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Posts Tagged: home exterior

Is it time to re-side your home?

Posted On: Filed Under: Siding No Comments on Is it time to re-side your home?

But we just painted a few years ago! Is there some way to lower the maintenance and cost? And that doesn’t look cheesy? Yes, new siding.

Siding not only protects your house but good siding can add energy efficiency. But it’s a major investment, so how do you know when it’s really time to re-side. This is one category you will want to research – and you can start right here by asking yourself these need-to-know questions.

What is the condition of your current siding?

  • Is there evidence of deterioration such as sagging, cracking, buckling or discoloration in vinyl siding.
  • Are pieces missing or loose?
  • Is the siding showing moisture or water stains? Water behind your siding can cause mold and rot on your home’s structure, and is a breeding ground for termites.
  • Is paint peeling? Do you have to paint frequently?

Whether you choose to look at siding replacement for damage control or because it will give your home a beautiful new look, there are also energy saving benefits to doing so.

The benefits:

  • Whether its composite (vinyl) or fiber cement, siding products today are made to last and be low maintenance, even in our wet climate. The warranties run from 15 years to lifetime (and transferable).
  • If you painted every 5 years, you’d save at least the cost of 3 paint jobs or more if you had lifetime warranty siding.
  • New man-made siding products can look beautiful, even like cedar shake. They come in designer colors, with matching trims and moldings.
  • The new materials used today and methods of application can lower your utility bills. For example, Cedar Ridge Siding says” If your home doesn’t realize a 20% improvement in energy savings in the first year, we’ll pay the difference”. You can install insulation under fiber cement siding or buy insulated composite siding. This can decrease your heat loss and make your home more comfortable.
  • Many siding materials now include recycled materials. The US Green Building Council, for example, recognizes fiber cement siding for its sustainability. (Source: James Hardie Siding).
  • Protection – some types of siding, such as fiber cement are non-combustible. Siding can straighten wall imperfections, and fortify corners and windows to prevent heat loss. And it can take a pounding – even hurricane force winds.
  • Costs vary by region but typically, vinyl and composite are lower cost. Fiber cement is in the middle and cedar and masonry are highest. You’ll want to speak to any contractor about their installation methods as these are important to having a good, energy efficient finished product and making sure your install meets warranty requirements.

To find out more about siding and learn how re-siding is done, contact Washington Energy Services at 1-800-398-HOME. Washington Energy Services sells top name brand composite – vinyl and fiber cement siding and has design and installation professionals trained to make your siding experience turn-key and your home beautiful.

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Avoiding the home buyer’s blues

Posted On: Filed Under: Siding, Home energy audit No Comments on Avoiding the home buyer’s blues

 

The major problems tended to be in the exterior (roof, siding, paint, windows), and plumbing. Many experienced mold or insect issues, heating and cooling systems that didn’t perform, and appliances that would not run. They discovered rooms with no heat, wiring problems, basements that flooded with the first rain and bad smells. There were also complaints about poor new home construction including squeaky floors and low quality materials.

In this day and age, the majority of home buyers are obtaining home inspections prior to purchase and making the sale contingent upon the outcome. So how could these home problems have been missed?

What’s in a home purchase inspection?

Whether a professional performs it, or you do it yourself with a checklist, a home inspection typically includes:

  • Check appliances, heating and cooling system, plumbing fixtures and electrical outlets to see if they work.
  • Visual inspection of the home exterior, structure, pipes and electrical, noting the condition and type of materials and obvious signs of damage or water intrusion.

The inspector runs all the faucets and flushes the toilets. He or she tests the plugs in the bathroom to see if they are GFI plugs. They go up on the roof and down in the crawlspace. They determine if the dishwasher functions, but not how well it cleans. An inspector will identify damage and note it in a report.

This is a visual inspection so it does not usually include testing of equipment beyond establishing that it turns on. It does not include insect, mold or radon inspection, air quality measurement, alarm systems, fireplace masonry, energy cost evaluation, code compliance or identification of sewer or plumbing issues beyond visible leaks or clogged drains.

Home Inspector

Home inspector qualifications and background matter

Many people say that if you use an inspector suggested by the realtor, they will be in cahoots to promote the sale. That conflict of interest is hard to determine, but checking the background and experience of an inspector is easy, and a good idea. In Washington State, inspectors are licensed, and unless they were in business before 2009, they have to pass a licensing exam with both a written and field test. Washington is one of only a few states to require this higher level of licensing.

Other helpful inspections

If you are buying an older home and want to increase your knowledge before you buy, you might want to add some of the following additional inspections to your buying process. These are each less than $300 and could save you much more in surprise repairs.

A plumbing inspection done by a licensed plumber can augment your home inspector’s report, especially if you request toilet leak testing and a camera inspection of your sewer line. Toilets are often a source of water loss and expensive water bills for the home, and an easy test can pinpoint if they need repair. The sewer line is the most expensive part of the plumbing to fix. It may clog and backup into your house, or unseen from above, be crushed by tree roots in the yard. A camera inspection allows you and the plumber to see just what is going on, and gives you an opportunity to ask the seller to take action.

Heating and cooling systems, water heaters and gas fireplaces can be inspected by a licensed HVAC professional in a diagnostic service. If the owner has had a recent maintenance service, you can request a record of that service and see if any issues were found.

Another type of inspection to enhance your knowledge as a home buyer would be a home energy audit. A home energy audit is a comprehensive series of tests which look at the house as a whole system including heating, cooling, ventilation, indoor air quality, insulation, gas combustion safety, damage from water intrusion, and energy use. While the audit is most often used by people preparing to make energy efficient upgrades, it could be a great benefit, especially to home owners buying an older home.

Washington Energy provides plumbing inspections, HVAC diagnostic services and home energy audits with their licensed and highly skilled technicians. Contact us for more information or to find out more about the NW Energy survey.

* 2015 NW Energy Survey, conducted among 1065 Western Washington adult homeowners.

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