Given that as much as 25% of household energy costs go to heating water, it makes sense to evaluate various systems with an eye toward saving both energy and money. Here we take a look at some of the water heater options for homeowners to consider.
Storage (Tank) Water Heaters – These are by far the most common type of residential water heater. Once the water in the tank reaches the desired temperature, the heater cycles on and off to maintain the temperature of the water. Most of us know the phenomenon of running out of hot water after family members take one shower after another; this will happen if the tank’s storage capacity is insufficient to meet demand. Whether water is being used or not, the heater must still fire on and off to keep the contents of the tank hot. While tank heaters are an affordable option, it is quite inefficient to keep a tank of water hot all day.
Tankless (Demand) Water Heaters – Rather than being stored in a tank, water is rapidly heated by gas or electricity when the faucet is turned on. Because it reaches the desired temperature so quickly, much less water is wasted while waiting for hot water to flow through the faucet; however, the results are not truly instantaneous. Tankless systems normally cost more up front than a conventional storage water heater, so homeowners should take that into account along with what type, size, and location makes the most sense for them.
Solar Water Heating – This uses the sun’s energy to pre-heat water for the home. The pre-heated water then flows into a solar tank that monitors temperature. Then it’s piped into the regular hot water system, usually a storage water heater. If no water is turned on within a brief period of time, the water circulates through the system again, making it unnecessary to keep a large tank of water constantly hot. The pre-heating is done by one or two solar panels, usually installed on the roof.
With efficiency and decreased energy use as a goal, the best choice of water heater depends on what pencils out in any given home.
With these easy steps, your clients will enjoy the comforts of home all season long and know that they’re protecting their investment, too.
- Caulk around exterior door and window frames for a tight seal. Look for gaps where pipes or wiring enter the home and caulk those as well to protect from water, insects and mice.
- Check the roof for missing or damaged shingles. Water, wind, ice and snow can cause serious damage to a vulnerable roof, leading to a greater chance of further damage inside the home. Always have a qualified professional inspect and repair the roof, but binoculars can be used to do a preliminary survey from the ground.
- Clear gutters of leaves, sticks, and other debris. If the home gets heavy leaf fall, this may need to be done more than once during the season. If the gutters can accommodate them, leaf guards can be real time-savers and prevent clogging. Make sure downspouts direct water away from the house.
- In cold-weather climates, drain garden hoses and store indoors to protect them from the harsh winter elements. Shut off outdoor faucets and make sure exterior pipes are drained of water.
- Have the furnace inspected to ensure that it’s safe and in good working order. Most utility companies will provide basic, no-cost furnace inspections to their customers. Replace disposable furnace air filters or clean the permanent type according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- A wood-burning fireplace can be a real pleasure on a chilly fall evening. For safety, have the firebox and chimney professionally cleaned before use this season.
Pillar To Post is always committed to the health and well-being of our clients. This is especially true during this time of Covid-19 and Realtor Safety Month. We remain committed to providing the highest quality home inspection while adhering to the strict safety and cleanliness guidelines provided by the CDC and local governments. We also encourage you to learn about precautions you can take to keep yourself and your team safe while showing homes and in the office. Realtor Safety resources are available at:
Pillar To Post is always committed to the health and well-being of our clients and homeowners, as well as our inspectors. This is especially true during this time of Covid-19. We remain highly focused on providing the highest quality home inspection while adhering to the strict safety and cleanliness guide-lines provided by the CDC and local governments.
While our processes may have changed, our commitment to Ensuring Confident Home Ownership has not. Our job is not complete until you no longer have questions concerning the home you have asked Pillar To Post to inspect.
Your Summer Checklist
A well-maintained home is enjoyable in any season. Tackle a few of these tasks each week and reap the rewards!
- Decks and patios are much more inviting when they’re clean, so get out that pressure washer. Be sure to follow directions to prevent damage.
- If house or trim paint is peeling, cracked or chipped, repair and repaint now to prevent damage to the underlying materials.
- Remove window screens and clean them with a soft brush and soapy water. Rinse well and allow to dry in the sun before reinstalling.
- Repair any holes in the screens or replace the screening material.
- Have the air conditioning system serviced. Promote good air flow by keeping plants trimmed back from around the condenser unit.
- Seal cracks in the driveway and walkways.
- Replace broken sprinkler heads and/or emitters in the irrigation system. Check for proper water coverage and adjust if necessary.
- Change the rotation of ceiling fans to the summer setting and give the blades a good dusting.
- Close the chimney flue to keep insects out and cool air in.
- Clean out the ashes from wood-burning fireplaces and inspect the firebox for cracks or other damage. Scheduling needed repairs in the summer means you won’t be on a waiting list come fall.
- Hang area rungs over a deck or porch rail to air out.
- Swap out heavy bedding for lightweight summer fabrics. Have comforters and duvets cleaned before storing them away for the season.
- Repot houseplants to help promote growth and plant health.
Time To Get Grilling!
Ahh, it’s grilling season. Here are our top tips for a safe (and delicious!) experience.
- Keep young children and pets away from the grill during and after cooking. Especially with charcoal grills, the exterior can remain hot long for a long time.
- Do not use a grill under an overhang, carport, deck, or in a garage.
- Make sure the grill rests on a stable surface and can’t be tipped over. If the grill has lock-ing casters, make sure they’re engaged.
- A propane/gas or charcoal grill should not be used indoors.
- Periodically check hoses and connections on propane grills. Replace any cracked or brittle hoses before using the grill. Don’t store pro-pane tanks in a garage or other structure at any time.
- Start charcoal fires using a chimney starter instead of charcoal lighter fluid. Not only is a chimney starter safer, your meal will taste better.
- To help prevent grease fires in a gas/propane grill, remove accumulated grease and residue from drip pans every few uses. Use baking soda, not water, to safely extinguish a grease fire.
Now grab that spatula and a cool drink. You’re all set!
Should you get a pre-listing home inspection?
In a word, yes! A pre-listing home inspection can uncover previously unknown issues — major and minor — so you’ll have the opportunity to make repairs, updates, or replacements as needed or as you wish. Addressing these issues before the home goes on the market can result in cleaner offers and a better selling price.
Make sure the home inspection is comprehensive and that you’ll get the report immediately upon completion of the inspection. Having this information right away is helpful when deciding on next steps prior to listing your home.
Photos should always be part of a professional report so that full documentation of conditions is available to both you and potential buyers. This is especially important when it comes to issues that are not addressed or repaired prior to sale. Make records available of any repairs or upgrades completed after the inspection so that buyers can see that the work was done.
Controlling Indoor Humidity
High relative humidity (RH) in your home encourages mold growth and dust mites, can make your house smell musty and potentially damage your home and belongings. Here’s what you need to know:
Use an inexpensive hygrometer from the hard-ware store to measure humidity levels in several locations. 50% RH is normal for summer; in winter it depends on the outdoor temperature—it may be less than 30% on colder days.
If your whole house is humid, it could be due to:
Lack of ventilation. Without fresh air circulation humidity can build up indoors, especially in newer, well-sealed homes. Consult an expert on ventilation.
Oversized air conditioner. Central air is an excellent dehumidifier, but if the system is over-sized for the home, the on-cycles are too short to effectively remove humidity.
A gas-fired appliance that isn’t venting properly. If you suspect this, contact a qualified heating contractor to investigate.
Localized high humidity can be caused by over-cooling a particular area, not using bath-room fans, or basement/crawlspace dampness. Correct these conditions to resolve the problem.
In some cases, a dehumidifier may be the only way to control moisture in a damp area. Be sure to use a unit sized appropriately to the space. An undersized unit will not reduce moisture effectively. But be aware that dehumidifiers use quite a bit of energy, even as much as a small window air conditioner.
Discover the Pillar To Post Difference. Schedule your next home inspection today!
A pre-listing home inspection can uncover previously unknown problems – major and minor – allowing your sellers the opportunity to make repairs, updates or replacements as needed or as they wish.
By addressing issues before the home goes on the market, you can list a home with greater confidence about its condition. This can mean cleaner offers and a smoother transaction for both parties. And a home in better condition will normally sell for more than one with problems that could have been corrected.
Homes that are already on the market can be at a disadvantage if problems are revealed during a subsequent home inspection. Issues that you and the seller were previously unaware of could keep a property from selling at its highest potential price, when it’s too late to address them.
The Pillar To Post Home Inspection includes a comprehensive report, complete with photos, printed on-site so there’s no waiting for results. With this valuable information in hand, your sellers can decide on next steps prior to listing. In the end, having well-informed sellers and buyers will work to everyone’s advantage, including yours.