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Posts Tagged: home buyer

Gas Fireplaces and Winter: A Match Made in Heating Heaven

Posted On: Filed Under: Gas fireplace, Insulation, Tips to save money, Fireplace 1 Comment on Gas Fireplaces and Winter: A Match Made in Heating Heaven

What says fall and winter better than a cozy fire? How about a cozy fire that is also energy efficient, safe, stylish, convenient, and provides warmth? Gas fireplaces from Washington Energy Services fit the bill. Take a look and sign-up for a Free Estimate.

Energy Efficiency

Today’s gas fireplace inserts from Archgard allow you to zone-heat your home, providing warmth to the room your family frequents the most. This helps you save on your energy bills because you don’t have to continuously run your furnace or heat pump throughout your whole home.

The inserts themselves also boast impressive energy efficient stats. In fact, all Archgard models offer at least an 80 AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). AFUE represents the percentage of heat produced for every dollar of fuel consumed. This percentage is especially impressive when you consider that these models offer both radiant and blown heat.

Safety

Wood burning fireplaces can pose serious health risks to your family. Smoke contains microscopic particles that get into your eyes, and worse, your respiratory system and bloodstream. At best, it might cause you to cough or have watery eyes. At worst, it can permanently damage your lungs.

Gas fireplace inserts remove this concern by providing the same look and feel like a real fire, without the safety hazards. No floating particles, no smoky rooms. Just you, a clean fire, and a safe home.

Style and Convenience

Gone are the days of limited gas fireplace options. For a traditional look, opt for decorative grates and surrounds. Or go sleek and simple for a contemporary decor. Whatever your preference, there are dozens of options for surround style, backgrounds, logs, and stones.

In terms of convenience, gas fireplace inserts really couldn’t be simpler. With the push of a remote control button, you have an energy efficient heat with no logs, matches, or ash.

Cozy Warmth

Finally, gas fireplaces provide a cozy warmth that you just don’t get with other heating systems. Models from Washington Energy Services feature a blower to efficiently heat a room, and radiant heat for a cozy, sipping-hot-chocolate-on-Christmas-Eve feeling.

There’s no better time than winter to install a gas fireplace to upgrade the style, efficiency, and warmth of your home. Contact Washington Energy Services for a free in-home estimate from one of our skilled technicians.

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The hidden costs of your new home

Posted On: Filed Under: Siding, Home energy audit, Plumbing No Comments on The hidden costs of your new home

Perhaps you’re ready to sit back and enjoy the granite counter tops and open layout. Maybe you purchased a fixer upper and you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and make it the home of your dreams. In any case, purchasing a home is filled with anticipation, excitement… and unforeseen expenses.

Particularly for prior renters, the extra responsibilities and costs associated with home ownership can come as a surprise. Lawn care, appliance purchases and maintenance, property taxes, and home furnishings add up quickly. This is in addition to the tweaks that make the house uniquely yours—fresh paint, new fixtures, hardware updates, and more.

Finally, there are the costs that haven’t happened yet, such as energy inefficiencies, plumbing issues, and safety failures that can arise in any home. Washington Energy Services can help curb these potential costs before they start with a Home Energy Audit or Plumbing Inspection.

Home energy audit

The home inspection you received when you purchased your home only told part of the story. The Home Energy Audit from Washington Energy Services tells you the rest. You’ll learn where energy is being wasted, how much it’s really costing you, and what you can do to improve the performance of your home to save money. In fact, we’ve saved our customers an average of 21% in energy usage following Home Energy Audits!

Here’s an at-a-glance look at what’s included in Home Energy Audit:

  • Blower Door Test
  • Infrared Imaging
  • GoPro Camera Inspection
  • Utility Bill Analysis
  • Plumbing Inspection
  • Insulation Inspection
  • Equipment Inspection (water heater, furnace, etc.)
  • Carbon Monoxide Tests
  • Flue Pipe Exhaust Inspection
  • Ventilation Inspection
  • Duct Leakage Test
  • Indoor Air Quality Test
  • Lighting Upgrade Inspection
  • Safety Tests

After the three-hour audit, you’ll receive a comprehensive 16-page report, which we’ll review with you in-person so you fully understand the findings and get your questions answered.

Plumbing

Plumbing issues are messy, frustrating, and costly. A thorough plumbing inspection by a certified, licensed plumber can make all the difference. Unlike a standard home inspection, which typically includes a simple visual check of the fixtures and water heater, a plumbing inspection from Washington Energy Services provides a video inspection of the entire plumbing system to spot major issues—potentially saving thousands of dollars down the road.

Furnace filters

Keep an eye on the “little things” like furnace filters, too. A dirty filter causes your system to work harder and could cause it to fail prematurely.

Exterior

Managing water is important here in the Northwest. Siding protects your home’s exterior while gutters help move all that rainwater from of your roof and away from your foundation. Old leaky and drafty windows also put a strain on your home’s systems. If you think your home is in need of new windows, one of our home specialists would be happy to evaluate your current situation. New windows now can mean energy savings in the long run and potentially preventing costly water damage should there be an existing leak.

But you don’t have to talk all of this alone! Sit back, enjoy those granite counter tops, and contact us. We’ll boost your home’s performance and energy savings so you can use that money for something awesome—like those new appliances you’ve been eyeing.

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Love it, leave it or fix it

Posted On: Filed Under: Windows, Tank water heaters, Tankless water heaters, Insulation No Comments on Love it, leave it or fix it

Whether you love it or hate it – one thing is certain, home improvements and repairs come with the territory. Homeowners in Western Washington revealed what made their lists in 2015 in our Northwest Energy Survey.

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Check these 7 things before you buy a new home

Posted On: Filed Under: Heating, Cooling, Plumbing No Comments on Check these 7 things before you buy a new home

 

A good home inspector is going to cover all of the basics; including making sure the faucets work, checking the electrical panel, and we hope, looking at the age and condition of your water heater. But you’d be surprised at how light most inspections are.

They don’t go deep in several major home systems like plumbing, heating and cooling because the inspectors are a) only there for a short time, b) not licensed or trained in those systems or c) because they would need specialized equipment. Unfortunately, a failed heating system or side sewer pipe can cost thousands of dollars later. So, if your inspector doesn’t cover these (and most don’t), we recommend that you do.

Check the main drains and sewer line.

Water may run easily inside the house but between you and the street may lie tree roots, collapsed or rotted pipe and potential for huge costly re-piping projects. A plumber can video inspect your sewer line to ensure you know what’s out there. The main drain may also need periodic cleaning, and if the seller hasn’t done it in a while, they can check and perform that too.

Taste and look at the water

Inspectors typically turn on taps and let them run while doing other reporting. Have a look at the first faucet or tub opened after it’s been sitting a while. If the water comes out with any rust, coloration or smell, that could indicate your pipes are bad.

Open the windows

Or more accurately see if they open or have been painted shut, are stuck or have broken parts.

Test the heating/air conditioning systems

Ask if they have had recent maintenance. Make sure they blow hot or cold in addition to just turning on. Look at how old that system is. Heating systems last about 15 years. If it’s that age, consider that you may need the funds to replace it soon.

Look under the carpet, especially in the basement

Check for mold and mildew and look at the condition of the floor below. Mold is a serious health concern and goes beyond the mere cost of replacing carpet.

Check the strength of the deck

So much inspection effort focuses on the inside of the house. If there is a deck, look for rusted nails and screws that may be weakened, and look at the wood itself for cracked boards and rot.

Inspect the chimney

Especially if you have a wood burning fireplace, a chimney inspection can save lives, not only from fires but carbon monoxide. Your general inspector may measure moisture around the chimney, which is good for finding cracks, but a professional chimney contractor can do a more thorough review of the overall condition and safety.

Don’t be shy in asking sellers to provide specialized inspections, plumbing or maintenances before closing on the sale. This is very common. And if they won’t you certainly can yourself. Sadly, some realtors may try to push you into not doing this because it can add negotiations.

When I purchased my Seattle home, I negotiated a furnace maintenance and chimney inspection into the purchase agreement as a condition of the sale. That gave me peace of mind. But even with that, my water heater tank burst within a week of moving in and the main drain backed up into the basement within 3 months. I didn’t have this list!

If you need plumbing or heating system inspection, Washington Energy Services provides these services, and we can fix or replace what you uncover, including plumbing and drain cleaning, re-piping and heating systems. Just call 800-398-4663.

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