3 Steps To A Healthier, Happier Home

a happy babyBrought to you by A.C.F. Home Inspections!

Today, people are more focused on health and wellness than ever before. You know this because you are constantly flooded with advice on what to eat, how (and how much) to exercise, and what to ask your doctors.

All of these things are important but what about the vital role the home plays in your healthy lifestyle? As you prepare for another season of indoor living, it’s time to ask: how can I improve the functionality, efficiency, and health of my home?

A healthy, safe and comfortable home is essential for those you love. When winter weather keeps you indoors, it’s even more important.

Tackle a few home-health tips now and your family and guests will be comfortable now and any time of year. Review and handle these must-dos, happy home style, today!

Adhere To A Maintenance Schedule:

Your body requires continuous maintenance to be at its best; the same is true for your home. Simple tasks, done on schedule, can make your home a safer, more enjoyable place to live. Important items on your to-do list:

  • Shut your exterior faucets off before the winter.
  • Check the batteries in your smoke detectors each month.
  • Clean your gutters.
  • Test your sump pump each spring.
  • Clean the coils under your refrigerator.
  • Make sure your attic, bathroom, and kitchen fans are in working order.

These maintenance tasks are easy to tackle. Once done, they will help reduce dirt on your floors and decrease any future mold risk.

Clean Up Your Air:

Did you know indoor air can be five times dirtier than outdoor air? Did you know it can include respiratory irritants and common allergens like mold spores, fungus, pollen, mites and pet dander? Fortunately, these unappealing airborne invaders can be removed continuously by your home air filter. All you need to do is change the filter regularly, about every one to three months depending on your system. The problem — research shows up to 58 percent of us forget to do this regularly or simply don’t!

Canopy, a new subscription-based air filter service, addresses this clean air concern by providing its subscribers with the specific size and qualification air filter they need. These filters are provided on a specific schedule to save homeowners time, energy and money and to avoid a trip to a big box home care store. To learn more about how Canopy can help you improve the air quality in your home, visit canopyair.com.

Make Cleaning A Family Affair:

A clean home is a happy, comfortable place everyone deserves but you don’t need to do it all by yourself. Encourage your entire family to work together instead. Children of all ages can help out with chores matched to their skill level. Set family rules that maximize home care and minimize cleaning chores. For example: no food outside of the kitchen, picking up towels and wiping down surfaces after a shower and removing shoes upon entering from outdoors. Your home is your sanctuary and it should feel that way all the time. Apply the tips above today, and your home will be a happier, healthier place in no time. – (BPT)

 

Have A Happier Home With These 9 Habits

A.C.F. Home Inspections Inc.A.C.F. Home Inspections has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (407) 218-6522. Thank You.

4 DIY Tips To Save Money And Get Your Home Ready For Winter

getting ready for winterFrom your friends at A.C.F. Home Inspections!

Many people look forward to the cooler weather. The brisk autumn winds and colorful leaves signal that once again it’s time to take out the sweaters and scarves. There are the hot soups and pumpkin-flavored drinks to keep one warm as the weather gets cooler, but for the conscientious homeowner and dedicated DIYer, it’s time to start winterizing your home.

Sealing out pesky drafts around your home helps save energy while also making your home more comfortable. It also prevents water damage from rain, ice or snow and blocks out pests that might be trying to find a warm place to spend the winter.

As you’re deciding where to get started, here are four projects that will go a long way to save you money and make your home ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at it this winter.

1. Create a thermal barrier. 

The best way to keep your family warm and toasty while the wind, snow and sleet rage outside is to ensure your home and its building envelope — the thermal barrier between the interior of a home and the exterior environment — is properly sealed. How well the “shell” of the building (walls, roof, and foundation) is sealed against the exterior environment directly impacts the amount of energy required to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Maintaining a well-sealed building envelope means you’ll use less energy to heat and cool your home, saving you money. Take the time to check for and seal the following common air leaks around your home, both inside and out:

  • Interior windows and doors: Slowly move a lit incense stick around the edges. If the smoke drifts to the side, it indicates an air leak that needs to be sealed.
  • Interior baseboards and trim: Check for cracks and gaps where walls meet floors and ceilings.
  • Exterior windows and doors: Check for gaps and cracks where the frame meets the wall. Replace cracked or missing sealant around frames with an exterior grade sealant.
  • Pipes and vents: If there is a gap between the pipe or vent and the surface it goes through, it needs to be sealed.

2. Seal air leaks.

Most cracks and gaps less than a half inch in width and depth can be filled with a sealant like DAP Extreme Stretch. Designed to stretch over 600 percent, Extreme Stretch can withstand the elements as your home expands and contracts, plus it is easy to apply on virtually any interior and the exterior surface such as windows, trim, pipes, vents, and siding. It will not crack or lose adhesion, saving you money and preventing nasty drafts. And remember, before you apply, make sure to remove any old sealant that remains to ensure the new sealant can adhere properly.

3. Move beyond window wrap. 

We all know that a traditional way to seal in the heat and keep out the cold is to insulate your windows with plastic film. This is an unsightly solution and leaves your home looking shrink-wrapped. A more effective and less obtrusive method is to use DAP SEAL ‘N PEEL, a temporary, removable weatherstrip caulk that’s great for sealing up windows for the season. It applies easily to a caulk around windows, doors, attic hatches, pipes and vents to keep out drafts. Once spring comes, it easily peels off to let in the fresh air.

4. Seal off a room. 

If you live in a large house and have a room or two that you don’t use, consider sealing it up for the winter. Simply turn off the heating vent or radiator in the room to avoid paying to heat a room you aren’t using. Then use a door draft stopper or decorative long pillow along the door floor to prevent any drafts.

Whether you like the cold weather or not, the coming winter is a great opportunity to check up on your home and prepare it for winter. For the novice or the die-hard DIYer, it’s an important time to assess and address your home’s defenses against winter weather. – (BPT)

 

Tips to Get Your House Ready for Winter

A.C.F. Home Inspections Inc.A.C.F. Home Inspections has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (407) 218-6522. Thank You.

The Sound Of Silence: How To Design A Quiet Home Office

home officeThe Article Courtesy of A.C.F. Home Inspections!

In today’s increasingly digital world, it’s no surprise that more employees are opting to work from home. While there may be a shift of physical locations — from the office building to the home — productivity is still paramount, making the need for quiet home workspaces more important than ever.

“As urbanization continues, builders and developers are focused on optimizing available land, which results in more homes, apartments, and condos built near highways and airports,” says Mark Montgomery, vice president of marketing for leading window manufacturer Ply Gem Windows. “The convergence of telecommuting and higher noise levels means there’s a growing need to enhance homeowner comfort with noise reduction technology.”

If your workspace needs a sound makeover, consider the following tips. For even more information on home improvement solutions, check out websites like www.plygem.com.

[Read more…]

Replacing A Furnace? How To Choose An Energy-efficient System

mom and son playingHelpful Information from A.C.F. Home Inspections!

If it’s time to replace your furnace, you may be wondering if it’s worth the extra investment to buy an energy-efficient system. Or, you may be unsure how to choose an energy-efficient system for your home.

“Energy-efficient heating systems can substantially lower your fuel costs over the lifetime of the system, so it’s well worth investing the time and money to find just the right one,” says Chip Wade, HGTV(R) expert. “Depending on where you live, an energy-efficient gas furnace can be between 12 and 16 percent more efficient than standard models, according to ENERGY STAR.”

[Read more…]

Know How To Protect Your Family Against Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

kids playing at homeBrought to you by A.C.F. Home Inspections!

Few areas of the country are immune to natural disasters or severe weather. Whether you live in a hurricane zone or face icy winters, it is important to prepare your home and family to weather the storm and know the potential health and safety risks that may arise in emergency situations.

Beyond inconvenience, widespread and long-term power outages resulting from storms raise a much more serious concern: carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. While the poisonous gas can come from any fossil fuel-burning appliance or vehicle, the risk posed by generators is of particular concern because of this year’s devastating storm season.

“Simple preparation, along with an understanding of the risks of CO, are key factors for protecting your home and loved ones both during storm season and throughout the year,” said Tarsila Wey, director of marketing for First Alert. “The risk of CO can occur anytime — not just during emergencies — which is why installing and regularly testing CO alarms are an integral part of any home safety plan.”

[Read more…]

Prevent Falls This Fall With A Home Safety Checklist

older couple looks happy in front of their homeThe Article Courtesy of A.C.F. Home Inspections!

After months of sticky heat and humidity, it’s time to put away the shorts and pull out the sweaters because the autumn season is finally here. But, late September brings us more than just cooler temperatures and a wardrobe change. If you or a loved one are over the age of 65, the change in seasons is also an opportunity to think about another kind of fall — the kind that impacts one in four older Americans every year — and the steps we can all take to help prevent them.

According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and account for the majority of emergency room visits for older adults. More than 75 percent of falls happen in or around the house, but fortunately, there are ways to evaluate our loved ones’ homes and make them safer for everyday living.

[Read more…]

House Hunting And Credit: What You Need To Know

couple hunting house with real estate agentFrom your friends at A.C.F. Home Inspections!

By now it is something of a cliche to call homeownership the American dream. But even if sitting on your own deck, looking over your picket fence and sipping lemonade doesn’t move you, homeownership is still one of the best ways to build wealth.

For many, owning a home is cheaper than renting and, in the long run, the biggest investment they will ever make. It is also a practical financial move thanks to the fact that you’re likely building equity while getting a mortgage interest tax break.

So although it is perfectly fine to dream about backyard barbecues and the smell of fresh-cut grass, the path to owning your own home should also involve taking the time to do some financial sightseeing.

As a leader in creating credit scoring models, VantageScore Solutions has made it a priority to educate consumers on the important role a good credit history plays in buying a home.

Whether you’re about to set out to buy your first home or if you are getting ready to sell and buy another home, here are the basics of how credit impacts the home-buying process.

Basics:

If you are like most people, you will probably need to take out a loan. If you are able to pay cash for your home instead, count yourself among the lucky few!

A huge part of taking out a loan involves your credit history and credit score. Basically, you must prove to lenders that you can be a responsible borrower and can be trusted with a mortgage of many thousands of dollars. A strong credit score may provide proof of this trustworthiness.

Different types of loans have different credit requirements. Some loans require you to have a credit score of at least 620, although it is possible (with some difficulty) to be approved for a loan with a credit score as low as 580. But getting loan approval is only part of the story.

Better Credit, Better Rate:

Home loans come in all shapes and sizes. Some are fixed interest mortgages, some have adjustable rates or longer terms and the list of variables goes on. Just like anything else, some loans are better for you than others. To get the loan that has the lowest interest rate, which right now is around 4 percent, usually requires a higher credit score. Rates can be considerably higher when you have a lower credit score, and the result is paying significantly more monthly over the life of the loan.

The reason is that a higher credit score demonstrates that you are skilled at managing debt and have a history of responsibly paying back many types of loans. Therefore, the lender is taking on less risk when lending you money. The less risk for them, the better the interest rate for you.

While there are, of course, more nuances to the process, your credit score plays an instrumental role in determining the type of loan you may qualify for. Therefore, before you go to your first open house, check your credit score to better understand the factors that typically impact your scores. Many websites provide free access to your VantageScore, which is a perfectly fine barometer to use to directionally gauge your creditworthiness. Mortgage lenders use FICO scores in their underwriting.

You can stay on top of things by subscribing to the monthly credit scoring newsletter, The Score. In The Score, you can find information on VantageScore 4.0, the fourth-generation scoring model that will be available to consumers in early 2018.

Knowing your credit history and understanding the factors that could impact your credit score will help you plan, budget and come up with a realistic wish list for your house. – (BPT)

 

How to Start Your House Hunt

A.C.F. Home Inspections Inc.A.C.F. Home Inspections has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between since 2001.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (407) 218-6522. Thank You.

How To Perfectly Light A Bathroom For Beauty, Function And Safety

bathroom lighting ideasHelpful Information from A.C.F. Home Inspections!

Good lighting is important throughout a home, and each room has different lighting needs. Kitchens require overhead and task lighting, while bedrooms and dining rooms can benefit from variable illumination. However, no room in the house requires more layers and nuances of lighting than the bathroom, where lighting directly influences the room’s efficiency, utility, safety and beauty.

Upgrading lighting in a bathroom can give the room a whole new look and improve its functionality for a fraction of the cost of a full renovation. As you’re planning your bathroom enlightenment, keep in mind the multiple purposes lighting plays in a bathroom, including:

  • Safety — Bathrooms are a prime spot for falls and injuries. A well-lit room can decrease the risk of someone stumbling or slipping.
  • Tasks — Whether you’re applying makeup or shaving, task lighting can provide the illumination you need to do the job well.
  • Visibility — Ambient lighting provides whole-room illumination that makes the space usable at any time of day.
  • Decorative — Lighting can minimize glare from shiny surfaces such as porcelain, glass or ceramic tile, and enhance the appearance of colors, fixtures and accessories.

Here are tips for creating effective, attractive lighting for the bathroom:

Safety:

Bathroom lighting effects safety the most during nighttime hours. A completely dark bathroom could lead to falls, as could the temporary blindness caused by switching on a light when your eyes are acclimated for darkness. A brightly lit space can also make it difficult for you to go back to sleep after using the bathroom.

Dimmable bathroom lighting, which can be set for less illumination at night, and strategically positioned nightlights can help users safely navigate the room at night. Equip low-wattage light sources that turn on with a motion sensor, so that soft illumination comes on when you enter the dark bathroom.

Tasks:

The bathroom vanity is a hub of activity, where people shave, brush their teeth, fix their hair, apply makeup and generally get ready for the day. The lighting above your vanity or sink area is critical to how well the space functions.

Lights above the bathroom mirror, or to either side of it, can create glare and shadow. A better alternative can be to use a lighted mirror or medicine cabinet like the Verdera collection by Kohler. Lighted mirrors and medicine cabinets eliminate harsh shadows and light “hot spots” that can come from overhead lighting.

What’s more, Verdera lighted medicine cabinets feature a convenient built-in electrical outlet to allow you to use your favorite grooming accessory. LED lights make the mirrors and cabinets energy-efficient, and all are compatible with LED dimmers, giving you even more control over task illumination. Visit www.us.kohler.com to learn more.

Visibility:

Certain areas in the bathroom require basic visibility at all times, including showers and water closets. In these areas, overhead lighting can provide the ambient illumination you need. You can opt for a basic light fixture, a fan/light combination that also provides ventilation, or even a skylight for natural daylighting.

Uplighting is also becoming a popular form of ambient light in bathrooms. Lights set beneath countertops or around the base of shower stalls provide soft illumination and character.

Decorative:

Decorative bathroom lighting is your chance to have some fun. These lights may enhance ambient lighting or support task lighting, but their ultimate purpose is to add visual interest to the bathroom.

Depending on the size and style of your bathroom, you can choose decorative lighting options like chandeliers, wall sconces, pendant lights, recessed lighting and more.

Finally, be sure that every layer of light in your bathroom is as energy efficient as possible. Replace any incandescent bulbs with LEDs or CFLs, which use a fraction of the energy to produce a comparable amount of light, while lasting far longer. – (BPT)

 

How to Install Recessed Lighting

A.C.F. Home Inspections Inc.A.C.F. Home Inspections has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between since 2001.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (407) 218-6522. Thank You.

Must-have Elements For Building A Sustainable New Home

man laying down in his couch holding a tabletBrought to you by A.C.F. Home Inspections!

When someone builds a home for you, you have the opportunity to make it as sustainable, eco-friendly and energy-efficient as possible. Not only are sustainable homes more cost-effective over the long term, they have a smaller environmental impact and can be more appealing to home buyers when you’re ready to sell and move.

In fact, more than half of Realtor’s report consumers are interested in sustainability, according to the National Association of Realtors’ REALTORS and Sustainability report. What’s more, 70 percent say a home’s efficient use of energy is important to potential buyers.

If you’re having a home built for you, it’s the perfect time to think about sustainability and energy efficiency. The experts at Coleman(R) heating and cooling offer some points to consider as you’re planning your sustainable home:

  • Choose a builder who specializes in sustainable homes.

While virtually all home builders today will offer eco-friendly or energy-efficient features, sustainable home builders take a whole-house approach. Their plans should include more than just high-efficiency windows and appliances and lots of insulation. Sustainability planning should also incorporate elements like the position of the home on its lot, number and position of windows in the home, and shade and ventilation, among other considerations.

  • Heating and cooling typically represent the largest portion of a home’s energy consumption.

When choosing an HVAC system for your sustainable home, choose an option like Coleman(R) Echelon(TM) Variable Capacity Residential Systems, which use leading-edge technology to tune the system’s temperature settings and performance for optimum function give exterior conditions. The systems also self-monitor to ensure they operate at the highest level of efficiency while providing maximum heating and cooling comfort. Visit www.colemanac.com/comfort to learn more.

  • The orientation of your home can enhance heating and cooling efficiency.

For example, if you live in a colder region, placing your home with the maximum number of windows facing south can allow natural light to help heat your home in the winter. If you live in a warm climate, minimizing the number of windows on the west side of the home and planting shade trees on that side can help with cooling. Plant a tree that loses its leaves in the winter, and you can allow light to reach that side of the house when the weather is colder.

  • The more compact a home is, the more energy efficient it will be.

You don’t have to build a tiny home to achieve a more efficient design. A two-story home can be more compact and energy efficient than a sprawling single-story design.

  • Insulation and air sealing can greatly improve a home’s energy efficiency. 

Talk to your builder about the best kind of insulation for your needs, and learn about R value and how it affects the efficiency of insulation. Discuss how the builder seals potential air leaks in the home, paying close attention to windows, doors, and spots where pipes or wires enter the home.

  • Finally, a truly sustainable home is one that makes maximum use of recycled and recyclable materials. 

Talk to your builder about the construction materials they will use. Are they sustainably sourced? Will they be able to be recycled someday down the road when they are no longer usable in your home?

Demand for sustainable homes is likely to continue growing, according to the NAR report. Choosing to build your new home with sustainable materials, systems and practices can ensure you reap the rewards of a more environmentally friendly home now and in the future. – (BPT)

 

How To Design An Energy Efficient Home

A.C.F. Home Inspections Inc.A.C.F. Home Inspections has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between since 2001.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (407) 218-6522. Thank You.

5 Tips To Make The Most Of Your Outdoor Space

outdoor space ideaThe Article Courtesy of A. C. F. Home Inspections!

A beautiful, sunny day is one of the best parts of the season and when you have one, you simply have to be outside. When you step outdoors, where do you go? To the park? The lake? A friend’s home?

How often do you stay home and enjoy a beautiful day in your own outdoor space?

If your answer is not often or never, it’s time to create your own home field advantage. With just a few simple improvements you can make even the smallest outdoor space feel comfortable and be welcoming to you and your guests. Start with these five projects and you’ll make your own yard the place to be when the weather turns beautiful.

  • Replace the cement with a raised deck. 

That old cement patio or walkway in your backyard may be unsightly and uninviting, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make that space much more appealing by replacing it with a raised cedar deck. Easy to build and affordable as well, installing a raised cedar deck to your outdoor space makes the entire area more inviting without taking up any additional space. Cedar is also naturally resistant to rot, decay and insects, and it is cool underfoot, making it the perfect decking solution for your newly improved outdoor living space.

  • Light smart. 

Your current outdoor space may have only a single light or it may have no light at all, making it impossible to use at night. To make the space more welcoming, add string lights or uplighting to your outdoor area. These lights are available in a wide array of styles to match your personality and they take up very little space, allowing you to create the perfect — well lit — environment you’re looking for.

  • Focus on furniture. 

If finding the right furniture to fit your space has been difficult, consider making your own instead. Building a customized bench or sectional from Western Red Cedar is easier than you think and it allows you to build your furniture to meet the design requirements of your space. Plus, Western Red Cedar is pitch and resin free so it accepts and holds a wide range of finishes to match your style choice. You can even add built-in storage to your bench or furniture design for more space-saving solutions. To find building plans for this and other Western Red Cedar projects, visit www.realcedar.com.

  • Place a plant or two. 

The right plant could provide just the pop of color your outdoor space needs. Herb gardens, hostas, even a pot of flowers all up the scenic appeal of your outdoor area. If space is a concern and you have a pergola structure, hanging plant baskets is a great option, so you can enjoy their beauty from above.

  • Play a zone strategy. 

When space is at a premium, you need to utilize every inch. To do this, segment your outdoor space into defined zones such as cooking, relaxing and eating areas. You can then further define these zones by adding the perfect finishing touches to each like a barbecue enclosure for your cooking area and a pergola over your dining table. Each of these DIY projects is a worthy addition to your outdoor space and will make it the area you can’t wait to enjoy every time you step outside. – (BPT)

 

Modern Outdoor Living Space Ideas

A.C.F. Home Inspections Inc.A.C.F. Home Inspections has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between since 2001.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (407) 218-6522. Thank You.