoke and carbon monoxide batteries at least once per year could save your life!

Your life can only be saved by an alarm that is working. Good batteries are essential to the effectiveness of both a smoke and CO alarm. It is also imperative to have a working alarm on every level of the home. Having an alarm on every level can buy you the precious time needed to escape disaster.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), approximately three out of five fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or homes without working smoke alarms.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, “home fires often result in lost lives, lasting injuries and property damage. CPSC estimates that between 2009 and 2011, an average of 362,300 unintentional residential fires attended by the fire service, resulted in 2,260 deaths, 12,820 injuries and nearly $7 billion in property damage each year.”

Some alarms will come with a sealed, 10 year guaranteed battery. However, if your alarm does not come that way, you must change the batteries at least once per year. It is also advisable to test each alarm on a monthly basis and place one in every bedroom on every level of the home to maximize safety.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission “carbon monoxide alarms are also critically important safety equipment in the home. Each year from 2008 to 2010, there were an average 162 reported carbon monoxide deaths involving consumer products under CPSC’s jurisdiction, including portable generators and home heating systems.”

Carbon Monoxide | The Invisible Killer

The importance of carbon monoxide detectors in the home cannot be stressed enough. You cannot see or smell carbon monoxide. Known as the invisible killer, the poisonous gas quickly incapacitates and kills its victims quickly from a variety of sources.

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.

It’s Time To Schedule A Furnace or Boiler Tune-Up In NJ

Furnace or Boiler Tune-Up In NJ

Furnace or Boiler Tune-Up In NJ | Aurora Home Inspections

It’s getting closer and closer to being cold enough to turn the heat on. Before it gets any colder, avoid any potential problems by scheduling a furnace or boiler tune up in NJ. Doing this will ensure that you can be comfortably warm and toasty in your home and won’t get any unwelcome surprises when you fire up the heating system for the first time this year. Make sure when you schedule a furnace or boiler tune-up in NJ, you are using a trusted, vetted professional.

NJ Fall Furnace Maintenance

Whether it runs on gas or electric, your furnace needs an annual tune-up to ensure it’s operating as it should. Fall furnace maintenance is crucial in ensuring that your home will be a comfortable and safe place in the cold months.  Every Fall furnace tune-up should include:

  • Cleaning of  the heating element, burners, pilot housing, and ignition.
  • Lubrication of  the fan motors.
  • Inspection of  the ventilation system and flue.
  • Gas leak inspection.
  • Inspection of the electrical components of the furnace.
  • Air filter cleaning or replacement.

NJ Fall Boiler Maintenance

Tuning-up a boiler system will prevent unexpected issues and increase the efficiency. Every Fall boiler tune-up should include:

  • Internal pressure inspection.
  • Checking of  the boiler’s structural soundness.
  • Pilot light housing cleaning.
  • Descaling hard water buildup.
  • Air handler servicing (If applicable).

By tuning-up and servicing your boiler or furnace ahead of the cold winter months you can be sure that you will be keeping your home safe and warm this winter. You will also boost the efficiency of the heater and save yourself money on your heating bills.

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!

 

Add Value To A Home In NJ

Add Value To A Home In NJ

Add Value To A Home In NJ | Aurora Home Inspections

With home prices on the rise, it is a great time to invest in your home and pack the most value into it you possibly can. Whether you are planning to sell now, or in the future,  Aurora Home Inspections suggests these projects and remodels to help you add value to a home in NJ.

Paint

Freshly painted rooms are clean looking and updated. Plus, painting is one of the most cost effective ways to add value and appeal to your home.

Remodel the Kitchen and Bathroom

Remodeling the kitchen and/or the bathroom will bring back value to your home. Adding a granite countertop in the kitchen is a big winner when it comes to gaining value in the home vs money spent.

Add on a deck

You can recoup almost your full investment in resale value when you add a wooden deck to your home. They are enticing to a buyer both aesthetically and for the added useable space. Plus, who doesn’t like to relax out on a beautiful deck?

Finish the basement

A finished basement will add some serious resale value to your home, especially if you live in a state that considers a finished basement added square footage. Either way, a buyer will look at the finished basement as added living space and consider that as a part of the price they are willing to pay.

Replace or paint the front door

This one might sound unbelievable but a front door makeover could actually add a significant amount of value to your home for a very small investment. Never underestimate curb appeal!

Some of these value adding home remodels are smaller and simpler than others. But, they all have their pros and cons, and in the end all add value. Deciding which projects to take on depends on your home and exactly how much boost you need to add to your home value. Always be sure to consider the full price of the project versus how much return you will get on the remodel in your area.

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.