Archive for March, 2016

Repairing Mold Damage from Leaking Water Pipes

Mold Damage from Leaking Water PipesMost consumers will never have to deal with mold damage from leaking water pipes. We hear of major floods and homes being totally destroyed by flood water or the subsequent mold that covers everything. These situations require professional intervention and major repairs. There are millions of other leaks such as the one shown in this picture that occur everyday and can develop into significant mold sources as well as causing significant damage to the home. If there are enough mold spores in the air, even your family can become sick and require medical attention. Any time you suspect mold developing, deal with it immediately and do not allow it to become a major expensive problem.

Mold Damage from Leaking Water Pipes

Sources of water and subsequently mold:

  • Slow leaking water pipes
  • A small leak in the roof
  • Windows are another source
  • Damp, dark and warm are the best places

Your health can be compromised if you do not deal with this problem, not to mention the damage and the cost of the repairs. The first step is to always repair the leak and eliminate the source of the water causing the mold. In other words – Fix the leak

Routine checks are good to do as well. Under sinks and around toilets are good places to check. If you smell dampness, follow your nose and check for mold.

Next you need to begin repairs and renovations. Start by removing all damaged wood and removing all drywall. If the mold is extensive, you will need to take special precautions, such as wearing protective clothing and breathing apparatus. You may want to hire professionals if it is a large job. Also ensure that the mold spores cannot spread to the rest of the home where they can cause health issues and the further spread of the mold.

If anyone has asthma in the home or is subject to allergies, you may want them to stay outside the home while this work is being competed.

Hire professionals if you are not comfortable!


How much do intelligent home electronics really save you

adjusting your thermostat while on vacationConsumers are asking the question, “How much do intelligent home electronics really save you?”. With all of the expenses today associated with running a home, any time someone suggests that they can save you money most consumers listen. However they quickly become disenchanted. Especially when they find out that the technology costs hundreds of dollars to implement with only minimal savings. In addition many are finding that just like computers, the life span is short. Because something new and better often comes along.

How much do intelligent home electronics really save you?

Intelligent home electronics fall into various categories with various combinations of energy reduction capabilities, convenience and security. Utility companies want to install intelligent meters to reduce the number of people who must read meters every month. They can also provide more information in real time to the customer. While it is a difficult sale for many, there are real savings for the utility. However it is unclear if these savings will be passed along to the customer.

Other technologies that turn lights on an off. they Also anticipate when you arrive home and allow remote control over things like door locks, heating systems and lights. There is a combination of convenience, energy savings and security advantages. While you most like will not achieve sufficient savings to cover the cost of the technology, the increased level of convenience and security may be worth much more to the individual.

We suggest that every consumer evaluate the overall costs, the savings capability, the convenience provided and the increased security that may come along with some of the electronic implementation.

Eight Ways to Reduce Electrical Costs

Eight Ways to Reduce Electrical CostsWith the cost of electricity going up in almost every jurisdiction, consumers would do well to heed the following suggestions as ways to reduce their total electricity consumption and reduce the total cost of electricity as part of their total monthly budget. Several of these suggestions will also help you save money on heating your home if you use oil, propane or natural gas. This amounts to a double savings for many consumers. Here are eight ways to reduce electrical costs for the average home owner.

  • Reduce¬†phantom power
  • Use LED bulbs
  • Use a programmable thermostat
  • Dishwashers
  • Laundry
  • Clothes lines
  • Microwave or toaster ovens vs. electric stove
  • Window and door treatments

Eight Ways to Reduce Electrical Costs

Reduce phantom power Рall electronics consume power when the are plugged into a wall outlet. This allows them to turn on quickly when the power button is pressed. Unplug your electronics when not being used and especially when leaving on a vacation etc.

Use LED bulbs – consume much less electricity than regular bulbs and even less than fluorescent bulbs.

Use a programmable thermostat – use your thermostats timer control to control the temperature in your home while you are away. Also adjust the temperature lower in the winter and higher during summer cooling seasons. “For every degree lower that you set your thermostat, you can save 3 per cent on heating costs”.

Dishwashers – if you must use a dishwasher, fill it before running it and only run the dishwasher when rates are at their lowest which is usually at night.

Laundry – the same applies to laundry. A full load is more efficient and run the washer and dryer at night or on weekends when rates are often lower.

Clothes lines – using clothes lines to dry your clothes is one of the most efficient ways to accomplish this task. No energy used at all.

Microwave or toaster ovens vs. electric stove – both devices are far more efficient to cook with compared to an oven.

Window and door treatments – seal all windows with weather stripping and use window treatments to provide added insulation or prevent the sun from heating the interior of your home in the summer.

For more information about saving money and reducing your electrical consumption, click here.


Smart House

Smart HouseWe have all seen the advertisements from cable companies, phone companies and security companies about enhanced alarm systems and systems that allow us to control our homes remotely. There are a variety of applications that do everything from manage the alarm system, take videos of intruders to locking doors, adjusting the temperature and turning lights on and off remotely. The question that this writer has is whether it is all worth the cost and whether the home insurance company will provide discounts to help defray the cost of installation and ongoing monthly fees? First of all what are the applications that might interest the average consumer?

Ten Smart House applications

One of the better known applications of domotics or smart house features is the presence of movement detectors and alarms to prevent theft. Today, technology has become more diversified providing many more solutions. Here are a few examples:

  1. Remote control of all of the following from your smart phone app
  2. Opens and closes locks.
  3. Automatically adjusts the heating or cooling system when a window is open.
  4. Programs the heating and air conditioning systems based on the temperature outdoors.
  5. Remote control of the heating / cooling system.
  6. Automatically turns off the light when no-one is in a room.
  7. Video recording activated when a door opens, emailed to consumer.
  8. Detects water leaks and automatically turns the water valve off.
  9. Turns the tap on when a hand is placed under it and off when it is removed.
  10. Activates an automatic blocking system if the sewer backs up.
  11. Detects smoke and heat in case of fire and alerts the fire department.
  12. Detects if water pipes are at risk of freezing up. turns on the heating system, raise the interior temperature and notifies the consumer.
  13. Alarm system can be set to present or absent mode (present mode: all lights turn on if there is abnormal movement in the home; absent mode: no light will turn on).


All of these smart home functions are real possibilities. They will improve as time goes on, however are they really needed and will they meet the return on investment criteria.
Bottom line, probably not, unless you attach peace of mind to the equation. Also if you consider it high value as well. There just not enough real value to offset the cost of adding all of these features at this time. Once they come down in price and the home insurance quotes reflect a credit for home alarms and smart home automation they may be interesting.

For more energy savings ideas, click here.



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