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Winter Tips and Happy Holidays December 19, 2011

Posted by homeinspectionsatlantachris in Maintenance.
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Winter is quickly approaching!  With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is easy to forget the simple home maintenance tasks that are important to complete during this time of year.  Even if you live in one of the warmest areas of the country, the temperature drops during the winter season will have both a physical and economical impact on your home.

Below is a list of winter tips that will not only help protect your home from the cooler temperatures, but also assist in reducing your winter bills.
Clean Gutters and Downspouts.  Take time to remove debris from your gutters before the temperatures reach the lows.  At the same time, make sure all downspouts are free of debris and are releasing water away from the house.
Check Furnace.  Evaluate the efficiency of your furnace.  If you have an older furnace, have a heating expert inspect the furnace to ensure it is performing correctly and resourcefully.  If it is not, you will want to have the required maintenance done before the need arises.
Examine Fireplace and Chimney.  Fireplaces and chimneys should be cleaned and inspected yearly.   In addition, test the flue on your fireplace to ensure there is a tight seal when it is closed.
Clear House Vents.  Many people accidentally block air vents with furniture or other household items.  By doing so, airflow is obstructed and the home’s air efficiency greatly drops.
Program Thermostat.  Programmable thermostats are recommended, as they are able to adjust to energy saving temperatures when you are out of the home or asleep.
Inspect Windows.  Carefully inspect all windows (and window panes) for cracks, and ensure that each window opens and closes properly.  Consider replacing older windows with new, double-pane windows that are more energy efficient.
Seal Cracks and Gaps.  Inspect areas around doors and windows for any openings that may produce drafts.  Since warm air can be lost from such gaps, install weather stripping or apply caulk wherever necessary.
Insulate Attic.  Properly insulating your attic is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to begin noticing energy savings.  Other areas that can benefit from insulation are basements and crawlspaces.
Switch Ceiling Fan Directions.  Ceiling fans can also be utilized in the winter months for air comfort.  Since warm air rises, the warmest air in a room will always be located near the ceiling.  By reversing the direction of the fan’s spin, the warm air at the top of the ceiling will be pushed down.
Utilize Natural Heat.  Open drapes and blinds during the day so natural sunlight is able to assist in the warming of your home.
I trust you’ve found this information helpful.  As your lifetime real estate advisor, I am committed to serving as a resource whenever the need arises.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

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Defining the “Value” of a Home Inspection December 19, 2011

Posted by homeinspectionsatlantachris in value.
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In the current economy, it has become fashionable to define “value” as simply the lowest price among home inspectors. But doing so discounts the value of providing a high level of inspection quality, as well as qualifications, experience and service, before, during, and after the inspection. This may not be in your family’s best interest.
It’s been said many times… a new home is likely to be the largest single financial investment anyone will ever make. Why, then, would you trust that investment — both financially and in your enjoyment of it — to the lowest price and a limited definition of a home’s value?
As a certified building inspector with the Georgia Association of Home Inspectors and The American Society of Home Inspectors, we operate with a different and broader definition of value. We believe value includes a positive experience for our client and a sense of confidence and pride about a quality inspection. Value should also consist of a high level of personal service and a commitment to maintaining a relationship built on trust.
Some inspectors play the low-price game. They narrowly define value as a stripped-down home inspection to achieve a cut-rate price. The goal: make the sale and move on. They typically don’t have the qualifications or experience to respond to issues during or after the inspection.
Here’s how we define and deliver a higher level of value:
Communication: As an experienced inspector, we listen and respond to our clients’ concerns. We help them understand the conditions of their new home and seek to educate them about the complexities as the inspection takes shape. We seek to be respectful when we meet and understand that this is an emotional and sometimes stressful time.
Follow-Through: When the inspection is finished and we turn over the report to our clients’, the relationship doesn’t end. We know that it is critical to our clients’ ultimate satisfaction that we continue effective communication. When issues crop up — and they sometimes do — we respond in a timely fashion. We work the problem; we don’t pass the buck. We belong to this community. This is where we’ve chosen to raise our family and we intend to be here for years to come.
We believe our definition of value instills confidence and helps ensure satisfaction. We respect that our clients’ entrust us to deliver what we promote. It’s a responsibility we take seriously and it’s the cornerstone of what we call value.

Chris T. Curles
Chris Curles and Associates, Inc.
Inspection Services

chriscurl@comcast.net

Inspections Atlanta, Inc.

A service blog for customers and friends December 5, 2011

Posted by homeinspectionsatlantachris in Radon.
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The first post in a continuing series of new information on regulations, repairs and general knowledge to help you keep your property in top condition and maximize its value.

Last week I attended a Radon Region 4 seminar. We received updates on the Surgeon General’s newest findings* and most up-to-date techniques in testing and treating. Our metro area has a relatively high potential for Radon gas, (see map http://www.homeinspectionsatlanta.com/radon-testing.html )and testing
for this health hazard is very important for homeowners, businesses and landlords.

My Radon testing equipment is absolutely current for EPA standards, and for a limited time I will offer $70 off my $195 normal price. There are do-it yourself kits out there that cost $70-$80. While they are not as accurate as a professional test, even that would be better than ignoring this serious health hazard.

*The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. today. The EPA has declared radon to be a “Class A Carcinogen,” which means that it has been shown to cause cancer in humans.