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Sept. 26, 2022

Good Scents: Using Smell to Entice Homebuyers

 

There are a number of unpleasant smells that can occur in your home. Sometimes they’re temporary bouts of unpleasantness, and other times they stick around. A lot of smells and odors can seem manageable, since even lingering mustiness or other odors can kind of fade over time as you get used to them. Unfortunately, just because you’ve gone somewhat “nose blind” to those smells doesn’t mean that other people have, and that can be a major problem if you’re listing your home for sale.

 

 

If you’re trying to entice people to be interested in your home, you need to make sure that the first thing they smell when walking in the door isn’t some awful smell that you’ve just gotten used to. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to bringing the smell of your home around to work to your advantage. With that said, here are a few things that might help.

 

Eliminate Smell Sources

If there are unpleasant smells in your home, the first thing that you should do is work on getting rid of the source of those smells. Enzyme sprays and other specialty cleaners can reduce or eliminate the cause of many pet odors, even if your pets have had accidents on the carpet. Likewise, a mix of ice, rock salt, and white vinegar can help clean and neutralize odors from the garbage disposal. A dehumidifier can go a long way toward getting rid of musty smells by reducing the humidity to a level where mildew and mold can’t grow. A thorough cleaning can also help, especially if it involves both vacuuming and shampooing the carpets and plush furniture surfaces.

If specific items such as a rug under the litter box or an old and musty pair of work boots are the source of the smell, get them out of the house or get rid of them entirely. Tossing things out may seem like a drastic step, but unless you eliminate the source of an odor, it isn’t really ever going to fully go away. Plus, if something is stinking up your home that bad then you probably don’t really need it around anyhow.

Improve Your Home’s Scent

As you work on removing unpleasant scents from your home, you can also work on adding pleasant ones. Provided that the weather allows for it, spend a few days with as many doors and windows open as possible (shutting off the HVAC first, of course) to air out the house and get fresh air everywhere. You might also want to set up fans to help circulate the air so that it reaches as many points in the house as possible. This will serve the dual purpose of getting out lingering odors and bringing in fresh scents from outdoors.

Air fresheners and air sanitizers are also useful in this regard. Opt for something with a light scent that’s either fruity or floral, but not overbearingly so. After all, your goal is to leave the air smelling fresh but not smelling like perfume. Before people come to look at the house, put out fresh flowers in key rooms to help improve the scent of the room without having to rely overly on sprays or other artificial air fresheners.

Bring in the Pros

With some odors, you may not be able to fully get rid of them on your own. In these cases, it’s a good idea to call in professional cleaners and explain what the problem is. These pros use specially-formulated cleaners and other solutions that help them break down the causes of even some of the nastiest smells to get your home smelling fresh and clean before you list it.

Posted in Real Estate Blogs
Sept. 22, 2022

Trellising 101: Climb, Plant, Climb!

 

Growing a garden is the ultimate act of faith. After all, you never know if your plants will thrive or if they will cease to be long before reaching their full potential. Hopefully, with diligent care, and a little luck, your plants will grow big, strong, and glorious. When it comes to growing climbing plants (often referred to as “vines,” “climbers,” or “lianas”), two of the most important parts of their success are having the right kinds of things to climb and the right help to get started on their way up.

 

What Is a Climbing Plant?

The term “climbing plant” is kind of a giant catch-all term that includes a range of plants with long, flexible stems, and some mechanism that allows them to reach great heights in their native environments. However, some climbing plants will also just become shrubs if they have nothing to climb, and others will climb for a while, then set roots where they land before shedding their climbing tools all together.

But in most cases, when people think of climbing plants, they think of plants that are vining. These plants climb over structures and other plants using several different mechanisms. This can include stems that twist around supports, leaves that twist around objects or one another, curly tendrils that wrap around supports, long roots that help them cling to solid surfaces, or hooks like thorns that help them move upward.

Although it’s common to see vines sold as ornamentals, there are also a number of climbing plants that are part of the vegetable garden. For example, cucumbers and tomatoes are both vining plants, which makes them perfect for vertical gardening.

Trellising Vining Plants

Climbing plants can be easy to grow, if you give them appropriate things to climb and help them get a foothold when needed. Trellising a plant isn’t difficult, but choosing the right trellis can be sometimes. Not every plant will respond to every trellis, so it’s very important to consider the method by which your plant climbs before choosing a trellis for it.

For example, if your plant climbs with tendrils, it will do best with a wire trellis with frequent horizontal cross pieces. Because it needs to be able to reach up and wrap the tendrils around something substantial but narrow, the thick, flat trellises can be difficult for this type of vine to climb. On the other hand, if you’re trying to grow something that uses its roots to climb, like Virginia creeper, you need those trellises with the wide, flat components. It’s very difficult for this kind of plant to climb up narrow trellis material because it has to have some significant space and texture to allow it to really grab on with its roots.

So, whether you choose your trellis first (maybe you already have one in mind) or you choose your plant first, they need to be compatible. For many climbing plants, something as simple as mesh fencing can make a magnificent trellis.

How to Train Your Vines

Training vines to their appropriate trellises is surprisingly simple most of the time. As long as your trellis is close enough to the ground that your vine can reach it quickly in its growing process, often all you have to do is wait and let the plant do its own thing. If your plant is a bit more resistant, that’s ok, there are ways to encourage it to grow up.

A common technique for training vines onto a trellis is simply to wait for it to grow long enough for you to start winding it through the trellis material. Be very gentle, as you’ll need those delicate growing tips to remain undamaged, but loosely weaving it through the trellis as it grows will help it establish a framework for where it should be hanging out, so to speak.

With vines that need to attach to flat areas using their roots, you may be able to tie them on loosely until the root has firmly secured the plant. Use a cloth tie if at all possible to reduce the risk of damage to your plant. Before you know it, you’ll be able to untie the plant and let it get on with growing.

Still Need Help Moving Your Plants Up?

If your vining plants are still giving you trouble, or you simply don’t know which vine is right for your really magnificent arbor, it may be time to consult a landscaper or other plant expert. 

Posted in Real Estate Blogs
Sept. 19, 2022

How to Keep Your Ductwork Clean

 

Your home’s HVAC system works hard throughout the year. Unfortunately, this can cause it to experience problems over time, often at a time when you’d really rather it not fail on you. This is why yearly maintenance and inspections are recommended, since a little bit of attention now can save you a whole lot of problems (and money) later on.

 

 

There’s more that you can do to help your HVAC system stay in good working order than just having it inspected and maintained, though. One of the big things that you can do to help is keeping your ductwork clean. This helps to prevent blocked airflow, keeps dust and other particles from being recirculated into the air, and overall reduces the strain on your HVAC unit as it tries to push air through the entire ductwork system. If you’ve never cleaned your ductwork before, here’s what you need to know to start.

 

Cleaning Your Ductwork

There are a few things that you can do to clean up your ductwork. One that’s often overlooked is actually vacuuming it out to remove built up dust, dirt, and other particles. You obviously can’t do this to the entire length of your ductwork, but removing vent covers and vacuuming around the vent area still makes a huge difference. Dust and debris tend to pile up here because some of it is trapped by the vent cover itself, and it mixes with debris and other items that might get dropped down the vent by mistake. When the air kicks on, some of this loose debris is circulated back into the house, bringing with it mildew and mold spores and a variety of other things that will either be breathed in or clog up your air filter. Vacuum it out now to help keep this from happening.

Speaking of air filters, they are one of your best tools when it comes to cleaning up your ductwork. Changing them monthly keeps them in good working condition, preventing a lot of the dust, dander, and other unwanted particles from making it into your ductwork in the first place. Set a schedule to change your filter, writing it on your calendar or setting up some other reminder so that you don’t forget. Once this schedule is in place, you’ll be amazed at how much of an effect this consistency can have on the state of your ducts.

Keeping It Clean

Cleaning your ductwork isn’t just a one-and-done event. You’ll still need to vacuum your vents periodically and stick with your air filter schedule to keep it clean. There’s more that you can do to help keep the ductwork clean and reduce the strain on your HVAC system, though. Things like installing a dehumidifier to reduce overall indoor humidity and dusting your home on a more regular basis can make a big difference, especially in the weeks following your initial cleaning to get any loose particles that you couldn’t reach with the vacuum.

Another thing that you can do to help keep your ductwork clean is to make sure that all your vents are open at least a little to facilitate air flow throughout the entire duct system. A lot of homeowners close vents in rooms that don’t see much use, but this actually increases pressure on the HVAC system and creates dead ends where dust and other particles can build up. By opening these vents at least partially, you can ensure good airflow throughout the house, and avoid situations where closed vents lead to buildup.

 

Posted in Real Estate Blogs
Sept. 14, 2022

North America Is First in Smart Homes

 

Smart homes are increasingly popular these days, with an estimated 175 million smart homes in operation around the world as of 2022. In this year alone, it’s estimated that smart home devices have generated nearly $91 billion in revenue, and it’s projected that this amount is going to grow significantly over the next few years. In fact, the projected compound annual growth rate of the smart home industry’s revenue between 2020 and 2025 is an astonishing 25 percent.

 

 

While smart homes are popular around the world, the real peak of their popularity is in North America. It’s estimated that the North American market will account for a full 40% of the smart home market by next year, with the United States making up a good portion of that market share. To give you an idea of how big of a share this is, the combined number of smart homes in all of Europe (which contains 45 countries and has seen heavy smart home adoption in the UK, France, and Germany) is around 84 million, while there are around 63 million in the US alone.

 

The Smart Home Trend

Despite some people being nervous about the possibility of smart devices driving more targeted ads or being used for nefarious purposes, it’s clear that the popularity of smart homes is not diminishing. The use of smart devices can help people stay organized, saving time and making it easier to keep appointments and other critical functions. These devices can also help you save money, with some additions like smart thermostats helping homeowners to save as much as 50 percent on their energy use. Some insurance companies even offer rate reductions on homeowner’s insurance specifically for smart security systems.

Having a smart home can also help to sweeten the pot if you’re looking to sell as well. Around 86% of millennials would consider paying more for a home that had smart devices installed, and even around 9% of baby boomers admit that they already own smart speakers or similar devices. Even if you don’t have full smart systems and thousands of dollars of equipment in place, you can still attract the attention of potential buyers by placing emphasis on the smart devices that you do have in your listing.

Smarten Up Your House

There are a lot of ways that you can add automation and other smart home functionality to your home. For many homeowners, adding a smart speaker with a digital assistant, and a few easy additions such as smart light bulbs for voice-controlled lighting, may be as far as they take it. Others might add smart thermostats and climate control, leak detection sensors on their pipes, and maybe a few other smart devices to give them control over things like the TV. Still others might go all the way and add things like smart cameras, a full security system, and even smart door locks and window sensors to make their homes safe and secure.

It’s important to keep in mind that while the average all-in smart home installation can cost up to $4,000, even if you choose to go in that direction, it’s not a step that you have to take all at once. Some basic smart home functionality can be had for $100 or less, and even with a few hundred dollars’ worth of investment, you can see significant savings in things like energy costs. Smart thermostats alone tend to pay for themselves within two years, and adding smart LED lighting and other energy-saving smart features can increase the savings even more.

 

Posted in Real Estate Blogs
Sept. 12, 2022

Flood Clean Up Tips

 

When natural disasters hit, the effects are typically much more significant than you might first suspect. Sure, there is the immediate impact and potentially some damage resulting directly from that, but in most cases, there is also a significant amount of clean up and recovery that’s required afterward. This is especially true in instances of flooding where it can take weeks if not months or longer to get everything dried out and cleaned up.

 

 

So what should you do if your home is hit by flood waters? There are a lot of potential answers to this question, depending in large part on how severe the flooding was where you live. After all, getting some water in your house or basement is a much different situation than heavy flooding that damaged your foundation or broke windows and damaged walls. Assuming your home didn’t receive significant structural damage from the flood, here are a few suggestions to get you started with the cleanup process.

 

Dry It Out

Your first priority in dealing with flood cleanup is getting everything as dry as possible. Use pumps, buckets, wet/dry shop vacs, or other tools to remove as much water as you can, then wipe up or mop areas that still have a little bit of surface moisture on them. Set up fans to keep air moving to aid with the drying process, and open windows if possible to give water-laden air a place to go. For rooms that don’t have good ventilation, set up dehumidifiers to help remove moisture from the air. Getting as much water as possible out of your home quickly will help you avoid mold and mildew growth that is quite common after flooding.

If you’ve got mud, sludge, and other debris in your home, use a shovel or similar tool to scoop it up and remove it from the house. Try to get as much of it as possible while it’s still wet, because it will be much harder to remove once it starts to dry. Getting this sort of debris out of your house as soon as possible is also important to keep unwanted smells out of your home; mud and other debris can contain fungi, mold spores, and other materials that will break down and decay, so you want to get it out quickly if you can.

Keep Yourself Safe

There are worse things that can come from flood waters than just bad smells, so it’s important to keep yourself and your family safe during clean up and afterward. Flood waters can contain decaying materials, raw sewage, and materials that can cause a variety of illnesses, so it’s important that you try to protect yourself with gloves, masks, and eye protection while cleaning up after a flood. You should also shower and change your clothes as soon as possible after finishing clean up each day to avoid accidental contamination after the fact. Sanitize every surface you can, and anything that can’t be sanitized should be gotten rid of if it came in contact with dirty flood waters.

You should also keep in mind the fact that you don’t necessarily know what all is hiding in the debris you see in or around your home. Even if they’re not immediately obvious, objects with sharp points, jagged edges, and other potential hazards might be mixed in with everything that was deposited by the flood. Try to avoid picking up things directly unless you can confirm that it’s safe to do so, as even a small cut or other injury can introduce infection.

 

Posted in Real Estate Blogs
Sept. 7, 2022

Should You Sell or Should You Remodel Your Home?

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.

Posted in Real Estate Blogs
Sept. 6, 2022

Your Move: How To Successfully Relocate a Business


Photo Credit: Tim Mossholder via Unsplash

 

Your Move: How To Successfully Relocate a Business

Christopher Haymon

 

Relocating a business is no small undertaking. In fact, it can create a huge disruption to your workflow. This is especially true if you occupy an office and you have a dedicated team. If you want to ease the process, you’ll need to plan carefully, communicate clearly and get ready to dedicate your resources to making things go as planned. Floors Etc. Outlet offers the following advice to help pave the way for a smooth transition.

 

Planning

 

Many small businesses describe themselves as “adaptable,” but this ethos often works against a business when it comes to logistical maneuvers. You’ll want to plan well in advance before the move, creating timetables, delegating tasks and organizing with your contractors ahead of moving day to ensure things go smoothly. You’ll also need to start mapping out a budget now so you know exactly how much you’re likely to spend and how much you need to save in advance.

 

If you’re moving to another state, you’ll find no shortage of bureaucracy to attend to. For example, if you want to form an LLC in the new locale, you’ll need to observe its regional regulations. To help you navigate these (and to save you on hefty lawyer fees) it is often worth using a formation service. You’ll also need to apply for a new business license, a new business bank (if your account is not nationwide) and inform the IRS, as your federal employer identification number (EIN) requires an up-to-date business address on file.

 

Communicating

 

When you’re wrapped up in the moving process, it’s easy to forget about actually communicating the news. This is, however, a hugely important part of the process. If you have staff who work with you in person, relocation can cause major upheaval in their lives and may even break their contract. Make sure that, with at least two to six months' notice, you’ve provided them with clear information as to where you’ll be relocating the business and why. This process is not only so that they can adjust accordingly, but also to avoid any unnecessary lapses in morale.

 

It’s also important to remember that much of your business’ prospects are tied into its locale and the business relationships you’ve formed within the immediate area. This is true, even if you’re selling a service, not a product. Make sure to put in the legwork online via social media to notify everyone of your move, and frame it correctly as an exciting new chapter in the company’s history. If you work hard to retain the relationships from your current location, you’ll find that your partners and customer base will strengthen, diversify, and expand after the move. You’re building upon your success, not moving away from it.

 

You should also update all of your documents and contact information across digital platforms. It’s unprofessional to have an outdated address or phone number on your website or online business profiles, so make a list and address each one before the move. You’ll also need to update your invoices with the correct information. You can download a free invoice maker and pull up your current invoice document. Then, you can simply update your contact information or give the entire document a refresh to signify the transition. Either way, it’s an easy process to get your invoices up to speed for your new locale.

 

Spending

 

Relocating from an office is no small operation and the costs will scale with the size of the business. The first (and most important) expense is undoubtedly the moving company. Unlike a home move, a business move may involve transportation of equipment, hardware, and valuable assets. Ideally, you want an experienced company that is used to this delicate process or else you may risk losing money in collateral and time spent not working. If you struggle with managing logistics, it can sometimes help to hire an assistant to help you keep track of tasks and time. You’ll likely find that, in the long-term, this actually saves you money.

 

A willingness to spend will certainly ease the transition process - extra inventory will protect you from potential deficiencies once you’ve moved to the new office. You may also find it’s worth investing in storage space, especially if you’re downsizing. If there are any complications, you may have a lot of equipment and nowhere to put it!

 

It’s also a good idea to make the new space inviting from the very first moment your employees lay eyes on it. Signs, furniture, and decorations will help everyone to settle in, especially if these are installed ahead of time. Ideally, you want everyone to walk into the new space and feel excited to work.

 

Relocating a business is a project in and of itself. It’s important to treat it that way. Enter the process ready to dedicate time, spend big and delegate tasks — there will always be help around you if you want it. And don’t forget to update your customers and clients with the new information through social media, your web presence, and your documents. This will be an exciting new chapter in your business’s life, so announce it and enjoy it!

 

If you’re looking to revamp your business’s new location, consider flooring from Floors Etc. Outlet. Explore our site to discover a world of incredible options.

Posted in Real Estate Blogs
Aug. 31, 2022

How to Pick an Air Compressor

When you own a home, it’s important to have the tools that are necessary to make little repairs, or even do major DIY if that’s your thing. One of the most useful tools you can add to your collection is an air compressor. An air compressor can do so many things around the house, from helping you keep screens and vents debris-free, to airing up car tires and other inflatables, and even powering a whole collection of useful tools. But how do you pick the perfect air compressor for your projects? Don’t worry, it’s easier than you may think.

 

First, Choose Your Air Tools

Before you can really select an ideal air compressor, you need to know what you’re going to do with it. Are you going to use it to power an air nailer to help you install new trim work throughout your home? Will you just use it seasonally to blow up tires and pool toys? Knowing what you plan to do with your air compressor can help you choose an air compressor that can do the work.

How quickly an air compressor can supply air is measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm) and different tools use air at different rates. Paint sprayers, for example, will use a lot more air than a pneumatic nail gun, so if you plan to do a lot of painting, you’ll need an air compressor that can really step up. If you’ll use more than one air-thirsty tool at once with the same compressor, that goes doubly.

Consider Tank Size and Shape

The size of the tank on your future air compressor does matter, but nowhere near as much as the cfm it can supply. Having a large air tank can help compensate for a lower cfm, but that won’t work if you’re using a tool that uses air most of the time, such as a sprayer. You can’t exactly stop mid-spray to wait for the tank to refill, but you certainly could take a break if you were nailing or sanding.

For household use, there’s a secondary concern with tank size. Most of the tasks many homeowners will be tackling will be small jobs, and they may happen anywhere on the property. Having a smaller tank means that your unit is more portable, generally speaking (some do come with wheels), and can get into tighter spots. This can be an advantage, depending on how you’re using the air compressor.

Convenience IS an Option

Sometimes, you know you need tools, and you know you need an air compressor, and you find a delightful bundle of both. If you’re just doing occasional work around the house, and the bundled tools are ones you’ll actually use, it can be a great way to get into an air compressor and tool kit at a significant discount.

You’ll still want to consider all the other things you may do with that air compressor in the future, to ensure it’ll be useful to you as time goes by. So you’ll need to keep in mind how much air it can hold and how much it can produce, but choosing a bundle can make the decision easier. No matter which you choose, though, always make sure to get things like an air chuck for tire inflation, because you’ll use them over and over again.

Not Sure You Want the Baggage of an Air Compressor?

For some homeowners, extra tools just mean extra clutter and valuable space being taken up by things you might not use all that often. It’s ok to not buy an air compressor if it doesn’t make sense with what you hope to do with your home. If you’d rather hire someone to come around and hang your trim or winterize your pool house, that’s perfectly fine.

Posted in Real Estate Blogs
Aug. 28, 2022

Smart Switches 101

 

As smart homes become more common, some homeowners are going beyond basics like smart bulbs and assistant hubs like Google Home and Amazon Echo. This can take a number of forms, from the addition of smart electronics and security systems to sensors throughout the house that can recognize when people walk into rooms and adjust the lighting and other resources accordingly. One increasingly popular option is the installation of smart switches in lieu of simply relying on individual smart bulbs to control lighting.

 

 

So what are smart switches, anyway? How do they work? Can you install them anywhere, or are there specific things that your home needs? If you’re curious about smart switches and whether they would be a good addition to your home, here are some of the basics that you should consider.

 

How Smart Switches Work

At their core, smart switches operate like most standard light switches and can turn lights or other connected devices on and off. Given that the switches are smart devices, though, they can do significantly more than that. Smart switches allow you to control the lights remotely using either an app or voice control through a digital assistant or a third-party hub. Depending on the bulbs that you use with your smart switch, you may also be able to control the brightness of the lights (similar to a dimmer switch) or function as a three-way switch. It’s worth noting that unless the bulbs are designed for it, smart switches can’t give you the ability to control the light’s color the way that standard smart bulbs can.

Perhaps the greater benefit of smart switches is that they allow you to tie your lighting into a larger smart ecosystem without having to pair each individual light bulb to the network. This gives you greater control of your home as a whole and allows you to incorporate lighting into smart home routines without having to program a bunch of individual components. You can also pair your smart switches with remote controls, giving you a portable switch that lets you control your lighting even without accessing your overall smart home controls.

Smart Switch Requirements

There are two major things that you’re going to need to use smart switches in your home. Perhaps the most important is grounded wiring, as all smart switches require grounding to operate. If you’re upgrading light switches that weren’t grounded, you’ll have to ensure that a ground wire is available, or your new switches simply won’t work.

Once you’ve got your switches grounded, you’re also going to need access to a 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi network. While this is a standard Wi-Fi frequency, 5Ghz Wi-Fi is also increasingly common, but is not compatible with most smart devices (including modern smart switches). Almost all modern routers and wireless access points are capable of broadcasting on both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands, so if you don’t have a 2.4Ghz band currently at your home then it shouldn’t be too difficult to add one.

Installing Smart Switches

There are two aspects to installing smart switches: installing the physical switch, and connecting it to your Wi-Fi network. Installing the switch is similar to any other grounded light switch installation, so it’s certainly doable as a DIY project if you feel confident in your wiring abilities, but check with your code office to make sure you’re allowed to do this kind of work. Once installed, the switch can then be connected to your Wi-Fi network using the manufacturer’s smartphone app on a phone or other mobile device that’s connected to the same network that the switch will eventually use.

Since wiring a smart switch involves dealing with electricity, if you aren’t confident in your ability to install the switch, if your local code office requires an electrician for that kind of work, or if you need a wiring upgrade, then you should call in a professional.

Posted in Real Estate Blogs
Aug. 25, 2022

What Is a Deep Energy Retrofit?

 

Owning an older home can be a really amazing experience. Not only do you get to actually live in a slice of history, you’re also there to make decisions about this building that will stay with it potentially for generations to come (no pressure). But it’s not all pink toilets and clawfoot tubs; a lot of the most important calls in older homes are about energy efficiency.

 

 

Deep energy retrofits are becoming increasingly common for older homes, helping to turn these structures that can be absolute energy vampires into far more efficient versions of themselves. This is well beyond a little weather stripping, and can make a big difference to longer term performance.

 

Deep Energy Retrofit Versus Weatherproofing

Weatherproofing is vital for homes of all ages, just to make sure that your home is sealed as best it can be, and that the equipment you have is performing at its best. But weatherproofing usually involves sealing cracks, caulking trim, and making sure everything fits snugly together. Deep energy retrofits can go well beyond that, depending on your home, your goals, and what your experts have to say about it.

In a deep energy retrofit, sealing the holes is important, but so is upgrading materials that are fundamental for the energy efficiency of an older home, using materials that make it more on par with newer ones. For example, as part of a deep energy retrofit, you might replace all your windows with triple pane insulated glass unit windows, and insulate the underside of your roof to help prevent heat penetration into your attic.

You might also upgrade or completely change your HVAC system, for example, going from a boiler to a ductless mini split system or improving air flow by adding new air intakes throughout your home. The combinations are endless, and largely depend on your local climate and your home’s needs.

Problems to Watch for With Deep Energy Retrofits

Although deep energy retrofits can save you a lot of money in the long term, there are some issues with doing the wrong kinds of upgrades to your home. Some houses, for example, use a type of exterior wall structure that isn’t very compatible with spray foam. They actually need the air gap between the walls to help moisture evaporate away from your house.

Other homes might have never been intended to be sealed so tight, so older fixtures like gas stoves and furnaces may require additional ventilation to prevent build-up of harmful carbon monoxide gasses. Most older homes constantly exchange air with the outside world, which is why they may require significant modification to achieve a safe deep energy retrofit.

Because deep energy retrofits often require a rethinking of how the building envelope functions, they can be very time consuming and costly to complete. This isn’t a reason to not pursue one, but it is something to keep in mind while you’re planning out your upgrades. After all, it’s hard enough to live with a kitchen in chaos, let alone an entire house turned upside down. A “one section at a time” approach can work well.

Looking for a Deep Energy Expert?

Although most of the work involved in a deep energy retrofit can be easily completed by a brave general contractor or handyman, it’s important to get the right person for the job when it comes to these projects. Not only will your home’s individual needs be taken into consideration, you’ll be certain that other, less obvious things (like carbon monoxide buildup) are caught before they become an issue.

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