Maintenance for a New House

So you have just bought a new house and you want to make sure that everything is in good working order.  While you had an inspection done and that made sure that there were no big problems the inspector doesn’t pay as much attention to the small maintenance items that you as the homeowner should.  Maintenance for a new house is fairly easy and it is usually just minor issues that you should take care of before they turn into big problems.

When a homeowner is getting a home ready for sale, they focus more on the appearance than small problems.  Most of it is just neglected issues and they get overlooked when the time comes to close.  The buyer wants their check and you want to get settled in your new home, the home inspector didn’t find any major issues so the deal went through.  Now that you are in your home it is time to do some basic maintenance. Here are a handful of things you should look at first.

  • Shoddy Repairs: If you see repairs around your home that don’t quite look right, it’s probably because they were done in a hurry by someone who isn’t really handy. Things like cupboard doors that don’t open or shut properly, running toilets or dripping taps.  These are minor issues that you can easily fix yourself.  Homeowners are often in a hurry to get their home sold and they do repairs in a hurry, they don’t care if it is fixed properly only that it looks good.
  • Change the Filters: Home inspectors will take a look at your HVAC system and make sure that it works, but that’s it.  You need to replace the filters at least once a year.  In the fall before you turn the heat on for the winter your air filters should be changed.  Check them out now regardless of the time of year and replace them if need be. You should actually get an HVAC company in for regular annual maintenance.
  • Caulking Around the Bathtub: Old caulking looks terrible and if you have cracks in the caulk or grout you can get water behind the tile and the whole wall can rot. It can cost thousands to fix and replace.  This is something you can easily fix for less than $20.  Scrape off the old caulking and re-caulk around the tub and you’re done.
  • Wood Rot: This should show up on the inspection but take a closer look in the attics, basements and bathrooms for any sign of wood rot.
  • Clean Your Rain Gutters: Your rain gutters are there to take the water running off your roof and to keep it away from your home.  In the fall the gutters get filled with leaves, branches and debris and that keeps the water pooling around your roof instead of carrying it away.  You can end up damaging your roof if you don’t keep your gutters clean.

Buying a new home means that you have taken on the responsibility of everyday maintenance.  When you first buy your home don’t forget to make sure everything is in working order before you get caught up in the excitement of the new place.

Hidden Sources of Water Damage in Your Home

One of the most destructive forces that can damage your home is water.  Aside from the obvious damage you can have after a flood, even the smallest of leaks can wreak havoc on the home.  Water damage can rot the wood in your home, attract insects and worst of all, cause mold.  Sometimes you don’t even know you have a leak and by the time you find out you already have thousands of dollars of damage.  Let’s look at the hidden sources of water damage in your home.

The Obvious Leaks

Some leaks are pretty obvious such as big cracks in your foundation, burst pipes spewing water everywhere or water coming in through the roof or the windows.  These are pretty in your face and they are generally an easy fix.  But you can have small leaks that you don’t even notice until you inspect your house and go looking for them.  Small cracks in your plumbing can drip water in your walls for months before it does enough damage for you to see it.  The same holds true with tiny holes in your roof.

The Basement

One of the most common areas that is prone to leaks and moisture is your basement.  This can have a number of causes including fiberglass insulation that traps moisture.  You should never insulate basement walls with fiberglass it will absorb the water and not allow the space to properly dry out.  You can have a problem with the weeping tiles or poor grading around the foundation.  If your basement constantly smells damp and musty then it might be time to see where the moisture is getting in.  You’re better off using rigid insulation or ‘blue board’ to help with ventilation.

The Attic

The attic is another place where you are prone to leaks and trapped moisture.  If you live in the northern part of the US and your attic is poorly insulated you can have water backing up and turning into ice dams.  Warm air goes from the main part of the home to the attic and it creates humidity, water pools under your roof and that in turn can lead to an attic full of mold.  Here are some ways that this can happen more easily.

  • The holes that are drilled into the ceiling to run the plumbing and electrical that have not been properly sealed.
  • Exhaust fans in the bathroom that blow air directly into the attic.
  • The hatch to the attic not sealing properly.
  • Pot lights that haven’t been properly installed.

On the other hand if you live in the south where winter isn’t an issue then your air conditioning system can be the cause of moisture buildup in your attic. If you have an air conditioning system that was designed for a bigger house it generates too much humidity.  If you’re duct work hasn’t been installed properly you can end up with too much humidity.

Having a moisture problem requires a specialist.  You want to make sure that you get the issues addressed before you end up with even bigger problems.  Moisture buildup is another reason that you have to do regular inspections on your home paying particular attention to the basements and attics.

5 Reasons to Replace Your Garage Door

You probably don’t give your garage door a second thought, until it gets stuck and you can’t open or close it.  The garage door gets a lot of use, especially if you park your car in there every day.  If you bought an older home then at some point you will have to replace the garage door, you’re better off doing it before it fails and your home is left unsecured.  Before you replace your garage door read this, there are 6 reasons to replace your garage door.

1. Replace an Old or Broken Door

Your garage is largely useless space in your home if the garage door doesn’t work.  Replacing the entire door or the tracks, whichever is failing, will allow you to open and close it again with just the touch of a button.

2. Safely Store Items

If you want to be able to store more items in your garage than your mountain bike for the winter, then you are going to need a door that keeps the weather out.  If you have gaps under the door, dents or holes then you are allowing the elements entry into your garage.  You may have more delicate items that could be put in the garage if only it kept a consistent temperature and it didn’t get damp.  Replace the old broken door with a new one that seals properly and now you can safely put things in the garage again.

3. Better Security

A significant amount of burglaries happen because of a faulty garage door.  Opportunistic thieves see an easy way to gain entry into your home and they will take advantage of it.  Getting a new garage door that closes properly and stays  locked will make sure that your home stays secure.

4. Improve the Look and Value of Your Home

Older doors, with dents and dings look terrible, not to mention it is the first thing that people see when they come to your home.  If you are thinking of selling in the near future then it is an investment that will pay off handsomely.  New buyers will see that the garage door will keep their cars or belongings safe and secure, and they know it is not something that they will have to repair anytime soon.

5. Make Your Home More Efficient

It is common for older garage doors to lose heat in the winter and let the cold air out in the summer.  They don’t seal properly at the bottom and they probably aren’t insulated.  This in turn drives up the costs to heat and cool your home all year long.  If you want to stop bleeding money then consider replacing that inefficient garage door.

Replacing your garage door doesn’t have to be a hassle, talk with a local garage door repair technician and they can go over what your options are.  You may not need the entire door replace, it may be a fixable problem with the tracks or a panel.  You can replace your garage door with a new one that matches the style of your home and will look fabulous.

5 Reasons to Remodel Your Home Today

The idea of remodeling your home may invoke a feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach.  The idea of haggling with contractors and washing dishes in the bathtub while the kitchen is being redone may make you want to forget the whole thing.  It may be the idea of spending all that money that has you hesitant to take on a remodeling project but you should rethink your stance.  Here are 5 reasons that you should remodel your home today.

Boost the Value of Your Home

Your home is the single biggest investment you will make but if homes aren’t maintained they will lose their value over time.  Even basic maintenance isn’t enough to fully guarantee your home’s value.  If you are considering selling at some point then buyers want modern conveniences and design.  One way to satisfy the pool of potential buyers and increase your home’s value is by remodeling.

Bathrooms and kitchens are the most commonly renovated rooms, since these are the two most important rooms to a potential buyer.  These aren’t the only options you have, adding to the living space by finishing a basement or putting on addition are also worth serious consideration.  If neither of those is an option then update the kitchen and bath.

The Interest Rates are Extremely Low

If you want to take out a HELOC loan or even refinance your mortgage to fund your remodel then there is no better time than now.  Interest rates are at the lowest rates in history.  Interest rates won’t stay that way forever so there is no point in putting your remodel on hold.

Low Cost Materials

Okay there are low cost materials and there are cheap.  You want low cost and not cheap.  Cheap materials come with a low price tag but are generally poorly made and those you want to avoid.  On the other hand there are materials that have benefitted from technological advances in manufacturing and you get a quality product from a lesser known brand at a good price.

New Technology

While “Jarvis” from Iron Man may be out of the budget, creating a smart home is within your range.  You don’t have to build a brand new home to make it smart, when you renovate the kitchen or bathroom you can add smart home features to your home as you go.  There are things you can add such as smart appliances, remote controlled showers and voice activated lighting.  Outside of the kitchen and bath you can add voice activated lights and control the thermostat and security system from your smart phone.  Here are some cool smart home options you can add.

More Energy Efficient

Energy costs are always rising so many homeowners do smaller renovations to make their homes more energy efficient.  New appliances, better windows and low flow toilets are all options that reduce the monthly costs.

Converting Your Home to Green Energy

More and more homeowners are sick of the high cost of their energy bills and looking for a more affordable alternative.  At the same time, the ever present threat of climate change has them looking at green energy and how to incorporate into their homes and businesses.  While we want to move away from fossil fuels, renewable energy still has to be affordable. Converting your home to green energy is a big project, let’s explore whether that is worth it or not.

What is Green Energy?

Green energy simply comes from naturally occurring sources such as the sun, wind, water and the heat of the earth.  Unlike fossil fuels these sources are renewable and they aren’t as dangerous to our environment as drilling for oil or fracking.  It uses sources that are readily available in nature and it can be used to replace things like oil or coal when generating electricity.  However there are a couple of different types of green energy that can be adapted to your home let’s explore.

Solar Energy

The most common way to adapt your home to green energy is by adding solar panels to the roof.  This relies on sunlight that can be collected in a couple of different ways.  Solar has been around for decades but it was largely ignored as heating and running our homes was cheap using conventional means.  Now solar has dropped significantly in price along with the technology being vastly improved it is starting to realize its potential.  More people are concerned with their carbon footprint and looking for a better alternative than what is currently offered.  The government has even jumped aboard the solar train and offers tax incentives to home owners that are willing to convert their homes.

Wind Energy

People have been using wind power for years on a small scale but in recent years there is more interest in harnessing wind power on a mass scale.  Wind power has huge potential and it has the capacity to meet the current and future energy demands.  However, when it comes to applying wind power directly to your home you may find solar easier to install.


Hydroelectric energy is generated from moving water.  It is widely used by several big electricity providers all over North America, but it is not as renewable as wind or power and building the dams required can impact the environment.  On the other hand there are projects being built now that will harness the tides in the ocean to provide power, but it will be ages before that makes it to your home.

Geothermal Power

Geothermal energy takes energy from the earth in the form of heat. It is abundantly available and it is being used to heat homes all over the Northern US states and across Canada. It is capable of replacing oil, electricity and natural gas for heating your home and can drastically reduce our dependence on the fossil fuel industry.  It is still relatively new albeit growing in popularity.

The demand for renewable energy sources grows constantly but as a homeowner if you want to reduce your carbon footprint and find a better energy source then solar is probably the easiest.  You can contact a roofing contractor that specializes in solar to see what they offer and most are pretty up to date on any current tax rebates available to you. And don’t forget to hire a tree service to make sure that your landscaping isn’t getting in the way of anything.