For many of us, the winter season is a time for snow, sledding, hot cocoa, holiday celebrations, and warm fires, but colder temperatures also bring about the frequent use of your furnace. On average, the lifespan of a furnace is approximately 15 years. Unfortunately, it could be less if you don’t conduct maintenance regularly. How do you know if your furnace is on the fritz? Here are the top six signs you should look for:
- Strange noises when the system is running
- Burner flame is not blue, but yellow; a yellow flame could indicate carbon monoxide
- Uneven temperatures in rooms due to air not being distributed properly
- Higher than normal energy bills
- Frequent repairs
- Cold air blowing when the furnace is on
The most obvious reason you should not delay scheduling repairs? Your monthly bills will grow higher than normal. Also, remember that the longer your furnace runs while having issues, the faster it will age and need to be replaced. Finally, an inefficient furnace has the potential to become dangerous due to carbon monoxide leaks, as noted above.
An easy way to bypass these problems is to have your furnace checked by an expert each spring and fall. Yearly service checks will keep your furnace running smoothly for years to come!
One of the biggest benefits of stucco is that it can help make your home more energy efficient. However, if a stucco exterior is poorly installed or not maintained properly, several serious issues can arise. The most serious problem stems from water-related issues—specifically, excess moisture that becomes trapped in your home.
One thing you can consider to protect your investment is a stucco inspection. Only a professional stucco inspector will truly be able to tell if your home may have problems. Here is an overview of what this inspection may include:
- Visual inspection: The inspector will first walk completely around your home and look for telltale signs of moisture—such as staining, cracks, and stucco running below grade.
- Moisture probes: This method of identifying the amount of moisture in specific areas involves drilling small holes and inserting a moisture probe into an area. The probe holes are then filled with a silicone caulk that ideally matches the color of the stucco and generally blends into the system.
- Thermal imaging: An infrared image of the home can often show areas with levels of moisture that can cause problems.
If the inspector notes areas of concern, you should call a professional stucco expert to remediate and repair those areas.
Unless you’re buying or selling a home, you probably don’t know of a home inspector or inspection company, but things will quickly change once you find a house you want to purchase! Your real estate agent will likely be the person who first mentions a name or company to you. Though references are helpful and a great place to start, you should be diligent, ask questions, and be comfortable with the company you hire. You can easily narrow your search by asking some key questions. Here are the top six questions worth asking:
1. Are you licensed?
2. What is involved in a home inspection?
3. How long has your company been in business?
4. Do you include a written report?
5. What equipment will you use during the inspection?
6. What sets you apart from other home inspectors?
Two organizations that provide certifications are the National Association of Home Inspectors and the American Society of Home Inspectors; visit their websites for inspectors in your area. Though the price of the inspection is important, it shouldn’t be the determining factor. Looking at the big picture, the cost of a home inspection is low relative to the price of the home you’re having inspected. Remember, you often get what you pay for!
For your clients buying a home could be the largest single investment they will make. To minimize any surprises or difficulties, you should recommend a home inspection.
A home inspection will help your clients to learn as much as they can about their dream house before purchasing it. Inspections can identify the need for major repairs, pinpoint builder oversights, or address maintenance problems within the home. For you as an agent, it will provide valuable information to use during negotiations.
What can you expect? A home inspection is an examination of a home by a certified inspector who will examine both interior and exterior elements including the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation.
Specifically this includes:
- The heating system.
- The central air conditioning system (temperature permitting).
- Interior plumbing and electrical system.
- The roof, attic and visible insulation.
- Walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors.
A good home inspector will take time to answer questions during the inspection and once the report is received. Many agents attend the inspection with their clients. Many companies (including ours) supply a report after the inspection that is filled with pictures and narratives highlighting what areas of the home are considered acceptable, marginal, or defective.
For further information about what is and what is not included in a home inspection, check out https://www.nachi.org/sop.htm
The bottom line…home inspections are a win-win for all parties involved!