and cooling systems are some of the most important investments you'll
ever make in your home. Heating and cooling accounts for 44% of your
home's energy use. Various systems include electric, gas, propane, oil,
and even wood-fired.
method of distribution can be forced air, under floor boilers and
pipes, baseboard, zonal, gravity, heat pumps, ceiling wires and, of
course, wood stove and fireplace. Some have higher purchase prices,
while others cost more to maintain or operate.
more energy efficient an appliance is, the less it costs to run and the
lower your utility bills. Use this knowledge to evaluate the asking
price of any home. You'll be money ahead as you factor its heat source
into any offer! More information on
heating is available right here.
Insulation "R" Values Home Buying Tip
most important thing to be aware of with insulation, other than the
safety issues of urea formaldehyde and asbestos (covered elsewhere), is
the R value, or the insulating factor. The higher the number, the better
be too shocked if the insulation in the 15 year old home you are
considering isn't near the R value of a brand new home. While there is
no question you could save on heating bills by adding more insulation,
sometimes it can take many, many years to recoup the costs.
gas or power companies have financial assistance programs including low
interest loans or even grants available if you boost your insulation.
Talk to your home inspector about any upgrade recommendations before
purchasing your next home. More on insulation is available here.
Home Insurance Home Buying Tip
purchasing a home, you will need to acquire homeowners insurance. In
fact, all lenders will require a policy be in force prior to funding the
loan. Make sure you have enough coverage, should anything happen.
Policies refer to "replacement costs" that may not cover everything.
should ask your insurance agent a lot of "what if" questions. The
deductible amount also plays a big part in setting your premium. Higher
deductibles lower the number of claims, and reduce your insurance costs.
with your insurance agent for more information on these issues, and any
others. If you don't have an insurance agent, we have access to several
top-notch agents we can refer you to with confidence. A great online
resource can be found right here.
Lead Paint Home Buying Tip
sellers with homes built prior to 1978 are required to fill out a
lead-based paint disclosure form and provide you, the buyer, with a
lead-based paint educational booklet in any sale. Lead is a highly toxic
metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our
may cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and
learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children 6 years old and
under are most at risk, because their bodies are growing quickly.
the other hand, there are millions of homes with lead paint out there,
and many have been painted and repainted several times so the lead paint
is well covered up. If in doubt, have the paint tested and evaluated
either at a local laboratory, or with one of the home test kits
available at your local hardware store.
Plumbing Alert Home Buying Tip
will spot several different types of plumbing systems in any housing
market, including our own. Copper, galvanized, rigid plastic,
polybutylene, and soft plastic are but a few. Certain systems are more
prone to having certain problems.
water pipe is most prone to rusting on the horizontal surfaces (such as
under a floor) versus vertical surfaces (running up a wall) and it
corrodes from the inside out. Some rigid plastic systems have been
recalled, while others have fared very well.
most reliable types seem to be made of copper, but again there can be
issues to check: are the hangers plastic lined? Are there any lead
solder joints? A good home inspector can help you identify any problem
areas before you buy. There are several reputable inspectors in our area
that I would be happy to refer.
Lap Siding Home Buying Tip
you are checking out homes, there are several items in our market you
need to be aware of - including man-made siding. A lot has been said
about L.P.( Louisiana Pacific) OSB (Oriented Strand Board) products, and
they have borne most of the bad press.
did you know that there can be issues not just with LP, but with Omni
Board (made by Masonite) Stimson Fortestex, Weyerhauser and others? You
need to know, Siding replacement can cost tens of thousands of dollars!
the time is right, ask us about ASHI home inspectors and the benefits
of making your offer contingent upon YOUR approval of a home / siding
inspection where necessary.
Thinking of Stucco?
Many newer homes are now being sided with
artificial stucco siding, or EIFS (Exterior Insulation Finishing
Systems). This is essentially polystyrene foam with a base coat,
reinforcement mesh, then another base coat and then a finishing coat of
stucco over the top. This is a terrific product, as it adds insulation
value to the home, not to mention classy looks. However, it can also be a
serious and very expensive repair if it isn't installed correctly
and/or water gets behind it.
There are several manufacturers of
artificial stucco, and many builders installing it. Having it inspected
allows you to know if there is a problem, and even if there isn't, you
will be aware of the areas you need to keep caulked, and what to look
for in case of trouble. Get more information on improperly installed
EIFS by clicking here.
Energy Efficient Windows Home Buying Tip
pane, double pane, thermo pane, triple pane windows, plain glass, leaded
glass, low "e" glass, wired glass, and tempered glass, too. WOW -
There's a lot to know!
children have been known to shatter a window or two. Tempered glass can
prevent this. Fogged thermal pane windows might need to be replaced if
their seals are broken. New argon gas filled windows work well to
insulate, while low-e coatings reduce the heat transfer for south facing
There is a lot of information available on the web, but this site
seems to be one of the best ones out there. We will be happy to show
you the different types of windows and glass as we show you around
homes, so be sure to ask us.
Home Wiring Home Buying Tip
type of wiring in residential homes generally depends on when the home
was built, where it was built and if it has been updated. In the older
homes, knob and tube type wiring was the norm, replaced later by
most cases the newer plastic-sheathed wiring is copper, insulated with
plastic and then wrapped with insulation and another layer of plastic
for protection. Breaker boxes are another story; sometimes a
well-meaning home owner can inadvertently make things unsafe.
is always wise to consult a reputable home inspector and even an
electrician before you buy. A little homework today can save you a lot
of money down the road. more on home wiring is available here.
Asbestos Concerns Home Buying Tip