home improvements

Home Improvements To Prepare For Storms

Your Seattle, Washington home inspection company, The Home Detective, is pleased to share with you, home improvement tips to prepare for the summer storm season

Summer storm season is upon us – and some of those storms can be severe.
Water and storm damage to your home can quickly add up and potentially leave your family in danger, which is why it’s a good idea to conduct a spring checkup of your home. Ed Del Grande is a master contractor and nationally syndicated home improvement expert. He recommends that all homeowners follow these five tips to make sure their homes and yards are ready for wet and stormy weather:
Gutters And Downspouts
If a gutter fails, it can cause problems with the foundation of your home. Be sure you attach extensions at the base of all downspouts to carry the water away from your home’s foundation. Del Grande recommends a minimum of four feet.
Sump Pumps
Across much of the country, basements will have sump pumps installed to remove excessive ground water. Get this system checked before the storm season starts. A failed system in the middle of heavy rains could result in a flooded basement, causing damage to the floor, walls and any items stored in the room.
Roofing And Shingles
Hire a professional roofing contractor to inspect the shingles and roof gutters for any damage that might cause leaks during heavy rains. If heavy or large hail hits your area, ask the inspector to come back to reevaluate the shingles.
Standby Generator
Summer storms can cause the most damage if you lose electricity. Weather-related power outages have doubled since 2003, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Without electricity, your sump pump will stop, your refrigerator won’t be able to keep your food chilled and your home security system won’t work. To keep your home secured and operating without power, Del Grande recommends installing a permanent standby generator system. A standby generator like those from Kohler is a backup electrical system located on the outside of your home that turns on automatically when power is lost. Standby generators run on propane or natural gas, so they don’t need to be refueled, and they provide quality power that won’t damage appliances or electronics. They can keep all the essentials running – like the sump pump, your heating or air-conditioning, large appliances, lights and the security system, making it possible to protect your home from additional storm damage.
Having backup power is critical for homes with children, the elderly or anyone with special medical needs. If you lose power for a short period of time or several days due to severe storms this summer, a Kohler standby generator will turn your home into an energy oasis in your neighborhood. To learn more about standby power and to determine what size generator best suits your needs, visit KohlerGenerators.com.
Landscaping
Trees provide beautiful shade and backyard homes for birds and squirrels, but they can also cause great damage to a home during a storm. Hire an arborist to trim back limbs that hang over the house, or to remove trees completely if they are too close to the home. Broken branches or toppled trees frequently cause power outages and property damage during and following storms.
Severe weather can strike any area of the country, sometimes with little or no warning. If your home is vulnerable to tornados, thunderstorms, hurricanes or heavy rain, use these tips from Del Grande to best prepare your home for whatever Mother Nature sends your way.
 
Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!

You Can View Last Weeks Post Here.

Home Improvements For Safety, Comfort And Home Value

Your Seattle, Washington home inspection company, The Home Detective, is pleased to share with you 5 home improvements that boost safety, comfort and the value of your home

Home improvement season is in full swing, and homeowners across the country are deciding which projects to tackle this year. By taking a strategic approach to selecting home improvements, you can go beyond adding value to your property – you can also boost your comfort and safety as well.
“Many homeowners select stylistic updates when deciding which projects [they want] for their house, but some of the most valuable home improvements aren’t visual,” says Ed Del Grande, home improvement expert, author, TV host and spokesperson for Kohler. “Things that add comfort and safety to a home typically have the best return on investment, as well as the most pull with today’s savvy homebuyers come resale time.”
Del Grande recommends five home improvements to enhance the value, safety and comfort of your home:
1) Standby Home Generator

A standby generator is installed outside your house (like a central air-conditioning unit) and comes on automatically within seconds of a utility power outage to keep your property up-and-running whether you’re home or away. Standby generators are connected to existing gas lines in your home (propane or natural gas), so there’s no refueling necessary. A standby generator like those from Kohler can power critical appliances and systems in a home, including lights, heating/cooling systems, refrigerators/freezers, sump pumps, security systems, office equipment and sophisticated electronics. Adding a standby generator not only increases your comfort and safety, it’s a sound investment. In addition to preventing losses due to power outages, a backup power generator recoups 67.5 percent of its cost at resale, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report. To learn more, visit www.kohlergenerators.com for educational videos, sizing calculators and more.
2) Lighting

Updating lighting can have a dramatic effect on a home’s aesthetic, but beauty is just one benefit of redoing light fixtures inside and out. Lights highlight architectural features plus add a safety element to the property. Properly lit paths, stairs and entranceways make it easy to navigate throughout the home. Use solar light to brighten pathways, stair lights to illuminate steps, wall sconces to light functional areas within the living room or bathroom, and under-cabinet lighting to illuminate kitchen surfaces for safer cooking.
3) Front Door

In addition to properly lighting your entrance, there is another simple and affordable update you can make to boost curb appeal and home security: a new steel front door. Doors that feature decorative glass might look nice, but they make it easy for criminals to break into your home. Give your home’s facade a facelift and added security by replacing your entry door with a steel option. With a 96.6 percent recouped cost, it is the number one remodeling project for resale value, according to the Cost vs. Value Report. Plus, steel front doors can be purchased in a variety of colors or easily painted to match your home’s existing color palette.
4) Security System

A security system assures owners that their family and property are secure day and night. Whether you hire a company to install it or you go the DIY route, there are numerous options. Smart security systems go beyond cameras, fire alarms and motion detectors; they allow homeowners to monitor their homes online so they can see when children come home, packages are delivered, or whether they forgot to shut the garage door. Adjustments to locks, lighting and temperature can all be made remotely. Plus, adding a security system often qualifies for a discount on homeowner’s insurance, so ask your agent.
5) Sump Pump

With the recent storms in the Northeast and across the country, flooding has become a major concern. If your home has a basement, it should have a functioning sump pump. Often located under stairways or in basement utility spaces, a sump pump is a special pump that is only activated when water reaches a certain level in a basin that collects water and enables proper drainage around the home. Sump pumps are critical to prevent basement flooding, and they reduce dampness around a home’s foundation. The upfront cost of a sump pump is easily justified when you think about the thousands of dollars in damages it prevents: the average cost of a flooded basement is $21,000 according to FloodSmart.gov (2-inch flood in 2,000 square-foot home).

Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!

You can view last weeks post here.

The Best Kind Of Home Improvements:

High-Impact, Low-Maintenance
Yes, everyone knows making home improvements is a worthy investment in your greatest material asset. Sure you want every improvement job done well with top-notch end results. But when all is said and done, do you really want to have to put a lot of effort and money into maintaining those improvements? For most people – whether they’ll admit it or not – the answer is “no.”
The best home improvements are the ones that not only enhance your home’s value and livability, but also require little work from you afterward to keep them looking great and functioning well. If you’re looking for high-impact, low-maintenance home improvements, consider these popular projects:
No-leak skylights
When it comes to an improvement that brightens your home, enhances its indoor air quality and boosts energy-efficiency, skylights deliver. Unfortunately, early skylights had a reputation for being leaky – a problem that simply doesn’t occur with modern, no leak, energy-efficient skylights like those made by Velux America. Pre-engineered flashing kits (the metal shield that surrounds any opening in a wall or roof) work with all types of roofs, from shingles to metal, to ensure a properly installed skylight won’t leak.
Need further low-maintenance points to make the case for adding a skylight? Not only do modern skylights keep water out, they’re energy efficient as well. Energy Star-qualified, no leak solar-powered fresh air skylights, like those from Velux, deliver fresh air through cost-effective passive ventilation. Adding remote-controlled, solar-powered blinds allows you to easily open or close a fresh air skylight and shade it when the sun hits that part of the roof, boosting the skylight’s energy efficiency by 39 percent. Keep the shade open during cold weather to admit warmth and reduce heating costs. A 30 percent federal tax credit on both products and installation costs makes a skylight project even more appealing. Visit www.veluxusa.com for a tax calculator to show your savings for a new installation or replacement skylights and a skylight planner app to show exactly how skylights and blinds will look in any area of your home.
Lighting upgrade
Older light fixtures not only look dated, they often use outdated, inefficient bulbs and are lacking in the energy-efficient emphasis that comes with newer fixtures. Upgrading lighting throughout your home is a great way to ensure you won’t have to think about it again any time soon.
If a total lighting redesign is out of the question, you can still make your existing light fixtures lower maintenance simply by swapping out old, inefficient incandescent light bulbs with newer, electricity-sipping versions. Options like CFLs and LEDs provide all the light of incandescents while using a fraction of the energy. Energy.gov says Energy Star-rated LEDs use at least 75 percent less power than incandescent bulbs, and last 25 times longer. Imagine the time, hassle and money you’ll save not having to replace bulbs constantly – especially in lights that get a lot of use, like porch lights, or that are hard to reach, like the chandelier in your two-story entryway.
Vinyl siding
Wood, fiber cement, stucco, brick – there are nearly as many types of exterior siding as there are colors to paint it. When it comes to low- or no-maintenance siding, vinyl remains the gold standard. In fact, more new homes are built using vinyl siding than any other type of siding product, according to the Vinyl Siding Institute.
While early versions of vinyl siding introduced in the 1950s earned criticism for being less lovely than wood, even those less sophisticated versions had staying power; it’s possible to find homes in use today sporting vinyl siding that was added to the house in the 1970s or even earlier.
Vinyl siding never needs to be painted, and when properly installed provides exceptional shielding from the elements. New technology has made modern vinyl siding look better and last longer without fading issues associated with older versions of vinyl. It requires basic cleaning, and overall maintenance demands are much less than other types of siding. Visit www.vinylsiding.org to learn more.

One of the best home inspection Seattle is the Home Detective.
Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!