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!

 

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.

Is Your Hot Water Heater An Energy Guzzler?

Save Energy | Upgrade To High-Efficiency Water Heater

Save Energy | Upgrade To High-Efficiency Water Heater

A natural gas or propane water heater will generally use up about 17% of the energy in your home, and are notoriously known for being inefficient. Even when they are brand new they are truly only at most 59% efficient due to heat loss through the flue and walls of the tank. If your heater is an older model, the case is likely much worse. You could be losing half your heat! Electric water heaters also guzzle some major energy. While upgrading your gas or propane water heater to a new model will help with energy savings and efficiency, upgrading your electric water heater likely won’t make much of a difference. You can increase energy efficiency by upgrading to a high high-efficiency water heater.

Water Heater Buying Tips

A new conventional water heater can cost thousands of dollars, depending on installation and model. Here are some tips on water heater shopping to keep you from spending unnecessarily.

  • Always buy an energy star rated product that is at least 63 to 67% efficient.
  • Buy a high-efficiency electric model with an insulation rating of R-22 or better.
  • Check into off peak rates for electric water heaters by speaking to your energy provider.
  • Purchase the right size for your home. Too big and too small will both be less efficient at heating your water.
  • The longer the warranty the better. If the model has a longer warranty (10-12 years) then it is likely better insulated and has better heat transfer and larger heating elements. In other words, it will work more efficient for a longer period of time.

Protect Your Investments

You will always want to make sure you check for recalls of appliances, such as water heaters, in your home to protect your investment and keep your family safe. If your home inspection does not include a recall check of appliances you are leaving yourself open to potential disaster, and missing out on free repairs. At Aurora Home Inspections, when we perform a home inspection, we include a free recall check each and every time.

 

Guarding Your Home Against Flood Damage

Guarding Your Home Against Flood Damage

Guarding Your Home Against Flood DamageHome inspections cannot protect your home from being involved in a flood. However, a careful look around your property, and some basic preparation can greatly reduce the damage your home suffers in a natural disaster. Guarding your home against flood damage is a fairly easy way to gain some peace of mind.

Preparing your property from a flood can save you a lot of money considering that even just a few inches of water could cost thousands in repairs. Take a few minutes to walk around your property and home and be sure these key things are done.

  • Clear Gutters
  • Trim trees and bushes away from the house
  • Hot water heaters, furnace, washer and dryer are placed 12 inches above flood levels.

The next thing to do is prepare a list of important possessions and documents. Place these items in a safe place that will remain dry during a flood. That way they are safe and easily accessible when needed.

Some things to consider storing in a safe place are:

  • Insurance policies
  • Financial records
  • Birth and marriage certificates
  • Anything of specific monetary or sentimental value.

Stocking up on water and first aid supplies is also a wise safeguard in the event that you cannot leave the house for an extended period of time. Having these things stocked will increase your comfort level, but also keep you indoors when you need to be and minimize the risk of danger in leaving the house.

These tips for guarding your home against flood damage will keep your mind at ease and your home and family safe. They only take a few minutes of planning to put into place, and can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

 

Tips for Cleaning Mold and Mildew

Tips for Cleaning Mold and Mildew

When you are faced with a buildup of mold or mildew in your home, it is very important to get it cleaned up right away. It is not a complicated process, but you must make sure to take certain safety precautions when removing mold and mildew from your home. Here are some tips for cleaning mold and mildew to help you safely and successfully remove it.

NJ_Home_Inspections | Aurora Home Inspections
Aurora Home Inspections, your mold inspection experts

The first thing you need to do is make sure your work area is well ventilated. Many of the cleaners you will be using are harmful to breathe due to their fumes. To also protect yourself from these fumes as well as breathing in any mold or mildew spores you should always wear a mask. You also should wear gloves to protect your hands from the spores as well.

If you are dealing with both mold and mildew, you should use an antimicrobial  that will be effective on both. Make sure that it is made to battle mold and mildew because not all brands of household and bathroom cleaners will do the trick.

Once you have a good product, clean the entire surrounding area where mold and mildew is visible and remove every visible trace of it. Also remove all materials that can’t be thoroughly cleaned such as carpet, drywall and insulation and replace them. If you do not replace these items, the mold and mildew will come back.

If you are in need of help removing mold or mildew from your home in the Bergen County NJ area, call an experienced professional Aurora Home Inspections. We have the experience and educational background to perform a thorough and complete Home Inspection. We offer an industry leading 100% satisfaction guarantee.

 

Keeping Your Home Secure During The Summer

Summer Vacation Home Safety Tips

Home Security Bergen County NJ

Summer time is the most relaxing time of the year, but it’s also peak time for break ins. Criminals know that people tend to be out of the house more often in the summer, especially for extended periods of time on vacation. To make sure you can truly have a relaxing summer, and come and go as you please, here are some tips on keeping your home secure during the summer.

Lock your doors and windows!

Yes, it may seem obvious and silly to even mention, but thieves will look for the path of least resistance. If you accidentally forget to close a window, the odds of your home being broken into go up dramatically.

Have a neighborhood meeting.

You don’t have to start a full out neighborhood watch to keep a watchful eye. Police highly recommend getting together with your neighbors and keeping each other up to date on vacations and visits from people they may not recognize. You should all agree to never confront any potentially armed thief, but to immediately call 911 if you spot something that doesn’t look right.

Don’t let repair people in without a full check.

If a repair professional shows up in your neighborhood soliciting business in an unmarked van or without proper identification, do not hire them. They may simply be looking to either con you, or they may be casing your home. Always check up on them before letting them in! This includes home inspectors! You can be sure though, that with Aurora Home Inspection, we will always have the proper identification.

Secure your yard as well as your home.

There are undoubtedly valuables outside your home as well. Maybe a lawnmower, a jet ski or a motorcycle? Make sure to always have them securely locked and engrave them so if they are stolen, they are easily identified. Plus, if a thief sees this, he will simply move on.

Don’t post your vacation plans on social media

Wait until vacation is over to share your photos and comments. Thieves are notorious for trolling Facebook and Twitter. Telling them when you are not home gives them a huge advantage.

These may all sound like common sense, but many people forget to do these simple things. By following these tips you are greatly ahead of the game in keeping your home secure for the summer.

 

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.

 

Fireplace Safety Tips

Fireplace Safety Tips

Fireplace Safety Tips

The most important element in keeping a fireplace safe is keeping it clean and dry. Creosote and dirt buildup can lead to chimney fires and damage to the inside of a chimney. The buildups don’t happen overnight, so it is important to remain vigilant and stay on top of the gradual buildup. These fireplace safety tips will help you do just that.

Avoid Creosote Buildup
Creosote can be sticky, shiny, hard or flaky. It takes on many forms, all equally as dangerous and equally combustible. To stay on top of creosote buildup, clean out your chimney and firebox regularly with a wire brush and use a high quality creosote removal. Make sure to keep the cleanings on a regular, frequent schedule.

Make Sure Your Chimney is Properly Lined
Smoke and fumes that travel through the chimney damage and corrode the chimney over time. Any damage and wear to a chimney will decrease its effectiveness over time. As the lining of the chimney decreases in effectiveness the potential for a chimney fire increases. There is also a potential for the high heat from and unlined or poorly lined chimney will set the woodwork of the house itself on fire.

Use Water Repellent

Leaky chimneys are a costly repair. A good water repellent will help prevent a leaky chimney. The water repellent allows the vapors to escape from your chimney while effectively keeping the water and liquids out. It’s completely transparent, so it won’t effect appearances. This will keep your chimney from costly and dangerous water damage.

Have Your Chimney and Fireplace Inspected by a Professional

You should have your chimney and fireplace inspected at least once per year to assure that there is no damage that could be a potential safety hazard. While it is also a necessity to perform several self inspections, the eye of a professional inspector is a valuable tool in keeping your home a safe place.