Raw Code

Safe Real Estate with Covid-19

Keeping Safe in Real Estate with Covid-19 Pandemic

Many people will be surprised to hear that in light of most states (including Florida) issuing a shelter in place order to slow the spread of the Coronavirus, the real estate industry is considered essential and you may still proceed with buying or selling your home.  Why is this?  Well I think there are two important points that can be made when combined supports why real estate can and should continue to operate at least for the time being.

  • Real Estate may be the most critical industry to the economy and completely shutting it down could send the economy into a tailspin.
  • Real Estate activities are essentially low risk for spreading the virus and can even be made lower risk if proper administrative controls are followed.

While the public safety is of the upmost importance, we will get through this eventually and if real estate activities can continue in a safe manner then the government needs to ensure there is still an economy at the end of the pandemic.  This article hopefully provides some context to how certain activities are or can be made low spread risks and will also talk about how we can take proper pre-cautions to keep safe in real estate with Covid-19.

Before we do a dive into protective measures lets briefly talk about how the virus spreads to give some context to the preventative measures.  So how does the virus spread?

  • Between people who are within 6 feet of each other. Close contract with another person is the easiest way to spread the virus and should be avoided at all times.
  • The virus might also travel respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • While it is not as common as the first two, it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

So now that we understand a little more about how the virus is spread, let go over some compensatory measures we can take to ensure we are doing everything we can to ensure real estate activities are low risk to spreading the virus.

  • Stay home if you are sick and have any of the Coronavirus systems – If you are at all sick, even it you just believe you have cold, you need to stay home and not participate in any activities until you are feeling 100% better.   Common Covid-19 symptoms are but are not limited to:
    1. Fever
    2. Cough
    3. Shortness of Breath

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, stay home.  If you see someone who has these symptoms at a showing, send them home.  Its not worth it.  You can resume your buying process when you or your client feels better.

  • Assume you and everyone else you are with has it – Per the CDC, the virus can take 2-14 days to even show symptoms of the virus. There are also other who are asymptomatic who will have the virus but not have any symptoms.  The best way to avoid getting infected or getting others infected is assume everyone has it no matter how healthy they seem.
  • Do anything virtually that can be – Listen, I would never buy a house prior to seeing it in person first and I don’t think its wise to invest in a property without seeing it at least once first, but limit visits. Have your realtor give you a virtual tour before deciding to see it in person.  Also, while it is great that you want to attend the inspection in person, inspectors are more high tech these days and can take video on sight and also video conference you to give a recap at the end.  We have also done report reviews over video conference with our clients to ensure they are properly absorbing what is in the report.  Unless its absolutely necessary for you to be somewhere stay at home. Virtual tours and inspections is a powerful tool to keep safe in real estate with Covid-19.

  • Action you can take if you need to be physically present – If you are a realtor, inspector, buyer, title company, there is a strong possibility you will need to attend something in person. Here are some protective measure you can take ensure you don’t get infect or do the same to others.
    1. Ensure only the minimum amount of necessary people are present – A good example is at closings.  A lot of the times realtor like to be present at closings to support their clients, but during the pandemic it is not appropriate.  Figure out who needs to be there and stick to who is essential.  You can always video conference the non-essential parties.
    2. Limit the time you spend out to bare minimum – For example, if you think it is of the upmost importance for you to attend the inspection, wait to the end of the inspection and come for a recap from the inspector. Inspection can be long increasing risk to exposure if people are present.  You can always stay after the inspector leaves to take a better look at things as well if access is allowed.
    3. Wear the right protective equipment when out – I think the best thing to limit exposure if you are around people are gloves and facemasks/respirators. This will prevent you from touching contaminated services or inhaling respiratory vapor if someone coughs.  If no one else is present you can lose the facemask, but I would recommend keeping the gloves on and throwing them out when you are done.
    4. Wash and Sanitize – Wash your hands for 20 seconds under hot water before and after going out. If you are gone a while, make sure you are washing frequently if you are touching anything.  If no water is available use hand sanitizer.  Bring sanitizing wipes to wipe down surfaces that are commonly touched.
    5. Avoid touching your face – Even if you chose to wear gloves, resist the urge to touch your face. If you need to scratch your nose, sanitize your hands first and then go crazy.

These are very interesting times we live in.  There is a lot of fear and uncertainty building and that is a natural response as human beings.  We need to keep pushing forward though, it will only make the problem worse if we shut down everything all together.  With that said, be diligent about your preventative measures.  There is a lot of good we can do right now, but if we don’t take the virus seriously that will all be for nothing.  I hope you found this article informative and please keep you and your family safe!

For more information on how you can keep safe in real estate with Covid-19 click here.

Click here to schedule a CDC compliant and safe home inspection.

Home inspection

A Garage Inspection

A Garage Inspection

by Kenton Shepard

Above:  garage exterior

This is the exterior of a town-home I was asked to inspect. During the garage inspection, I ran into a neighbor who told me that the roof of another garage, identical to the one pictured above two buildings down, had collapsed the previous winter under a snow load.

So, I decided to keep my eyes wide open as I went through the garage.

Above:  trusses and truss connections
Some defects you have to search for, and some are pretty obvious. These first two defects were obvious from the doorway:
  • improper alterations; and
  • improper bearing points.

Trusses cannot be altered in any way without the approval of a structural engineer. When you see plywood gussets added at truss connections like these triangular gussets, then an alteration of some sort has obviously been made and you have to recommend evaluation by a structural engineer.  So, that condition went into the report

Trusses are designed to bear loads at very specific points. Typical roof trusses should not touch any interior walls and should bear only on the exterior walls. The two trusses at the left of the above photo are bearing on an offset portion of the garage wall.

A portion of the structural roof load was being transferred to the bottom chords of the trusses at a point at which they were not designed to support a load.

Above:  the connection
Then I walked over and looked more closely at the connections where the trusses attached to the wall and found these problems:
  • inadequate metal connector (hanger);
  • inadequate fasteners (deck screws); and
  • improper fastener installation (through drywall).

These trusses would have best been supported by bearing directly on wall framing. The next best solution would be an engineer-designed ledger or engineer-specified hardware. And that may have been how they were originally built, but by the time I inspected them, 24-foot roof trusses were supported by joist hangers designed to support 2×4 joists. The hangers were fastened with four gold deck screws each.

Gold deck screws are designed to resist withdrawal. Fasteners for metal connecters such as joist hangers are designed to resist shear.

Withdrawal force is like the force which would be generated if you grabbed the head of a fastener with pliers and tried to pull it straight out.

Shear force is what’s used if you take a pair of heavy-duty wire cutters and cut the fastener. Fasteners designed to resist withdrawal, such as deck screws, are weak in shear resistance.

So, there were drastically undersized metal connectors fastened by badly under-strength fasteners.

To make matters worse, the screws were fastened through drywall, which doesn’t support the shaft of the screw and degrades the connection even further.

Above:  gang nail integrity destroyed

And, once I looked really closely, I found more truss alterations. The gang nail had been pried loose and the spikes which form the actual mechanical connection were destroyed. In their place were a couple of bent-over nails. This condition represented a terrific loss of strength and this roof, too, was a candidate for catastrophic structural failure.
In summary,during a garage inspection look carefully at connections for problems which may lead to structural issues, as some are more urgent than others.  Be sure to call these out in your report.  Also, all electrical receptacles in garages must be GFCI-protected, without exception.

Drywall Identification And Using XFR Techniques

X-ray fluorescence (XRF) is an analytical method using emission spectroscopy to identify the presence of specific elements in most materials.  Every element has a unique emission signature, making it possible to quantify the presence of an element by the relative strength of the emission.  Instrumentation has evolved to the point where hand-held XRF can be used in the field for drywall identification. While X-ray fluorescence is a very accurate and reliable instrumentation-based method for quantitative analysis of chemical elements, it should not be used as the sole identifier of toxic or Chinese drywall.  To identify problem drywall, XRF is used to target the alkali earth element, strontium, as the primary identifier of problem drywall.  There is no doubt the XRF will determine the accurate level of strontium in the wall section being scanned.  However, there are several chemistry-related considerations that should force us to take a closer look at using only strontium content as the flag for identification of problem drywall.

Drywall Identification

What is Strontium?Strontium
Strontium is a relatively plentiful element on Earth. Strontium-containing minerals, such as strontianite (strontium carbonate) and celestite (strontium sulfate), may be found in various concentrations in natural gypsum deposits. Natural gypsum is used in the production of drywall.  Therefore, drywall will often have some strontium present at varying levels.
Strontium is commonly used in paints and coatings for a variety of purposes.  Here are a few examples:
  • Strontium frequently replaces lead as a paint drier.
  • Strontium is used in yellow, blue, red and white pigments.
  • Strontium aluminate is used in glow-in-the-dark coatings, wallpapers and adhesive stickers.
  • Strontium chromate, borate and metaborate are also used in anti-corrosion additives, flame retardants, and anti-microbial agents in paints and coatings.  Therefore, it is conceivable that XRF readings for strontium could vary from room to room and even from wall to wall due to differing layers of paint.
Is Strontium to Blame?
The EPA, the University of Florida, and other entities have published reports suggesting that strontium sulfide is a possible source of the corrosive sulfur gasses emanating from problem drywall.  The difficulty with this scenario is that the chemical reactions do not work neatly using strontium sulfide as the source of corrosive and toxic gasses.  Strontium sulfide is a stable compound that is insoluble in water.  The generation of hydrogen sulfide gas from strontium sulfide requires reaction with an acid. Since drywall maintains a neutral-to-alkaline pH, it is difficult to calculate how the acid reaction will occur with the mere presence of humidity in the air.
Additionally, testing results from hundreds of known problem drywall specimens accumulated by the Exterior Design Institute report that problem drywall is typically ten times more alkaline than non-problem drywall.  The alkaline pH makes the generation of hydrogen sulfide gas from strontium sulfide even less likely.  There is more empirical data that indicates that strontium sulfide is not the source of the corrosive gasses.  The additional data lies in the fact that a known percentage of drywall specimens with high levels of strontium do not produce corrosive gasses.  Further proof lies in the number of drywall specimens with low strontium levels, which do produce corrosive gasses, according to the Building Envelope Science Institute (BESI).
What this means is that strontium is probably not present in the chemical that is producing the corrosive gasses.  Although high strontium levels have been found in a majority of problem drywall, by itself, strontium cannot be a 100%-conclusive indicator of problem drywall.   The strontium is more likely a marker or “ride-along” component in most problem drywall.  In the earlier days of identifying problem drywall, there was a test for elemental sulfur because it was believed to be the cause of the corrosive gasses. We have since discovered that, although elemental sulfur is present in many problem drywall samples, it is not the cause of the gasses. As a result, the presence of elemental sulfur was determined not to be a 100%-reliable indicator of problem drywall. The same appears to be true of strontium.

Summary

The XRF method tests for strontium, which:
  1. is naturally present in the drywall core;
  2. is commonly present in wall paints; and
  3. is NOT the proven source of the corrosive gasses.

To use the XRF method as a stand-alone tool to positively identify problem drywall makes no more sense than to use an X-ray machine as a stand-alone instrument to diagnose cancer.  There is no basis in science or experience to support its use as a stand-alone method.  There is a basis in science and experience to support the use of XRF as a highly reliable screening method for drywall identification.

Conclusion

While the XRF method is both fast and non-destructive, it should only be used in concert with complementary problem drywall-testing protocols and trained drywall identification. It is clear that the real benefit of the XRF method is as a very efficient and highly reliable, non-destructive screening tool.

 *****************************************************
by Nick Gromicko, CMI® and Dennis Rose
Nick Gromicko is founder of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors and the executive director of the International Association of Certified Indoor Air Consultants.
Dennis L. Rose is an industrial chemist and president of D. L. Rose and Associates, LLC, in Ocala, Florida.
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Home Inspector

Home Tools Every Homeowner Should Own

When it comes to home tools the following items are essential, but this list is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to ask an InterNACHI inspector during your next inspection about other tools that you might find useful.
 Standard plunger
1.  Plunger
A clogged sink or toilet is one of the most inconvenient household problems that you will face. With a plunger on hand, however, you can usually remedy these plumbing issues relatively quickly. It is best to have two plungers — one for the sink and one for the toilet. Definitely a must  in this list of home tools!

 

2.  Combination Wrench Set

One end of a combination wrench set is open and the other end is a closed loop. Nuts and bolts are manufactured in standard and metric sizes, and because both varieties are widely used, you’ll need both sets of wrenches. For the most control and leverage, always pull the wrench toward you, instead of pushing on it. Also, avoid over-tightening.

3.  Slip-Joint Pliers

Use slip-joint pliers to grab hold of a nail, a nut, a bolt, and much more. These types of pliers are versatile because of the jaws, which feature both flat and curved areas for gripping many types of objects. There is also a built-in slip-joint, which allows the user to quickly adjust the jaw size to suit most tasks.

4.  Adjustable WrenchCaulking gun

Adjustable wrenches are somewhat awkward to use and can damage a bolt or nut if they are not handled properly. However, adjustable wrenches are ideal for situations where you need two wrenches of the same size. Screw the jaws all the way closed to avoid damaging the bolt or nut.

5.  Caulking Gun
Caulking is the process of sealing up cracks and gaps in various structures and certain types of piping. Caulking can provide noise mitigation and thermal insulation, and control water penetration. Caulk should be applied only to areas that are clean and dry.
6.  Flashlight
None of the tools in this list is of any use if you cannot visually inspect the situation. The problem, and solution, are apparent only with a good flashlight. A traditional two-battery flashlight is usually sufficient, as larger flashlights may be too unwieldy.
7.  Tape Measure
Measuring house projects requires a tape measure — not a ruler or a yardstick. Tape measures come in many lengths, although 25 feet is best.  Measure everything at least twice to ensure accuracy.

8.  Hacksaw
A hacksaw is useful for cutting metal objects, such as pipes, bolts and brackets. Torpedo levelHacksaws look thin and flimsy, but they’ll easily cut through even the hardest of metals. Blades are replaceable, so focus your purchase on a quality hacksaw frame.

9. Torpedo Level
Only a level can be used to determine if something, such as a shelf, appliance or picture, is correctly oriented. The torpedo-style level is unique because it not only shows when an object is perfectly horizontal or vertical, but it also has a gauge that shows when an object is at a 45-degree angle. The bubble in the viewfinder must be exactly in the middle — not merely close.

10.  Safety Glasses / Goggles
Not usually considered for a list of home tools but for all tasks involving a hammer or a power tool, you should always wear safety glasses or goggles. They should also be worn while you mix chemicals.

11.  Claw Hammer
A good hammer is one of the most important tools you can own.  Use it to drive and remove nails, to pry wood loose from the house, and in combination with other tools. They come in a variety of sizes, although a 16-ounce hammer is the best all-purpose choice.

12.  Screwdriver Set
It is best to have four screwdrivers: a small and large version of both a flat head and a Phillips-head screwdriver. Electrical screwdrivers areWire cutter sometimes convenient, but they’re no substitute.  Manual screwdrivers can reach into more places and they are less likely to damage the screw.

13.  Wire Cutters
Wire cutters are pliers designed to cut wires and small nails. The side-cutting style (unlike the stronger end-cutting style) is handy, but not strong enough to cut small nails.

14.  Respirator / Safety Mask
While paints and other coatings are now manufactured to be less toxic (and lead-free) than in previous decades, most still contain dangerous chemicals, which is why you should wear a mask to avoid accidentally inhaling. A mask should also be worn when working in dusty and dirty environments. Disposable masks usually come in packs of 10 and should be thrown away after use. Full and half-face respirators can be used to prevent the inhalation of very fine particles that ordinary face masks will not stop.

15.  Duct Tape
This tape is extremely strong and adaptable. Originally, it was widely used to make temporary repairs to many types of military equipment. Today, it’s one of the key items specified for home emergency kits because it is water-resistant and extremely sticky.
Can you think of any home tools we didn’t mention here? Leave a comment!
by Nick Gromicko, CMI® and Ben Gromicko
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10 Easy Ways to Save Money & Energy in Your Home

Most people don’t know how easy it is to be saving energy, and here at InterNACHI, we want to change that.

Saving energy in heating, cooling and electricity costs can be accomplished through very simple changes, most of which homeowners can do themselves. Of course, for homeowners who want to take advantage of the most up-to-date knowledge and systems in home energy efficiency, InterNACHI energy auditors can perform in-depth testing to find the best energy solutions for your particular home.

Why should you be saving energy? Here are a few good reasons:

  • Federal, state, utility and local jurisdictions’ financial incentives, such as tax breaks, are very advantageous for homeowners in most parts of the U.S.
  • It saves money. It costs less to power a home that has been converted to be more energy-efficient.
  • It increases the comfort level indoors.
  • It reduces our impact on climate change. Many scientists now believe that excessive energy consumption contributes significantly to global warming.
  • It reduces pollution. Conventional power production introduces pollutants that find their way into the air, soil and water supplies.

1. Find better ways to heat and cool your house. 

As much as half of the energy used in homes goes toward heating and cooling. The following are a few ways that you be saving energy through adjustments to the heating and cooling systems:

  • Install a ceiling fan. Ceiling fans can be used in place of air conditioners, which require a large amount of energy.
  • Periodically replace air filters in air conditioners and heaters.
  • Set thermostats to an appropriate temperature. Specifically, they should be turned down at night and when no one is home. In most homes, about 2% of the heating bill will be saved for each degree that the thermostat is lowered for at least eight hours each day. Turning down the thermostat from 75° F to 70° F, for example, saves about 10% on heating costs.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat saves money by allowing heating and cooling appliances to be automatically turned down during times that no one is home and at night. Programmable thermostats contain no mercury and, in some climate zones, can save up to $150 per year in energy costs.
  • Install a wood stove or a pellet stove. These are more efficient sources of heat than furnaces.
  • At night, curtains drawn over windows will better insulate the room.
Image of a high-efficiency thermostat at the InterNACHI® House of Horrors® in Colorado.
 

2. Install a tankless water heater.

Demand-type water heaters (tankless or instantaneous) provide hot water only as it is needed. They don’t produce the standby energy losses associated with traditional storage water heaters, which means you’ll be saving energy. Tankless water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. A gas burner or an electric element heats the water. As a result, demand water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water. You don’t need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water.

3. Replace incandescent lights.

The average household dedicates 11% of its energy budget to lighting. Traditional incandescent lights convert approximately only 10% of the energy they consume into light, while the rest becomes heat. The use of new lighting technologies, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), can reduce the energy use required by lighting by 50% to 75%. Advances in lighting controls offer means you’ll be saving energy by reducing the amount of time that lights are on but not being used. Here are some facts about CFLs and LEDs:

  • CFLs use 75% less energy and last about 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
  • LEDs last even longer than CFLs and consume less energy.
  • LEDs have no moving parts and, unlike CFLs, they contain no mercury.

4. Seal and insulate your home.

Sealing and insulating your home is one of the most cost-effective ways to make a home more comfortable and energy-efficient, and you can do it yourself. A tightly sealed home can improve comfort and indoor air quality while reducing utility bills. An InterNACHI energy auditor can assess  leakage in the building envelope and recommend fixes that will dramatically increase comfort and energy savings.

The following are some common places where leakage may occur:

  • electrical receptacles/outlets;
  • mail slots;
  • around pipes and wires;
  • wall- or window-mounted air conditioners;
  • attic hatches;
  • fireplace dampers;
  • inadequate weatherstripping around doors;
  • baseboards;
  • window frames; and
  • switch plates.

Because hot air rises, air leaks are most likely to occur in the attic. Homeowners can perform a variety of repairs and maintenance to their attics that translates to energy saving on cooling and heating, such as:

  • Plug the large holes. Locations in the attic where leakage is most likely to be the greatest are where walls meet the attic floor, behind and under attic knee walls, and in dropped-ceiling areas.
  • Seal the small holes. You can easily do this by looking for areas where the insulation is darkened. Darkened insulation is a result of dusty interior air being filtered by insulation before leaking through small holes in the building envelope. In cold weather, you may see frosty areas in the insulation caused by warm, moist air condensing and then freezing as it hits the cold attic air. In warmer weather, you’ll find water staining in these same areas. Use expanding foam or caulk to seal the openings around plumbing vent pipes and electrical wires. Cover the areas with insulation after the caulk is dry.
  • Seal up the attic access panel with weatherstripping. You can cut a piece of fiberglass or rigid foamboard insulation in the same size as the attic hatch and glue it to the back of the attic access panel. If you have pull-down attic stairs or an attic door, these should be sealed in a similar manner.

5. Install efficient showerheads and toilets.

The following systems can be installed to conserve water usage in homes:

  • low-flow showerheads. They are available in different flow rates, and some have a pause button which shuts off the water while the bather lathers up;
  • low-flow toilets. Toilets consume 30% to 40% of the total water used in homes, making them the biggest water users. Replacing an older 3.5-gallon toilet with a modern, low-flow 1.6-gallon toilet can reduce usage an average of 2 gallons-per-flush (GPF), saving 12,000 gallons of water per year. Low-flow toilets usually have “1.6 GPF” marked on the bowl behind the seat or inside the tank;
  • vacuum-assist toilets. This type of toilet has a vacuum chamber that uses a siphon action to suck air from the trap beneath the bowl, allowing it to quickly fill with water to clear waste. Vacuum-assist toilets are relatively quiet; and
  • dual-flush toilets. Dual-flush toilets have been used in Europe and Australia for years and are now gaining in popularity in the U.S. Dual-flush toilets let you choose between a 1-gallon (or less) flush for liquid waste, and a 1.6-gallon flush for solid waste. Dual-flush 1.6-GPF toilets reduce water consumption by an additional 30%.

6. Use appliances and electronics responsibly.

Appliances and electronics account for about 20% of household energy bills in a typical U.S. home. The following are tips that will reduce the required energy of electronics and appliances:

  • Refrigerators and freezers should not be located near the stove, dishwasher or heat vents, or exposed to direct sunlight. Exposure to warm areas will force them to use more energy to remain cool.
  • Computers should be shut off when not in use. If unattended computers must be left on, their monitors should be shut off. According to some studies, computers account for approximately 3% of all energy consumption in the United States.
  • Use energy saving ENERGY STAR-rated appliances and electronics. These devices, approved by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Program, include TVs, home theater systems, DVD players, CD players, receivers, speakers, and more. According to the EPA, if just 10% of homes used energy-efficient appliances, it would reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of 1.7 million acres of trees.
  • Chargers, such as those used for laptops and cell phones, consume energy when they are plugged in. When they are not connected to electronics, chargers should be unplugged.
  • Laptop computers consume considerably less electricity than desktop computers.

7. Install daylighting as an alternative to electrical lighting.

Daylighting is the practice of using natural light to illuminate the home’s interior. It can be achieved using the following approaches:

  • skylights. It’s important that they be double-pane or they may not be cost-effective. Flashing skylights correctly is key to avoiding leaks;
  • light shelves. Light shelves are passive devices designed to bounce light deep into a building. They may be interior or exterior. Light shelves can introduce light into a space up to 2½ times the distance from the floor to the top of the window, and advanced light shelves may introduce four times that amount;
  • clerestory windows.  Clerestory windows are short, wide windows set high on the wall. Protected from the summer sun by the roof overhang, they allow winter sun to shine through for natural lighting and warmth; and
  • light tubes.  Light tubes use a special lens designed to amplify low-level light and reduce light intensity from the midday sun. Sunlight is channeled through a tube coated with a highly reflective material, and then enters the living space through a diffuser designed to distribute light evenly.

8. Insulate windows and doors.

About one-third of the home’s total heat loss usually occurs through windows and doors. The following are ways to reduce energy lost through windows and doors:

  • Seal all window edges and cracks with rope caulk. This is the cheapest and simplest option.
  • Windows can be weatherstripped with a special lining that is inserted between the window and the frame. For doors, apply weatherstripping around the whole perimeter to ensure a tight seal when they’re closed. Install quality door sweeps on the bottom of the doors, if they aren’t already in place.
  • Install storm windows at windows with only single panes. A removable glass frame can be installed over an existing window.
  • If existing windows have rotted or damaged wood, cracked glass, missing putty, poorly fitting sashes, or locks that don’t work, they should be repaired or replaced.

9. Cook smart.

An enormous amount of energy is wasted while cooking. The following recommendations and statistics illustrate less wasteful ways of cooking:

  • Convection ovens are more efficient that conventional ovens. They use fans to force hot air to circulate more evenly, thereby allowing food to be cooked at a lower temperature. Convection ovens use approximately 20% less electricity than conventional ovens.
  • Microwave ovens consume approximately 80% less energy than conventional ovens.
  • Pans should be placed on the matching size heating element or flame.
  • Using lids on pots and pans will heat food more quickly than cooking in uncovered pots and pans.
  • Pressure cookers reduce cooking time dramatically.
  • When using conventional ovens, food should be placed on the top rack. The top rack is hotter and will cook food faster.

10. Change the way you do laundry.

  • Do not use the medium setting on your washer. Wait until you have a full load of clothes, as the medium setting saves less than half of the water and energy used for a full load.
  • Avoid using high-temperature settings when clothes are not very soiled. Water that is 140° F uses far more energy than 103° F for the warm-water setting, but 140° F isn’t that much more effective for getting clothes clean.
  • Clean the lint trap every time before you use the dryer. Not only is excess lint a fire hazard, but it will prolong the amount of time required for your clothes to dry.
  • If possible, air-dry your clothes on lines and racks.
  • Spin-dry or wring clothes out before putting them into a dryer.
Homeowners who take the initiative to make these changes usually discover that the energy savings are more than worth the effort. InterNACHI home inspectors can make this process much easier because they can perform a more comprehensive assessment of energy saving potential than the average homeowner can.
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