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Insulating Your Home Properly

When it comes time to prepare for the Winter season, it’s absolutely vital that you take the necessary steps to insulate your historic home properly and safely. Ensuring your home has sufficient, updated insulation is important because when the air outside begins to get colder and drier, you can have massive energy loss and non-efficient HVAC systems that can drastically increase your overall heating and cooling bills. Having a home contractor come to your house and checking over or replacing any needed insulation, in both your crawl space or attic space, can have huge benefits in the long run.

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Deciding to invest in a properly-certified home contractor for your insulation replacement is critical! If you decide on replacing your insulation as a do it yourself project, it’s important to take the time to review and research not only the instructions on how to properly replace insulation, but the safety and security procedures you should follow as well, especially if you decide to use a material such as fiberglass or another material that can be inhaled into your lungs through the small particles.

Fiberglass in particular is very hazardous because the material tends to break down into very small particles, which in turn are very sharp and corrosive. Wearing the proper equipment when working in your attic or crawl space is just as important as the replacement process itself.

Some of the necessary items to prepare for replacing your insulation include:

  • A fiberglass-rated mask: this is important because if you use just a typical “surgeon mask”, the micro-particles of the fiberglass can come through the thin paper filter, leading to you inhaling the particles, which is bad for your lungs.
  • Baby powder: a surprisingly common tool of the trade, some contractors rub baby powder over their skin before they deal with fiberglass insulation, because it helps to prevent the particles from entering your pores and skin, causing irritation and potentially hazardous conditions.
  • Insulation replacement tools: you should have some basic tools ready to go for the insulation replacement process, such as hammers, saws, nails, levels, wood slats, and of course, the proper insulation material that you prefer for the job.

Once you have all of the necessary items, and have taken the required steps and preparations for replacing your insulation, you can begin.

Some of our most important tips for replacing fiberglass insulation include:

  • Checking the R-value of the insulation: this is the number on insulation that represents how much insulation-strength the material has. In general, the higher the R-value, the better the insulation.
  • Verifying fire safety conditions: if you happen to have any specialized lighting such as recessed lighting, it’s important that you keep the insulation at least 4 inches away from the light fixture, to ensure there are no issues in the future. Insulation material is very flammable, and is prone to catching on fire quickly.
  • Check for venting before replacing insulation: it’s vital that you leave all vents open and free in your attic/crawl space when you replace insulation.

If you decide to go through with a DIY insulation replacement process, following the tips we laid out, as well as doing your proper research beforehand, can be the difference between a seamless, easy project, and a potential nightmare in the future.…

It’s Time To Prepare Your Historic Home For The Cooler Weather

The cold weather season will be here before we know it. This is why it makes sense to know how to prepare in advance. Don’t wait until the snow falls to start thinking about winterizing your home.

Hire an HVAC Professional

It is very important to have your air ducts cleaned before the cold weather season. There is likely a lot of pollen stuck in the air ducts. If this is the case, family members who have allergy problems are going to suffer for the entire winter. It is a worthwhile choice to hire an hvac service company to clean the air ducts.

Have the Furnace Inspected

Check with the hvac service company to find out whether or not they would be interested in inspecting the furnace as well. They can make sure the filter is clean and everything is working properly. By doing this, there will be no question as to whether or not the furnace is going to work properly throughout the entire winter.

Have the Fireplace Professionally Cleaned

If this home has a fireplace, it is always a good idea to hire a chimney sweep to come in and clean the fireplace. This way, they can get rid of the soot so that it is not going to cause problems when the fireplace is used.

Take Down the Swamp Cooler

If there is a window mount swamp cooler, it needs to be removed so that the window can be closed. If it cannot be removed, think about covering it and blocking the window somehow. This way, the cold weather will stay on the outside of the home. Don’t forget to drain the water from the air conditioner. Otherwise, it is going to freeze and there will be another issue to worry about.

Close All Windows TightWindows

The next thing you want to do is to go throughout the entire home and make sure all of the windows are closed tight. If the windows do not close properly, you may need to hire someone to help out. Depending on the situation, you may want to cover some of the windows with a blanket or some clear plastic. This way, the draft will stay outside the home which is going to help with the heating bill. In the future, consider investing in energy efficient windows. This is something to be done in the springtime for the summer.

Prepare Your Water Heater

Set up an appointment with a plumber to have the water heater inspected. This way, it is more likely that it will last through the cold weather season. You definitely don’t want to have to take a cold shower, especially during the winter time.

Consider Storm Windows

If you are going to be leaving for the winter, think about storm windows. This will protect your home in case of seriously bad weather. You don’t want to come home to have to deal with broken windows throughout the entire home. Make this investment and protect this home.

Winterize Your Outdoor Faucet

You don’t want your outdoor faucet to freeze when the weather gets cold. This could cause serious problems with the pipes. Instead, turn off the outside water if possible. Make sure all of the pipes are empty and then cover the faucet with outdoor insulation. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, hire a plumber to take over. Frozen water pipes can break which means you may be without water during the wintertime. This is never something to overlook.

Clean the Rain Gutters

Gutters

The next thing you want to worry about is cleaning out the rain gutters. There are likely a lot of leaves after the fall weather. Get rid of the leaves so that the water can flow properly.

With historic homes, it is typically smart to hire someone to help with preparing your home for the cold weather season. If it seems like too much to handle alone, someone is always available to help. With a bit of knowledge, you can find the right person to take care of these things. Save yourself a bit of money and do the work to do your research. It can be rewarding knowing that you were able to take on this responsibility. It feels good to know that your home is going to be protected from the cold weather season.

Don’t wait until the weather cools down to worry about this responsibility. You definitely don’t want to be outside trying to get things under control when the temperature drops. Instead, make the decision today to make a list of things to be done. Don’t get discouraged if it seems like too much work. Do the things that you know how to do and then ask for help with everything else. This is your home and it should be well cared for. Otherwise, there are going to be problems in the springtime.

 

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How Can You Tell If It’s Time to Replace Your Windows?

For most of us, there’s no landmark moment when we realize that it’s time to replace our windows. We go through a series of small realizations, more and more often, until the choice becomes clear. But sometimes the case to replace our windows is already stronger than we know. If you knew how to evaluate your windows, you might already concede that the time to replace your windows is now. Take a moment to consider if your current windows are performing the way they should, or if they’re already negatively impacting your life:

Can’t Maintain Temperature

When most people think about what controls the temperature in their homes, they think about their heating and air systems. But windows, too, play an important role in maintaining temperature. Windows with poor seals let summer heat and winter cold into your home. If you feel drafts or cold spots, your windows’ seals have already been compromised by cracks or warps or leaks in the seal; your heating and air system is having to work harder to maintain the temperature in your home. That hard work is a big reason why you’re paying too much on your energy bill, and it could be why you’re uncomfortable in both summer and winter.

Let in Too Much Noise

If you have to raise your voice to carry on a conversation, or adjust your TV volume to tune out your neighbors, then your windows aren’t offering enough sound protection. Older windows let in much more noise than modern windows. Single pane windows lack the insulating properties of newer windows with two or even three glass panes. Upgrading to newer, multi-pane windows may be the key to finally being able to sleep in, to deal with stress, and to enjoy some much-needed solitude.

Sun-Faded Furnishings

The sunlight we love to invite into our homes can also cause extensive damage to furniture, carpets and rugs, other fabrics, and artwork. If you’ve had to replace your sofa or carpet due to fading, then you might consider replacing your windows instead. Unlike older windows, modern windows employ coatings that can block out more than 90% of damaging UV rays; for example, the SmartSun line of replacement windows by Renewal by Andersen can block out 95% of damaging UV rays. That investment in windows will protect your bigger investment in home furnishings.

Can’t Open or Close Easily

If your windows are painted or nailed shut, your problems are clear: They won’t let in fresh air. And, more importantly, they won’t provide a route of escape in the event of a fire or emergency. That’s not safe. But windows that are difficult, but not impossible, to open are an issue, too. If you avoid opening or closing difficult windows, you’re compromising the flow of fresh air in your home. (If you don’t think that matters, it’s been much too long since you opened your windows.

Is It Time?

New windows offer more than pretty faces: They can keep you comfortable while saving you energy. They can shield you from unsettling noises from outside.  They can protect expensive furniture and carpet from fading. And they can make it easier to enjoy fresh air or even escape in an emergency. If you’re starting to feel deprived of any of these qualities, it’s probably time to replace those old windows.…

3 ways to Improve the Efficiency of Your Historic Home

While historic homes are often much more unique and beautiful than their modern counterparts, many times they lack the efficiency of modern homes. Modern construction techniques tend to create tighter joints and seals than the methods used to create older homes. When you pair that with modern materials, like high quality insulation and energy star rated windows, it’s obvious why modern homes can claim higher efficiency levels.

You might be wondering why you need to worry about the efficiency of your historic home. In short, it all comes down to energy bills. The better your home can maintain the temperature range that you have set, the less energy your home will have to expend to keep you and your family comfortable. The less energy your home has to use, the lower your energy bills will be each month. Over time you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year just by being energy conscious and working to raise your home’s efficiency rating.

Fortunately, there are several easy ways to drive up the efficiency of your home and save money month after month:

  1. Testing your HVAC System: Many older homes have been retrofitted with HVAC systems to help provide heating and cooling throughout the year. That being said, your HVAC system can only work effectively if your home is properly sealed in the right places. Get in touch with your local heating specialist to have an efficiency test done on your home. They can use sophisticated tools and methods to test exactly how well your system is working, and areas of your home that are leaking your heat or air conditioning. After completing an efficiency test they can work with you to find ways to seal up any drafty areas and create a more efficient system.
  2. Replacing your Windows: Many old houses have old and outdated windows. Depending on how old your home is you may even have single pane windows. Old windows are a huge source of heat and cooling loss. Modern windows are often double pane with specialized gas between the panes to help trap in heat and/or air conditioning, and many have special window film that reflects the sun’s rays to help maintain an even temperature throughout your home. Replacing the windows in your home is a bit of a monetary commitment, but over time they will help pay for themselves with the energy savings you’ll enjoy each month.
  3. Draft guards: This one may seem like a no brainer, but you would be surprised at how much better your home will maintain a comfortable temperature when you put a draft guard against the crack at the bottom of your exterior doors. With many old houses, the doors are similar to the windows in that they don’t always have the tightest or best seal when compared to modern materials. Drafty doors can create their own air currents that will effectively blow your conditioned air out of your home, causing your HVAC system to work overtime. Draft guards are a simple and relatively cheap solution when it comes to raising the efficiency of your historic home.

These are just a few of the ways you can help to raise the efficiency of your home. The best way to figure out where you are losing energy, is to get a test from your local HVAC distributor. They are generally thorough enough to detect problems throughout the house, and they can offer solutions and estimates for fixing the areas right on the spot.

Taking the time to assess your home’s efficiency can help you save money, and keep your family comfortable throughout the year.…

Carpet Cleaning Solution

Restoring A Historic Rug

Choosing to renovate or restore an older home can cause a lot of potential headaches, especially because more often than not, the furniture and various products within the home have aged and become extremely worn and fragile. In many cases, these items are completely replaced and often thrown out. If you’re under a tighter budget, or want to keep as much of the historic value of the property as possible, you may want to pursue the option of simply restoring your older rugs and carpeting to their previous shine, which maintains the history and antiquated look of the rug, and helps modernize and breath new life into your home!

If you decide to restore your old rug’s fabrics, rather than replace the rug, you can go with a couple of options: attempting to restore the antique rug yourself with a variety of home-solutions, or going through a carpet cleaning company that specializes in the delicate fibers of rugs and carpets, such as Chem-Dry of the Unifour.

1. Option One: Restoring the Carpet Yourself

This, while obviously being the more frugal option, can be a way longer process, with more potential for damaging your historic rug. If you are up to the job, it’s best to generally look up a few guides online beforehand, so you can ensure that you aren’t causing any sort of permanent damage or other problems with your rug during the restoration and cleaning process.

It’s extremely important that the cleaning solution you decide to use to restore your rugs is not harsh or toxic, which could cause permanent damage or irreversible problems with your carpeting and rug fibers. We recommend utilizing a very low-strength combination product of white vinegar, combined with a small amount of a dish-soap such as Dawn or Dial, and equal parts water. This combination is great for washing all types of older or more fragile furniture, because the cleaning products within it are very gentle.

Carpet Cleaning Solution

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Option Two: Hiring A Cleaning Company

If you happen to have the budget for it, this is by far the superior choice to pursuing a hand-wash of your historic rug or carpet. These companies have spent decades perfecting the art of the clean carpet, without leaving any residue, build-up, or potentially harmful toxic product in your fiber. There are many businesses that specialize in antique and historic fabric cleaning, but many of the local carpet cleaning companies can take care of these products as well. One of the biggest tips for hiring a carpet cleaning company is to make sure you read through their reviews to ensure that others who have gone through their process were satisfied with the end results.…

5 Tax Benefits you Get for Being the Owner of a Historic House

Historic house attracts many people for the character they hold. These houses can be expensive to buy, but you will get lots of tax benefits for owning one. Different tax incentives are present in local, state and federal levels to encourage people to buy such properties.

Tax freeze

Every year, your historic house will gain market value. As the appraised value of your house increases, your taxes will increase. You can work with your local historical preservation office or any historical society and try to freeze on property tax increases. Freezes last for 10 to 15 years depending on your plan to renovate it or keeping the historical character of the property unaltered.

10% rehabilitation credit

If your property was built before 1936 then you can get additional tax credits. If your house was renovated before 1936 then you can apply for a 10% back on the cost of renovations. So, for example, if you spent $100,000 to renovate a house for a business that was built in 1935 then you will get $10,000 in tax credits.

Easements

An easement is an agreement between a property owner and a historical preservation society representative. You get excellent benefits for maintaining the property’s historic character. You can get it in the form of a reduction in property tax or income tax. You can get this benefit forever. It is filed as a deed with the property title and is passed down to the future owners.

State tax credit

There are many states in the U.S who have adopted tax credits for historic building renovations then you can get tax incentives. You can find many historic buildings in traditional economic centers like downtowns. Renovating a house there can help in renovating the neighborhood, so the state actually supports that and gives you incentives. While federal tax incentives are limited to businesses, state tax incentives are not. So, you can get state tax incentive by renovating your own house.

Grants

There are some private philanthropic organizations who are dedicated to preserving historic properties. They can give you grants for renovations or preservation. Preservation is a philanthropic activity for many businesses. For example, the American Express Partners offer grants for renovation of historic buildings.

These incentives can equal a very large amount; so, it’s worth buying a historic house. You get the attention, the satisfaction and tax savings by buying historic houses. Before you buy a historic house you must check out with your local historical society to find out what kind of benefits you can get, so that you don’t miss out.…

4 Things that Go On People’s Mind When they Enter a Historic Home

There is something mystique about historic homes. It seems that mystery is hidden everywhere. This attracts many people towards old homes. Here are some of the things people think when they enter a historic home.

1. The ruins and rots

People look at the ruins and rots of the old house. It gives them a different feeling.They start picturing in their minds how the house might look if renovated.

2. They wonder what lies beneath

 

 

This type of house reminds them of horror movies. They try to imagine what might lie beneath. Is there a skeleton or a bag of gold coins? They keep on wondering. They look at the wood, the paint and try to imagine what it was like years back.

3. They know that there is a special history associated with the house

They will ask if there is a special story of the house. If there is, they will love the house more as they will have something to share with others and boast about it.

4. They will get excited seeing original hardwood.

 

Just like how a motorcycle collector will react when they see an Indian with an original engine, people who love historical things will love the original hardwood and materials of the old times.

Visiting a historic house is a very thrilling experience. People who love this kind of houses know how it feels and they enjoy living in these houses a lot.…

5 Things to Know Before Buying a Historic Home

One interesting feature of buying a home is that every generation leaves its mark on it by having decorations of their time or making unique changes. The amount of work and money needed to maintain a historic home can vary. It mainly depends on its current condition. If want to buy a historic home, here are six things you should remember.

Trade-offs of historic districts

If you are looking for a house in a designated historic district, then you might have some restrictions on designing the exterior of the house. You may not choose your own preferred paint color or window type. You should check this information with your local planning department. The design restrictions in those places apply to everyone. These places have a more steady property value.

Historic preservation easement

If you set up a historic preservation easement then it will protect the historic integrity of your house. You need to hire a professional to hold the easement. This is a legal tool that places restriction on what changes can be made to the property. Once this is made, the future owners must adhere to these rules.

It is costly to maintain the home’s integrity


Historic homes are structurally sound; that’s why they last for such a long time. However, it depends on when the home was built. For example, a house built in the 1600s is structurally stronger than one that is built in the 1980s. So, your house might need extensive repair depending on the condition of the house.

It is difficult to get financing and insurance

You can get finance in many ways. However, lenders may hesitate if extensive repairs are required. You can get private housing loans for doing small repair works. The insurance companies may not want to sell a home insurance policy to you. This is because the replacement costs are higher for certain historic homes.

You might have old problems

You might have old problems like the presence of lead paint. Modern homes don’t have lead in paint, but houses made before 1978 have it. Asbestos may also be present.

Historic homes are a great investment. But you may not be able to fit your modern styles in it. This shouldn’t be much of an issue as the main reason people buy historic homes is for their vintage look and feel. You should keep these points in mind while purchasing a historic home.…

3 Things to Avoid When Renovating Historic Homes

There are lots of charms in historic homes. However, they are old and you can have hidden troubles for that. With good planning, you can renovate a historic home without any hassle. Here are some of the things you should avoid when renovating historic homes.

Don’t make the decision before you inspect the home

This image is a work of a Federal Emergency Management Agency employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As works of the U.S. federal government, all FEMA images are in the public domain in the United States.

Before you decide, you should do a standard inspection of the house. You should hire a professional who specializes in historic homes to do a good home inspection. They should look out for lousy wiring, inefficient windows, bad foundations, plumbing areas, etc. You should get the estimates from a few contractors for the repair works. This will let you know the extra time and cost you need to bring the home to shape.

Don’t create a strict budget

With historic homes, you should be always prepared for unexpected things. So, you must keep room for extra costs involved. You should keep 10% extra money on your budget for the unexpected problems that may arise.

Don’t ruin the place’s character

Historic home is appealing for its uniqueness and history. You should preserve those characteristics when you renovate these homes. There are some design elements in these homes that are hard to replicate, like ornate fireplaces. You should try to design around those details.

Living in a historic home is something amazing. You should always focus on keeping it’s unique appeal and value while renovating it.…

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