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WATER HEATING SYSTEMS

Given that as much as 25% of household energy costs go to heating water, it makes sense to evaluate various systems with an eye toward saving both energy and money. Here we take a look at some of the water heater options for homeowners to consider.

Storage (Tank) Water Heaters – These are by far the most common type of residential water heater. Once the water in the tank reaches the desired temperature, the heater cycles on and off to maintain the temperature of the water. Most of us know the phenomenon of running out of hot water after family members take one shower after another; this will happen if the tank’s storage capacity is insufficient to meet demand. Whether water is being used or not, the heater must still fire on and off to keep the contents of the tank hot. While tank heaters are an affordable option, it is quite inefficient to keep a tank of water hot all day.

Tankless (Demand) Water Heaters – Rather than being stored in a tank, water is rapidly heated by gas or electricity when the faucet is turned on. Because it reaches the desired temperature so quickly, much less water is wasted while waiting for hot water to flow through the faucet; however, the results are not truly instantaneous. Tankless systems normally cost more up front than a conventional storage water heater, so homeowners should take that into account along with what type, size, and location makes the most sense for them.

Solar Water Heating – This uses the sun’s energy to pre-heat water for the home. The pre-heated water then flows into a solar tank that monitors temperature. Then it’s piped into the regular hot water system, usually a storage water heater. If no water is turned on within a brief period of time, the water circulates through the system again, making it unnecessary to keep a large tank of water constantly hot. The pre-heating is done by one or two solar panels, usually installed on the roof.

With efficiency and decreased energy use as a goal, the best choice of water heater depends on what pencils out in any given home.

Pillar To Post Newsletter Vol. 20 No. 5


September is Realtor Safety Month. The safety of Realtors is paramount to all of us at Pillar To Post, so this issue of Post Notes reminds brokers, agents and their teams how to stay safe, especially when day-to-day business activities return to normal.

Additional resources:

www.nar.realtor/safety

www.beverlycarterfoundation.org


Showing Empty Properties

Take these smart steps to protect and empower yourself against attack or theft.

  • Be sure to use the lockbox property–key procedure that has been established to improve real estate agent safety so that keys don’t fall into the wrong hands.
  • Show properties before dark. If you must show a property after dark, alert or bring along an associate, turn on all lights as you go through, and don’t lower any shades or draw curtains or blinds.
  • Check in with someone on your team once an hour to let people know where you are.
  • Prepare a scenario so that you can leave, or to encourage someone who makes you uncomfortable to leave. Examples: Your cell phone went off and you have to call your office; you left some important information in your car; another agent with buyers is on his way.
  • When showing a property, always leave the front door unlocked for a quick exit while you and the client are inside. As you enter each room, stand near the door.
  • Lock your purse in the car trunk before you arrive. Carry only nonvaluable business items (except for your cell phone), and do not wear expensive jewelry or watches, or appear to be carrying large sums of money.
  • Park at the curb in front of the property rather than in the driveway. It is much easier to escape in your vehicle if you don’t have to back out of a driveway. And while parked in a driveway another vehicle could purposefully or accidentally trap you.

Top 10 Tips for Personal Safety

  • Touch base. Always let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll return. Arrange for someone from your office to call you to check in.
  • Don’t get lost. Always know the exact address of where you’re going. If you use a navigation app, pull over and stop in a safe place if you’ve made a wrong turn.
  • Sense your surroundings. Is there questionable activity in the area of a property you’re showing? Is anyone loitering? Follow your instincts if you feel you should leave.
  • Don’t go it alone. Have an associate or other colleague host open houses with you.
  • Limit the view. If you’re working late, use window coverings so that you’re not visible to passersby or a potential attacker.
  • Go on the defense. Learn some self-defense skills. Many health clubs, martial arts studios and community colleges offer basic classes.
  • Choose flight over fight. While self-defense is a good idea, the primary goal in any threatening situation is to escape from immediate danger and call for help.
  • Park for protection. Always park in a well-lit, visible location whether you’re parking at your office, an open house, or an empty property.
  • Make calling for help easy. Program important numbers into your cell phone, including your office, roadside assistance and 911.
  • Know who you’re dealing with. Ask for ID, take a photo of a client’s license plate. A criminal won’t be comfortable with this and may be thwarted.

Office Safety Action Plan

Personal safety in the office is important to everyone. Here are some key elements for your office safety action plan.

Initial meeting with clients

Hold the first in-person client meeting in the office rather than at properties, out of doors, or at home. It’s also a good idea to introduce them to a colleague on site.

Client ID

All first-time clients must provide a driver’s license, state ID or other official photo ID. The office will retain a copy of the ID for security purposes. You can download a Client Profile Form at www.beverlycarterfoundation.org.

Distress code

Implement a verbal distress code—a secret word or phrase that can be casually worked into conversation if you feel threatened and the person you are with can overhear your conversation.

Buddy system

If you’re uncomfortable meeting with clients alone request another agent or employee to accompany you.

Privacy first

Keep personal information private. Don’t discuss where you live, or your after-work or vacation plans in front of prospective clients, new colleagues or anyone with whom you’re not comfortable.

Limit access

Make sure all doors other than the main entrance door are secured, and have a clear exit route from the front desk to the door.

Solo security

If you encounter a stranger while working late or alone, say something like “My supervisor will be right with you.” to give the impression you’re not there alone.

Be aware of surroundings

Get to recognize the staff of other nearby businesses and be aware of their schedules. This will benefit everyone.

Sources: NAR, Beverly Carter Foundation


A Note for Our Times

Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is always committed to the health and well-being of our clients. This is especially true during this time of Covid-19. We remain committed to provid-ing the highest quality home inspection while adhering to the strict safety and cleanliness guidelines provided by the CDC and local governments.

  • Inspectors are prepared with PPE to keep everyone safe
  • Home Inspection Reports can be presented virtually or printed on-site
  • Your clients can choose not to attend or only attend the last hour of the home inspection
  • Online and/or contactless payment options available on request

While our processes may have changed, our commitment to ensuring confident home ownership has not. Our job is not complete until you no longer have questions concerning the home you have asked Pillar To Post to inspect.

Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is pleased to provide this information for the safety and well being of Realtors. We hope you find this Special Issue useful for yourself and your team. Please stay safe.


Experience the Pillar To Post Difference. Schedule your next home inspection today!

6 ESSENTIAL FALL MAINTENANCE TASKS 2020

With these easy steps, your clients will enjoy the comforts of home all season long and know that they’re protecting their investment, too.

  1. Caulk around exterior door and window frames for a tight seal. Look for gaps where pipes or wiring enter the home and caulk those as well to protect from water, insects and mice.
  2. Check the roof for missing or damaged shingles. Water, wind, ice and snow can cause serious damage to a vulnerable roof, leading to a greater chance of further damage inside the home. Always have a qualified professional inspect and repair the roof, but binoculars can be used to do a preliminary survey from the ground.
  3. Clear gutters of leaves, sticks, and other debris. If the home gets heavy leaf fall, this may need to be done more than once during the season. If the gutters can accommodate them, leaf guards can be real time-savers and prevent clogging. Make sure downspouts direct water away from the house.
  4. In cold-weather climates, drain garden hoses and store indoors to protect them from the harsh winter elements. Shut off outdoor faucets and make sure exterior pipes are drained of water.
  5. Have the furnace inspected to ensure that it’s safe and in good working order. Most utility companies will provide basic, no-cost furnace inspections to their customers. Replace disposable furnace air filters or clean the permanent type according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. A wood-burning fireplace can be a real pleasure on a chilly fall evening. For safety, have the firebox and chimney professionally cleaned before use this season.

Pillar To Post is always committed to the health and well-being of our clients. This is especially true during this time of Covid-19 and Realtor Safety Month. We remain committed to providing the highest quality home inspection while adhering to the strict safety and cleanliness guidelines provided by the CDC and local governments. We also encourage you to learn about precautions you can take to keep yourself and your team safe while showing homes and in the office. Realtor Safety resources are available at:

www.nar.realtor/safety

www.beverlycarterfoundation.org

Pillar To Post Newsletter Vol. 20 No. 4

COVID-19 Update

Pillar To Post is always committed to the health and well-being of our clients and homeowners, as well as our inspectors. This is especially true during this time of Covid-19. We remain highly focused on providing the highest quality home inspection while adhering to the strict safety and cleanliness guide-lines provided by the CDC and local governments.

While our processes may have changed, our commitment to Ensuring Confident Home Ownership has not. Our job is not complete until you no longer have questions concerning the home you have asked Pillar To Post to inspect.


Sunset dandelion closeup

MAINTENANCE TIPS

Your Summer Checklist

A well-maintained home is enjoyable in any season. Tackle a few of these tasks each week and reap the rewards!

Woman in sundress sitting on outdoor patio

OUTDOORS

  • Decks and patios are much more inviting when they’re clean, so get out that pressure washer. Be sure to follow directions to prevent damage.
  • If house or trim paint is peeling, cracked or chipped, repair and repaint now to prevent damage to the underlying materials.
  • Remove window screens and clean them with a soft brush and soapy water. Rinse well and allow to dry in the sun before reinstalling.
  • Repair any holes in the screens or replace the screening material.
  • Have the air conditioning system serviced. Promote good air flow by keeping plants trimmed back from around the condenser unit.
  • Seal cracks in the driveway and walkways.
  • Replace broken sprinkler heads and/or emitters in the irrigation system. Check for proper water coverage and adjust if necessary.

INDOORS

  • Change the rotation of ceiling fans to the summer setting and give the blades a good dusting.
  • Close the chimney flue to keep insects out and cool air in.
  • Clean out the ashes from wood-burning fireplaces and inspect the firebox for cracks or other damage. Scheduling needed repairs in the summer means you won’t be on a waiting list come fall.
  • Hang area rungs over a deck or porch rail to air out.
  • Swap out heavy bedding for lightweight summer fabrics. Have comforters and duvets cleaned before storing them away for the season.
  • Repot houseplants to help promote growth and plant health.


Grilled meat and vegetable kebabs

SUMMER SAFETY

Time To Get Grilling!

Ahh, it’s grilling season. Here are our top tips for a safe (and delicious!) experience.

  1. Keep young children and pets away from the grill during and after cooking. Especially with charcoal grills, the exterior can remain hot long for a long time.
  2. Do not use a grill under an overhang, carport, deck, or in a garage.
  3. Make sure the grill rests on a stable surface and can’t be tipped over. If the grill has lock-ing casters, make sure they’re engaged.
  4. A propane/gas or charcoal grill should not be used indoors.
  5. Periodically check hoses and connections on propane grills. Replace any cracked or brittle hoses before using the grill. Don’t store pro-pane tanks in a garage or other structure at any time.
  6. Start charcoal fires using a chimney starter instead of charcoal lighter fluid. Not only is a chimney starter safer, your meal will taste better.
  7. To help prevent grease fires in a gas/propane grill, remove accumulated grease and residue from drip pans every few uses. Use baking soda, not water, to safely extinguish a grease fire.

Now grab that spatula and a cool drink. You’re all set!



Pillar to Post inspector checking under kitchen sink

INSPECTION INSIGHTS

Should you get a pre-listing home inspection?

In a word, yes! A pre-listing home inspection can uncover previously unknown issues — major and minor — so you’ll have the opportunity to make repairs, updates, or replacements as needed or as you wish. Addressing these issues before the home goes on the market can result in cleaner offers and a better selling price.

Make sure the home inspection is comprehensive and that you’ll get the report immediately upon completion of the inspection. Having this information right away is helpful when deciding on next steps prior to listing your home.

Photos should always be part of a professional report so that full documentation of conditions is available to both you and potential buyers. This is especially important when it comes to issues that are not addressed or repaired prior to sale. Make records available of any repairs or upgrades completed after the inspection so that buyers can see that the work was done.


HOME SMARTS

Controlling Indoor Humidity

High relative humidity (RH) in your home encourages mold growth and dust mites, can make your house smell musty and potentially damage your home and belongings. Here’s what you need to know:

MEASURE IT

Use an inexpensive hygrometer from the hard-ware store to measure humidity levels in several locations. 50% RH is normal for summer; in winter it depends on the outdoor temperature—it may be less than 30% on colder days.

CONTROL IT

If your whole house is humid, it could be due to:

Lack of ventilation. Without fresh air circulation humidity can build up indoors, especially in newer, well-sealed homes. Consult an expert on ventilation.

Oversized air conditioner. Central air is an excellent dehumidifier, but if the system is over-sized for the home, the on-cycles are too short to effectively remove humidity.

A gas-fired appliance that isn’t venting properly. If you suspect this, contact a qualified heating contractor to investigate.

Localized high humidity can be caused by over-cooling a particular area, not using bath-room fans, or basement/crawlspace dampness. Correct these conditions to resolve the problem.

In some cases, a dehumidifier may be the only way to control moisture in a damp area. Be sure to use a unit sized appropriately to the space. An undersized unit will not reduce moisture effectively. But be aware that dehumidifiers use quite a bit of energy, even as much as a small window air conditioner.

Woman reading in bay window

Discover the Pillar To Post Difference. Schedule your next home inspection today!