Top 3 HVAC Safety Concerns

The acronym HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and it’s the broadly used term to describe equipment used to keep homes at a comfortable temperature.  In most residential homes, most HVAC systems are forced-air heating and cooling systems that include heat pumps, air conditioners and furnaces.

Your HVAC system is a major part of your home.  It is a complex system with many parts and can often present safety concerns.  Although safety issues involving your HVAC system aren’t common, it’s important to know about them so you can prevent problems and know what to do if they ever arise.

Indoor Air Quality

When your home is sealed up tight during the summer and winter, your indoor air quality becomes especially important.  Without fresh air circulating throughout, you have to pay attention to the quality of the air coming from your HVAC system.  Have your indoor air quality tested, especially if anyone in your home experiences increased asthma attacks, headaches, allergies, or flu-like symptoms.  These could be signs of poor indoor air quality.  Determine ways to improve the indoor air quality in your home by dusting and sweeping regularly and having your HVAC system serviced and air filters changed regularly. (1)

Electrical Shock

If you’re handy, you may be tempted to fix HVAC issues on your own.  Watching a YouTube video doesn’t qualify you to work on even what may seem to be simple systems.  Unless you truly know what you’re doing, don’t attempt to fix and HVAC issue on your own.  Tinkering could void the warranty, cause even bigger problems, and could put you at rick for dangers like an electrical shock.  Unless you’re trained, leave HVAC fixes to the experts. (1)

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that should be a big concern for everyone.  Although carbon monoxide poisoning is rare, it is fatal in some cases.  An aging furnace may leak carbon monoxide without you even realizing it.  Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, fatigue, nausea, and loss of consciousness.  Make sure your family knows the warning signs and has a carbon monoxide detector to keep them alerted and safe. (1)

If your HVAC system breaks down, it’s not a good idea to attempt to fix it yourself.  If you experience problems with your HVAC or have indoor air quality concerns, contact a qualified HVAC repairman and speak with an experienced professional today.

  1. Custom Air, Inc. – 2016

6 Signs Your Air Conditioner Needs Repairs

It’s actually not difficult to tell if your air conditioning system is in need of repairs, but sometimes inexperienced homeowners might wonder whether the air conditioner is really not working or it is all in their head.  Other homeowners might feel that though their air conditioning system is showing signs that it needs repairs, it is better to look after the problem before it gets worse or before their air conditioning system stops working completely.

Some of the signs are fairly obvious, while others are more subtle.  Knowing the warning signs will help you search for professional service before the problems gets out of control. (1)

  1. No Cool Air

At some point, you may find that your air conditioning system simply isn’t doing its job.  Even at full blast, the air coming from your vents just isn’t as cold as it used to be, or isn’t cold at all.  This could be a sign that your system is in need of serious repair.  For instance, lack of cool air could mean that your systems compressor has failed.  It could also mean that your systems Freon levels are too low.  When that time comes, you might have to replace the unit. (1)

  1. Poor Air Flow

If you are noticing weak or little air flow through your AC vents, the unit’s compressor may be failing.  In case your areas or rooms in your home are getting cold air while others are not, then the trouble might be with your duck work and it’s a sign that your AC system needs urgent repair. (1)

Over time, debris can get stuck in your air conditioning vents.  Not only this obstructs airflow, but it also presents a health risk to you and your family.  Having your air conditioners ducts cleaned is a great way to restore airflow and ensure that your AC system is working well when you need it most. (1)

  1. Thermostat Problems

At times the trouble is not with the air conditioning unit, but with the thermostat itself.  One way to tell if your thermostat has a problem is if one part of your house is very cold while another part remains at the same temperature. (1)

  1. Moisture Where It Shouldn’t Be

(1)

Moisture or leakage around or near your system can be an indication of problems.  When you see leaks from your air conditioning system, it can mainly be because of two reasons. (1)

In the most serious cases, the leak could be refrigerant.  Refrigerant leaks can cause serious health risks to you and your family and need to be repaired at once.  You must call an air conditioning repair expert right away. (1)

Water pools adjacent to your air conditioner might show that the drain tube, which disposes of the air conditioner condensation, is either blocked or broken.  This is not as serious of an issue, but should be tackled quickly to avoid less important problems like mold growth. (1)

  1. Strange Sounds

Squealing, grating, grinding sounds from your air conditioner might be a sign that you need a replacement unit.  These noises imply that something is wrong inside the unit.  Failure to service the unit could result in a pricey breakdown. (1)

A squealing noise means that the belt has slipped out of place.  It may also indicate that a metal component in your air conditioner requires more lubrication.  A grinding sound may mean that your motor’s bearings are broken. (1)

  1. Strange Odors

Pungent or foul smells from your air conditioning vents normally mean that your conditioner’s wire insulation has burned out.  Musty smells generally indicates that there is mold inside your unit or ductwork, which must be taken care of without delay. (1)

In order to keep away from these issues, it is important to maintain your air conditioning system regularly.  It is a costly appliance and must be cared for to add to its lifespan and lessen the need for pricey repairs. (1)

Even if your unit doesn’t need replacement, getting it repaired or serviced can boost up its efficiency and save you money.

Most repairs on air conditioners are quite simple, but homeowners frequently avoid calling a technician as they fear a large bill.  In case your AC unit is new, you may find that the repair is covered under a manufacturer’s warranty.  Even if it is not under warranty, it is good to fix a small problem quickly than to delay and let it grow into a larger problem. (1)

  1. Homewarrantyreviews.com 2016

7 Warning Signs That Your Roof Needs Replacement

How often do you look at your roof?  If you’re like me, you run in and out of the house, shuttle the kids back and forth, and glance up at the roofline only occasionally as you back out of the driveway.

But inspecting your roof regularly and making little fixes as needed can prevent some costly repairs down the road and keep those raindrops from falling on your head.  There’s another benefit, too: Keeping your roof in good condition will also be a big plus if you decide to sell your home.

A solid roof above your head is pretty crucial if you’ve become accustomed to having a warm, cozy, and leak-free home.  Here’s how to notice and deal with potential issues before they become big ones. (1)

1. Understanding the age of your roof.

An asphalt shingle roof should last between 20 and 30 years, says Claude McGavic, executive director of The National Association of Home Inspectors.  “If you have a 40 year old roof, there could be a problem, even if it looks good from the ground.” (1)

2. The shingles are curling.

Shingles can curl in two ways: There’s cupping, which happens when the edges of the shingles turn upward; and there’s clawing, which is when the edges stay flat and the middle starts to come up.  Both are signs of weathering and indicate that potential problems are relatively close and repair is eminent.  (1)

3. Entire shingles are missing.

From a functional standpoint, there should be no problem with just replacing a few shingles here and there.  What you do need to be prepared for is the fact that it’s just about impossible to get a new shingle to match the color of an old one, says Graham. (1)

Granule colors have changed pretty significantly over the years.  Plus, the colors change slightly with weathering.

You can keep patching until a bigger issue presents itself, but if a roof starts to look like a checkerboard, people often opt to replace the whole thing. (1)

4. The shingles are cracked.

Cracked shingles are typically a result of wind damage.  If just a few shingles are cracked, you can certainly replace them.  If the cracking isn’t isolated to one particular area and it’s random throughout the roof, that’s a sign you should start thinking about a new roof, says Graham. (1)

5. You’re finding granules in the gutter.

If you just got a new asphalt shingle roof and you see a bunch of granules in the rain gutters, there’s nothing to worry about: Those are just loose, extra ones.  But if it’s been 10-15 years, that’s a sign of a bigger problem.  Granules help keep the sun off the asphalt, says McGavic.  Once the granules fall off and the shingles start to bake, the quality will deteriorate in a hurry. (1)

If you have a new roof and you just started to notice the granules in the gutter, the shingles are probably halfway through their lifespan, McGavic estimates. (1)

6. The shingles are covered with moss or algae.

Okay, this is actually no reason to panic. It’s just a cosmetic issue, say McGavic.  People may choose to replace the roof just because they don’t like the aesthetic (a lot of new shingles are algae-resistant).  Whatever you do, don’t take matters into your own hands by power washing or scraping away at the green stuff.  That’s a good way to chip off all the granules, which again, essentially renders your shingles useless. (1)

7. You can see sunlight from your attic.

You don’t need me to tell you that this isn’t a good sign….because it’s not.  If light can shine through the roof of your home, so can rain, cold air, and snow.  Check for light and also look for water stains.  If you find any, watch them over a few rainfalls and if they change shape or size, that means you’ve got an active leak, says McGavic. (1)

Watch for the warning signs to be sure to give yourself plenty of time to add the project to your TO DO list.  For help with a roofing project, you should consult a roofing specialist in your area. 

Ask your roofing contractors for referrals of jobs they have recently completed to help you make the best decision when hiring a contractor.

                                                                                                                                      (1) Beth Kaufman- Good Housekeeping

3 WAYS TO SELL YOUR FIX AND FLIP QUICKLY

The worst thing an investor can encounter when trying to sell their investment property is to have it sit stagnate on the market. I would always suggest trying to have the property sold before you even finish with the renovations and start marketing your property before you even start renovations. The following are my top three ways to sell your fixer-upper quickly:

  1. Market the Property from Day 1: This means the minute you get the keys, advertise the property. Before the renovations even start, post the property everywhere. Online ads have become a new way for buyers to search out properties. Advertise it as a “build to suit” or “custom design your new home,” as these are attention-getting headlines. Let the buyers chose their style, color, layout, etc. I would advise that if you attract buyers using this method, have the contract written up and extend for the time period it will take to complete the upgrades. Also have them put down at least 3% of the purchase price as non-refundable earnest money, this way they will be committed to the deal.
  2. Market the Property to the Neighborhood: This is a simple technique I’ve found that helps sell a property quickly. Make some flyers about the property, and then on a weekend, walk the neighborhood (for your safety, don’t walk alone, take a friend with you). Knock on every door and let the neighbors know you are an investor and you are fixing up the ugly house and you want their help to sell it. Tell them that if they refer a buyer to your deal, then you will give them a $250.00 finder’s fee (the fee can be whatever you want). The majority of homes sold are by neighbors telling their family and friends about a house in their neighborhood.
  3. Run the Numbers Correctly: One of the biggest reasons homes don’t sell is because they are overpriced. Make sure you run accurate after repair values, and set a tight rehab budget. Get good comparables from your real estate agents. Be sure to not over improve a home, as this will not always get you more value and it will be difficult to sell at a higher price.

The methods I mentioned in this article have helped many investors sell their properties quickly. These tips can be applied to any area. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to marketing your property for sale. Get creative and have some fun with it.

20 Steps on Rehabbing a Property

Author: Sherry Carlson

If you are new to flipping homes or just thinking about getting started and don’t know where to start, here are 20 steps to walk you through the process.

  1. Make sure you have insurance on the home and you turn on all the utilities.
  1. Thoroughly inspect the property identify all areas that need work. Should include the heating and air conditioner, plumbing, electrical system, roof, attic, any visible insulation, walls, ceiling, floors, windows, doors foundation and the basement. If you are not a contractor you can hire a home inspector. The cost of an inspection varies by the size and geographical location of the property.
  1. Take multiple pictures of home before, during and after construction.
  1. If there is a home for sale in your neighborhood make an appointment to view it. This is your competition and you want to make your home one step above that home.
  1. Create a rehab checklist that will include interior and exterior items.
  1. Create and stick to a budget. The budget should be itemized for each individual repair and if a repair exceeds your budget, you will need to make some changes to your checklist.
  1. Have a meeting with your contractor or line up your sub-contractors and meet with them in order to get bids. Remember to get 3 bids on all work.
  1. Award the bids to the contractor or to the sub-contractors. Get everything in writing including a start and finish date. When paying contractor or sub-contractors make sure you get a lien waiver. (A document from a contractor, subcontractor, supplier or other party holding a mechanic’s lien stating that they have been paid in full and waiving future lien rights to the disputed property.)
  1. Get all necessary permits. Could include installing new electrical wiring increasing the square footage of the property, installing a fence over 6 feet tall and anything that involves a public sewer line. Contractor can help you with the permits.
  1. Order all new material that will go into the home. Cabinets, countertop, carpet, tile, paint etc. Contractor can do this for you.
  1. Create a schedule and time for each sub-contractor to start and finish their job. Contractor can do this for you.
  1. Begin with demolition and trash removal. Remove any trash from the inside and outside of the property. Remove any items that are damaged or that you will be replacing. (i.e. flooring, cabinets, appliances, light fixtures, toilets, water heater etc.)
  1. Get home ready for the painter. On the outside if roof needs repair.  Get that done to stop the roof from leaking into the home. Remove wallpaper patch walls.  Get new hard surface floors put in. New baseboards installed and new doors delivered.  So painter can paint.
  1. Have the interior of the home painted.
  1. While the painter is painting the home have a crew move to the outside to do repairs.  Examples; fix fences, decks, etc.  Get the exterior of the home ready to be painted.
  1. Have painter move to the outside and get the outside painted.
  1. When painter is finished with the inside put the home back together. Example install cabinets countertops hang doors appliances carpet goes in last.
  2. Clean house.
  3. Stage the home for selling. (Home staging is the act of preparing a private residence for the sale in the real estate marketplace. The goal of staging is to make a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, thereby selling a property more swiftly and for more money.  Staging techniques focus on improving a property’s appeal by transforming it into a welcoming, attractive product that anyone might want.) I like to stage the front room and kitchen and put towels and accessories in the bath room.
  1. Put house on the market for sale.

What is a Home Inspection Report?

A home inspection report is a useful tool in the real estate market for both buyers and sellers. A home inspection is an examination of the conditions in a house. These conditions are those that affect the property values and include such items as structure and mechanicals. “The home inspection takes the uncertainty and emotional barriers out of buying a home.” (Gonzalez)

A home inspection is not an appraisal. An appraisal is a method of determining property value and takes into consideration items such as square footage and property value. The home inspection will take these factors into consideration but also accounts for the inside prospective of the home.

The home inspection report is unique to residential properties and is used to determine and diagnose the property characteristics.

We will explore the expectations of a buyer or seller when entering into a home inspection. During the home inspection, the condition and structure of the home will be documented by an inspector after taking a simple visual assessment of the property.

After the exterior is visually inspected, the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are examined and their performance recorded. The inspector will not disassemble the equipment but turn it off and on to see if it is in working condition. The inspection will report any observed material defects.

Plumbing is an important component of a home and the inspector will visually examine the operation of the plumbing system. The water flow is expected to be free of any obstruction so clear, clean flow of water should occur. The inspector is making sure that sewage and waste return is separate from the fresh water supply. Additionally, the inspector will visually check the water heater.

The electrical system is also visually inspected and lights and outlets randomly checked. The notation of the type of electrical box as to whether the service is fuse or switch triggered will be documented in your inspection. In conjunction with the electrical and heating review some inspectors will offer a thermal imaging inspection using an infrared camera to give the information on heat loss and any electrical problems that are not visible to the causal observance.

Choosing a home inspector can be a difficult process in some areas because of the large amount of inspectors available and their different levels of education and competency. When considering a home inspector, there are several approved education institutions, and although not national, they can be found on the individual state sites such as nachi.org or npiweb.com. These national home inspection schools add credibility to the training given to the inspector. These sites will also give a list of the inspectors in your area by zip code.

The average fee for this service is between $350 and $500 and varies according to location, size and type of inspection needed. The home inspector will ask several questions before quoting a price so it is best to call and discuss prices with a few inspectors in your home area. It is prudent when buying or selling a home to get a home inspection. This will save money on expenses later on after the purchase and in some cases help to firmly set the selling price.