In the 20 years I devoted as a professional home inspector, the three best troubles my home-buying consumers expressed concern about can best be summing-up up this route: water, liquid and ocean! Waterproofing your home is the surest way to avoid a soaked vault and make sure purchasers stay interested.
While reveals through ceilings, pipings and cellars are constant concerns, a soaked, revealing basement always ranked highest as the dwelling better trouble most likely to send purchasers leading for the very near open house.
Whether you are a buyer, marketer or owner of a home, rain basements are always a concern. Not exclusively is a wet basement unusable, inundated feet can be seriously crippled and poison mold-the newest menace to residential indoor air quality-can fester faster when an bountiful render of spray lies time underfoot.
The good report about these unplanned indoor ponds is this: while wet cellars are often thought of as one of life's biggest home reparation headaches, they are generally easy and inexpensive to fix. Yes, that's right-easy and inexpensive!The wrong way to waterproof a soak cellar
Ask 10 parties how to fix a sodden vault and you're likely to get answers that include use of jackhammers to break up basement storeys, backhoes to dig out dirt from organization walls, sump gushes that have to be wired and plumbed, and other such drastic and expensive measures.
While these solutions may seem to make sense, they all aim the inconceivable: to seal a foundation so tightly that it will somehow hold off water like a boat. Well, unless your residence is a houseboat, it won't float, so you might as well stop thinking about all the ways to keep it from doing that.
Most people accused a dry vault on a high water table, the natural rank of liquid in the clay under the building site. This is another myth, because residences are not improved below water tables. Developer struggling such a accomplishment would find themselves framing a organization in a muddled mess. Likewise, basements that torrent after a hurricane are never caused by rising water tables. A water table affects gradually and seasonally. If vault divulges is an indication after a heavy rainfall or snowmelt, the sources of your problem is far easier to recognize and to fix.
Most basement reveals can be traced to trouble with the drainage circumstances around the outside of the house. If too much water is allowed to collect in the soil around the foundation, it are certainly leak into the basement through the walls, or even up through the centres of the floor.
The waterproofing solution lies in improving these sewage maladies, which is easy, inexpensive and highly effective. Here's where to begin...Do Good Gutters and Keep Them Clean
Roof drainage is, by far, the number one cause of cellar leakage. Since roof skin-deeps are as large as the house, they obtain lots of water in heavy rainstorms. What happens to that accumulated irrigate can necessitate the distinctions between a wet and a dry basement.
Properly designed channels should have at least one downspout for every 600 to 800 square paws of ceiling face. Troughs must be clean, because dirty gutters fill up and the irrigate overflows immediately to where you don't want it: near the foundation. It's also important got to make sure the ends of the downspouts are extended to discharge at least four to six paws from the foundation. Spurts which discharge too close to the foundation are like large-scale shoot hoses shelling spray into the basement.
Gutters draining too close to house. Downspouts should provide 4 to 6 paws from the foundation wall, and be clear and free-flowing.
If your ground and local structure ordinances tolerate, one of the best ways to control roof drainage is to discharge downspouts into solid PVC plumbing pipes that moved subterranean and liberate irrigate to the street or to another low-lying area. When making this improvement, be assured to slope the piping somewhat toward the discharge point to avoid backups. Likewise, don't struggle this with the soft, resilient color tube that landscapers like to use around flower beds, because it's easily crushed and cannot be snaked clean-living like PVC plumbing tube can.Sloping Soil Sheds Water
Next to gutter questions, the direction of the clay around the foundation perimeter can also cause wet basement woes. The grunge should slope away from the house to keep rainfall from mustering against foot walls.
The angle and type of soil are also important. The soil should ascent downward six inches over the first four feet from the foundation wall. Thereafter, it was possible to evaluated more gradually but should never allow water to run back toward the house.
If grading needs improvement, use clean complete soil( not topsoil) designed to strengthen the soil around your house. Tamp the grunge down to the correct slope and finish with a bed of topsoil and grass seed to prevent erosion. Or, precisely use stone or mulch. Whatever the top seam is, be certain the gradient is established with the fill soil, or else the irrigate will exactly run through the more porous substance and into the basement. Likewise, don't use straight topsoil for the evaluating improvement. This kind of soil is too organic and will hold water against the foundation, which is the opposite of what is required done.
It is also important to avoid landscape therapies that hold soil close to the house. A brick, stone or beam scenery fringing around flower beds adjacent to groundwork walls may look attractive, but these margins can thwart spray from draining away from the foundation and increase the health risks of basement flooding.
Following these simple recommendations will solve 99 percentage of soggy basement blue-bloodeds. These waterproofing improvements are inexpensive and can usually be done yourself or with a bit help from your friends.Avoid Panic-Peddling Waterproofing Contractors
If you've ever thought about hiring a so-called waterproofing contractor to fix your wet vault, don't. Basement waterproofing contractors can often be rip-off creators that attempt to scare homeowners into an expensive drainage structure when they're typically not needed.
Basement waterproofing contractors often use high pressure sales tricks to sell very expensive drainage and mold removal services that are completely unnecessary.
Several years ago, one of my home inspection purchasers attempted to fix his leaky basement by term in waterproofing contractors. Besides telling him his footing would crumble without a waterproofing plan, they offered quotes ranging from $7,500 to $20,000. These were outrageous outlays, even if the system did need to be installed, which it didn't.
Instead, following an inspection, we were able to instruct him on how to correct his outside drainage and readily fix the soak cellar question for under $500 -and he bypassed coming the rob of a lifetime from a waterproofing contractor!
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Remember the days when everyone had a traditional home landline and you only needed to remember one phone number to contact anyone living under the same roof? With everyone sharing the same line, messages were often lost in the shuffle and family members were forced to wait their turn to make calls, making communication difficult. Times have certainly changed.
Today, most people have shifted from home phones to individual cell phones, each with their own number. Communication might be easier, but if you’re on a family plan, deciphering the household cell phone bill can be complicated and confusing. With so many plan options, potential overage charges, and promotions, how do you make sense of your bill? As you review your monthly charges, keep these tips in mind so you understand exactly what you’re paying for.
Understand your current plan
Do you know the requirements of your current plan? Keeping track of your calling, texting, and data limits, and how much is allocated to each person on your plan, helps you identify any extra charges you might be hit with.
Some plans include unlimited calls, texts, and data, while others allow you a certain amount each month that can be shared with everyone on your plan. Other plans bill based on each line’s usage — if one member uses more than what is allotted, you will incur extra charges. Some plans allow you to roll over any unused minutes or data to the next month. With all these options, understanding what’s included in your plan is the first step to breaking down your cell phone bill.
Know your provider’s key terms
Your cell phone bill might have different key terms depending on who your cell phone provider is. Most providers use these same basic terms:Minutes are the number of minutes spent talking on a cell phone. Messages are the number of text messages exchanged (includes incoming and outgoing). Usage charges typically cover overage charges or costs for domestic or international roaming outside of your plan. Data covers any on-network data consumed, including visits to websites, app usage, streaming movies, and music. On-network means cellular data served by your provider — any data used over WiFi is not included in this number.
Keeping an eye on each line’s data usage is important. Most households share data, so if one member is overusing their share, your bill will reflect that. If other household members use less than their allotment, you’re fine, but keep an eye on your data because it can get used up quickly, especially if your teen begins streaming a lot of videos.
Some cell phone companies provide a section called “What’s Changed” so you can easily identify additional changes or charges for the new billing period. For example, if you added a new line or changed your plan, it will show up here. If a new charge pops up, compare your current bill to a previous bill to help assess what changed and to identify any possible trends in your family’s usage. Some terms that might appear under “What’s Changed” include:Roaming charges — charges for calls, texts, and data used outside of your service area or network. Activation fee — a one-time fee that is included on your bill if you added a new line to your account. Directory Assistance — calling 411 or (area code) 555-1212 for directory assistance will cost you extra. Operator-Assisted calls — any calls to the operator asking for assistance are an additional charge. Features charges — extra features, such as call forwarding, call waiting, caller ID, and three-way calling, are not usually included in a plan and are an extra cost. Know what the extra fees and taxes are for
In addition to usage and extra feature charges on your cell phone bill, several other fees and taxes are often reflected on your bill that are not included in your base rate. They often show up on as a “monthly fee” or “minimum monthly usage fee” and can include:911 — this fee helps fund access to emergency services in your local area. Universal Service Fund — required by the federal government to provide services for rural and low-income communities. All wireless providers must pay this fee, which is often passed down to customers. State Telecommunications Excise Surcharge (also known as Gross Receipts Tax Surcharge) — helps cell phone providers recover state and local taxes owed to the government. Regulatory Charge — another fee some providers charge to reduce costs that occur from complying with various government regulations.
Taking the time to scrutinize your cell phone bill can be eye opening. Data overages, roaming charges, and extra fees can all add up, leaving you with a bill that might not necessarily be meeting all your needs. If it’s time to switch, call or visit your provider’s website to find a plan that’s right for your family.
Lori Cunningham is a family tech advocate and contributing writer for Xfinity Mobile. Known for her ravenous curiosity, she started WellConnectedMom.com to share her passion with others who love or may be intimidated by technology.
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If you’ve considered adding a solar energy system to your home, you’re in good company. Fueled by unprecedented tax credits, rebates, discounts and energy credits, this smart improvement makes perfect sense and has never been more popular. But while adding a solar system to tap the free and unlimited energy of the sun, the system of panels, wiring and other parts, along with installation by specialized contractors, can be very costly.
Now, however, a new trend has emerged that enables handy consumers to purchase and install system themselves, reducing costs by 40% to 80% over the investment required to hire a solar contractor. “If you have the DIY skills to take on projects like building a deck or installing a water heater, you can install a solar system yourself.” Says Zach Stevens, a consultant with Wholesale Solar.com. “Installing your own system is actually easier than projects like that.”
How-to get started
Home improvement TV shows are famous so showing amazing transformations in as little as a 30-minute program. But in actual fact, those projects take much longer to design and build. Planning, purchasing and installing a solar system for your home is no different. It IS a big project – especially if you don’t have much construction experience. But the tools, tips and resources to take on the job have never been more accessible. Wholesale Solar, for example, offers a library of videos, tools and tutorials to guide you through the whole process.
Plus, while we call this DIY, it’s entirely possible for you to do just part of the project, like installing the solar panels, and then turn to an electrician for the final connections. Either way, you’ll save a lot of money over contracting out the entire project.
To get started, there are really 3 steps:Evaluate your energy use. In order to design a system that meets your homes electrical needs, you’ll need to know how much energy you’re currently using. The quickest way to do this is by viewing your electric bills. They’ll show your current and annual usage in kWh, or kilowatt hours, along with the rate you are paying in kWh. Size your system. Once you know how much power you use now, turn to this handy grid-tied calculator for a solid estimation of the size system you’ll need, along with its cost, payback period and estimated savings – over the life of the warranty. And that last point is very important. I’ve seen some solar companies estimate amazing payback numbers, until you find out that they did so by assuming the panels would last twice as long as they should. This calculator provides a fair and realistic determination of real costs and savings, which is typically 40% to 80% less than you’d pay by hiring a solar contractor. Design your system. The third step is to review the available components and get a better idea of what system will best fit your needs. That’s when it pays to have the help of experienced design consultants. There are a number of factors that impact what you’ll need and an experienced designer can spot any unforeseen problems and iron out any kinks in your design. Your consultant can also walk you through the process of researching any required permits, so you’ll be ready to start DIY’ing the moment your system is delivered.
From there, you’ll need to pick your parts and put together an order, something your design consultant can also help you with. Once ordered, the entire system will arrive on a professionally packed pallet and be ready for you to put together.
Zach Stevens, a consultant with Wholesale Solar, explains more about how the company helps DIY’rs design, plan and purchase solar systems.
Installing a solar energy system for your home is a worthwhile project that provides long-term financial and intrinsic benefits to you, your home and the environment. Doing this project yourself is entirely possible, and makes the elimination of all or part of your electricity bill each month – all that much sweeter.
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