BURDUN ILIYA/SHUTTERSTOCKHave you ever been taking a relaxing bath, only to look up and notice black mold growing on the ceiling? Yuck. It’s a problem no one wants to deal with, but unfortunately is a common occurrence in bathrooms—especially if your home is located in a moist climate. The good news is, you don’t have to live with that mold and mildew forever. Find out how to clean black spots in the bathroom with a few supplies and a little elbow grease. Secret bathroom cleaning tips from the pros.
Adding a DIY fire pit to your backyard is an excellent way to keep the fun going long after dark.
Instead of an unsightly dirt fire pit, spend a day making a new statement piece for your yard. If you’re wondering how to build a fire pit — we’ll show you how!
When selecting and building your DIY fire pit, make sure you avoid using wet stones. If you are using river rocks, be sure to give them several days of direct sunlight to properly dry.
1. In-Ground DIY Fire PitThe in-ground fire pit is becoming increasingly popular among DIY fire pit builders. Before digging into the ground, make sure you call 811, the federally mandated “Call Before You Dig Number.” Someone will come to mark the approximate location of any underground lines, pipes, and cables so you can dig safely. Once you dig your fire pit to the desired size, line the dirt walls with stones or brick. Follow these additional steps to get started:
- First, want to create a bottom layer of gravel, then cover it with the “bottom” of your fire pit — larger stones or bricks or an even covering such as quick drying cement.
- Be sure to have drainage or it will turn into a mosquito pond.
- Create your top rim by making small cutouts in the dirt for your bricks or stones.
- Finally, dry stack your desired additional layers, or create a small wall using fire resistant adhesives or quick drying cement.
2. Overlaid Stone DIY Fire PitFor an artistic-looking fire pit, instead of evenly shaped bricks, grab several unique rough rocks, and construct an overlaid stone fire pit. If your pieces are hearty enough (pictured is Pennsylvania Blue Stone) you won’t need any cement for this pit either — but use common sense when building up your walls. Here are some additional tips to secure your structure:
- If the stones do not feel secure, add in some non-flammable masonry adhesive, landscape adhesive or Liquid Nails.
- For the center, line the bottom of your fire pit with one or two inches of sand.
- The outside of your fire pit should be lined as well, and no grass or other yard matter should be within two feet of your pit.
3. Tin DIY Fire PitUsing whatever barrel-shaped scraps you can find, you can create this all-in-one tin fire pit. Tin fire pits are extra safe as they ensure your fire is adequately contained, and are much preferred in areas with wide open plains and active winds such as El Paso. You can spruce up your repurposed tin barrel nicely with some high-heat paint (like Rust-Oleum) and stencils.
4. Gravel DIY Fire PitThere is no digging required for this DIY fire pit design! Select some handsome gravel for your foundation, spread it out to create your overall fire pit space, then stack your fire pit stones. The fire pit pictured was built with crushed concrete rock with some additional aesthetic details. The pit’s stones ought to be more than heavy enough to be dry stacked — no need for adhesive or cement. Hang some outdoor lights above your fire pit to finish off your welcoming ambiance for backyard guests.
5. Raised DIY Fire Pit with Fire BowlIf you want an elevated fire, this is an ideal design for you. You can build up your fire pit walls to the desired height (only use even bricks for this design, not the rough stones mentioned above) and then top off with a fire bowl. Ensure that your fire pit is the proper size for the bowl by building the first layer of the wall around the screen top of your fire bowl. When purchasing a fire bowl, make sure it has holes for drainage in the center (dumping out fire bowls filled with water is a hassle).
6. Grate Drum DIY Fire Pit
For a less formal, down-home fire pit look, simply add a smoker fire basket (sometimes also called a vertical drum) to the mix. You can either buy one pre-made, or you can craft one yourself using flexible metal grating from the hardware store and a few bolts to fasten it into a circle. Quite a few Hometalk DIYers like to use old washing machine drums, which cost about $10 from used appliance stores. Then insert your drum into the center of your fire pit. If you choose to build a solid wall design like the fire pit pictures, make sure you leave a drainage route for rainwater.
Whichever style you choose, just make sure you enjoy responsibly. Hometalk breaks down all the necessary safety precautions before, during, and after building your fire pit in “Stop! Your Must Have Handbook for Building DIY Fire Pits.”
PROTECTINGConcentrated solar reflection from nearby energy-efficient glass windows, roofing, pavement, etc. Can cause heat distortion to your vinyl siding. This can be prevented by blocking the path of this reflected sunlight with trees, shrubs, or fences (helpful accessory: window screens). Or in the case of reflections from nearby energy-efficient windows, these windows should have screens or awnings added to them. Vinyl siding has a relatively low melting point, so you will want to be sure to keep heat sources (such as barbecue grills) and combustible materials (such as dry leaves, mulch, and trash) away from your vinyl siding. And when doing home projects that involve stains, sealants, and wet concrete, you should cover your vinyl siding to prevent these products from damaging your siding. Also, certain insecticides or herbicides can potentially stain your vinyl siding, and you should be carefully research and test in a small area before applying any of these products near your vinyl siding (helpful accessory: vinyl siding cleaners). You should trim any shrubbery or trees which are near your house, so they don’t rub against and mar your vinyl siding. You should also inspect your siding to be sure that all areas are firmly attached, otherwise strong winds can use these loose areas to pull entire sections off of your home. Also inspect for areas which are damaged, cracked or punctured and need to be replaced to maintain water and pest protection for your home. And be sure to consult with your vinyl siding manufacturer before painting vinyl siding. Many manufacturers void their warranties if their siding is painted. However, vinyl siding should never be painted a dark, heat-absorbing color, as it will cause your siding to tend to warp and sag when exposed to strong sunlight.
CLEANINGTo keep your vinyl siding looking good, you should wash and clean it using a cleaner that is approved by your manufacturer. Small spots of mold and mildew can be removed with cleaners such as Fantastik or Windex. For larger sections, a solution of vinegar (30%) and water (70%) is usually effective, and is environmentally more friendly than using household cleaners and bleach. Do NOT use cleaners containing organic solvents, undiluted chlorine bleach, liquid grease remover, nail polish remover, or furniture polish or cleaners, as these can affect the surface of your vinyl siding. Power washers should only be used if allowed by your particular manufacturer. If you do use a power washer, be careful not to etch the siding with too strong of a stream. And be sure to spray the water on a downward angle and away from any window edges or corners, so as to keep water from getting under your siding. When washing and cleaning your vinyl siding, use a soft cloth or a long-handled soft-bristle brush (which works well for textured vinyl surfaces), and start at the bottom of your house and work up. If you go top to bottom, the cleaner and dirt that flows downwards can sit on the lower boards for too long and damage them. And be sure to thoroughly rinse the cleaning solution away completely before it dries.
So, you have found yourself at that point of selling your house and moving on. Maybe you’re downsizing to a smaller house because the kids have finally left the nest, or you got a job in a new city and need to relocate, or finally, you retired and want to head south to warmer climates. Whatever your reason, you’re ready to sell your home. Luckily for you, we put together a comprehensive guide for first-time and seasoned home sellers. Continue reading to find out how to sell your house this year.
1) Hire a Home Inspector
You’re probably thinking wait, isn’t that what the buyer is going to do? You’re not wrong. When a buyer has made an offer and you’ve accepted it, the buyer will most likely hire a home inspector of their own. So, why would you hire a home inspector? First, if a home inspector turns up something that’s in need of repair, wouldn’t you prefer to resolve it long before entering into negotiations with a potential buyer?
In fact, if you end up needing to make repairs expected to take weeks to fix, you may lose that buyer altogether. Hiring a home inspector is a proactive approach to getting your home ready to sell. Known as a pre-listing home inspection, you can find out the exact condition of your property, what repairs need to be addressed beforehand, fix them, then focus on the next task to get your home sold fast.
Also, knowing the condition of your property will further assist you during the negotiation phase with potential buyers. As you may already be aware, since you’ve already bought a home yourself, buyers often use their home inspection as a way of getting concessions from sellers, such as asking you to drop your list price. If you’ve already addressed any repairs that turned up in an inspection report, it is less likely that any new repairs will come up and impact your position during negotiations.
2) Make Repairs and Small Upgrades to Your Home
After your inspector makes a comprehensive list of repairs you should make, it’s time to get started either making the repairs yourself or contracting the right person to do them. This is may also be a great time to make small upgrades to your home that will help your house to sell fast. You don’t need to renovate your kitchen or anything, but that red accent wall that was extremely popular a decade ago might need a fresh coat of paint more neutral in color.
Understand Your Homes Selling Points First, try understanding your home’s selling points and then try to highlight those features to make them really stand out. Not sure what those features are in your home? Just think about what sold you on your home when you first toured it. Was it the kitchen, the open floor plan, or that personal studio space? These are the features you want to concentrate on because they are most likely to sell your home again.
Brighten Your Home You also want to think about ways to brighten your home and improve your curb appeal. Simple ways to brighten your home is painting your ceilings white and choosing a wall color that is brighter and more neutral. Though you may have enjoyed that accent wall, not everyone has the same taste as yourself. You want to make your house appeal to the largest audience possible to not only sell your home fast but to also invite more offers.
Improve Your Curb Appeal Furthermore, improving your curb appeal is crucial for future homebuyers. You only make a first impression once, and the curb appeal of your home is the first impression of your home for potential buyers. Though you may not necessarily have to paint the exterior of your house to impress homebuyers, simple things like trimming your hedges, freshly mowed lawn and making sure any exterior lights aren’t burnt out can go a long way. Even freshly laid beauty bark and newly planted flowers can really make your yard pop!
Though this can be a lot of work, you will be happy that you did it because homes often sell faster and for more money when these small upgrades are done. If you don’t want to do all that work yourself, don’t know how to, or just don’t have the time, there are concierge type services that can do it all for you. This way you can focus on moving to your next home.
3) Declutter and Prep Your House to Sell
There’s an expression in real estate, “clutter can cost a sale.” Decluttering and prepping your home is something you want to really focus on. Especially if you’ve lived in your house for five years or more, there is a good chance you’ve collected a lot of stuff. Don’t worry it happens!
Renting storage units are becoming an increasingly popular method to decluttering one’s home before selling it. The idea is to limit the amount of stuff in your house so that potential buyers can envision themselves (and their stuff) in that space. Even removing photos is a great way to allow people touring your home to think about what they would hang on those walls or what they’d place on that fire mantel. Basically, you’re trying to present your house as a canvass from which potential buyers can create the next chapter of their lives.
Furthermore, by eliminating the majority of your stuff in your house earlier you can start deep cleaning your home more easily. And yes, you want to deep clean your home. If you sold your car to someone (not a dealership) you would probably wash it and vacuum the inside of it before you let someone test drive it, right? Well, the same goes for selling your house. You want to present your home in its best possible light so that it sells fast and you get competing offers.
Also, don’t just focus on deep cleaning just the inside of your home. You can use a pro wash to clean the outside of your home as well. These products typically attached to your garden hose and then you just spray your house down. It’s kind of like washing your car, just without the scrubbing.
4) Find a Real Estate Agent
Finding a real estate agent is easy, finding a great real estate agent can be more of a challenge. Getting referrals and reading online reviews is a great way to start narrowing down your options, and hopefully, you’ll end up with a couple of good potential candidates to interview.
You’ll want to understand what you’re looking for when hiring a real estate agent to represent your best interests. Here are some questions to consider asking any potential candidate:
- How many clients have you served this year?
- Has a client ever filed a complaint against you?
- What is your fee?
- What services do you offer beyond negotiations and escrow?
These are just a few questions to consider asking while interviewing real estate agents. A more comprehensive list of interview questions can be found here.
After you decide on a real estate agent, you and your agent should come up with a plan of action. This plan should include a timeline, from the pricing of your home and getting it listed on MLS to open houses. It should also include when a price reduction strategy needs to take effect to get your home sold. You and your agent should be on the same page at all times and a plan of action will help ensure that.
5) Price Your Home to Sell
Now is the time to find out what price you should list your home! You can start by using online tools to help you get an idea of what your home is currently worth. This is a great starting point to get an idea of your home’s worth, but you should never set your sights on a single number and expect it to happen. Market conditions change all the time and so too does buyer behavior. Being open-minded about pricing your home as well as adjusting price is key to get your home sold.
Another option that many homeowners do to get a list price for their home is to hire a home appraiser. Home appraisers are licensed professionals that will assess the value of your house based on the state of your property and overall housing market conditions. They will look at the size of your property, the interior and exterior conditions of your house, any upgrades, additions or home improvements you’ve done, and then calculate your home’s worth based on the local market conditions.
Looking at comparables of recently sold homes in your area will also help you settle on a price with your real estate agent. These homes should be similar in size, location, and sold within the last few months. Anything outside of those parameters would not be considered true comparables and could give you false information for pricing your home.
Furthermore, you want to be strategic about your pricing. You want your house to sell fast while being competitive for current market conditions. Instead of lumping the price of your house in with others in the area, strategize your pricing based on your home’s selling features. In other words, if there are three houses for sale in the same area as your own and priced at $350,000, you might be able to justify $360,000 or more because you have a larger lot size or maybe you’re located in a popular neighborhood.
6) Get Professional Photos Taken of Your Home
Nothing sells a home faster than professional photos. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. They are searching online, looking at every home that comes up for sale within their filtered interests the moment it’s listed. If your house is being represented online by poorly shot photography, your listing will see very little traffic. Not to mention, it has been widely observed that listing your house with professionally shot photos, on average, sell for more money than other listings.
Furthermore, 3D walking tours of homes have become increasingly popular with buyers looking online. Many agencies include these types of services as a component of their overall services to you as a seller, however, you should ask while interviewing your real estate agent what services are provided so you don’t find yourself paying out of pocket later.
7) List Your Home to Sell
Your real estate agent will get your home listed online on MLS (Multiple Listing Service), in order to l start showing up on real estate search platforms to potential buyers.
You may be wondering when is the best time to list your home? If you’re thinking about waiting for a specific season, then you might be waiting for nothing. In 2016, Redfin analyzed more than 7 million home sales to identify specific seasonal trends in homes being sold. What was determined was that though spring was slightly better for homes that sold within 30 days and for above asking price, winter was surprisingly a close second. What plays a bigger role in a house being sold quickly and/or above asking price has more to do with current market conditions than the season a house is sold.
Also, don’t limit the marketing of your house to your real estate agent and online search. Market your house yourself! Spread the word through your family and friends, share your listing on social media, send out emails asking people to share your listing with others, and even advertising with online ads are ways of getting your house in front of more people and increase the chance of selling your home faster.
8) Have Open Houses and Personal Showings
Your first open house is what you’ve been working towards and now it’s about to happen. It’s time to step up your game and stage your home to sell. Here is a list of things to consider that will really help you make your house shine:
- Clear the clutter: You may have already transferred most of your belongings to a storage unit by now. Focus on just cleaning up the clutter that gets left out on countertops and tables. Put away newspapers, mail or magazines, or if you have children help them pick up their toys.
- Deep clean your house: Nothing turns off a buyer more than an unclean bathroom. That could also be said about the rest of your house. Now more than ever is that time to wash your windows, window sills, and scrub your grimy glass shower doors.
- Add white accents: White accents such as flowers or towels in the bathroom create a sense of welcome cleanliness.
- Arrange furniture: You don’t have to necessarily rent furniture to stage your home. You can most likely use what you have. The key is to limit the number of furniture pieces in any one room and then arrange them in a way that’s inviting to people as they enter the room.
- Bring in light: Think about removing your curtains or keeping them drawn back to allow as much light into your house as possible. If you have rather large elaborate curtains, consider storing them away until you get to your next home.
- Showcase your floors: Floors are key feature homebuyers are looking at, especially if you have wood floors. Show them off by removing any rugs or unneeded furniture so that more of your flooring can be seen. If you have wood floors, think about getting them polished to really make them pop!
- Create a welcoming ambiance: You may have heard about that old trick of lighting a candle that smells like freshly baked cookies? Well, it’s not wrong, but a single candle might not do the trick. Focus on reducing odors in your home. If you have a mudroom, or a cat or dog, use a neutralizing spray for a few days before an open house to limit any odors that you may not actually realize are there.
- Organize all closets and drawers: Homebuyers touring your home will most likely look in your closets to determine space and, frankly, to see if their stuff will fit in there. Also, they will likely open kitchen drawers and cabinets as well, so make sure everything is nice and tidy.
- Dust: Concentrate on all the areas that you’ve most likely have turned a blind eye to for some time, like ceiling fans, baseboards, on top of doorways, appliances, etc.
- Make your entrance inviting: If the exterior of your house has outdated light fixtures or worn out address numbers, consider replacing them along with your welcome mat. A new mat is always inviting to people touring your home.
- Secure your valuables: If you didn’t already store your valuables away in the storage unit you rented, you’ll want to make sure that these are not kept in plain sight. In fact, if you have a safe of some kind, that would be a perfect place to store your valuables while open houses and home tours are taking place.
Unlike open houses that are planned in advance, personal showings can happen at any point during the home selling process. The key is to be flexible and maintain your home’s cleanliness to make it easier on yourself in case of unexpected tours that may just pop up at moment’s notice. You want to make a great first impression every time!
10) Have a Plan in Case Your Home Doesn’t Sell Quick Enough
You and your real estate agent should have already gone over this beforehand, but not every house sells after the first open house. There are many factors at play and depending on the condition of the housing market for your area, your real estate agent may have to use some other strategies in their arsenal to get your house sold.
If it’s lowering the price of your home or holding more open houses, you’ll want to agree on what the next steps should be in case your house isn’t seeing any offers.
11) Negotiate the Selling Price of Your Home
One thing to consider is that the buyer is trying to get the absolute best price they can, while you’re doing the exact same. There will be multiple factors to consider as each home sold and purchased is different. For example, if it’s a buyer’s market that means the buyer has the upper hand because there are multiple listings with fewer offers being made. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to make huge concessions in order to sell your home.
This is where your agent really steps up. They will help you navigate the negotiation process, and will give you their advice on how to proceed when offers are being made. Luckily, you interviewed and hired the right agent, so you know they have your best interests in mind. There are several factors and tactics to consider when entering this phase. Your agent will help you every step of the way as you navigate through the negotiation process.
You most likely have made many great memories in your home. Your children may have grown up in your house and marks of their heights years past still scar the wall near the kitchen. It’s difficult, but try to separate yourself – emotionally – from your house. Whatever your memories may be, just remember they are not lost, but they also have no place in negotiations. Try to remain objective during this process and rely on your real estate agent for advice and how to proceed.
12) Sign and Close
This is the moment you and your agent have been working towards. You’ve agreed on a price with the buyers, any and all inspections and appraisals of your home have been completed, and you are now signing the papers to sell your house. Congratulations, you’ve done it!
Schedule a Home InspectionHome 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
Why Is It Important To Change Your Furnace Air 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 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 InspectionHome 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
SAVING ENERGYTo 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.
HEALTHEspecially 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) 434-3155. 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Water houseplants regularly and keep them well sprayed with water.
- Place shallow pans of water near heating vents and sunny windows.
- 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.
- Purchase a room-style humidifier.
- Have a whole-house humidifier installed.
ROOM-STYLE HUMIDIFIERSRoom 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.
WHOLE-HOUSE HUMIDIFIERSIf 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.
SUMMARYDuring 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 InspectionHome 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