It's the middle of the heating season - how well is your furnace "breathing" through the filter? Have you been changing the filter regularly? If not, January is a great month to start a regular maintenance cycle. Furnace filters should be changed every 3 months for optimal performance of the furnace. A clean filter allows better air flow and a furnace that doesn't have to work as hard to meet the heating demands of your house.
Check out these other posts from Jovag Home Inspection for further information on furnace systems and maintenance.
Plan ahead for 2018 - get a great deal on furnace filters from Global Filters. If you follow my advice of changing your furnace filters every three months, January is a great time to start. I really like the quality of the filters from Global Filter Source and the prices on their site are much cheaper than buying filters from Home Depot or Lowes.
Take a look at the website - the best deal is on the MERV 11 filters. All you need is your filter size and you can get enough filters to cover all your needs for the year. You can use the coupon below for an additional 10% off your order.
One of the most common sources of drafts and cold air in a home is a leaking attic entry hatch. They are often out of sight and out of mind but can lead to a lot of chilly nights and increased heating costs.
As with any drafty situation, the first thing to look for is a source of air leakage. When air can move from one area to another it takes heat with it. This is a good thing for hot air blowing out of a heating duct register but not ideal when that same heated air is moving in to the attic or outdoors.
From the thermal images and with visual inspection of this attic hatch it appears that the weatherstripping is inadequate. There is pretty good insulation over the center of the hatch but there is obvious air movement around the perimeter. Warm air from the house is leaking in to the attic which increases heating costs and decreases comfort in the home.
Harbor Freight ads are very tempting. Cheap prices for tools that don't look too bad on the glossy paper of the circular. Get up close and reality is often a bit different than the marketing.
When I first started collecting tools for projects, Harbor Freight was a cheap and easy option. For the price of one decent screwdriver I could get a whole blister pack of various size screwdrivers. Unfortunately, this is definitely a case of you get what you pay for. There is a reason that a set of 12 screwdrivers or pliers can be bought that cheaply. Poor fit and finish, poorly ground tool ends and cheap plastic are the hallmark. None of these tools ever performed like they were supposed to and ended up causing more frustration than results.
While Harbor Freight can be a great source for a special purpose tool that you only need for one step of a project and don't need to last, it is not a good source for tools that you are going to use every day.
I still use Harbor Freight to find some tools that I need to use only once or twice. These picture are from a trip I took to get a 22 mm socket (only $3.99) that I need for a specific fill plug on my truck's transfer case. I am not expecting much out of the socket, just need to use it a few times in the life of my vehicle so I'm OK with the tradeoff of quality for price. For other tools that I will use regularly I have learned my lesson from previous purchases. It's much cheaper in the long run to buy quality once rather than cheaper tools multiple times.
Looking for a gift idea for that someone who takes care of your home improvement needs? One of the best tool sets that I have ever used for general home improvement tasks is the Bosch 12 Volt Drill and Impact Driver set. These are small and compact tools that are powered by a rechargeable lithium battery. Though they are only 12 Volt batteries these tools are more than adequate for most home improvement projects.
The combo set includes both a 3/8 inch drill (Bosch PS 31) and an impact driver (Bosch 41), two batteries and a charger. Highly recommended.
Amazon Link: Bosch PS 31 and PS 41 Combo Kit.
It's starting to rain in the Pacific Northwest and time to perform some simple maintenance on your gutters and downspouts. Downspouts are often connected to gutters with an elbow fitting. Because of the bends in the elbow, these are prone to clogs from pine needles, leaves and other debris. It is important to make sure your gutters and downspouts can actually drain the roof before the rainy season starts. Follow the steps below to make sure your downspouts are ready for the next few months of work.
•Gloves (sharp edges on the downspout sheet metal)
•Screwdriver - typically slotted or a nut driver - usually 1/4 inch or 5/16 inch
•Clog Removal Device - I'm using a stick I found on the ground
•Colorful Language (optional, but satisfying)
This is something I see in houses every once in a while. The deadbolt is keyed inside the house and lacks the normal handle to lock and unlock. Most people who have these installed believe that it is a security feature. This door has a window next to the deadbolt and the thinking is that if the window is broken by an intruder they wouldn't be able to open the deadbolt if it requires a key.
While this is possibly true, if an intruder or burglar really wants to get in there are other ways they could do it (other windows, sliding door, kicking the door in). In reality, most people with a double keyed deadbolt leave a key in the lock anyway.
The real issue with a double keyed deadbolt is the danger it poses to occupants of the house. Code requires that any means of egress (exit) during an emergency to be able to be operated without any special tools, procedures or knowledge. If there is a fire inside the house that is the day that someone would have taken the key out of the lock. You need to make things easy on yourself during an emergency - adrenaline and panic do not necessarily lead to rational thought and problem solving. If the means of exiting your house requires a key from the inside you are putting all the occupants at risk of injury or even death.
This deadbolt needs to be replaced with a standard lockset with a handle on the inside. This is a fairly simple fix that can be done by most homeowners.
Brian Jovag, owner of Jovag Home Inspection.