Last Minute Home Winterization Projects

Last Minute Home Winterization Projects

By this time of year, you have likely taken care of most of your home winterization projects. You should have had your furnace inspected by now, as well as taken care of siding and roofing repairs and even switched the direction on your ceiling fans. You are well on your way to enjoying a warm, carefree winter in your home. However, at Aurora Home Inspections, there are a few last minute home winterization projects we want all NY and NJ residents to be aware of. Here are a few less common home winterization projects you can take care of today.

 

  1. Survey the perimeter of your home and cut back the brush. Bushes, shrubs, low hanging trees and even potted plants are great hideouts for rodents during the winter months. Cutting them back will deter rodents and also protect your home from being scraped by branches in ice storms.
  2. Prepare your outdoor plumbing. During the winter, water can freeze and expand inside hoses and sprinklers. This can cause serious damage. Drain hoses, pools, exterior pipes, sprinklers and any unheated pipes. If draining is not an option, make sure to cover and insulate them properly to avoid breaks and bursts. Also cover exposed spigots using newspaper and duct tape.
  3. Clean up your outdoor furniture and store it for the winter. If you wait until the last minute, which most of us do, your outdoor furniture will end up covered in snow and ice. Get ahead of it this year, and put them away nice and clean. You will thank yourself in the spring! Also cover, or put away barbecue grills and potted plants.
  4. Drain the gasoline from lawn equipment. Condensation can build up over the winter months and cause engine trouble if too much water builds up in the gas tank. If you can’t drain the gas tanks, add a gas additive to avoid condensation.

Don’t stop after you have the big things done. You will have a much more enjoyable and less expensive spring if you tackle these last minute home winterization projects today!

 

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

 

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.

 

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!

 

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.

The Difference Between Mold And Mildew

The Difference Between Mold And Mildew

The Difference Between Mold And Mildew

Mold and mildew are both fungi and are both very similar to each other. However, there are some key differences between them. It is important to know the difference between mold and mildew, and the effects they can have on your health and home. When you have a problem with mold or mildew in your home it is important to have it taken care of as quickly as possible. Call us at Aurora Home Inspection to find out about our Mold Detection For NJ Homes.

 

We’ll begin with mold. Mold is usually fuzzy looking, and comes in several different colors.. It can be blue, green, yellow, brown, gray, black, or white. Mold can also cause numerous health problems, including respiratory problems, allergic reactions, migraines, inflammation and pain in the joints, mental status changes, and extreme fatigue. It can also cause structural damage to the home on top of all that. There are some beneficial uses to mold though. Mold is  used in food production. It is used to make cheese. Mold is also used to make medications, such as penicillin.

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

Unlike mold, mildew grows in a flat pattern. It can appear powdery and also can appear downy. Powdery mildew usually looks either white, yellow, brown, or black. Downy mildew will appear yellow but then turn brown. Mildew is a threat to plants and crops, causing them severe damage. It also causes health problems just as mold does, only not on as broad a spectrum.

Exposure to mildew can cause:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches

Mold is definitely a bigger threat to your health and your home, but that does not make mildew harmless. The difference between mold and mildew is very small. You definitely do not want either of these to build up in your home.

Aurora Home Inspections in Bergen County NJ has the experience and educational background to perform a thorough and complete Home Inspection. We offer an industry leading 100% satisfaction guarantee. Headquartered in Bergen County, NJ, we also serve the NY metro areas.

Summer Grilling Safety Tips

Summer Grilling Safety Tips

 

Who doesn’t love a good cook out or barbecue? It is a quintessential American summer tradition. But like many enjoyable things, there comes responsibility. To help keep your outdoor cooking fun and emergency free, there are a few simple safety tips to follow. With these summer grilling safety tips in mind, your summer should be a memorable one for all the right reasons.

Nine out of ten grilling accidents are due to carelessness. At roughly half, thermal burns are the most common outdoor cooking accidents. There re also an tremendous amounts of fires caused by barbecue grills each year, peaking in July. Improperly connected hoses, cracked hoses, or misaligned tubes are often the causing factor in these fires. Another common cause is improper disposal of hot coals from charcoal grilling.

The NPFA has provided a wonderful, easy to follow info-graphic on their website, which also includes a ton more valuable safety information. Following these grilling safety tips will dramatically reduce the odds of an accident occurring at your home. So keep these tips in mind as you prepare to be the master of your barbecue grill this summer.  It’s just around the corner. The time to prepare is now.

5 Common Home Inspection Pitfalls

5 Common Home Inspection Pitfalls

5 Common Home Inspection Pitfalls

Home inspection is an incredibly important step in buying a new home. There are, however several common mistakes people make involving home inspection all the time. To avoid possible headaches in the future, avoid these 5 common home inspection pitfalls.

Not inspecting new construction.

It’s a rookie mistake that even the most seasoned home buyers occasionally make. Just because a home is up to code and looks good does not mean everything is perfect. Sometimes too good to be true is just that. Are all the support beams in place in the crawl space? Are all the safeguards in place against flooding and pests? These things can not always be seen with the naked eye.

Not doing your homework

Price matters, but you cannot choose your home inspector based on the lowest price. You need to choose someone with a proven track record of competence, fairness and trustworthiness. Do you research. Choose a company like Aurora Home Inspection who is well known and trusted in the Northern New Jersey area.

Not being there for the inspection

A written report will not always give you the whole picture, even if it is perfectly detailed. Some things need to be seen to be understood. If you don’t go along on the inspection, you may misunderstand a minor problem and think it is a big one. Your inspector can settle your nerves right then and there if you are there with them.

Not following up on recommendations

If you ignore a problem that was brought to your attention by your inspector until after you close on the property, it may end up costing you a lot more money in the long run. Have all issues further evaluated before closing to avoid potential future headaches. Always stay proactive.

Taking warranties literally

A home inspector can advise you on the age of appliances for example, and their life expectancy. He can’t, however tell you exactly when yours will give out. An air conditioning system can last on average for 10 years. That means yours may last way longer, or may give out much earlier. So, do your homework and use your best judgement on repairs, maintenance and replacement of these systems.

 

A home inspection will give you peace of mind knowing that your new home will be a healthy, safe place to live for you and your family. Call Aurora Home Inspection for your Bergen county New Jersey Home Inspection.

 

Why You Should Have Oil Tanks Removed Before Selling Your Home

Why You Should Have Oil Tanks Removed Before Selling Your Home

In home inspection, there are certain questions we hear all the time. One question we hear often comes from from people preparing to sell their house. “Why do I have to remove my underground oil tank,” they ask. The truth is you don’t have to at all. There are no laws that require this to be done prior to any transactions. However, even though you do not legally need to do it, you still should. It is unlikely you will be able to sell your home without removing the old tank. Here is why you should have your oil tanks removed before selling your home.

Why You Should Have Oil Tanks Removed Before Selling Your Home

Aurora Home Inspections is Certified for Above Ground Oil Tank Testing

The lack of laws written in the past several years leaves a giant grey area when it comes to home buying/selling and oil tanks. The economy and home buying market have been improving but it is still currently a buyer’s market. This, combined with insurance companies changing the amount of coverage they will offer is the perfect recipe for oil tanks being an undesirable commodity. In the past oil tanks were handled with the attitude of out of sight, out of mind. They were not filled properly in place and now we are seeing leaks and contaminated soil causing major environmental and safety issues.

These issues were quickly caught on to by the insurance companies and home buyers alike as the horror stories of leaking tanks spread. Liability on an oil tank s a rare occurrence for a newly purchased home these days because of this. Without proper insurance, there is no mortgaging a house. So unless you can find cash buyers for your home, you by default will need to remove the oil tank.

Whether you are selling or buying a home, or just want some peace of mind Aurora can provide your Bergen County Home Inspection and provide you with above ground oil tank testing services.

Don’t Be Afraid Of A Home Inspection

Any homebuyer must get a home inspection before finalizing the deal.  You need to confirm that the home you are purchasing is structurally sound and that all working systems (plumbing, wiring, etc) function properly and safely.  Your home inspection will reveal any issues, big or small, with the home you intend on purchasing.  But don’t let the small ones scare you away from finalizing the deal.

NJ_Home_Inspections | Aurora Home Inspections

The most important issues to look for in your home inspection are things that affect your health and safety such as structure, leaky plumbing, faulty wiring, missing smoke detectors, air quality (mold and radon detection), termites, etc.  These are the biggies.

Most homes, unless it’s new construction, have some imperfections that will reveal themselves during the inspection. But that doesn’t mean it should bring the process to a screeching halt.   Don’t panic when a few things turn up on your inspection, because chances are that they will. A small imperfection shouldn’t trump an opportunity to purchase the house of your dreams.

So what things can be overlooked?  It’s really a personal decision and you have to consider how heavily something will affect your daily quality of life.  You should also consider whether or not the issue is a quick and inexpensive fix for you to do on your own after the sale of the house.  You have to pick your battles depending on the conditions of the market or you might just end up empty handed.

It is the responsibility of the home inspector to report any issues he or she finds.  They have to be thorough and err on the side of caution.  It is up to you to decide which are the issues that are most important to you.  Like we said, health and safety should be number one.

About Aurora Home Inspections in Bergen County, NJ

Aurora Home Inspections performs Home Inspections, Mold Inspections and Indoor Air Quality testing in cities and towns throughout Northern NJ, Southern NY including NYC.

Our Bergen County business is a proud member of the New Jersey Better Business Bureau (An ‘A’ rated and Accredited Member), International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), New Jersey Association of Licensed Home Inspectors (NJ ALPHI) and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

For more information call (201) 476-9200 or email Larry Smyj at smyjlarry@gmail.com.