Signs That You May Need a New Roof

Nov 21, 2022

We often take the roof above our heads for granted because we know it will protect us from the outside elements. Ultimately, we face the harsh reality that it will eventually age and need to be replaced. A worn and damaged roof can cause significant interior and exterior damage to your home if left unattended. Some roofs last longer than others, but with time, weather patterns, and unexpected circumstances, eventually, it will be time to replace this major protectant. Knowing the early signs or what to look for is the first step in determining whether it’s time to replace your roof. Accordingly, you will be able to minimize repair costs, injury, or property damage by noting the indicators, then taking action.

The following are some major signs that you may need to fix or replace your roof.

Leaks

Water leaking from the ceiling or light coming through the top of the house or your attic is one of the most obvious signs of roof decay or damage. If you don’t yet detect a leak, it will eventually make itself known through water stains, peeling paint, disintegrated insulation, or mold growth. If unsure, check for weakened seals around vents that could also lead to seepage, or you can test for leakage during dry weather by spraying the roof with water from a garden hose.

Damage to Shingles, Flashing, and Gutter Guards

Shingles in decent shape will lie flat against the roof. If patches are cracked, buckling, curled, sparse, or missing, this could be a sign that your roof is at the end of its durable life. Some other signs could be that you spot grit or fragments in your gutters and downspouts or the roof surface sagging from trapped moisture. Moss can also indicate trapped moisture, which can ruin the roof. You can carefully remove moss with a stiff brush, but addressing any underlying problems is important.

Roof Age

Check records to see how old your roof is and if it’s time to be replaced. A typical asphalt roof lasts between 20 and 25 years, while metal and slate last much longer. If the top is younger than 15 or 20 years and there are only a few damaged shingles, it may only need repair. When in doubt, consult with a licensed roofing contractor. Another good indicator is that your neighbors with similarly aged homes as yours may be having their roofs replaced around the same time. That may tell you it’s time to replace yours.

High Heating Bills

If you’ve seen a steady increase in your bills every winter, this could indicate a poorly insulated roof. Once a roof begins to deteriorate with age, so does the home’s energy efficiency.

If you are good and attentive with inspecting your home for these telltale signs, this saves you time and frustration with guesswork. However, if you are unsure whether your roof needs a simple repair or major replacement, have a roof specialist provide a thorough inspection. If you need a replacement or even a patchwork repair, a professional can guide you by explaining all the options regarding durability, style, and cost.

Original Post: https://blog.homekeepr.com/signs-that-you-may-need-a-new-roof?sharedby=vincent-russo

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Home Renovation on a Budget — You Got This!

Nov 17, 2022

Are you tired of looking at the drabby paint on your walls, the outdated cabinets, worn furniture, and stained carpets? Your home is overdue to be remodeled, which is on your wish list. However, you are afraid of what the cost might be. Unless you want a major overhaul, you can still spruce up your home and improve its appearance and functionality without going broke. The following are some budget-friendly ideas for renovating different rooms of your home.

Refurbish, Reupholster, and Refinish

You can minimize the cost with these suggestions — whether you want to change cabinets, furniture, flooring, or curtains. For cabinets in fairly good condition, you can opt to repaint, reface with a contemporary style, or add new doors. For furniture and curtains, trade the worn-out, faded material on your couches and chairs with a different texture and color. You can save additional money by using the same curtain rods and rings and finding fabric you can sew yourself. Refinish or recoat hardwood floors without replacing them. There are peel-and-stick flooring options that you can apply over the existing surface. The old carpeting can be removed to reveal useable hardware flooring you can restore cheaply.

Renew Kitchen Surfaces and Appliances

Usually, the messiest and grimiest area is where you cook and eat. Periodically you will need to replace appliances and refresh the overall appearance. There are many materials available to fit your budget. For essentials like refrigerators, stoves, and dishwashers, it’s possible to replace them inexpensively with package offers or discounts on multiple purchases. You can also learn how to install an appliance to save an extra $100 to $500. If your oven is new or still in good condition, all you may need is to add a new backsplash. You may also want to consider new countertops since they are one of the most worked surfaces. Check on deals with your local store and tile companies.

Declutter, Add Color, Style, and Lighting

Improve the livability of smaller rooms, such as your bathroom, by adding a storage closet, vanity, or medicine cabinet. Peel and stick wallpaper can save time and labor if you’re not ready to paint. Add new hardware to give your room more of a modern flair, such as updating knobs and drawer handles. Save on cost by finding recycled fixtures. Brighten a windowless room with a light tube that funnels in natural light. Add wainscoting trim to dull walls and ceilings to add texture and detail.

A simple, cost-effective renovation can breathe new life into your living space and bring you a renewed sense of accomplishment without financial hardship. From your biggest, most lived-in rooms to your tucked-away areas, there is always an affordable solution to get your home in tip-top shape again.

Original post: https://blog.homekeepr.com/home-renovation-on-a-budget-you-got-this?sharedby=vincent-russo

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Considering Adding a Firepit This Year?

Nov 03, 2022

ALWAYS CHECK YOUR LOCAL ORDINANCES

There are few things that carry the feel of fall like sitting by a fire on a cool autumn night. Of course, not everyone lives somewhere where they can just build a bonfire or even set up a little campfire at a moment’s notice. Fortunately, there are options available for those who want the ambiance and experience of sitting by the fire without the hassle and liabilities that go along with building bigger fires. The best option is installing a firepit in your yard or even on your deck for those days you want to just relax by the fire.

Not all firepits are created equal, however. While you could pick up a cheap firepit somewhere and just set it up, if you really want to maximize the experience and get the most out of it, then you’ll want to do a bit more planning and create an area where you can really enjoy it. This will also help to ensure that the firepit is set up safely, so you don’t accidentally create a fire hazard or other dangerous situation in your yard.

Firepit Considerations

First and foremost, you need to make sure that your firepit is safe. This involves not only installing a firepit unit that is structurally sound, but also installing it in a place that is stable so that the firepit won’t tip or shift in such a way that it could spill its contents or fall over. Regardless of whether the firepit is being installed on a deck, on your yard, or buried in the ground, safety and stability should be your primary concerns.

This could mean that you’ll have to do a bit of construction around the firepit or add stone or concrete underneath it to create a solid and stable surface for it to sit on. Once the firepit is in place, you’ll want to try moving it in different directions to make sure that it doesn’t shift or wobble. You should also inspect it for dents, cracks, or other signs of damage that could become a bigger problem down the road; you’ll want the firepit to be structurally sound before it’s installed, and if you see signs of damage now then you’ll want to get those repaired before you finish the installation.

Cozy On Up

Once you’ve got the perfect place to put your firepit and you’ve confirmed that it’s safe to operate there, you’ll want to build out the area around it. While you could just use folding chairs or other temporary seating, it’s almost a shame to go through all the trouble of setting up a firepit just to then skimp on the seating. A better option is to get matched seating to go around the firepit to help add ambiance to the location while also giving you somewhere to sit.

This can come in a wide range of forms. You could go with nice wooden seating, Adirondack chairs, metal seats with cushions, or even wicker seating to go around the firepit. Rounded benches or other connected seating are also a good idea, giving you multiple seating options, while also being stylish and literally making the firepit the center of attention. Regardless of the type of seating you go with, try to match the colors and style of the firepit to your seating, and you’ll really be able to tie it all together.

Setting Up Your Firepit

After you get everything else sorted, setting up your firepit is largely a matter of getting it in place and securing it or otherwise ensuring that it’s stable. If you have a firepit that runs on propane or other gas, then you’ll also have to run pipes to feed it; this is a less common scenario, though, since many people who want a firepit want the smell and experience of burning wood.

If all of this seems like more work than you’re comfortable taking on, though, you can always call in a professional. HomeKeepr can help you connect with contractors and other pros that can get your firepit installed safely and ready for you to use. Just sign up for a free account and connect with professionals in your area. Get started today, and be on the way to a warm fire on a chilly autumn night!

Original post: https://blog.homekeepr.com/considering-adding-a-firepit-this-year?sharedby=vincent-russo

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Home Appraisal Myths Busted

Oct 31, 2022

Most things to do with buying or selling a home can be pretty stressful, from finding the house of your dreams, to securing the financing, all the way through to closing. But for most transactions, everything, absolutely everything, hinges on the home appraisal. This is probably why so many myths and misconceptions have grown up around the process. We’re here to help you sort the truth from the stories.

Myth #1: Home Appraisals and Home Inspections Are the Same

This couldn’t be further from the truth. The sole purpose of a home appraisal is to determine the value of the home, in that moment, in those market conditions, in the shape that home is currently in. A home inspection, on the other hand, determines the condition of the home, along with any major defects, in the moment when it’s being inspected.

The waters get muddied when buyers are securing FHA or USDA loans, which require an additional loan-specific inspection be performed by the appraiser. This particular kind of inspection is there to ensure that the home meets the loan’s minimum standards, not to determine the overall condition of the home. Always have a home inspection, it’s a much different thing.

Myth #2: Home Appraisers Create Market Values

Although the home appraiser will assign your home a rough value, the work they do is actually based on a thorough study of the current real estate market’s conditions, the condition of the home, the value of each component of the home, the value the neighborhood contributes, and a myriad of other factors, as well as the fact that a buyer was willing to pay the amount of your contract for the home.

So, while any individual home appraiser could be considered to be contributing to market values, they in no way set them. You can think of them more like a reporter, simply telling the story of your home and the things in it, for better or for worse. They see homes every day and understand what a dollar will buy in their particular markets.

Myth #3: If You’ve Had an Assessment, You Don’t Need an Appraisal

While an assessment is a type of valuation of a home for the purposes of determining tax responsibility, they don’t go into the kind of depth an appraisal does. Do you remember the last time someone went onto your property and into your home to perform a tax assessment? Of course not, because they’re simply not that thorough. Tax assessments have to be done quickly due to the sheer number performed at once, so they are often painted with a very broad brush.

Appraisals, on the other hand, can each take several hours, including the time the appraiser is on site examining the home’s interior. This is why when someone believes their assessment to be incorrect, they can challenge it using a home appraisal. The appraisal is simply more accurate. Never use an assessment for sales or purchase purposes, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

Myth #4: The Appraiser Is on the Bank’s Side

An appraiser is a neutral third-party expert who is contracted by banks to determine the value of your home so they can use this figure in making your loan. This doesn’t mean that appraisers are working on behalf of the bank or that they’re simply there to make the numbers work out every time. Sometimes, appraisers come back with very bad news about homes, determining that they absolutely cannot be appraised for the transaction price, or that there’s something about them that means they cannot meet the minimum requirements of a given loan type.

When It’s Time to Buy a Home…

Although you can’t pick your appraiser, you certainly can choose the bankers you work with who will help you make the best financial decisions about your future home as possible. When you’re not sure who to call, call on your HomeKeepr community and ask for the very best financial professionals out there. It doesn’t cost a thing to sign up, and knowing you’re using a banker who is recommended so highly can help make your real estate transaction a little easier.

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Original Post: https://blog.homekeepr.com/home-appraisal-myths-busted?sharedby=vincent-russo

What Is Matter?

Oct 19, 2022

Smart home devices give homeowners a lot of control over the way that their homes function, allowing things like lighting control, home security, and even home automation to be as simple as interacting with an app or using voice controls. Depending on the devices used, you can save money and gain greater peace of mind while also having a bit of fun with your home. One thing that isn’t fun, though, is all the work that is sometimes required to set everything up and get it all working together on the same network.

The problem is that there are a number of different manufacturers of smart devices, and until recently, they have largely created their own ecosystems. Sure, they all work with Alexa or Google Home, but in order to set them up you have to use the manufacturer’s preferred app and do everything the way that the specific manufacturer wants it done. This can be confusing and frustrating, especially if you have to make changes down the line. This may be changing soon, though.

Enter Matter

You may have heard reference to “Matter” in connection to smart home devices recently, but maybe you don’t know exactly what it is or what it does. What exactly is Matter and why does it matter? Simply put, Matter is a new universal standard for smart home devices that intends to simplify both setup and maintenance of your smart home.

Basically, Matter is a set of guidelines that smart home devices will have to meet in order to become certified as Matter-compatible. It was created by the Connectivity Standards Alliance, a group of companies and industry members that work on development profiles and application standards that manufacturers can follow to make sure that their devices are compatible with anything else that meets connectivity requirements. Now that the Matter standard is finalized, manufacturers have specific targets to work toward to ensure that their products are all compatible with each other out of the box.

How Will Matter Help?

The biggest headache with home automation in the past has been different devices not always wanting to work well together. This makes creating routines more difficult, and in some cases required homeowners to use third-party platforms or hacky workarounds just to get something close to what they wanted from their devices. Matter will help to make these incompatibilities a thing of the past.

Because everything that’s Matter certified will meet the same operational standards, the compatibility of devices from different manufacturers should be nearly universal. Homeowners won’t have to spend extra to make sure that all of their products are from the same manufacturer or spend time researching just to find the devices they need that use an app they already have installed. Matter-certified devices will work together flawlessly regardless of who makes them.

This isn’t the only benefit to Matter, either. One other problem in the past has been that not all devices were compatible with every digital assistant, so there were cases of things working well for Alexa or Google Home but not for Siri, or working well with Apple products but not Google. Because major companies like Google, Amazon, and Apple all support the standard, though, you won’t even have to worry about whether the device you’re buying is compatible with your preferred digital assistant. All Matter-certified devices should work with any ecosystem you prefer.

Getting Matter

Some Matter-certified devices are already rolling out to stores, and more will be on the way soon. Anything that meets the Matter standard will be labeled as such, and in time it will probably be harder to find non-compliant devices than those that support the new standard. For now, it’s a matter of keeping your eyes peeled to find those that are labeled as Matter certified.

Fortunately, HomeKeepr can help with this. We can help you find smart home installers in your area that should know exactly what Matter-certified devices are available and offer you professional installation and configuration as well. Creating a HomeKeepr account is free, so sign up today to get started with your Matter-compatible smart home.

Original Post: https://blog.homekeepr.com/what-is-matter?sharedby=vincent-russo

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Evicting Animals From Your Chimney

Oct 17, 2022

Having a mouse in the house can be a real pain. The little thing runs around, gets into everything, and generally causes chaos. And that’s just one little mouse. What happens when you have a much larger animal, or a nest of animals, in a harder-to-control area like a chimney?

Unfortunately, unwanted animals in chimneys are a pretty common problem for homeowners, especially if the chimney isn’t used often. Some are difficult to evict because they’re very dug in once you notice them, others because there are specific laws about how and when they can be removed.

What Kinds of Animals Enter Chimneys?

When it comes to chimneys, there are a whole host of creatures that might come inside. Generally, you’re going to encounter animals that aren’t terribly afraid of people and that are either very good at climbing or very good at flying. For example, birds often make nests in unused chimneys.

Other animals commonly found in chimneys include raccoons, squirrels, and bats. If your chimney has a damper (most modern chimneys do, but older chimneys may not), you may not even know they’re in there, since the damper should be creating a tight seal that would minimize noise. However, if you open the damper, evidence of the animals may fall down into your fireplace, as well as any animals (often babies) that were hanging out on top of the damper at that moment.

Evicting Animals From Your Chimney

Although some people still suggest smoking out animals that are in your chimney, we live in far more enlightened times. Smoking out animals is a great way to ultimately smoke yourself out, or even start a flu fire. Rather than trying this method, you can do a few different things to encourage the animals to move along.

Remember that if the animals have young that are too small to carry themselves out of your chimney, they may not be able to leave just yet, no matter how annoying you get. Check for breeding seasons for the animals you suspect are your problem before proceeding. A few are federally or locally protected, in which case your window for eviction is limited.

For most animals, chimneys are nice places to raise a family because they’re quiet, dark, and safe. Your goal is going to be to disrupt this. You can turn the lights on by dropping a caged work light attached to an extension cord about half way down your chimney. Leave it on all the time until the animal is gone. Often, lighting the place is plenty of motivation to convince an animal to leave.

If they need more motivation, play loud music into the chimney from below for prolonged periods. Again, if they have young babies, this is unlikely to work simply because the babies can’t be moved yet. Time your eviction and rave accordingly.

Preventing Chimney Animals

Once you’ve got the animals out of your chimney, you have to make sure they don’t come back. Usually, this means repairing or replacing your chimney cap, if you had one to begin with. Over time, chimney caps can take damage from bad weather, high winds, activities of animals, and even DIY chimney repair.

Because animals will likely continue to seek your home out, since something about it was pretty appealing to the first batch that moved in, also check that your attic is secured with screens, caulk, and expanding foam. Without the chimney available, those same animals will seek alternative routes, and attics are awfully cozy spots.

In addition, you can help yourself with bird or bat problems by installing appropriate housing nearby. Bat houses, for example, don’t attract bats, but they will house bats in your area and prevent them from seeking your home instead.

Cleaning Up After Animals in Your Chimney

Evicting animals from your chimney is not the end of the story, unfortunately. You also need to clean the chimney to eradicate any sources of parasites or disease that might be present. This is not difficult to do, but it can be hard to know if you’ve really cleaned the whole chimney without professional help.

Many pros recommend starting a big fire in the fireplace, if your chimney is safe to build a fire under. A very hot fire can raise the temperatures in the chimney high enough to destroy any potential parasites, as well as disease-causing microbes, that may be present from the animal’s occupancy.

If you can’t start a fire, hire a chimney sweep. Make sure they know the reason that you need your chimney cleaned so they can ensure that they don’t blow bits of detritus into your home, putting you at risk of disease.

Need a Hand With Those Pests?

Don’t sweat it. Just reach out to your HomeKeepr community! You’ll find all the best pest control specialists, as well as chimney experts, in one place. They all come recommended by people you trust, so you know they’re going to get the job done right the first time.

Original Post: https://blog.homekeepr.com/evicting-animals-from-your-chimney?sharedby=vincent-russo

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Show-Stopping Hedge Plantings

Oct 13, 2022

There are a lot of ways to create privacy for your home, patio, or garden space, but there are few as green and bold as a well-chosen hedge. Hedges add depth, texture, color, and other fancy features to what would otherwise be a drab and sterile fence or wall. Here are some of our favorites for your yard and garden spaces.

Dappled Willow (USDA Hardiness Zones 4 through 9)

Growing 8 to 10 feet in height, in full sun to partial shade, dappled willows are shrubs that not only look good, but also create a lot of privacy as they grow. They have a rounded shape, and many sport pink and white coloration throughout the year. In the fall, leaves turn a dramatic yellow against their natural coral-red stems.

Forsythia (USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 8)

Forsythias provide a three-season show for anyone willing to give these old-fashioned favorites a shot. In the spring, bright yellow flowers burst forth before the foliage has even started, bringing big color to the landscape before most plants have even woken up from dormancy. This deep green bush grows aggressively, to 8 to 10 feet at maturity. They’re tidy and easy to keep, too!

Nandina (USDA Hardiness Zones 6 through 9)

Nandina is a member of the Barberry family, with a distinctly bamboo-like appearance. There are many cultivars available, so you can choose almost any size, from about 3 feet tall to over 8 feet in height. Their light and airy foliage makes a beautiful backdrop to the large flower clusters that eventually turn into shiny berries by the end of the growing season. These bushes are extremely difficult to kill once established, making perfect hedges for the brownest of thumbs.

Quince (USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 9)

Quince is both a flowering shrub and one that, when the correct variety is chosen, will produce fruit. The plant, which often reaches up to 10 feet, generally sports dramatic flowers in colors ranging from orange to pink and red. The long thorns add to the safety and privacy aspect, as no one wants to mess with a bush full of sharp bristles.

Rose of Sharon (USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 9)

Rose of Sharon, a variety of Hibiscus, is perhaps one of the most forgiving of the large bushes, tolerating most conditions you can throw at it, as well as poor soils. It will grow up to 12 feet tall, a great height for privacy, and does it while sporting huge crepe-like flowers in a range of colors. These bushes can have a very wild and unkempt appearan ce, so if you’re into a more formal look, best to keep shopping.

Spirea (USDA Hardiness Zones 4 through 8)

Spirea are an old-fashioned favorite with long graceful limbs sporting clusters of flowers year after year. There are many varieties to choose between, including dwarfs that are only a few feet tall to much larger varieties reaching 8 feet or higher. They have a mounding form and don’t need a lot of care, making them great if you’re looking for low-maintenance, visually dramatic bushes.

Viburnum (USDA Hardiness Zones 2 through 9)

Viburnums are native to North America, so can help support efforts to create a landscape that’s made up of local types. There are a huge range of variety within these bushes, including evergreen, semi-evergreen plants, but they all sport huge dramatic flower clusters that mature into small fruits that animals often eat in the summer and fall. Fall colors vary, but they always put on a show.

Still Not Sure What Hedge to Choose?

If you’re looking for a hedge, but you’re not really sure which one is right for your home’s landscaping, why not reach out for some expert advice? Your HomeKeepr community has plant experts aplenty, ready and waiting for your questions. Just ask for a recommendation for the best nurseries, landscapers, and other garden experts in your area, and in no time, you’ll be well on your way to an absolutely jaw-dropping hedge, and all the privacy and intimacy that brings.

Original Post: https://blog.homekeepr.com/show-stopping-hedge-plantings?sharedby=vincent-russo

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HVAC Troubleshooting for Homeowners

Oct 09, 2022

Climate control is one of the greatest inventions of humankind since leavened bread, but when it’s suddenly not working properly, or it stops working all together, your HVAC system can become a massive source of stress and worry. Before you decide to panic, though, consider doing a little troubleshooting of your system. There are several very easy things you can check before you even have to call a repairman.

Is Your HVAC Powered and Set Properly?

Often, when HVAC systems go awry, it’s because your system is simply not powered. That might seem like an obvious problem, but since your HVAC system likely has at least two different breakers in your breaker box, it can be easy to miss that a switch has been flipped. Reset both your air conditioner and your furnace or air handler’s breakers, then try to kick the system on again.

Another major source of headaches for homeowners is the thermostat itself. Not only do thermostats actually go bad from time to time (even smart thermostats), they can also throw curveballs. Check that your thermostat is set to a temperature that will turn your system on, and that the right mode is enabled, if your system doesn’t automatically change between heat and air. Learning thermostats can sometimes randomly change your programmed settings, if they think you’re regularly making a specific adjustment, and may have simply changed the program in an attempt to help.

Are Your Filters Clean?

It might sound like a small thing, but your filters determine how much air makes it from the interior of your home into your air handler and back out the vents at some temperature that is meant to help you achieve your desired comfort level. If your filters are dirty, they can drastically cut down on how much air is moving through your home.

Change your filters monthly, even if they only look slightly dirty, since today’s high filtration filters can get clogged quickly. You can also swap those paper filters for custom built electrostatic filters, so you only need to vacuum and hose your filters down once a month, rather than go to the additional expense of buying new ones constantly.

Are Your Ducts Leaky?

If your HVAC is blowing air, hot or cold, but it just doesn’t seem like it’s as hot or as cold as it normally is, your problem might be in your ducts. Ductwork can work loose over time, or be pulled down by animals who might have snuck into your crawlspace or attic. When there’s an opening in that ductwork, you can lose both air pressure and some of the temperature treated air that you’re trying to keep inside your house.

To check your ductwork, you’ll just need to go to where it’s hanging, and start at one end. Make sure the HVAC system is blowing so you can feel for leaks with your bare hands. When you find one, reconnect the ductwork. Some systems fit together with screws, while others use clamps. Once reconnected, you can double-secure your handiwork by winding aluminum tape around the seam where you made the repair. You may also need to add additional support to help hold the ductwork in place if there isn’t adequate strapping.

If your ductwork is in good shape, but it still feels like you’re not getting enough treated air, check your windows and doors for leaks and seal them tight. You can do this by feeling around them for drafts, or waiting until after dark and going outside to look for light peeking through cracks in doors and around trim. Doing both will catch more leaks than either one alone.

Do You Need an Expert?

If you’ve done all you can on your own to figure out what’s keeping your heating or air conditioning from being its best, it might be time to call in an HVAC expert. Not only will they have all the right tools to properly diagnose your problem, their experience can also help them find the issue right away. Not sure where to find them? Just ask for a recommendation from your HomeKeepr community!

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Original Post: https://blog.homekeepr.com/hvac-troubleshooting-for-homeowners?sharedby=vincent-russo

Lightning Proofing Your Home

Sep 29, 2022

Big storms can be scary. With the wind, heavy rain, and the threat of even more extreme weather, they can also bring with them a lot of damage. While a lot of people make plans on how to react to some of the big dangers associated with storms, there’s one more common threat that often goes overlooked: lightning strikes.

To be fair, there’s a lot of folk wisdom about how unlikely it is to be struck by lightning (less than a 1 in 15,000 chance) and about how lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice (though it does). What this leaves out is that there’s a 1 in 200 chance that your home will be struck be lightning, or the amount of damage that one of these strikes can do. If you really want to protect your home and your belongings from the dangers of lightning, there are a few things you’ll need to do.

Protecting Your Home

The most well-known way to protect your home from a lightning strike is the installation of a lightning rod. These devices provide a simple but effective means of attracting lightning strikes and then diverting it to the ground instead of allowing it to strike and damage other parts of your home. They are an effective solution when it comes to direct lightning strikes, but you may be surprised to learn that even with a lightning rod in place your home can still suffer significant damage from lightning.

The problem is that lightning from nearby strikes can also damage your home as they gets conducted through wires, pipes, and other materials in your house. Unfortunately, a lightning rod isn’t going to help with this. Instead, it’s recommended that you have a whole-home lightning protection system that includes lightning rods as well as protection on main conductors, grounds, and other elements that can divert and redirect lightning electricity even if it isn’t coming from a direct strike.

Protecting Your Belongings

Another big issue with lightning strikes is that they can cause damage to a wide range of electronic devices in your home. Computers, televisions, and any other electronic device that’s plugged in can be irreparably damaged by a lightning strike and will have to be replaced. This is one reason that surge protectors and similar devices are so highly recommended, as they can help protect the devices that are plugged into them.

Whole-home surge protection systems are also recommended, as they can prevent a lightning surge from even reaching your outlets, preventing possible damage to your home’s wiring, and greatly reducing the likelihood that your devices will be damaged by a power surge before a power strip surge protector can trip its breaker. You should also take the time to unplug unnecessary devices during storms just in case, and to make sure that the surge protectors you connect your electronics up to feature transient voltage surge protection that place a hard limit of 1.5 times the normal voltage range, so that your belongings are protected against even non-lightning spikes and surges.

Overcoming the Threat of Lightning

One big thing that you should do to help protect your home and your belongings is to check your homeowner’s policy to make sure that it features protection from lightning-related damage both to the structure of your home and to the items within. While this is common in a lot of policies, this sort of protection isn’t always there, and it’s better to know what coverage you have before you need it. If you don’t have sufficient coverage, you should talk to your insurance agent to see what’s needed to increase the coverage your policy provides.

It’s also a good idea to talk to an electrician or other pro to get a lightning protection system professionally installed to make sure that it’s set up correctly. They can ensure that your system has everything you need to keep you safe in the event of lightning strikes on or near your home. HomeKeepr can help connect you with pros in your area to get you set up, so create a free account and get started today.

Original Post: https://blog.homekeepr.com/lightning-proofing-your-home?sharedby=vincent-russo

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Should You Sell or Should You Remodel Your Home?

Sep 05, 2022

Your home, as they say, is where your heart is, and for so many homeowners, it’s a lot more than a saying. Their home is a place where they made so many memories with family and friends, and considering selling it can be extremely painful. But what do you do if your home is no longer meeting your needs? Can you simply remodel your home into the house you need? It’s a hard decision to make, to be sure, but there are some major considerations that can help you decide which is the right choice for you and your family.

How Close Is Your Home to Perfect?

Sometimes, the changes you need to make your home right for today are small. For example, if you’re planning on aging in place, but all the bedrooms are upstairs, you might be able to add a small bedroom suite to the back or side of your home on the main floor, depending on the layout. This would allow you to continue to stay in your home, even if trips up the stairs were increasingly infrequent as you aged.

On the other hand, if your remodel is more about a totally whole new look or going from a space that’s largely compartmentalized to entirely open concept, that’s a huge change to a house that will require a considerable amount of time, effort, and money. In those cases, it’s usually better to find the house you want and sell the one you’re in.

Is the Neighborhood Thriving or Sliding Down Hill?

If your neighborhood is healthy and thriving, and you love everything about it, it’s definitely worth considering a remodel instead of just moving along. You never really know what you’re going to get with a new neighborhood until you live there a while, and besides, you certainly already know some people nearby. That’s a wonderful way to build community.

However, neighborhoods can also deteriorate, and with them go property values, the quality of schools in the area, and sometimes even a sense of safety and security. If you’re pretty sure your neighborhood used to be a lot better and you’re not always comfortable going outside at night anymore, maybe it’s time to look for a different zip code. There’s no amount of remodeling that can fix that particular concern.

Will Your Equity Buy the Home of Your Dreams?

Most importantly, you have to look at the financials. Remodels can take place over years, giving you time to spread out the expense, even if your equity won’t quite cover the costs you think you may incur. So, that dream kitchen might take a little while to become reality, but it’s still possible if the rest of your house makes you happy and you’re willing to wait.

On the other hand, if selling your house could get you closer to the home of your dreams with the equity you’ve secured, you can save yourself a lot of mess and stress by simply moving on to the home you really want. If you’re moving to a different part of your city, or a different area entirely, that equity can easily buy something wholly different and potentially perfect, and maybe even shrink your house payment a little bit.

If You’re Still Unsure…

It’s time to reach out to your HomeKeepr community. The very best bankers in your area are already there and can help you figure out how much equity you may be able to use toward that remodeling project, while the contractors and architects can price it out for you. If a meeting of the minds still can’t quite find the right solution, you can check out movers and designers for that new abode. It’s all free, and it’s really easy to get all kinds of recommendations for home pros right away! Just log in to HomeKeepr to see what’s possible.

Original post: https://blog.homekeepr.com/should-you-sell-or-should-you-remodel-your-home?sharedby=vincent-russo

WinWithVin® #CommunityAndCouncilRealty #FeelAtHome #Expertise #KWIntown #KellerWilliams #REALTOR #Alpharetta #JohnsCreek #Roswell #SandySprings #ATLRealEstate #AtlantaRealEstate #GeorgiaRealEstate #WinWithVin