AFCI Breakers In Electric Panel Boxes

May 6th, 2008

What is an Arc Fault?

Most people are familiar with the term arcing. Arcing may be intended, such as with an arc welder or unintended, such as when a tree falls on a power line during a storm creating a current discharge between conductors or to ground.

An arc fault is an unintended arc created by current flowing through an unplanned path. Arcing creates high intensity heating at the point of the arc resulting in burning particles that may easily ignite surrounding material, such as wood framing or insulation. The temperatures of these arcs can exceed 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Why do we really need Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)?

Smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and escape ladders are all examples of emergency equipment used in homes to take action when a fire occurs. An AFCI is a product that is designed to detect a wide range of arcing electrical faults to help reduce the electrical system from being an ignition source of a fire. Conventional overcurrent protective devices do not detect low level hazardous arcing currents that have the potential to initiate electrical fires. It is well known that electrical fires do exist and take many lives and damage or destroy significant amounts of property. Electrical fires can be a silent killer occurring in areas of the home that are hidden from view and early detection. The objective is to protect the circuit in a manner that will reduce its chances of being a source of an electrical fire.

Where are they required to be installed by the National Electrical Code?

The 2005 National Electrical Code states that AFCIs must be placed on bedroom power and lighting circuits. The 2008 NEC may expand this requirement to other areas in the home. As with all property protection and life saving devices, the ultimate use, beyond the Code, rests with the homeowner. Whether new construction or retrofit, NEMA supports that you utilize the maximum electrical protection level available to reduce the chance of an electrical fire.

So yes, Buckeye Home Inspections does recommend that your home be equipped with AFCI breakers in your electric panel. Here is a link for more details. http://www.handymanwire.com/articles/AFCI.html

Energy Inspections

February 24th, 2008

Cut high energy bills with a home energy audit.

Step1: INSPECTION

To reduce utility bills, the first step is to find out where you are wasting energy.
To do this, you need a residential energy inspection—which should be done by a certified energy inspector who has no financial interest in the improvements recommended.
Buckeye Home Inspections will examine, measure, and evaluate the factors that affect energy use in your home, e.g., size of the home, efficiency of appliances, insulation, draftiness of rooms, and efficiency of heating and cooling systems (HVAC).

Step 2: DETAILED ANALYSIS

The information gathered during the energy audit is analyzed using specialized software to produce a comprehensive Home Energy Tune-uP® Report. The Report shows which energy-efficiency improvements would reduce energy costs and make the home more comfortable. The analysis takes into account regional variables such as local weather, implementation costs, and fuel prices.

The Report contains estimates of the savings, costs and payback for each energy-efficiency recommendation. It identifies the group of improvements that, if financed, will save more on energy bills than it costs. These are the improvements that everyone can make since they require no out-of-pocket cost when financed.

The detailed Recommendations section enables contractors to provide preliminary cost estimates without a visit to your home. It also explains how to get the best energy savings from these improvements by listing related no-cost low-cost measures that you can take.

Step 3: FINANCING

Energy improvements are unique because they reduce energy bills thereby increasing disposable income.

Financing energy efficiency improvements as part of your home mortgage is the best way to go. You have the advantage of (1) low monthly payments due to a 30-year term and a relatively low interest rate; and (2) interest that is deductible from your income tax.

The improvements listed in the Improvements that Save More than they Cost section of the Tune-uP Report will automatically qualify for financing since they increase the value of the house without reducing disposable income.

The FHA Streamlined (k) Limited Repair Program is intended to facilitate uncomplicated rehabilitation and/or improvements to a home for which plans, consultants, engineers and/or architects are not required.

The Streamlined (k) program includes the following energy-efficiency improvements:

Upgrade of heating/cooling systems and water heaters;
Weatherization, including insulation, seal-up and window replacement;
Purchase and installation of appliances, including refrigerators, freezers, and washers/dryers.
It has no minimum repair cost threshold.
It has a maximum mortgage amount for repair costs of $35,000.
It can be issued by any FHA lender.
It does not require a rating.
See HUD Mortgagee Letter 2005-50 for details of the program.
The unsecured Fannie Mae Energy Loan for $1,000 to $20,000 is available from a few lenders. The Energy Loan’s 10-year term and interest rates are generally better than those offered by contractors or suppliers, though not as good as the Streamlined (K).
Some electric or gas utilities offer financing for energy efficiency improvements, as well as rebates for energy efficient appliances and heating and cooling systems. Check your utilities’ website for more information about financing and rebates that may be available.

Call Shane at 843-458-1629 to learn more.

www.buckeyehi.com

Concerned About Your Existing Mortgage?

November 29th, 2007

Learn What You Can do to Protect Your Home
If you feel like you may be in danger of facing foreclosure and need immediate help, call 888-995-HOPE or visit www.995hope.org. Homeowner’s HOPE™, a counseling service provided by the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, can work with you to find a solution.
How to Avoid Foreclosures and Keep Your Home (PDF: 1.7Mb)
You’re not alone if you’re having trouble paying your mortgage. The housing boom led to a record homeownership rate of nearly 70 percent, but some home owners now face problems making their mortgage payments and can’t refinance their loans. This brochure will help you understand your options and give you tips on how to avoid losing your home–regardless of what kind of mortgage you have. Text-only version available (PDF: 71Kb)
How to avoid foreclosures (HUD)
Foreclosure Assistance Programs by State
Help for Homeowners Facing the Loss of Their Home (HUD)
Credit Counseling is Available
HUD Housing Counselors: A list of counseling agencies by state
NeighborWorks® America: Find a NeighborWorks® counseling organization in your community
Under a partnership with NeighborWorks® America, NAR is a founding sponsor of the NeighborWorks® Center for Homeownership Education and Counseling (NCHEC). NCHEC’s mission is to work with industry partners to train, certify, and support home buyer educators and housing counselors nationwide.
NAR’s Position on Subprime Lending

Smart Home Financing
What to know about lending and mortgages before you buy

Consumer literacy
Educational brochures
Avoiding predatory lending

Fast Facts About Trees and Leaves

November 29th, 2007

- What are leaves? They are miniature factories that use sunlight, water, carbon dioxide, and chlorophyll to make food for themselves and their plant.

- Why do leaves fall in the autumn? The shorter days mean less sunlight and the “factory” can’t sustain itself and falls from the branch.

- Why do leaves turn colors in autumn? The red, yellow, orange, and brown are always present; we just can’t see them because the intense green pigment of chlorophyll blocks them. In autumn, the fall colors become visible and bright when the green chlorophyll fades before the leaf falls off the tree.

- Depending on species and age a mature, healthy tree can have 200,000 leaves. In a sixty year life it can grow and shed over 3600 pounds of leaves returning about 70% of their nutrients to the soil.

26 Things to Do with Olive Oil Other Than Cooking.

November 29th, 2007

Olive oil can be used for literally scores of things besides cooking. Go to our Home Hints eNews article for some different ways to use olive oil that we hope you might find useful around the household and for personal care. Just grab a bottle of inexpensive, domestic olive oil for around-the-house use. You can cut down on excess oil by investing in a refillable spray can, such as the Misto® olive oil sprayer.

How to Deal With Ghosting Doors

November 29th, 2007

Question:: Do your hinged interior doors “ghost” from the open position towards the closed?

Answer: If your foundation is level, one thing you might try is to remove the hinge pins and bend or bow them SLIGHTLY in the middle. The additional friction might help keep the door from opening or closing on its own.

Is A Programmable Thermostat Worth The Investment?

November 29th, 2007

Question:

I have a standard thermostat for my heating and cooling unit. Should I upgrade to a programmable thermostat?

Answer:
Most Definitely!

With a programmable thermostat, you can heat your home at various temperatures throughout the day, allowing the house to be cooler when no one is home or when everyone is asleep. Then you can crank up the heat 30 minutes before it’s really needed, and never feel the difference.

Installing a programmable thermostat shouldn’t set you back more than $150.00 and you can quickly recoup your costs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can slash your heating and cooling bills by 10% annually just by turning your thermostat back 10% to 15% for eight hours a day.

How Can I Prevent Wood Rot On The Trim Of My House?

November 29th, 2007

Question:
How can I help prevent wood rot on my wood window sills and trim?

Answer:
There are three good ways to help prevent wood rot on your wood window sills and trim. The first thing is to keep the bushes and shrubs trimmed back away from the house at least eighteen inches. Second, the window sills and trim need to be kept caulked and painted (check on their condition annually). Finally, the third way to prevent wood rot is to remove the window screens on all of the windows that you don’t use for ventilation. The reason is that metal bottom section of the screen acts like a dam and water ponds on the window sills. As the paint on the window sills deteriorates water seeps through the sill and the wood begins to rot.

The interesting thing is that wood rot occurs more quickly on newer homes than on older homes. The wood on older homes is truly stronger.

Do The Rubber Hoses On My Washing Machine Need To Be Replaced?

November 29th, 2007

Question:
Our clothes washing machine is connected to the hot and cold water supply lines with the black rubber hoses. Should we replace the rubber hoses?

Answer:
Yes! One of the best things you can do to minimize the risk of a flood in your home is replace your existing rubber washing machine supply line hoses with the flexible braded metal hoses. The braded metal hoses cost approximately $15 each. That’s the cheapest insurance you will ever purchase!

Here is a well kept secret - The rubber hoses will only break when you’re on vacation.

Are Double Key Deadbolt Locks Unsafe?

November 29th, 2007

Question:
We have double key deadbolt locks on our doors. Should we replace the double key deadbolt locks with single key deadbolt locks?

Answer:
Double key deadbolt locks present a serious safety issue to household occupants in the event of a fire. First, in the event of a fire you won’t be able to find the key. And secondly, in a fire the clear air is no more than eighteen inches above the floor but the lock is typically installed about forty two inches above the floor so you won’t be able to insert the key to open the door.

I would replace all double key deadbolt locks. If your concerned about home security, I recommend that you get a home security system from our partner Brinks Home Security.