10 Vintage Home Hacks That are Still Brilliant Today-Handyman Magazine

These tips and tricks for the home have been passed down from generation to generation, but do they still hold up today? You better believe it!

1 / 100

Family Handyman

Floor Ruler

No need to scramble for a ruler every time you have to measure something big. Draw a ruler on your shop floor with a permanent-ink, felt-tip marker. It won’t be accurate enough for precise measurements, but for rough cutting it will save you time and effort. When the markings start to wear off, just redo them. — Christine Smith

2 / 100

Family Handyman

Trapeze Clothes Hanger

Here’s a quick way to add another clothes rod in a closet. It’s especially useful in a child’s closet, because you can easily adjust the height to accommodate a changing wardrobe and a growing child. Use lightweight chain, attached to both the upper and lower rods with screw hooks. Squeeze the screw hooks closed with a pliers. — Jim Shephard. Find out these amazing additional ways to find more closet space you can do yourself.

3 / 100

Family Handyman

Lawn Fertilizer Markers

So you fertilized your lawn last week, and now you’ve got some streaks of pale grass where you missed, and some really dark streaks where you hit twice. To prevent this, use two short lengths of wood as markers. Whenever you start a new row from either end of your run, drop a marker at the edge of the line of the fertilizer. Aim for the marker as you proceed, and move the marker at each end every time you make a turn. It works with a broadcast spreader as well. — Jim Carabetta. If you want a lusher lawn, then pull up these 11 tips for a lawn that will make your neighbors green with envy.

4 / 100

Family Handyman

Help For Losers

Doesn’t it drive you nuts when you drop a small part on the floor and you can’t find it? Here’s help. Lay a flashlight on the floor, and beam the light slowly in a circle so it just skims the floor surface. The shadow cast by the lost part will help you spot it. — Gary Stewart

Think that’s helpful? Well, you love these 45 hugely helpful handy hints that will keep cash in your pocket.
5 / 100

Family Handyman

Vacuum Accessory Keeper

Here’s my quick and simple method for keeping shop vacuum accessories handy: Use an ordinary wire clothes hanger for each accessory. Bend the horizontal bar into an inverted “V,” squeeze the arms together and insert them into the open end of the accessory. The tension will hold the accessory in place. Then mount a row of hooks or screw eyes on the wall and hang the accessories in place. — Richard Siegel

Storing vacuum accessories and other tough-to-store items can be difficult but we’ve got 24 solutions for hard-to-store stuff. 
6 / 100

Family Handyman

Hollow Door Fixer

If you have a sizable hole in a painted hollow-core door, here’s a quick way to fix it: Completely fill the hole with spray foam insulation (a can costs about $4 at home centers) so the foam is about level with the door surface. Allow it to dry overnight. The foam will expand slightly as it dries, forming a slight mound. Slice off the mound with a razor knife so the foam is slightly lower than the door surface. Apply one or two coats of drywall compound, sand it smooth when dry, and paint. — Richard Loeb Jr.

That spray foam fix is great but it’s not as brilliant as these 15 uses for spray foam you never knew.
7 / 100

Family Handyman

Roof Gutter Tool Trays

Here’s my solution to workbench clutter: I mounted vinyl gutters along both ends of my workbench to hold small tools and other items that usually end up buried on the work surface. The gutters are durable, inexpensive, and it’s easy to find things in them. An added benefit is that small items that get knocked off the workbench no longer fall on the floor. Use an end cap at each end. — Scott Wright. Gutters aren’t only great for a workbench, see how they’re great in a kitchen too.

8 / 100

Family Handyman

Splashblock Anchor

Do those plastic downspout splashblocks tend to wander away from the foundation of your house, allowing water to seep into the basement? To prevent this, drill two holes through the hefty corners of the plastic at the back end. To anchor it, drive two large spikes through the holes into the ground. — Joseph Perrone

If you’ve got gutter issues of any kind, be sure to check out these 25 hints for fixing gutter problems.
SPONSORED CONTENT

How to Easily Kill 98% of All Odor & Mold in Your Home

By Home&Garden — Americans are going crazy over this new simple trick that magically kills odors, mold, bacteria and fungus growing in your home
9 / 100

Family Handyman

Plastic Bag Storage

If those empty plastic grocery bags are threatening to take over your kitchen, here’s help: Stuff them into an empty paper towel tube. It’s quick and easy, and a dozen or so bags take up hardly any space. Keep the stuffed tube handy in a drawer. — Joan Hill

Paper towel tubes are great for storing items. We’ve got 10 more incredible ways to reuse paper towel tubes for storing things.
10 / 100

Family Handyman

Blade Life Extender

When the blade in your utility knife gets dull, it’s usually only the point and the first 1/4 in. or so that’s bad. You can get additional life from your blade by snapping off the point with a pliers (wear safety glasses). It won’t cut quite as well as a fresh blade, but a lot better than the dull one. — Dennis Feldpausch

Check out some brilliant uses for razor blades that you can use around the house.
11 / 100
Read more...

Well Water Safety: DO’s and DON’Ts

If your home uses well water, then there are some very important “do`s”, “don`ts” and other considerations for which you need to pay particular attention. This article will help you keep your well water supply safe for your family.

DO's AND DON'Ts IN YOUR YARD

Let's start first with the area of the yard where your well sits, and the part of your well that is above ground. When landscaping around your wellhead, be sure to keep the top of your well at least 12” above the ground around the casing, so that surface water can never enter your well. And you will want to ensure the area around your wellhead slopes away from the well to prevent surface water from pooling around the casing, which can cause contamination and damage to your system. Keep the area around your well accessible and clean of leaves, grass, other debris, and piled snow. And take care when working or mowing around your well, as a damaged casing can jeopardize the sanitary protection of your well. And anytime there’s been flooding near your well, do not use water from your well until it has been tested for bacteria contamination (helpful accessory: water quality testers). Your well should be at least 100 feet away from potential contaminants sources such as oil tanks, septic tanks, or chemical storage tanks. Avoid using, mixing or storing hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides, motor oil, gas, weed killer or other pollutants near your well. Do not dump waste near your well or near sinkholes, as this may contaminate your water supply. And if you have a septic tank, be sure to have it pumped regularly to prevent possible contamination of your groundwater from it overflowing. You should routinely conduct a thorough check of your wellhead. Make sure that the well cap is not broken and is free from any holes or corrosion, and it is at least 12" above the ground with a watertight seal (see costs and reviews of well caps). If it doesn’t already have one, you should install a sealed sanitary cap to prevent contamination from insects, small animals, and other surface contamination. And if you have an abandoned well on or near your property, it should be sealed. Abandoned wells can be sources of potentially polluted groundwater, which could make water from your working well unsafe to drink.

OTHER DO's & DON'Ts

If you have infants in your home, you should have your well especially tested for nitrates. Most wells will test for high concentrations of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. So to improve doing laundry, bathing and the taste of your water, you should consider adding the appropriate water softener system. And if your well water has too much iron in it, then you should NOT use bleach when laundering, because it will cause a chemical reaction that will stain your clothes. Instead of laundering with bleach, you can use hydrogen peroxide, borax, Iron Out, or pre-soaking and rinsing your laundry in store-bought water and bleach. You should regularly disinfect your well once an inspection has determined that your water system is free from any sources of apparent contamination. Disinfection not only cleans your well, but also helps maintain its production capability. But be careful not to over-chlorinate your well. And whenever you are uncertain about the safety of your water supply you should have your well tested for bacteria. Be sure to install backflow prevention devices on all outside faucets with hose connections, as this will help keep pollutants from being siphoned back into the hose and into your water supply. And when using a hose to add water to pesticides, fertilizers or other chemicals, you should never put the hose inside the tank or container, as this can potentially result in these very dangerous chemicals being siphoned back into your water supply. Always use a licensed water well driller and pump installer for any service done on your well or pump. You will want to keep careful records of your well installation, any maintenance or inspections, repairs, and all water test results and disinfections. And keep your well records in a safe place.

TESTING

At least once a year, you should have your well tested for total coliform bacteria, which will give an indication of whether there is a likelihood of more dangerous bacteria present. And every three years have your well tested for pH, TDS, nitrate, and other contaminants of local concern. In addition to ensuring the safety of your drinking water, you can also use the results of your well tests to make the appropriate water filtration decisions for your home. While waiting for your well test results, to ensure safe drinking water for your family, you should only drink bottled water or water from a known, safe, source. Or if necessary, you can make water safe to drink by boiling the water for five minutes. All water tests should be conducted by a certified lab. After you receive your results, compare them to the drinking water standards for public systems by the EPA. And you might want to consider having a downhole inspection done of your well, by a contractor who uses an underwater camera. This can help ensure that you well still has tight construction and that the downhole equipment is working properly.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

If you ever notice any changes in your water (odors, color, laundry problems etc.), You should have your well immediately tested. And if your sinks and toilets are a reddish color, or if you notice your clothes look dingy or slightly orange over time, or develop an odor even after laundering, then your well water may have too much iron in it. And most important of all, if your water is ever cloudy, smelly or discolored, DO NOT drink the water.
Read more...

You have lived in your home for many years, Now it time to sell.

pre listing home inspection St. Michael, buyers home inspection St. Michael, certified home inspector Brainerd, home inspection for sellers Brainerd You have lived in your home for many years now you are thinking of selling your home. Do you know what type of repairs are needed to sell your home and streamline the real estate process? Home Detective of Minnesota will do a home maintenance review of your property. It is a Visual only review of your property. We will go through your property and point out items that are needing repairs or upgrading. You will need to write the items down and you may want to take some pictures. As the homeowner you can then make the repairs yourself, hire a contractor or just leave the item along. The Visual only review is $150.00 and takes about two hours to complete. Once you have completed the repairs you are going to make, we will come back to your home and review the items that were repairs plus do a complete home inspection, we will provide a written report that you can share with prospective buyers showing the repairs made. This proactive approach will get more buyers in the door with higher offers for your property. This written report will take about three and one-half hour to complete, you will have the report the same day. We will also offer you warranty protections for your property. If you wish to have the home maintenance review and full home inspection report with FREE warranties we offer a two for one promotion. Visual only review $100.00 Home Inspection with written report and warranty program $350.00. Contact Home Detective of Minnesota at 763-434-3155.
Read more...

Furnace Included: Free 90 Day Home Inspection Warranty

Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd, Buyers Home Inspection Rogers, Certified Home Inspector Brainerd, Certified Home Inspector Rogers, Home Inspection Brainerd, Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers, Home Inspection Rogers, Home Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspection Brainerd, Radon Inspection Rogers, Radon Inspection St. Michael, Radon Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspector Brainerd, Radon Inspector St. Michael

Free 90 Day Home Inspection Warranty includes oven, range, dishwasher, built-in microwave, trash
compactor, and garbage disposal, heating/air (HVAC):
furnace, air conditioner, and thermostats.

No matter how thorough the inspection, issues come up after the sale from time to time with previously owned homes.  It’s not the inspector’s fault, nor the agents or new homeowners.  That’s why Home Detective offers a FREE 90 Warranty with any home inspection we do.  Some buyers and agents have used it over the years, ALL with positive reviews.  Every party to the transaction leaves it with peace of mind. For appliances, all claims must be received within 90 days of the inspection or within 22 days of closing, whichever comes later.* For added peace of mind, you can extend it for 18 months.  Seller’s selling old homes, buyers buying old homes love this option.  It often makes deals happen that seemed lost. Schedule a Complete Home Inspection To schedule a home inspection, contact Reed today online or call (763) 434-3155.  Home Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. Michael  
Read more...

The “Price is Right” Distressed Home = Get an Inspection

Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd, Buyers Home Inspection Rogers, Certified Home Inspector Brainerd, Certified Home Inspector Rogers, Home Inspection Brainerd, Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers, Home Inspection Rogers, Home Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspection Brainerd, Radon Inspection Rogers, Radon Inspection St. Michael, Radon Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspector Brainerd, Radon Inspector St. Michael

No heat, toilet burst

As a rule of thumb, all home buyers should get a complete home inspection before they agree to close on a purchase agreement.  But distressed homes, often times marketed as “fixer-uppers,” are usually vacant or have been for some time, lender/bank owned, and sold “as-is.”  This means there is almost no information or seller disclosure available to the buyer to know what “known” issues may have or is currently affecting the property.  As a result, there is an extra burden on the buyer to find out.  Although fixer uppers/distressed properties are often sold at an attractive price and can be a great opportunity for many would-be homeowners, home buyers should partner with a professional like Home Detective to perform a complete home inspection. In the picture above, the property was obviously vacant with no heat, and the water in the toilet froze and burst.  This will certainly be cleaned up by the listing company, but what else went on there?  What about the water pipes?  Is there a potential for mold?   The questions are endless and Home Detective is professionally certified to help you answer them.

Free 90 Day Home Warranty-Appliances Included

Caveat emptor is Latin for "let the buyer beware” because the principle has been around for centuries.  Buried in small print on most “as-is”
Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd, Buyers Home Inspection Rogers, Certified Home Inspector Brainerd, Certified Home Inspector Rogers, Home Inspection Brainerd, Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers, Home Inspection Rogers, Home Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspection Brainerd, Radon Inspection Rogers, Radon Inspection St. Michael, Radon Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspector Brainerd, Radon Inspector St. Michael

A vacant home, no heat burst pipes

documents is a version of this “hold the seller harmless” language.  In addition to providing peace of mind with a complete home inspection, Home Detective also provides a FREE 90 DAY Home Inspection Warranty, appliances included, with all of our home inspections*.

 Schedule a Home Inspection

Home Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, with rigorous knowledge and experience requirements that a jack of all trades can’t possibly offer, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). These certifications along with years of experience will ensure you have peace of mind after you purchase your home.  In addition to our credentials, Home Detective offers a Free 90 Day Warranty for all the home inspections we do with the option for an 18 month extended warranty. To schedule your home inspection today or for more information, contact Reed at (763) 434-3155.  Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. Michael
Read more...

Guide to Choosing & Changing HVAC Air Filters

Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd, Buyers Home Inspection Rogers, Certified Home Inspector Brainerd, Certified Home Inspector Rogers, Home Inspection Brainerd, Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers, Home Inspection Rogers, Home Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspection Brainerd, Radon Inspection Rogers, Radon Inspection St. Michael, Radon Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspector Brainerd, Radon Inspector St. Michael

Selecting the correct type of Furnace Filter is important

Routinely changing the air filters for your furnace is an important home maintenance task.  This article discusses: why you should change your air filter; how often to do it; how to choose the right filter; and how to do it yourself.

Why Is It Important To Change Your Furnace Air Filter?

 
Home Inspection Rogers, Home Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspection Brainerd, Radon Inspection Rogers, Radon Inspection St. Michael, Radon Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspector Brainerd, Radon Inspector St. Michael

Setting a date to change the furnace filter

Changing your furnace’s air filter is important for two reasons: 1) A dirty air filter makes your furnace’s blower motor work harder, which wastes energy.  Changing your air filter can save you up to $50/year in energy savings; and 2) Over time, your furnace’s air filter gets clogged with the particles that it is made to take out of the air, and as such, as it gets dirty it can’t do its job of cleaning the air in your home.

How Often Should You Change Your Furnace Air Filter?

The frequency of when you should change your air filter can range between once every month, to once every 3 months, and for your particular home it will depend on several factors:
  • If you have someone in your family that has respiratory problems, such as allergies or asthma, then you will want to change your furnace’s air filter more often.
  • If you have a high level of particulates from pets, smoking, construction projects, etc., then you will want to change your air filter more often.
  • The recommended frequency will also depend on the efficiency of the filter that you use.  Higher efficiency filters do a better job of removing smaller particles from the air, but they also get clogged faster and therefore need to be changed more often.
 

How To Choose the Right Furnace Air Filter?

Similar to how often you should change your filter, the choice of the right air filter for your particular home and living situation depends on a number
Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd, Buyers Home Inspection Rogers, Certified Home Inspector Brainerd, Certified Home Inspector Rogers, Home Inspection Brainerd, Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers

Periodically check the furnace filter before is gets like this

of factors. The first thing to consider in choosing the right filter is knowing its size. To find the size of the filter you need, just check on the side of the current filter that is in your furnace. Most filters will have the size written right on them (see types, costs, and reviews of furnace air filters).  However, if you have any doubts as to whether the correct size was originally installed, then it is best to check with your furnace’s manufacturer. The next thing to consider in choosing the right filter for your home is the MERV rating of the filter.  Merv ratings are used to rate the ability of an air filter to remove dust, pollen, mold spores, bacteria, etc. From the air as it passes through the filter.  Merv ratings range from 1 to 16, and the higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particle that the filter can trap. Some of the most common filters found in residential use only have a MERV rating of between 1 to 4.  These are relatively inexpensive, but they do NOT do a good job of filtering the air, because they will not stop particles smaller than 10 microns.  Filters with MERV ratings of between 5 to 8 are a better choice, and these filters will catch particles as small as 3 microns.  Filters with a MERV rating of 9 to 12 will stop particles in the 1 to a 3-micron range, and these filters are a great choice for homeowners who want the best particle control possible.  And finally, the most efficient filters have MERV ratings of 13 to 16 and will stop particles as small as .3 microns. These filters are used in hospitals and other super-clean environments. IMPORTANT: If you decide to use a high-efficiency air filter with a MERV rating of 9 or higher, then it is very important that you remember to check the filter each month (which is easy to remember if you have signed up for your free reminders from Home-Wizard.com!).  And replace the filter if it looks dirty, otherwise, it can become blocked and cause your furnace blower to have to work harder, which will cost you more energy to operate it. So don’t get higher MERV rating filters unless you are sure that you will be replacing them often. The various types of filters include electrostatic, pleated, HEPA and activated carbon. Some are disposable and some are washable. But what really matters is the MERV rating, as described above.

How To Do-It-Yourself?

Replacing your furnace air filter is one of the easiest do-it-yourself tasks there is, once you learn how.  Here is a short YouTube video that shows the typical location of your furnace filter and how to replace it: replace the furnace filter. And here are the steps to follow for replacing your furnace filter: Step 1: Find out where your existing filter is located and read the size that is written on the side of it. Step 2: Decide what MERV rating is appropriate for your home situation (see above). Step 3: Purchase your filter. You might want to consider buying enough to last you the entire year, so you have them available as needed, without having to make extra trips or online orders. Step 4: Turn off your furnace. This is best to do right at the breaker, but you can also do it at your thermostat. Step 5: You will want to check the existing filter to see which direction the “airflow” arrow is pointing on it, as you will want to install the new filter in the same direction.  Most filters will have an airflow arrow printed right on it. However, if you are not 100% sure the direction is correct (for example if you have just moved into the home), then you can do what is called the “string test”: tie a string firmly to your finger, then turn your furnace blower on; next, bring your finger with the string on it near the opening where your filter opening is, and see which direction the air causes the string to flow. . . this is your air flow direction.  Just be sure to tie the string FIRMLY to your finger, so it doesn’t get sucked inside your furnace! Step 6: Remove your old filter. Step 7: Install your new filter, with the proper air flow direction. Step 8: Write the current date on the side of the new filter (in case you forget when it was changed). Step 9: Clean up any dust, debris, etc. Around your furnace. Step 10: Turn your furnace back on. Hopefully, this article has helped you understand why you should change your air filter; how often to do it; how to choose the right filter; and how to do-it-yourself.

For a Home Inspection

Home Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, with rigorous knowledge and experience requirements that a jack of all trades can’t possibly offer, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). These certifications along with years of experience will ensure you have peace of mind after you purchase your home.  In addition to our credentials, Home Detective offers a Free 90 Day Warranty for all the home inspections we do with the option for an 18 month extended warranty. To schedule your home inspection today or for more information, contact Reed at (763) 434-3155Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. Michael
Read more...

Air Registers: Better Air Quality & Saving Energy

Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd, Buyers Home Inspection Rogers, Certified Home Inspector Brainerd, Certified Home Inspector Rogers, Home Inspection Brainerd, Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers If you have air registers in your home for either air conditioning or heating, then you have what is called "forced air ventilation ductwork" in your home. And with this comes special issues for saving energy and ensuring healthy air quality. This article discusses what you can do to save energy and improve your indoor air quality from the forced air ventilation systems in your home. Your forced air ventilation ductwork has two types of systems: 1) distribution; and 2) supply. The supply system of ductwork draws air from places around your home, and delivers it to either your furnace or your air conditioner . . . Or in some homes, to both. The distribution system of your forced air ventilation ductwork takes the cooled (or warmed) air and sends it to other places around your home. When your air conditioning or heating system is running, you can put your hand over an air register and tell if it is supply or distribution duct by feeling which direction that the air is flowing.

SAVING ENERGY

Home Inspection Rogers, Home Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspection Brainerd, Radon Inspection Rogers, Radon Inspection St. Michael, Radon Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspector Brainerd, Radon Inspector St. MichaelTo save energy with your forced air ventilation system, you should check the unfinished areas of your home (for example in your attic or basement), and see if any of your ductwork connections are leaking any air. Any air that is leaking is air that is not getting distributed properly for your home and is wasting energy. Instead of using duct tape to seal these duct leaks, instead use duct mastic, which is more effective and permanent (see cost and review of duct mastics). And while you are reviewing your ductwork, you should also check to see if there is any loose or missing insulation, especially in your unfinished areas. Without proper insulation, you will be again wasting energy. You will also want to be sure that none of your air registers (either supply or distribution) are being blocked by furniture, drapes, rugs, blankets, etc. Obstructing these vents prevent proper circulation of the air into or out of your room, and as a result, you have to run your air conditioning or heating system harder, which wastes energy. On the other hand, if your forced air ventilation ductwork is ONLY used for heating or cooling, then you will want to consider seasonally blocking the registers off completely when the system is not being used, especially if your ductwork goes through unfinished areas of your home. This helps keep out hot air in the summer, and cold air in the winter. And if you want to get a really tight seal on your registers, then in addition to closing the registers, you can also cover them with magnetic covers, or by even taping cardboard or paper over the registers. If you notice that some rooms in your home are too hot or too cold, you can "balance" the system by adjusting registers and duct dampers. An unbalance forced air ventilation system can waste energy by getting you to run your heating or air conditioning system too hard to serve the areas that are being “starved” for capacity. And of course, you can also save energy by frequently changing (or washing, depending on the model) your system's air filters. A dirty air filter means your blower has to work harder and therefore wastes more energy.

HEALTH

Especially if someone in your family has allergies or asthma, then you will want to properly care for your forced air ventilation system. First, you will want to routinely clean inside of your air supply registers with a vacuum extension and remove any objects or debris that may have fallen in floor registers. Next, you will also want to vacuum the area around where your air filters are installed. If you put your hand around where your filter gets inserted, you will likely feel air being drawn into the spaces around the filter. If your furnace or air conditioning unit is in a dusty, unfinished area of your home, then dust that builds up in the area around your filter can get drawn into your ductwork and distributed around your home. And this is why you will want to routinely vacuum the dust and dirt from these areas. You can also improve the air quality in your home by upgrading the type of filter you use to one that is higher-efficiency, which will capture more pollutants and pollen. Filter efficiencies are measured by their MERV ratings, and you can read more about selecting the proper MERV rating filter in our article here: Guide to Choosing & Changing Your HVAC Air Filters And finally, you can improve the air quality in your home by having your ductwork professionally cleaned to remove dust and mold. For a Home Inspection Home Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, with rigorous knowledge and experience requirements that a jack of all trades can’t possibly offer, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). These certifications along with years of experience will ensure you have peace of mind after you purchase your home.  In addition to our credentials, Home Detective offers a Free 90 Day Warranty for all the home inspections we do with the option for an 18 month extended warranty. To schedule your home inspection today or for more information, contact Reed at (763) 434-3155Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. Michael
Read more...

Getting Rid of Winter Dryness

Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd, Buyers Home Inspection Rogers, Certified Home Inspector Brainerd, Certified Home Inspector Rogers, Home Inspection Brainerd, Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers, Home Inspection Rogers, Home Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspection Brainerd, Radon Inspection Rogers, Radon Inspection St. Michael, Radon Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspector Brainerd, Radon Inspector St. Michael

Itchy Skin from a Dry Home

During the wintertime, the relative humidity in your home can drop below 15%, causing a variety of health, comfort and woodwork damage problems for your home.  Itchy skin and bloody noses plus hardwood floors literally separating at the seams are common to a number of homeowners.  But, these side effects don’t have to be.  And prospective home buyers should be mindful of this when they purchase a home when they inspect it.  This article discusses options for increasing the humidity in the home you live in and/or in the one you are thinking of buying.
Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers, Home Inspection Rogers, Home Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspection Brainerd, Radon Inspection Rogers, Radon Inspection St. Michael, Radon Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspector Brainerd, Radon Inspector St. Michael

Dry Homes Can Cause Bloody Noses

In the wintertime, as the outside air temperature drops, air loses the capacity to hold water vapor, and as a result, the relative humidity level drops. And then when the air in your home is heated up, it expands, and therefore the relative humidity of the air in your home drops even further. Most people find a humidity level of between 30-50% to be comfortable, but when the relative humidity in your home is too low, it not only feels uncomfortable, but it can also cause a number of other problems that we will discuss below.

Increase Wintertime Indoor Humidity 
Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd, Buyers Home Inspection Rogers, Certified Home Inspector Brainerd, Certified Home Inspector Rogers, Home Inspection Brainerd

Itchy Skin is Common with Dry Homes

If your home is too dry in the winter, here are some suggestions for ways to increase the relative humidity levels in your home:
  1. Rather than using your bathroom fan after a shower, instead use a room fan to push the damp air out into the other rooms of your home. In addition to adding humidity, this will save you energy both by not having to heat the air to replace the air which would have been going out of your home from your exhaust fan.
  2. Rather than using the drying cycle on your dishwasher, leave the dishwasher door open to air dry the dishes. It not only will add humidity to your house, but it will also save you energy.
  3. Rather than using your clothes dryer, hang damp laundry inside your home on laundry racks. You might even want to use a room fan to increase drying time and to spread the humidity faster around your home. Not using your dryer will both save you energy and increase your home’s humidity.
  4. Water houseplants regularly and keep them well sprayed with water.
  5. Place shallow pans of water near heating vents and sunny windows.
  6. Use a water spray bottle to spray the air in your rooms with a fine mist (see types, costs, and reviews of spray bottles). Be careful not to spray more than what can evaporate quickly, or else you may damage your carpets, furniture, bedding, etc.
  7. Purchase a room-style humidifier.
  8. Have a whole-house humidifier installed.

ROOM-STYLE HUMIDIFIERS

Room humidifiers are made for adding humidity to a single room of your house and require that you continually add water to them. You can see examples and cost for various types of humidifiers at Amazon.com: humidifiers. Find out Energy Efficient Way to Better Indoor Air Quality. As you will see, there are 4 basic styles of room humidifiers: Evaporative Humidifiers: Evaporative humidifiers are the most common and simplest in design, and provide the most basic level of service and features. They have just a few basic parts: a reservoir, wick, and fan. The wick is an absorbent material that draws up water from the reservoir and provides a large surface area for it to evaporate from. The fan blows air onto the wick to aid in the evaporation of the water. Vaporizer: A vaporizer style room humidifier boils water, which thereby releases steam and moisture into the air. A medicated inhalant can also be added to the steam vapor to help reduce coughs. Vaporizers cay is healthier to use that evaporative style humidifiers because steam is less likely to convey mineral impurities or microorganisms from the standing water in the reservoir.  But of course, boiling water requires significantly more energy than other room humidifier styles. Ultrasonic or cool mist: An ultrasonic humidifier, or sometimes called a “cool mist” humidifier, doesn’t use a wick or steam but instead uses a small metal diaphragm vibrating at an ultrasonic frequency to break the water down into tiny water droplets. And then when they are blown by the fan, they become a fine vapor mist. These humidifiers are relatively quiet and use very little electricity. They also don’t require replacement filters if you use distilled water in them. Impeller Humidifier: An impeller humidifier uses a rotating disc that flings water at a diffuser, which then breaks the water into fine droplets that float into the air. Evaporative humidifiers are relatively inexpensive and easy to use, and these humidifiers can typically cover larger areas than other styles of room humidifiers. Steam vaporizers can be dangerous around children and pets because they can cause burns. They also have the highest energy costs, however, there are significantly less bacterial or mineral concerns with this style. Impeller and ultrasonic designs have low energy costs but raise two concerns. First, if the water gets stagnant, these designs will disperse bacteria into the air in your home. This is why it is so important to clean the tank regularly and refill it with clean water. Many high-end ultrasonic units, therefore, have antibacterial features built in, and some units use ultraviolet light to kill bacteria. The second concern with these style units is minerals in the water. Impeller and ultrasonic designs send these minerals into the air. As such, the EPA recommends using low-mineral water (such as distilled water) in your humidifier. And many ultrasonic models feature a demineralization cartridge that filters minerals out of the water. Typical problems that can arise with room style humidifiers include:
  • Since they use reservoirs, water may stagnate and give rise to mold and bacteria.
  • The wick may become moldy.
  • A vaporizer humidifier may be a source of fires if the heating element is poorly designed.
To keep room humidifiers operating properly, it is important to regularly clean the reservoir and wicks to deter the growth of mold and bacteria. It is also best to use distilled water so that minerals from tap water do not get dispersed into the air. And every week you should rinse the reservoir with bleach or white vinegar.

WHOLE-HOUSE HUMIDIFIERS

If your home uses forced air for heating or if you have central air conditioning, then you might want to consider using a whole-house humidifier. Whole house humidifiers are installed connected with your forced air heating or cooling system, and use your existing ductwork system to distribute the added humidity throughout your house. There are two basic type styles of whole-house humidifiers: reservoir and flow-through. Reservoir type: there are two styles of reservoir type humidifiers: “drum style” and “disc wheel” style. Drum Style: With a drum style reservoir whole-house humidifier, a pipe brings water directly to a reservoir (a pan) in a unit that is attached to your home’s ductwork. The water level in the pan is automatically controlled by a float valve, similar to the float system in the back of your toilet tank. The wick that carries the water is typically a foam pad mounted on a drum which is driven by a small motor. Hot air enters the drum at one end and then passes through the sides of the drum. The system turns off and on based on a humidity sensor which can be set at your desired level. Disc Wheel style: A disc wheel style of reservoir whole-house humidifier is similar in design to the drum style humidifiers, but this style of humidifier replaces the foam drum with a number of plastic discs with small grooves on both sides. This creates a large evaporative surface area without requiring a great deal of space. And unlike the drum style humidifiers, the disc wheel does not need to be routinely replaced. This style of humidifier is fairly low maintenance, is high output due to its large evaporative surface area, and can be installed in hard water situations. It also maintains its efficiency throughout its lifespan. Flow-Through type: There are two styles of flow-through type humidifiers: “bypass flow-through” style and “spray mist” style. Bypass Flow-Through style: In this style of a flow-through humidifier, a pipe brings water directly to an electrically-controlled valve at the top of the humidifier. Air passes through an aluminum "biscuit" which is similar to coarse steel wool. The biscuit has a coating of matte ceramic, resulting in a large surface area within a small space. When the humidity sensor calls for humidity, the valve is opened and causes a spray of water onto the biscuit. Hot air is passed through the biscuit, causing the water to evaporate from the pad and be carried into your forced air ductwork. This style of humidifier is somewhat higher cost, but it's advantages include less risk of mold formation (since there is no pan of stagnant water) and reduced routine maintenance requirements. Spray Mist Type: In this style of a flow-through humidifier, a small plastic tube brings water directly to an electrically-controlled valve in the humidifier. Water mist is sprayed directly into the supply air, and the mist is carried into your forced air ductwork by the air flow. These tend to be lower cost and are smaller in size, so it can fit in areas where other styles can’t. Like the bypass flow-through style unit, it has less risk of mold formation since it does not use a pan of stagnant water, and it is fairly low maintenance. However, the spray nozzle can get clogged if you have hard water. Because of the materials and machinery used in the drum style, you’ll have to regularly clean your water reservoir and change your belt in order to prevent mildew, mold, bacteria and mineral buildup. Flow-through systems address the problems of a standing water reservoir by using a rectangular foam or aluminum pad, but the pad can get clogged if it isn’t replaced or cleaned regularly. Regarding the reservoir style humidifiers, both the drum style and disc wheel style are relatively inexpensive to maintain. The foam drum in drum style needs to be replaced regularly, while the disc wheel does not need routine replacement. Disc wheel style humidifiers also have higher output due to a larger evaporative area and can be installed in hard water situations. As mentioned above, the flow-through style humidifiers do not use pans, and therefore the risk of stagnant water and mold is greatly reduced. Flow-through styles tend to use less electricity.

SUMMARY

During the wintertime, the relative humidity in your home can drop below 15%, causing a variety of health, comfort and woodwork damage problems for your home.  Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand the various options for increasing the humidity in the home you live in and/or in the one you are thinking of buying.

For a Home Inspection

Home Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, with rigorous knowledge and experience requirements that a jack of all trades can’t possibly offer, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). These certifications along with years of experience will ensure you have peace of mind after you purchase your home.  In addition to our credentials, Home Detective offers a Free 90 Day Home Inspection Warranty for all the home inspections we do with the option for an 18 month extended warranty. To schedule your home inspection today or for more information, contact Reed at (763) 434-3155.  Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. Michael      
Read more...

Relatives are Often Not Good Home Inspectors

Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd, Buyers Home Inspection Rogers, Certified Home Inspector Brainerd, Certified Home Inspector Rogers, Home Inspection Brainerd, Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers, Home Inspection Rogers, Home Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspection Brainerd, Radon Inspection Rogers, Radon Inspection St. Michael, Radon Inspector Rogers, Radon Inspector Brainerd, Radon Inspector St. Michael

Relatives are well-meaning but not a Certified Home Inspector

We all have them, well-meaning, a jack of all trades, a relative or close friend that is as excited as you are to be buying a home and they want to do your home inspection.  Home Detective doesn’t mind if they come with you, but for peace of mind, it is better to hire a professional to conduct your home inspection.  Home Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, with rigorous knowledge and experience requirements that a jack of all trades can’t possibly offer, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) Does your Relative offer a Free 90 Day Home Inspection Warranty, Appliances Included? These certifications along with years of experience will ensure you have peace of mind after you purchase your home.  In addition to our credentials, Home Detective offers a Free 90 Day Warranty-Appliances Included for all the home inspections we do with the option for an 18 month extended warranty. To schedule your home inspection today or for more information, contact Reed at (763) 434-3155.   Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. Michael
Read more...