Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Holiday Safety Check

As the holiday season starts, some safety conditions need to be thought about.  This is the season when the extension cords come out of the closet or boxes to help make the season bright. With this in mind, here are some safety tips for properly using those extension cords.

  • Check that extension cords are correctly rated for the amount of electricity they are to carry.
  • Check all electric cords for visible damage. Cracked or frayed cords can be a fire and shock hazard
  • Make sure all electric cords are not nailed or stapled in place.
  • To avoid excessive wear and damage, do not run cords under rugs or have furniture resting on them.
  • Outlets and wall switches that are unusually warm to the touch may indicate an unsafe wiring connection and should be checked out by a licensed electrician.
With some common sense and safety measures, you can enjoy a safe holiday season.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Essential tips for preparing your home for fall.

As the cool weather of fall rolls in, homeowners should have a laundry list of items to attend to in securing their homes for winter months. To help keep your home running smoothly throughout the winter, here are some winter maintenance tips composed from Realty Times. areas to address are cleaning the gutter, cutting back tree branches close to the house, storing the outdoor furniture, checking for leaks around the windows, and having the heating unit serviced for the winter season. Addressing these areas, as well as more maintenance tips, you can help assure that your home will make it through the winter season.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Aluminum wiring in the home

Aluminum branch circuit wiring

As coincidence would have it, this past week we inspected two houses that both had some Aluminum wiring used for branch circuit wiring. The danger with aluminum wiring is this.  Homes built, or rooms added between 1965-1973 may contain aluminum wiring due to a shortage of cooper during this time period. According to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), aluminum wire is more than 50 times more likely to have one or more connections reach electrical "Fire Hazard Conditions" than a home wired with copper. Aluminum is softer than copper and reacts (expands and contracts) to fluctuations in temperatures. Because aluminum is more reactive than copper, there is a higher probability the electrical connections made in your home will become loose. When connections are loose, they create an electrical safety and fire hazard. Aluminum wiring is allowed in some residential application, however, the concern is with the branch circuit wiring going from the electrical panel to each room of the house. 
If you think your home may have aluminum wiring  you may be asking yourself if it is safe. If you are unsure if you have aluminum wiring or want to have it checked for safety purposes, I recommend calling a licensed electrician to examine your homes wiring.  Just because you do have aluminum wiring in your home, doesn't mean that it isn't functional. As long as the connections are secure and checked periodically, your home should be fine. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

First time homebuyers mistakes

The current real estate market may give two distinct views.  Its either a great time to be buying real estate, because there are tremendous deals and bargins to be found out there in the marketplace.  On the other hand, some may feel that because of the economic uncertainty, its a terrible time to jump into buying a home, especially if it may be your first home.  If you are a first time buyer and have the ability to put down the down payment and qualify for a mortgage, this is surely a once every few decade chance to buy real estate. However, many first time buyers often make some mistakes during there first purchase.
Here are the top 10 tips from MSN Money that first time homebuyers make:

1. Not knowing what you can afford - Don't borrow more than you can afford
2. Skipping mortgage qualifications - Get pre qualified for a mortgage.
3. What about those additional expenses - Property taxes, Utilities.
4. Don't be to picky- To much of a wish list can be limiting.
5. Open your eyes and have vision - It may not look pretty now... vision goes a long way.
6. Don't be fooled by what you initally see - Control your emotions
7. Compromise - Be flexible for what you want
8. Don't pass on the home inspection - we can't agree more on this.
9. Have your own agent.
10. Not thinking about the future - What you want now may not be good for you later.

Dig deeper into these top mistakes by reading the MSN Money here.