Spring is just around the corner and with that comes spring cleaning, gardening, and for some, the purchase of a new home. Whether you are a first time home buyer, or done this plenty of times before, there are certain things you should look for and do when purchasing a new home. 1. Check out the roof - Before you set foot inside, check out what’s happening on top. Does the roof look relatively new or is it caving in? A newer roof could mean a lower homeowners insurance rate (always great). Likewise, a roof made of an especially sturdy material is better equipped to defend against wind and hail (and can save you from a potential claim). 2. Don’t judge a room by its paint job - When you step inside your prospective abode, focus on the structural stuff — aging appliances, loose wires — and tune out any freshly painted walls or upscale decor. You can always change the paint, but it is much harder to change the bones of the house. 3. Take its temperature - When you’re buying a house, keep in mind: if it looks rickety or old, it probably is. Heating and cooling systems are expensive to fix and replace, and inefficient ones can eat away at your utility bills. Make sure the furnace is up to date and in good repair. If it's not, call us for an estimate on how much it will cost to replace and factor that into your costs.4. Decide on your dealbreakers - Aside from the basics, like quality windows and countertops, think about the purpose of your home and the requirements for your lifestyle, like storage for a large book collection, a big backyard for barbecuing or a basement for sports equipment. 5. Plumbing: what lies beneath - When you’re poking around a new home, don’t stop at eye level — get underneath the sinks and examine those pipes. Check for leaks, water damage and mold. We can come out and do a home inspection for you to assess any damages or potential hazards to your plumbing. 6. Check out the land beforehand - Don’t just look at the building — examine the area around it. Is the house in an area prone to flooding or wildfires? Is the driveway shared with another property? If there are fences, have they been built and positioned properly? It’s a lot to take in, but when you buy a house, you can’t ignore its surroundings. 7. Stop and smell the roses (and more) - Do you smell sewage, gas, or anything equally unpleasant? Sewage systems in older homes can sometimes get clogged or damaged by tree roots. Also worth noting: pet odors, cigarettes, and mildew. 8. Invest in a well-insulated house - Above all else, your home should be comfortable. Check the attic, water pipes, and heating ducts to make sure they’re properly insulated. This can reduce heating and cooling costs and keep you comfortable in summer and winter. Double-paned windows can also save you money down the road. Plus, they can help soundproof your place from outside noise. This is also something we can look at for you. 9. Get your hands on everything - Turn on every faucet and light switch, open every window and door, flush the toilets, even taste the water. Buying a house is a big step — maybe one of the biggest — and you need to know how everything works firsthand. That way, you can address problem areas and see if there’s a cost-effective solution. 10. Have a home inspection done - There’s only so much you can do with your own 5 senses. You’ll also want to enlist a professional to ensure the foundation is solid and the wiring is up to code. Home inspectors can even check for lead paint and wood-eating pests. We wish you luck in the search for your dream home! If you need us in that search, give us a call.
With these unexpected snowstorms coming in weekly now, you want to make sure you are optimizing your heating this winter. We have a few tips to help you save some money:
Check your basement for leaks in any exposed ductwork. Make sure your furnace blower is running, and hold a lit candle up to the visible ductwork joints. If you find leaks, seal them with mastic tape.
Seal up leaks to conserve the air you're heating. Weatherstrip exterior doors, re-caulk and cover your windows with plastic film and install a chimney balloon. Don't forget to check the basement, garage and attic for any spots where cold air from these unheated areas can infiltrate your living space.
Make sure you get a precision furnace tune-up every six months. This comprehensive checkup can improve its efficiency, and help you save money on your heating bill. The semi-annual maintenance includes cleaning or replacing the filter, but you should check it every month during the winter.
While your technician is there, ask about having a programmable thermostat installed. You could save as much as 30 percent on your heating bill by learning how to program it, and then setting it for a 10-degree temperature drop while you're sleeping, and whenever there's no one home.
While you're in the attic, check your insulation situation. You should have 7 inches of insulation (that's a minimum) to keep warm air from escaping through the roof.
Optimize your heat circulation. Set all your ceiling fans on reverse, and turn them on 'low' to push the warm air back down as it rises. If your home has two stories, let the rising heat help warm the rooms on the upper floor.
Valentine's Day is this Sunday - guys if you haven't gotten the special woman in your life a little something, stop what you are doing and go buy chocolates, flowers and maybe some jewelry!On this day of love, it is important to remember who and what is important to us - and that includes the roof over our heads. Showing your home a little love is important to keep it running smoothly all year long! Follow our 5 tips to show your home some love this Valentine's Day: 1. Bring your home a present! Homes love a nice bouquet of flowers.
2. Do a mini makeover. Thinking about rearranging some pictures? Do it! Small things like this immediately make a home happy.
3. Give your home a fresh coat of paint. Nothing says love like a color update. Stick to a small room, like a bathroom, and choose a bright, happy color.
4. Make sure your home is being cared for by keeping up to date with inspections, general maintenance, etc. We offer home inspections for heating and cooling with our Home Energy Audit Inspections.
5. Take your home to the spa with a deep cleanse. Get carpets, floors and drapes professionally cleaned. Your home will thank you. Happy Valentine's Day from all of us at Gilman!
Frozen pipes can cause all sorts of problems. Be sure to pay attention to when the temperature drops into the teens or lower. Frozen water lines often result in broken pipes and water leaks that damage walls, flooring and personal property. Plumbing repairs and cleanup work can cost thousands of dollars. Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent frozen pipes from causing you headaches this winter.
Insulate exposed piping. Insulate pipes that are outside your home's heated space, such as in the attic, crawl space or in exterior walls that aren't protected from the cold.
Protect outdoor piping. Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Turn the water supply to outdoor faucets off inside the house, if possible, and leave the outdoor faucet valves open to drain water and relieve pressure.
Drain the sprinkler system. Drain sprinkler lines and weatherize the system according to advice from the installer.
Preventive Measures When Cold Weather Strikes
Extremely cold weather can cause problems even in well-weatherized plumbing. Doing the following will help prevent frozen pipes if unusually cold temperatures are expected:
Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Leaving cabinet doors open lets warm air from inside the house into spaces where water supply lines are exposed to cold walls. Be sure hazardous materials in cabinets are kept away from children.
Drip faucets. A trickle of water running from hot and cold water pipes will help prevent freezing and will relieve pressure in water lines in the event that they do freeze.
Keep the heat turned up. On extremely cold nights, leave the thermostat set a few degrees higher than you normally do to help protect plumbing. If you'll be away from home for several days, leave the heat set to turn on if the weather turns cold. The extra money you spend on heat will be cheaper than repairing damage from broken pipes.
Call Gilman Heating & Cooling for help weatherizing your Richmond home for greater energy efficiency and to prevent frozen pipes.
If you have lived in Richmond for any period of time, you know that the town essentially shuts down for flurries. So, with that being said, we wanted to give you a few tips to survive the first threat of snow this weekend.
Get to the grocery store ASAP! At this point, the bread may be gone, but stock up on items that don't require a fridge or heat, in case you lose electricity. Canned goods, bottled water, ice and snack foods like goldfish are good in this situation. If you are lucky enough to have a gas powered stove, you can purchase soups, and other dry foods you can heat on the stove.
It is important to make sure you have extra batteries, candles (be careful to never leave an open flame unattended), glow sticks, matches and wood for those of you with real fireplaces, a lighter, blankets that are easily accessible, an emergency kit, flashlights, hand warmers, a non-electric can opener and rock salt, sand (cat litter works) and a snow shovel for outside.
Make sure you have a full tank of gas in your car - you can charge your phone, use the heat, etc. We do not recommend venturing out in severe weather.
Be sure to have all emergency numbers - local fire, doctor, etc. - in an easy to access place in case you need them.
A battery operated or hand crank radio is good to stay up to date with the news/weather conditions.
Make sure you have all prescriptions and over the counter medicine that your family (and pets) need.
Be sure to leave your faucets on slightly so that your pipes don't freeze. A slow drip is just fine!
Some books, board games and other fun ways to pass the time!
We hope you all stay very warm this weekend. In the case of a heating malfunction, call our 24 hour service line (804) 277-4241. If you do lose heat in your house, it is important to note the using a gas powered stove is NOT a safe way to heat your home!