Why Indoor Air Quality is So Important

indoor air

Why Indoor Air Quality is So Important

Indoor air quality has recently become more significant to building occupants and homeowners.  Increased data and research have been made available concerning the negative effects of indoor air quality. It is therefore imperative that builders, landlords, and occupants know how to properly address any indoor air quality issues.

Indoor air quality is a significant concern because the EPA reports Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors; whether it is at the office, school or in their home. The amount of time a person is exposed to indoor air pollutants has therefore increased. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, of all the chemicals a person inhales more than 70% of them are in the home. Continue Reading

10 Tips for Saving Energy During Cold Temperatures

Saving Energy

10 Tips for Saving Energy During Cold Temperatures

If your energy bill seems to skyrocket during the cold winter months, you are not alone. Thanks to higher fuel costs and temperatures that have reached record lows, this is a common problem that many people are dealing with.

Unfortunately, Punxsutawney Phil seems to believe that winter is far from over, meaning that your energy bills won’t be decreasing on its own anytime soon. Fortunately, there are ways you can save energy (and money), even when temperatures are at their lowest. Here are ten tips to help you get started. Continue Reading

Residential Forced-Air Ducted Heating and Cooling

forced-air

Something Old

I’ve been doing a lot of studying about Indoor Environment Comfort (IEC) and HVAC systems. For those that don’t know, the acronym stands for Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning. I’m hoping my learning experience will help others. Bare with me as this will be a multi-part blog. There is so much information, and history, a single blog post would be TLDR.

First, some facts and a bit of history.

If you live in the United States, there’s a 70% chance your home is being heated by a forced-air, ducted furnace. Today’s heating systems are based on ideas and designs that date back hundreds, if not thousands of years. Forced-air ducted heating has been around since about 1935, It has long been the ‘go-to’ system for most residential HVAC contractors. Continue Reading

LED Light and Potential Impact on Energy Savings

LED Light and Potential Impact on Energy Savings

LED Lights

Most of us take for granted the ability to flip a switch and illuminate a room. What you may not realize is that electricity is a secondary form of energy. It’s produced in large part (67%) by steam turbines, driven by steam-producing boilers burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, petroleum) are non-renewable fuels that result in upwards of 78% of our world’s air pollutants.

In the past few decades, humanity has searched for better, safer and renewable energy sources to supplant our dependence on fossil fuels. And, while there have been significant improvements and discoveries with respect to renewable energy sources, we are still sorely dependent on fossil fuels to make sure the light turns on when we flip that switch. Being both a consumer of electricity and a human with choices, I believe it is my responsibility to reduce my ecological footprint.   Continue Reading

The Underlying Dynamic of the Home Inspection: Liability Hand-off from Client to Inspector and Back Again.

Home Inspection Hand off

Many buyers and even some realtors don’t understand the true nature of a properly performed home inspection. When a home buyer has an offer accepted on a property and engages the services of a home inspector (hopefully after doing extensive research and comparing inspector backgrounds, inspection reports, online reviews, etc.) they are placing a significant burden upon that home inspector. That burden or expectation is that the inspector will find all significant defects in the subject property and report upon them in a clear and useful manner. What the home buyer may not understand, however, is that upon completion of the inspection report the inspector is handing that burden back to the homebuyer. In other words, by ferreting out the conditions and defects in the property and providing the buyer with a clearly worded report, the inspector gives the liability back to the homeowner to read the report, call back with any questions, and follow up on recommendations contained within the report.
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Zen and the Art of Home Inspecting: Pursuing Non-Attachment

Now, I’m not a card-carrying Buddhist but I’ve read a bit about that wisdom tradition and I admire its practitioners. I am though a card-carrying home inspector and have been one for about 20 years. Over those two decades, I’ve noticed that some of the principles of the Dharma (Buddha’s teachings) can be applied to the process of inspecting homes. One of those principles, non-attachment, means that one should not attach oneself to outcomes, to fame, to fortune, to pleasure, etc. lest this lead to Dukkha (usually translated as suffering or dissatisfaction).
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