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Nestled in the heart of New England, Massachusetts boasts a rich tapestry of history, evident in its diverse architectural styles, from colonial relics to modern masterpieces. In such an environment, the home inspection process is not merely transactional. For buyers, it offers a lens into the integrity and character of a potential new home, revealing both its charms and challenges. Sellers, in contrast, can use this process to transparently showcase their property’s value and address any concerns head-on.
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Understanding how appliances and systems work in your home is vital for maintenance and longevity. When it comes to your furnace and the winter months you want to ensure that the furnace is maintained properly. Ensuring that you have heat in your home is very important for your comfort and safety. One of the areas of maintenance that can be done by a homeowner is changing out the furnace filter. Where is the furnace filter located? Typically they are located near the floor of the furnace. In a compartment with a side door that opens.
Let’s take a look below at more details regarding where your furnace filter is located.
What Is A Furnace
Getting to know your furnace is important for your family’s safety during the winter months. A furnace is what will heat your home during cold days and nights. You will typically find your furnace in the basement, center of the home, or even in a utility closet. Depending on when the home was built and how it was designed will likely determine where it is installed. In some cases, a furnace is installed in an attic space or crawl space.
Where Is My Furnace Filter
Identifying where your furnace filter is located is important for proper maintenance. Furnace filters are installed in the blower of your furnace unit. Where the blower location is, depends on how the furnace was installed. Let’s take a look at where the furnace filter might be located.
Horizontal HVAC unit – the furnace filter is located at the intake side of the unit and slides right into the rack.
Vertical HVAC unit with air moving downwards – the furnace filter is located at the top door where the upper blower is located. You will notice two air filters for the furnace or AC unit.
Vertical HVAC unit with air moving upwards – this furnace filter is located at the bottom door of the furnace. Since the blower is located at the bottom of the door, the filter will be there. Simply open up the door to replace the filter.
What If I Don’t Change The Filter
When it comes to appliances in your home, the HVAC system which includes your furnace is no different. Making sure that the furnace is well maintained ensures that you have an operational unit when the time is needed. Let’s take a look at what happens if you do not change the filter.
Frozen cooling coil – without airflow in the HVAC unit, your cooling coils will freeze up.
The furnace can overheat – when airflow is not steady, the temperature of the furnace can increase. Since your furnace has a safety switch built-in the system will shut itself off if overheating occurs.
HVAC stops working – limited airflow due to a clogged furnace filter will trigger the safety switch to shut off and the system will stop running.
Short cycling will occur in the HVAC system – if the system has to work too hard to cool or heat the home, you will notice short cycling. This will cause the system to start and stop too often and you will lose energy efficiency.
How Much Does It Cost
Replacing a furnace filter could be rather pricey. Comparatively speaking to a simple air filter, the furnace filter might be a bit more. Additionally, the price range will depend on the type of furnace, and the size of the furnace. You can count on a range of $10 to $50 per furnace filter.
Other Recommended Maintenance
Now that you know about the location of the furnace filter, there are other areas to maintain. One of those is if you notice the furnace is leaking water. If you see this happening, it could be due to a clogged line or a clogged part that keeps condensation from building up.
Next, since it is winter, you will probably be using your fireplace quite a bit to stay warm. Thus, you will want to make sure your chimney has a cap so that it protects against the outside elements. However, if you are missing a chimney cap, you will need to contact a fireplace installation company.
Lastly, you will want to make sure your stone fireplace is clean and you have protective gear, a bucket, a scrubbing sponge or brush, and a liquid solution. These are the first items that you need to accomplish this task.
When Do I Call A Professional
When there is an issue with your furnace or HVAC system, immediately call a professional. Most homeowners are not capable of repairing their furnaces or HVAC systems due to various code requirements. If you aren’t sure who to call, reach out to your local home inspection team. They can inspect your HVAC system and furnace during a complete home inspection. Also, they can refer you to a reputable furnace or HVAC service technician.
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Owning a home requires a lot of maintenance and attention to detail. When it comes to your air conditioning, keeping up with the maintenance is a must. Consequently, you should consider reading up on the exact make and model of air conditioning that is associated with your home. This allows you to understand how to control the moisture conditions in your home. Does humidity affect air conditioning? Yes, if you have high humidity in your home, the air conditioner has to work harder.
Let’s take a look below at some more details regarding high humidity in your home.
What Causes High Humidity
Just like any other working appliance that uses electricity, humidity can definitely affect the way your air conditioning works. Let’s take look at how high humidity is caused in your air conditioner.
The Fan is left on – when the fan is left on, the air is still circulated even if the ac unit is off. Humidity levels will increase because the fan will actually be blowing all of the moisture that was just removed by your air conditioner back into the home.
Single speed – look to invest in an AC unit that offers variable speeds. When the system only has an on-and-off variable, the unit isn’t working as efficiently to remove humidity from the home. A set temperature controls the unit and tells it when to turn it on and off. This back and forth of on and off does not allow the system to properly remove the humidity.
Oversized unit – if the system is too big, it cannot balance controlling temperatures and humidity levels. The compressor turns on and off way too often. When this occurs the system never operates long enough to remove the excess moisture from the air. Installing a smaller ac unit will solve this issue.
Negative Air Pressure – negative air pressure is a result of poor ventilation. If the system is not set up properly, the negative air pressure will bring in more outside air. When your temperatures outside get into the more humid levels, your air conditioner will suck in the muggier air. At this point, changing the ventilation system is needed.
The other main reason for the high humidity is the unit is too old. As parts start to grow old they wear down. This prevents the unit from working as efficiently as possible. Maintain your system on a regular schedule so that this does not occur. Also, if you notice that temperatures and cooling have not been consistent, it might be time to repair or replace your ac unit.
How Does High Humidity Affect It
Believe it or not, high humidity can affect your air conditioner. If the humidity levels are excessive, the air conditioner will need to work harder. Keep in mind that if your air conditioner has to work extra hard, it does not have the capability of keeping up with your home’s cooling capacity needs. Also, if this occurs, you will likely never feel a cooler temperature in your home. Let’s take look at the common signs of high humidity inside the home.
Musty smells – too much humidity increases moisture and dampness in your home. Having dampness in the home will increase the possibility of mildew and mold growth.
Clammy or Moist air – your skin could feel clammy due to the increased moisture in the air.
Foggy windows – your windows could look like condensation is building up on them and creating a foggy look. When humidity becomes bottled up, it has nowhere to go but to stick to the walls and windows.
Other Recommended Maintenance
Now that you have an understanding of high humidity and how it can affect your air conditioner, you can create a solution to keep your system working properly. The main area that you should consider is what maintenance is needed to keep your system working correctly.
Next, if you are really concerned about moisture or humidity buildup, you might want to have your chimney cap checked out. If you have a fireplace and your chimney cap is damaged, wind and rain can enter your fireplace. This would create a larger moisture issue in your home. Also, if water gets into your chimney it could increase the dampness and humidity in your home.
Lastly, read up on when you can replace your HVAC system. If you are having major humidity issues with your air conditioner, it might be time to replace the HVAC unit. Make sure that you understand when it is time to replace, rather than repair your air conditioner.
When Do I Call A Professional
The moment that you are having an issue with your air conditioner, you will want to call on a professional. Hiring a professional HVAC service technician is key. Consequently, working on an air conditioner is not for homeowners. You must have a professional license in order to work on any HVAC equipment.
Also, if you aren’t sure who to call, reach out to your local home inspection team. They can inspect the entire HVAC system which includes the air conditioning. Additionally, they can recommend a reputable HVAC service technician.
Anytime that your air conditioner is having issues there could be a variety of reasons why. Hiring a professional HVAC service technician can help you determine what issues you might be having. Conducting proper maintenance on your air conditioning unit can save you a lot of money.
When home buyers are searching for their dream home, amenities are really what they want. The more amenities that a home buyer can grab with a new home, the more apt they are to buy the home. Additionally, many home buyers have a pre-set list already made with regard to their amenity needs. Flooring is always at the top of the list for home buyers. Carpet in the main living areas is phasing out over the past ten-plus years. Oftentimes you will see hardwood or ceramic tile flooring as the top choice in a home. Both styles come with a misnomer that your home will be cooler if you have tile or hardwood flooring. Do hardwood floors make your house colder? They absorb heat better than a carpet does. So, no, hardwood floors do not make your house colder.
Let’s take a look below as to why hardwood floors might feel cold but are really good at trapping heat and circulating air.
How Does It Work
When it comes to wood floors, most people feel the coolness when they touch the floor. Homeowners will often put down area rugs, wear socks, or even use a space heater in their homes to keep the cold feeling away. However, wood flooring can actually trap heat longer than carpet can. Let’s take a look at why this is possible.
Wood floors and other solid structures in your home are known to trap heat.
Reduce temperature changes by storing heat
High thermal mass materials will assist you in reducing your electric bill
Depending on the type of hardwood floors will determine its ability to retain heat. Also, it will determine the energy-efficient rating.
What Can I Do To Feel Warmer
Just because wood flooring is a great insulator that keeps the heat in and circulates it more continuously through your home, does not mean your feet don’t feel cold on the floor. Let’s take a look at some ways to protect our feet from being cold.
Area rugs – it is a great idea to strategically place area rugs under the furniture in whatever room you will spend a lot of time in.
Space heater – if you choose to use a space heater to warm up in your home, make sure to keep an eye on it.
Curtains – installing curtains will help trap heat in your home. They can insulate your window and keep the cold air out and the warm air in.
Radiant heat system – installing a radiant system to help make your floors feel warm on a regular basis is a possibility. This is a type of floor heating system that will increase your home’s heat by keeping your floors warm at all times.
Basement insulation – the basement is always cold as it is beneath the earth’s surface. The concrete walls trap cold air and create a damp environment. Consider insulating the walls, windows, and ceiling of the basement. This will reduce the cold and drafty cold temps.
Wear coverings – putting on socks or wearing slippers might be the simplest solution to keeping your feet warm on a cold floor. Remember, just because a hardwood floor is cold to the feet, does not mean it isn’t helping your electrical bill.
Other Recommended Maintenance
Now that you understand what hardwood floors can do for your home, it is a good idea to also read up on the maintenance of hardwood floors. In some instances, homeowners find themselves in an unfortunate situation as they are freshening up their paint. If you happen to spill paint onto your hardwood floors, do not freak out. It is possible to get the paint off the hardwood floor.
Next, be sure to explore other ways to save on your electric bill and keep the heat in during the winter months. Winterizing various parts of your home could end up saving you a lot of money. If you happen to have sliding doors and windows that are drafty, read up on how to insulate your sliding door and windows.
Lastly, if you have a fireplace and chimney you will want to ensure that you have a chimney cap in place. A chimney cap will keep cold and drafty air from rushing down your chimney and into your living area. No hardwood floor could possibly absorb enough heat to combat a cold blast of winter air.
When Do I Call A Professional
Anytime you have a question regarding your flooring, you should seek the advice of a professional contractor that specializes in flooring. Seeking advice from professionals allows you to make an informed decision and not waste your money. If you aren’t sure who to call or if there is no flooring store in your area, reach out to your local home inspection team. They can inspect your current floors and recommend which flooring would make sense for your home. Keeping your investment intact and looking aesthetically pleasing is key. Also, they can refer you to a reputable flooring contractor before you go wasting your money.
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Having a fireplace in your home can be a very fun amenity. Not only does it provide an aesthetic value to the home, but it also adds to the functionality of your home. When purchasing a home with a fireplace, keep in mind that there are many working parts to a fireplace. The chimney, chimney flue, openings in the top and bottom, fireplace tools, and chimney cap are just a few of the working parts of a fireplace. Just like many other items in your home, a fireplace and its chimney will need maintenance. Having your chimney cap replaced or regularly maintained is very important for protecting your home from a fire. Do roofers install chimney caps? You will want to call on a professional fireplace installation company to properly install a chimney cap.
Let’s take a look below at more details regarding a chimney cap.
What Is A Chimney Cap
Most homeowners are used to seeing a chimney cap, but really had no idea of what it was called. Chimney caps sit on top of the chimney, much like a crown sits on top of a person’s head. They are made of a metal material and placed on top of the chimney opening. This creates a barrier from the outside elements to the inside of the chimney. They will protect your chimney flue from rain and snow, as well as, critters and other flying debris.
Why Would I Need One
Chimney caps are great at protecting your fireplace. Installing a chimney cap can ensure that you have reduced the risk of debris being built up in your fireplace chimney. In turn, this reduces the chance of a house fire or smoke bellowing into your home. Let’s take a look at some more specifics as to why you need a chimney cap.
Money saver – chimney caps will protect your home from down drafts and winds on a cold or snowy night. So, if you aren’t using the fireplace, you will not feel the cold air bursting through the opened chimney top. Additionally, the chimney cap will prevent dirt, debris, smoke, and embers from being blown into the home while you are using the fireplace.
Fire prevention – a chimney cap can help prevent a fire in your home while keeping the possibility of a spark from occurring. Embers do not have a chance to be blown around inside the chimney or even into the home and onto your furniture to flooring. Also, the chimney cap keeps embers from being blown up and out of the chimney and onto your roof, which would cause a roof fire.
Moisture reduction – having a chimney cap keeps the rain and snow out. Keeping the moisture out of your fireplace will reduce the amount of moisture in your home. Additionally, if moisture gets into your chimney, it can damage the mortar joints, dampers, and flue inside the chimney. This could also cause mold and mildew to grow, which would create a huge health issue for your family.
Keeps the Critters Out – by capping the chimney, raccoons, squirrels, birds, and other critters lose the opportunity to nest inside your chimney. Additionally, a chimney cap will keep the critters from getting trapped and eventually expiring in your chimney. This would create a foul odor and require immediate cleaning attention.
Protects the Chimney liner – chimney liners are made of clay, metal, or ceramic material and have the purpose of protecting the inner walls of the chimney. Also, they limit the amount of heat that is being transferred, which reduces the chance of a fire. Chimney caps protect the chimney liner by preventing debris and excess water from getting into the chimney.
How Many Types Are There
Believe it or not, there are a variety of choices when it comes to selecting a chimney cap. In order to make the right selection of chimney caps, you must first know what type of chimney you have. Let’s take a look.
Masonry – this type of chimney has an exterior brick face. This style of chimney can accommodate many types of chimney cap styles.
Prefabricated – this style of chimney is most often found in homes that were built in the mid to late 1980s. They look very fake compared to a traditional brick-and-mortar chimney. In this case, you will want to use a chimney cap that is used by the manufacturer of your prefabricated chimney.
Now that you have determined the type of chimney that you have, you can select a chimney cap. Let’s look at our options.
Aluminum – is very inexpensive and has one of the lower price points. However, this material is not very durable or sturdy. Since aluminum is a soft metal and very lightweight, it could become damaged a lot quicker than other metal materials.
Galvanized – typically painted black. Very inexpensive to purchase. Unfortunately, they will rust, and cause your roof to look dirty and degraded. They are also not very sturdy and can be blown off in high winds.
Stainless steel – this chimney cap must be installed by a professional. This is to protect the lifetime warranty that they come with. You will notice stainless steel as it comes in silver.
Copper – this is one of the more expensive chimney caps. Typically, a copper chimney cap is three times the amount of a stainless steel chimney cap. Copper chimney caps will usually last a lifetime and they add great aesthetic value to the home.
Also, keep in mind that you can have any chimney cap custom-made out of any of the materials listed above.
How Much Do They Cost
Having a new chimney cap installed can be relatively inexpensive. It really comes down to the size, style, and type of material that you have chosen to purchase. You can count on the following price ranges for each style of a chimney cap.
Aluminum – this cap can cost between $50 and $180.
Galvanize steel – this cap can cost between $25 and $300.
Stainless steel – this cap can cost between $50 and $500.
Copper – this cap can cost between $200 and $1,500.
Non-metal cap – this chimney cap can cost between $350 and $500.
Other Recommended Maintenance
Now that you know about chimney caps, let’s take a look at other areas of maintenance. One of those is removing snow from the roof. Winter will be here soon and it is important to know that your roof can hold up to 20 pounds of snow per square foot. In fact, the snow will usually slide off the roof on its own. If it doesn’t, you can use a snow rake, heating cables, or a snow guard.
Next, making sure your roof vent is covered is a good idea. The roof vent cover helps keep birds and other animals out. Sometimes this vent gets clogged and you will know if the toilet gurgles, a slow drain, a dry P-trap, or a build-up of leaves and debris.
Lastly, if you find out you need a new roof, the time it takes to replace it will vary. It takes a day to remove the old materials and a day to have the team get started on the installation. Asphalt shingles take one day, while concrete tile can take up to two weeks.
When Do I Call A Professional
Call on a professional to assist you with the installation of a chimney cap. You will want to get this right, or you can risk having a house fire. Also, hiring a professional will allow you to have your chimney swept while you are getting a new chimney cap installed. If you aren’t sure who to use in your area, reach out to your local home inspection team. They can inspect the entire fireplace, as well as refer you to a reputable fireplace technician.
Coming home from a long day at work and you just sit down on the couch to read a book. You begin reading your book and start to hear some scratching and pitter-patter that sounds like it is coming from above you. As a homeowner, you are deeply afraid of what it could be. Rodents include, rats, mice, bats, and squirrels are all possibilities. You decide to take a look outside the home to inspect it for any obvious signs of entry. Surprisingly, you notice an opening under your soffit. It’s time to call your local pest control company. You must act fast before the damage is too extensive. What sort of damage do rodents cause? They will chew through anything. Wires, cardboard, plastic, and insulation. They love it all.
Let’s take a look below at some details regarding what kinds of damages rodents can cause.
What Type Of Damage
Believe it or not, rodents like to chew on a lot of items There really isn’t anything that a rodent won’t chew through. They gnaw on things like wires, cardboard, drywall, plastic, and anything that can provide them with food. In doing so, structural damage is highly possible through their gnawing, nesting, and defecating. Let’s take a look at some of the damages caused by rodents.
Flooding – a rodent can chew on your pipes. Eventually, this will cause a leak in your home, and flooding could occur.
Electrical failure – rodents like to chew on electrical wires. Once they break through the rubber coating of your wiring system, they can crush through the wiring and cause a shortage in your electrical system. This could end up starting a fire when you go to turn the circuit breaker back on.
Insulation – they love to eat through your attic and wall insulation. The fibers in the material provide a great source of food for a rodent’s digestive system. They will also use the insulation for their nesting purposes.
Electrical appliances – they will either nest in your appliances or chew the wires up, which could result in a fire.
Automobile – if a rodent gets access to your garage, it can end up nesting under your hood. They will find a way to get up into the engine area and begin chewing on the wires that are associated with your car’s electrical system. This will cause some major damage.
Furniture – rodents like to gnaw on your upholstered furniture so that they can create a nest for themselves.
Anything – rodents really do not care what they eat. Rodents damage anything in your food storage area. They will chew on books, paper, heirlooms, photographs, frames, and anything wood, or easily chewed.
Mice and rats like to build nests in your home and leave their feces and urine everywhere they go. Rodents like these are capable of spreading diseases and using their sharp teeth to eat through wires. Any rodent infestation that occurs will need proper rodent control.
How Can I Prevent This
The easiest way to prevent rodents from causing damage in your home is to hire a local pest control company. However, there are some things that you can do to not make it so attractive to rodents. Let’s take a look below at what we can do.
Place bait – rodent bait, poison, or something environmentally friendly are all options. If you place these items in high-traffic locations, it could lure the rodents in. They are very curious creatures and will likely eat the bait regardless.
Pet food – always keep your pet food inside the home. The easier the rodents can access the food source, the more attractive your home becomes. They will end up inviting their friends to join at the moment they have a strong food presence.
Dispose of your garbage – keep your waste in a tightly sealed trash bag and keep the trash bag in a tightly lidded trash can. Make sure that everything fits tightly together so that they cannot gain access to your trash bags.
Yard cleanup – always keep your yard landscaped properly. Keep trees trimmed and away from your home. You don’t want to give them a direct bridge to your attic space. Also, keep leaves and other items from piling up. They use these piles as nests before they gain access to your home.
Seal the home – check for all cracks and crevices or entry points and make sure that they are sealed up. Use items like caulk, mesh wiring, and wood to cover up or seal up openings that would allow a rodent to gain access to your home.
Environmentally friendly – items such as peppermint oil, ammonia, onion, garlic, black pepper, instant potatoes, and mothballs. Scents like these will drive the rodent away. They do not like these scents and will die when ingested.
Other Recommended Maintenance
Now that you understand what type of damage rodents can cause, let’s look into what a rat’s nest looks like. If you understand what the nests look like, you can better understand what to keep away from your home so that rats don’t use it as a nest.
Next, if you notice that you have rodents in your walls, you might want to read up on how to get them out. The local pest control company might not be available to get to you in a timely manner. If this is the case, you will want to act fast and work to get them out on your own.
Lastly, make sure to inspect your roof vent pipes. There are a few varieties of vent pipes and rodents like to nest in them. Also, birds will often create a nest in the roof vent pipes and this could be bad for getting gases out of your home as needed. Look into what products you could use to cover certain roof vent pipes. Mesh screening is one item that often works.
When Do I Call A Professional
As soon as you notice a sign of a rodent, you will need to call your local pest control company. As a homeowner, it is not warm and fuzzy thinking about what the squeaks and scratching in the walls might be. Be sure to call a pest control company that takes your health seriously. Having an environmentally friendly approach is important. If you aren’t sure who to call reach out to your local home inspection team. They can inspect your home for any potential rodent access and also refer a reputable pest control company.
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Warren Home Inspections is dedicated to providing the highest quality service to all our clients. We thoroughly inspect all major components of your property to expose unknown defects and advise you about future maintenance about your home once the purchase is complete. You can trust Warren Home Inspections to do the job right.
We perform inspections in Worcester County, Middlesex County, Essex County, Suffolk County, Norfolk County, Bristol County and Plymouth County.