Archive for April, 2012

Electric Vehicles create issues for Apartment Managers

Electric Vehicles create issues for Apartment ManagersApartment dwellers are looking for electrical outlets to plug-in their electrical vehicles to recharge them over night. Electric vehicles create issues for apartment managers and superintendents. Governments are pushing better utilization of our resources, specifically to cut down on our dependence on foreign oil and yet this is creating many issues for individuals who want to support the initiative and are coming face to face with the reality of where do they charge up their vehicle. If you live in a single family home or even a townhouse were you have your own electrical meter, there is no issue other than the basic economics of  recharging your vehicle. We urge you to do your own math as well to confirm your potential savings when you purchase an electric vehicle.

Electric Vehicles create issues for Apartment Managers

Life is never Simple and Straight Forward.

For apartment dwellers it is not so simple. Most people will park in a garage or even surface parking were there is no access to an electric plug of sufficient amperage. In those few places were there are plugs, many owners are objecting to paying for the increase in electricity that is being used. Some property managers have removed electrical outlets so they cannot be used to charge electric cars. In addition, the existing electrical system in older buildings may not be up to the standard and capacity needed to support more than a few cars plugged in to recharge.

Expensive upgrades may be required and the owner is left wondering who is going to pay for this expense and how will he recover this expense through the rent or other fee’s. At the very least, there may be only one electrical outlet in the garage and not close to the car owners requested parking spot. In some colder climates, electrical outlets are provided for car warmers and engine heaters. they are intended for this purpose and not for recharging electric cars.

Car Owner Volunteers to Pay His Share

One electric car owner has volunteered to pay for his share of the electricity based on the manufacturers anticipated usage and local rates for electricity. He even volunteered to double what he should pay from a theoretical perspective. The apartment building owner is worried that even though this car owner is willing to pay , he may find himself committed to expensive electrical system upgrades or risk the wrath of the other apartment dwellers when the breakers let go and everyone is in the dark. In many jurisdictions, the rent is controlled so increasing the rent is not a solution.

Early Days for Electric Vehicles

This is still very early in the product life cycle for electric vehicles. The issues and problems are just now being realized. Many people with good intentions will purchase electric vehicles and then be faced with where do they recharge their vehicle. Once they have committed their money they will be motivated to solve these minor problems. All it will take is a competitive market for apartment units and an apartment owner advertising that they have parking stalls available for electric cars to get the ball rolling. It will become a competitive issue at some point to capture some of the best apartment owners who pay their rent on time and cause few problems. I am thinking that if you can afford to purchase an electric car, you are making pretty good money and will appreciate a higher quality of apartment.

Many other industries started out this way and gradually over time as the penetration of the product grew, more and more support facilities were made available.

If you would like to leave a detailed comment about electric vehicle recharging challenges, please leave one at the bottom of this post. You may agree with our opinion or perhaps not and have a different perspective on it. We would like to hear your opinions. Well written comments will be accepted and we will even approve a link back to your web site for well written on subject comments.


Tire Balancing and Why

Most people will have their new tires balanced when they are installed on the car. Some stores will charge for this service , while others will include the cost of balancing the tire in the price of the tire. Whenever you purchase tires make sure you are comparing apples to apples  i.e. the cost of the tire and balancing so that you have a true comparison.  Many people then forget about their tires and never have their tires re-balanced again, even though there may be abnormal wear on the tires or if there is vibration coming from the tires.  Your tires should be rotated every 12,000 km’s and the balance checked at the same time. We will take about this aspect a little bit later.

Tire Balancing – How Are Tires Balanced

Your mechanic will use a tire balancing machine to find out were the heavy spots are and then attach weights to the rim to counter these heavy spots.  Weight can be attached to the inside of the rim as well as the outside of the rim. Proper weights applied to the right locations will eliminate vertical bouncing (static balance) and side-to-side wobble (dynamic balance).  If you notice that a weight has fallen off due to hitting a curb or just to age, have your tires balanced immediately to avoid any unnecessary wear to your cars tires and alignment.

Why Balance Your Tires At All?

During the manufacturing process, the manufacturers will attempt to make your tires and your rims as round as possible and distribute the weight as evenly as possible across the tires circumference.  However there are always slight imperfections that make the tire heavier on one side or another. You may not notice this at low speeds, however at higher speeds it can be noticed as a slight vibration. Badly balanced tires will cause your cars tires to vibrate badly and you will actually feel the vibration in the steering wheel or perhaps in the car in general.

Have your tires balanced after an accident. Also they should be checked each time you rotate the tires. Slight unbalancing may occur during wear and tear causing vibration to begin in the tires which is passed along to the front end of your cars system and also to the drive train. Far more damage can occur other than just warn out tires.

Tire Balancing – When Should You Have Your Tires Balanced

Tires need to be balanced when they are first installed to correct for slight imperfections in terms of the weight that is spread around the tire and the rim. The tire is always balanced only after it is installed on the rim and fully inflated.  Tires should also be rebalanced or at least checked when you rotate your tires ( see post on Tire Rotation ) . If you hit the curb badly  or a large object on the road, you may also need to have your tires check again for proper tire balance. You should also have them checked any time you notice vibration from your tires. If you do not have your tires balanced, not only do you have to endure the vibrations, your tires will wear out prematurely and you could wear out parts on your cars drive train and steering system.

If you have comments about balancing tires please feel free to leave them. All constructive and helpful comments about tires will be approved along with a link to your web site if you provide it. We are looking to add information that our readers will find helpful.

 


Upgrade to Dual Flush Toilets

Dual Flush ToiletsWe recently wrote a post about dual flush toilets for a customer of ours. We were so surprised about the water savings and payback you get when you upgrade from your old toilet to a dual flush toilet, we decided to add this post.  I was always of the opinion that upgrading to a dual flush toilet did save money in terms of water usage, but not enough to make it worthwhile from a financial point of view. There are some situations where it makes sense from a purely financial perspective to upgrade your toilet. Of course there are esthetics to consider and also that you now have a modern toilet instead of one that dates back into the 80’s or even older.

If you can remove your old single flush toilet and install the new dual flush toilet yourself, then you probably can break even or even get a payback on your investment in less than 10 years. We did several calculations which will support this assertion, however you will need to adjust it to your own situation in terms of water cost as well as whether you hire a plumber or not. Hiring a plumber significantly increases the cost of the new toilet.

Dual Flush Toilet Costs

Here are the assumptions we made and we would be interested in your views, adjustments we should make to the assumptions etc. Here we go:

  • New Dual Flush Toilet $200.00
  • Installation $100.00
  • Parts $30.00
  • Rebate $oo.oo

Total Cost $330.00

Some states or municipalities may have rebates as an incentive to save water. We do not have an incentive, however if yours does include that rebate above when you calculate your overall cost of installing a new toilet. Also if you can install the toilet yourself, you can zero out the installation cost of $100.

Cost Assumptions for Upgrading

  • Old tank size:  5 (gallons)
  • Water Rate /CC Meter:  $0.565
  • Gallons / CC Meter:  264
  • $/gallon: $0.0021
  • Sewer Rate:  1.66 (Our water rate is increased by this factor)
  • Cost per flush: $0.03
  • Flush per day: 10 (average rate, adjust as you see fit)
  • Cost per day:  $0.28
  • Days per year:  365 (If you are on vacation, you may decrease this number)
  • Cost per year:  $103.89
  • Number of years:  6.5 (Number of years to achieve payback for our scenario)
  • Total Cost:  $675.31
  • Savings Rate/Flush: 0.5 (We used an average savings of 1/2)
  • Net Water Savings: $337.65

Return on Investment $7.65 (This is the savings when it turns positive for us at 6.5 years. You can adjust the number of years until you get a positive result, which is the number of years that it will take to pay for the toilet.

There are some other assumptions that we did not bother to include which could have a significant impact on the results.

Rebates for example could have a dramatic impact and cause the payback to be decreased significantly. Also the cost of water is going to increase a lot over the next 10 years. No one knows how much and it will be different in each state. This will only increase the savings even more as rates rise. Completing the installation will also save you a great deal of money and reduce the payback period even further. finally these calculations assumed one toilet in your house. Most homes have several toilets so you will have to add costs for the number of toilets you have and split the number of flushes between toilets.

Can You Get any Rebates for Dual Flush Toilets

We played around with the numbers a bit and found that if we installed the toilets ourselves, purchased them on sale and received a rebate, we could get the payback period down to 5 years which is pretty good. It does demonstrate just how practical and economical it can be to install dual flush toilets and how much you will save in water compared to your old toilets.

We have not taken into account any advantage we might have gained in terms of resale value of our home. It will definitely have an impact on the sale price, however how much is anyone’s guess.

If you have crunched the numbers for the location were you live and are able to get the numbers even lower, let us know. We are trying to save money and update our homes at the same time.

 

Save


Cleaning Surface Sealed and non Surface Sealed Floors

Cleaning Surface Sealed and non Surface Sealed FloorsOur last post, ” cleaning hardwood floors”, discussed the different types of floors in terms of the type of protection each floor may have and how to tell the difference between the major types such as surfaces sealed and non surface sealed floors.  This post will discuss specific cleaning instructions for each type of floor sealant. The major types were:

  • Surface-sealed floors
  • Penetrating-seal-treated and oil-treated floors
  • Lacquered, varnished, shellacked and
  • Untreated floors

Cleaning Surface Sealed and non Surface Sealed Floors

Surface-sealed floors

First of all you should use a floor cleaner that is recommended by the floor finisher or the company that installed your floor. You can check with a flooring company that sells the type of hardwood floor that you have for specific recommendations. Since the floor is sealed, you can also just use a very mild soap and water to clean your floors. Be careful to not leave any access amounts of water on your floor.

Never use ammonia or alkaline products or abrasive cleaners. They will remove some of the surface sealer and leave your floor looking dull and they may even scratch the finish.

If you just use water to clean your floors, you will not be able to remove all of the dirt and your floors will still end  up looking dull and the dirt will just build up over time.

High traffic areas collect a lot of dust and grit. It is really important to sweep this grit up and or vacuum it up to avoid scratching your hardwood floor finish. You may even want to mop every week as well if your floor collects a lot of dirt and dust. other areas can be swept and mopped less often.

When you mop on any floor, it is important to remember that water is the worst enemy of all wood floors. never leave puddles of water on the floor. Only use a damp mop to wipe the floor leaving no excess water at all. Always go back over the floor with clean water and a mop to wipe up any remaining soap and dirt that might not have been caught on the first mopping.

Penetrating-seal-treated and oil-treated floors

If you need to remove the old wax,  use a stripper design for that purpose and always use a product that has been recommended by the floor manufacturer. Use liquid wax or paste wax to protect your floors. Acrylic and water based waxes can turn floors white, while furniture wax can make floors slippery. One step waxes can also trapped dirt so only use those products that are recommended by the floor manufacturer and speak to someone who has experience in the business.

These types of floors should never be damp mopped. Instead just sweep them or vacuum them every week. You may have to strip the old wax and re-wax the floor once a year or more often depending on the amount of traffic on the floor.

When it comes time to wax the floor, follow these steps:

  • Vacuum the floor to remove all dust and grit
  • Strip the old wax with a stripper (following the manufacturer’s instructions)
  • Always keep the area well ventilated as you work and as the floor dries.
  • Once the floor has dried, apply a thin coat of wax, using an applicator (if you’re using liquid wax) or a cloth (if you’re using paste wax).
  • Let the wax dry.
  • For added protection particularly on high traffic areas, apply a second coat of wax.
  • Finally, buff. Use a cloth or, to make the job easier, rent a buffing machine.
  • Remember to always buff in the direction of the wood grain.

Comments are welcome that will help our readers. We even accept links if your comments are constructive and helpful to our readers. Our next post will be about how you can protect your floors and tackling simple wood floor problems.

Lacquered, varnished, shellacked and

Untreated floors


Renewable Energy Business Evolution

We have been doing some research on renewable energy business evolution, which is another term for where is the solar business headed and where are wind farm businesses headed. Should you as a consumer invest in a solar generation system on your roof? What about businesses that are in the solar business or the wind farm business? Would you buy shares in a company that is based on the fledgling solar business? As an investor who is looking at his retirement income, any investments in renewable energy businesses is probably high risk at this stage since the industry is still trying to figure out how to make money and be profitable without government subsidies.

Renewable Energy Business is here to Stay

But let’s make no mistake the alternative energy or the renewable energy business is here to stay. It is only an infant in terms of evolution and must go thorough many trials and difficulties before it matures. Solar energy is really young, wind power is not far behind it compared to the grand old businesses of generating power through oil or coal fired generation plants. Hydro electric plants are even older and then there is the nuclear field which is still growing up and we are not sure that we really want to have it around us. This is the best analogy that we can come up with in terms of the electrical generation business today.

The solar companies are like a bunch of infants in a day care running around trying to figure out what they should do just to stay alive. Which one will grow up and become mature and successful. Which ones will fall by the wayside and never develop into a successful business. The message here is that if someone tells you they have this sure thing related to solar power, only put into the investment what you can afford to lose. The risks are very high.

Renewable Energy Business Development Cycle

The renewable energy business evolution is going to take a few years to develop and become stable. This could be as long as 20 years, but it will reach a level of maturity that will make us all wonder why we did not invest in the business at the outset. Electrical power companies in California must be generating 30% of their power by the year 2020 and although they have made great strides with some already in the 10% zone, they still have a long way to go.

Power consumption is growing and 30% of today’s power demand is achievable, however 30% of the demand in 2020 is much more challenging.  These objectives have been set by government to meet several of their own objectives. They want to reduce the demand on coal and oil  and they also want to reduce the pollution impact that these oil driven electrical plants have on the environment.

While the air pollution should not get worse, there is still pollution when you install solar panels. The manufacture of solar panels is one thing and does cause pollution, however the preparation of the ground and the disruption of habitat for animals that live in these areas is another. Animal rights groups are always getting in the way and fighting the construction of solar power plants. This alone could delay the power companies from meeting their objectives in 2020 which is already really aggressive without any delays.

One area that seems to be helping is that consumers are converting on mass from incandescent lights to fluorescent and LED lights, This has been reducing the demand for electricity in various states and provinces. The consumer is getting on the band wagon and reducing their electrical use by turning off lights, using power in non peak demand times etc. This is going to make it easier to meet some of the targets we mentioned above.

We are going to write more on this subject in the next few posts. leave us your comments and thoughts. They will help to influence our ideas and thoughts and contribute to the input of the next posts. Our readers will appreciate the thoughts and comments as well.


Cleaning Hardwood floors

Cleaning Hardwood floorsYou invested thousands into your new hardwood floors and now it is time to clean them. Or perhaps you purchased an older home with existing hardwood floors and you are wondering what is the best way to clean them.  In fact it is very important that you use the right materials on your floors to ensure long life of your floors as well as continuing to make them look great. So before you begin cleaning your floors, stop for a second and look at the wood finish on your floors to assess what kind it is. Depending on the finish you may need to choose a different style of cleaner to clean them. the following are the general types of hardwood floors:

  • Surface-sealed floors
  • Penetrating-seal-treated and oil-treated floors
  • Lacquered, varnished, shellacked and
  • Untreated floors

Cleaning Hardwood floors

Surface-sealed floors :

this is the most common type of floor covering for hardwood floors. These floors are sealed with urethane, polyurethane or polycyclic materials and are stain and water damage resistant. They are the easiest to care for since the floor is sealed. All you need to do is sweep the floor to remove all grit and dust etc and then mop the floor. Be careful to avoid leaving excess amounts of water on any floor including this one even though it is water resistant.

Penetrating-seal-treated and oil-treated floors:

Some floors have a penetrating oil finish to them to bring out the grain in the wood. This penetrating oil really does not provide any protection. All it does is penetrate the wood and enhance the grain of the wood to provide an aesthetically pleasing look to it. Many people will protect this type of floor with liquid or paste wax.

Lacquered, varnished, shellacked  floors:

Varnishes and shellacked finishes are really surface finishes, however they are unable to protect the floor from water and other liquids in the same manner as urethane etc.  As a result they must be treated with care and in the same way you would treat a floor that has been treated with penetrating oil floors.

Untreated floors:

Floors that are still bare wood have no protection in them at all and will absorb water and other liquids very quickly. It is important to avoid spilling any water on these floors let alone cleaning them with soap and water.

Many people find it difficult to tell what kind of floor they have unless they purchased it themselves.  Older homes that people move into may have hardwood floors but unless the original owners are available to tell you what type of floor it is, you will have to discover the type of floor finish yourself. One way to tell what type of hardwood floor you have is to rub your finger across the floor. If no surface smudge appears then it is surface sealed. If there is a smudge, then it has been treated with  an oil finish or shellac type of finish. Of course floors that are just bare wood will also not show a smudge since there is no finish on these floors at all.

Heavily warn floors also have to be given careful consideration. Floor areas in high traffic paths may be warn to the extent that the bare wood is showing through the surface seal. Treat these areas in the same manner as you wood with a bare floor with no finish at all.

Our next post will discuss specifics about how to clean each type of floor mentioned in this post. The title will be “Cleaning Surface Sealed and non Surface Sealed Floors”. If you found this post helpful or would like to contribute a comment, please do so. any comments that are constructive and helpful to our readers will be posted. We will even approve your link if it is a good comment that our readers will find helpful.


Cut Down On Gas Usage

Cut Down On Gas UsageGasoline prices continue to rise and yet it appears from the amount of traffic on the roads, no one is cutting back on the amount of driving they do. You still have to get to work, get to the grocery store and get the kids to their activities. However consumers may be cutting down on their gas usage in other ways to compensate for the increased prices at the pump. Prices went down a bit in the fall of 2012 and early 2013, but lately they are beginning to rise again and consumers are bracing for $4 / gallon again this coming summer. Are you ready for these high prices and can your budget afford the increases.

Cut Down On Gas Usage – $1000

We are probably spending an extra thousand dollars on gasoline every year  due to the increased prices of oil. The only way we can control how much we spend on gasoline is to either drive less or keep our car in optimal condition so that it uses gasoline as efficiently as possible. It is just a matter of time before we are paying $5.00 a gallon and if you have not already begun finding ways to reduce your gasoline usage, you should start now.

Here is a short list of things that you can do to reduce your overall cost for operating your car and help deal with the increasing price of gasoline.

  • D-I-Y – Do It Yourself – do your own repairs and fluid checks
  • Check and replace air filters – keep them clean to maximize air flow
  • Change their own tires – hard to do for most people, can rotate them yourself
  • Monitoring and topping up their vehicle’s fluids
  • Inspect and replace vehicle light bulbs – follow the manual or buy a car care manual
  • Cleaning the car – inside and out with your own vacuum and hoses.
  • Brake repairs – only do this if you have the tools and the appropriate skills
  • Replenish all essential fluids (automatic transmission fluid, brake fluid and coolant) and get regular oil changes
  • Replace worn or damaged wiper blades and burned out light bulbs to maintain good visibility and safety

Reduce Gas usage

  • Remove winter tires and install summer tires at the right time
  • Wash away winter grime and salt build-up to prolong the life of your cars body, this is most important in states and provinces were salt is used on the roads.
  • Check tire tread – make sure that you have sufficient tire tread on the tires to be safe.
  • Ensure proper tire inflation at least once a month – visually check your tires every day
  • Take public transit whenever you can to conserve gasoline and wear and tear on the car
  • Drive at or below the speed limit – this is the most efficient speed to drive at
  • Avoid jack rabbit starts and stops at stop signs and stop lights
  • Check and adjust tire pressure will help to improve fuel economy

These are pretty standard things that most people can follow easily without too much trouble. Getting into the habit of checking tires  etc is easy and will help you save gasoline. Make sure that the tires are balanced and that your car is properly aligned. all of these things contribute to better gas mileage and reduced cost when you travel. Buy a gas guzzler is another approach especially for commuting.

More Ideas

If you have additional ideas to contribute please leave your comments. We can use all of the help we can get these days as prices go higher and higher. Gasoline has recently dropped in price a bit which gives us some breathing room, however any time you can save money and use it for other things, this seems like a good thing to me. For more information on energy savings ideas, click here.

Save


Tire Rotation and Why?

As a consumer, I have always wondered why I should rotate the tires on my car and how often they should be rotated. Apparently there is a proper way to rotate the tires and a wrong way to do it as well. I have had many cars over the years and for some I have rotated the tires, while others I did not bother at all.  I did not notice a difference in the way the tires wore out or even if they wore out prematurely. The experts say that you should rotate them often. Apparently every 12k miles is recommended by some car dealers.

I have brand new tires on my car and they come with lifetime rotation and warranty ( the warranty is prorated). I have no excuse to not have them rotated. However I thought I should really investigate this tire rotation business and why you rotate your tires. My new found knowledge is being passed along on this website for those of you who care about these sorts of things.

Tire Rotation

Tire RotationEach wheel should be moved from one location on your car to another location on your car at regular intervals. Check your cars manual for the recommended period, however for the warranty I received with my tires, my tires need to be rotated every 12,000 miles. Consumers who also have a full size spare with their car should have this tire included in the rotation so that all tires have the same uniform wear on them.  Specific tire rotation guidelines also apply in terms of were you place the tires.

For cars that are front wheel drive, front tires are moved to the back and across. For example your left front tire should be moved to your right rear location. The left front tire should be moved to the right rear location. Both rear tires should be moved straight ahead. Following this approach all four tires will occupy each position over time and they should wear evenly provided your alignment is ok.  The picture above shows other possible tire rotation patterns, however you should follow your cars manual for the proper pattern.

Why should You Rotate Your Tires

This was something that I never really understood until I did a little bit of research. It turns out that your front tires do a lot more work than the rear tires even though they both cover the same distance. First of all the front of the car weighs more with the engine weight on them, secondly they perform the majority of the work pulling the car with front wheel drive cars and they do the majority of the braking. All of this seems pretty obvious when you think about it.

The last two reasons were a bit of a surprise to me but they do make sense. Your front right tire is more likely to hit debris on the road so it will take more of a beating from stones and glass than the other tires as well as hitting the odd curb. The left front tire is put under more stress since we tend to take left hand turns at a slightly higher rate of speed than we do right hand turns in North America. The reverse is true for parts of Europe were they drive on the other side of the road.

As a result of all of these reasons, rotating your tires makes sense to spread the load and to ensure that your tires wear evenly.

Include Your Spare Tire in Your Tire Rotation Plans

When you include your full size spare tire in this rotation, you will ensure that all of your tires wear at the same speed. If you ever have a flat tire, your spare tire will more evenly match the tires on the car as well. One more thing about your spare tire. If your spare tire is not the same make and model of tire that is on your car, you may want to forgo including your spare tire in the tire rotations. different tires handle differently and may cause some instability as a result in your driving. In my case, my spare is not the same as the four tires I just purchased so I will not include it in the regular tire rotation exercise.

Your comments and suggestions are welcome. Particularly those that will assist our readers. We will approve all well written comments that information to the web site to help our readers and we will approve the links to your site if the comments are informative as we mentioned.


Rental Apartment Security

Rental Apartment SecurityAre you concerned about the security of your family and yourself in your rental apartment building? In this post we will discuss some of the issues you need to consider and think about as an owner as well as a renter in an apartment building. Everyone’s nightmare is that they move into an apartment building only to find that there is no or limited security. Anyone can get into the building and in fact some apartment dwellers don’t bother to check identities before they buzz some one in or the lock on the front door is broken.

Before we go much further lets just say that if someone really wants to get into your building, they will find a way in and it will not take them that long either. Even if there is a security guard or a concierge, it is relatively easy to get by them through distractions or just timing it when they are not looking or just being bold. so how are you to protect your self when you are living in an apartment building. the answer is that it is all about probabilities and the more steps you take before you move in and even after will help to increase your overall security level!

Rental Apartment Security Checklist

We put together a simple check list of items to consider before you sign the lease to a one year contract for an apartment. Here we go in no particular order:

  • Front door does lock
  • Location is relatively safe
  • Double doors each with  locks
  • Video systems works so you can see who your buzzing in
  • Apartment  doors are solid and have good locks on them
  • Concierge  on duty 24 hours of the day
  • If no concierge on duty is there a security guard or on duty maintenance person
  • Elevators are key coded for additional security
  • Check police records for number of visits
  • A Well maintained place shows pride of ownership and security by owners
  • Alarm systems in apartment

While some of these things may seem at the high end, we all have to make compromises and decide what is right for the situation that we are in. While you may not want to pay for a high end apartment with a security guard and concierge, a place that is really well maintained shows pride of ownership and a clientele that takes care of the building and treats it like their own.

Interview The Rental Manager

Most of the time it is the rental manager interviewing tenants. They are trying to decide if you will be a good candidate for the building. This usually means that you will pay the rent on time and not bring additional people into the apartment other than what you indicated on the rental application. he may also check with previous managers were you have resided to get references.

While you certainly have to go through all of that, we suggest you turn the tables a bit and interview them as well. The objective is to assess whether it is a place you really want to live in. You are going to check out the apartment, the parking, and any facilities that may or not be offered with the apartment. Extend the interview and ask questions that require more than yes or no answers. For example, how is the security in the building? Ask him to describe the steps they take to ensure that the building is secure. Make him sell you the building and describe its positive attributes.

Many superintendents may find this unusual. However it will also communicate to them that you are interested in a location that is safe. You will also help to keep it that way while you live there. A superintendent wants to have a well run building with no problems at all including bad tenants.

Other Issues

There are probably many other items that will help to make sure that you chose a secure building. If you feel that we missed some or just want to leave a comment, please do so. All constructive and helpful comments will be approved. We will even approve a link to your web site. Provide a well written comment that will be helpful to our readers.

 


Solar System Warranties

solar system managementOne of the decisions that you must make when you purchase a solar panel system is the number of years of warranty on the system. Most people think of the solar panels as the main element and indeed they are, but there are numerous other parts that can cause your solar electrical generation system to stop working and that is when you really need to understand your solar system warranty details.  Do you want a solar system warranty or a solar parts warranty. A solar system warranty will cover the system, including all parts  as well as the labor to diagnose the problem, locate the element that is not working and replace it. If you have a solar parts warranty, you will still need to pay someone to diagnose the problem and replace the part that needs to be changed.

What Are the Solar System Parts and How Long is their Warranty ?

  • The solar panels – good quality panels may have as long as 25 years
  • Wiring – not covered
  • Inverters – may have a 2 year warranty
  • Batteries – may have an 8 – 10 year warranty
  • Variety of connectors – not covered
  • Misc stuff – not covered

The life span of these various parts will often last much longer than the warranty, however as we all know, some things just do not make the grade and that is why warranties are needed.  You also need to look at the fine print in the warranty. What does it cover?  Removal, shipping , repair and installation are the main areas you need to consider. The more service you have, the higher the price will be for the initial installation and purchase.

If you have some sort of service contract with a supplier who is doing the initial installation and offering to provide maintenance and / or warranty service on your system, pay a lot of attention to this part of the contract.  Your system could operate fine for many years. On the other hand there may be many small issues develop over time that requires someone to diagnose a problem and make the corresponding adjustment or replace a part.  All of these issues can add up quickly in terms of cost so you want to understand how this will impact your cash flow.

Insurance Coverage and Solar System Warranties

Damage from falling trees and other acts of nature, vandalism and other incidents too numerous to mention can also put your solar system out of commission. Warranties typically do not cover this sort of thing.  You may want to check with your insurance company to asses what insurance coverage they offer and how much it will cost. Damage from a tornado for example could easily put your system out of service and unless you have insurance, repairs are going to come from your own pocket. You may need a special rider added to your insurance on your home to cover the solar system.

Do your Homework

Like app products that are on the market, there are high quality solar systems and there are lower quality systems at lower prices. Same goes for warranties and service contracts. Investigate all aspects and  make informed decisions regarding the devices you select as well as the installation and service contracts that you put in place. If someone is trying to rush you, then you may just want to back off for a bit and assess what they are trying to offer you and whether it makes sense for you. Think of your solar installation as a system and make sure that all elements are protected with a device warranty and a service or maintenance contract. The same applies to house insurance protection in the case of damage from some outside source.

We welcome comments on our posts provided they are constructive and helpful to our readers. We will even approve a link back to your web site if you leave a valid constructive comment that our readers will find helpful.


Categories

Blog Index

Copyright © 1996-2010 Managing Home Maintenance Costs. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress