Safe at home

As we enter the gift-giving season, now is a good time to consider your home security options. Unfortunately, there are too many people out there who will happily help themselves to whatever package is left on an unsuspecting homeowner’s doorstep. However, there are lots of options for new high-tech cameras that are currently on the market. Many can be installed as a DIY project. Surveillance cameras are an excellent deterrent for would-be thieves–especially if they know they are being recorded. Here are some good products:

The Kuna Smart Home Security System

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It replaces your existing porch light with one featuring a built-in video camera, a motion detector, a Wi-Fi adapter, and a two-way intercom. It connects to your home network and sends alerts to your smartphone when someone approaches your door. It will also record a downloadable video clip, and you can speak to the person in real time or play pre-recorded greetings. You can push a button to play three pre-recorded messages in a male voice: “Can I help you?” “I’m sorry, we’re not interested,” and “I’m sorry, we’re pretty busy right now.” If your unwanted visitor proves reluctant to leave, you can sound a 100dB klaxon that should do the trick. You can use the system as a stand-alone product, but it doesn’t permanently store the video feed. They do offer a subscription for monitoring for a monthly fee.

Nest Cam Outdoor
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This one has many of the same features as the Kuna (except the pre-recorded greetings) but this one just plugs into an outlet and you mount it on the house. It also offers a monthly subscription for monitoring if you want the video feed to be saved. Very easy to install yourself.

Ring
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The Ring Wifi enabled video camera is integrated into the doorbell. It is motion activated and you can access it through your smart phone. It can be hardwired or battery powered. You can also speak to whoever is at your door from anywhere in the world, providing you have cell data service. It can be paired to your computer, or for a monthly fee, the video feed will be uploaded to the cloud for storage.

Stay safe, and Happy Holidays from Green Tag Inspection Services.

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A smart idea!

Key rings have pretty much been the same since the invention of keys. This is a fantastic new idea for keeping your keys organized with the ingenuity of a Swiss pocket knife design.

Keysmart is a product that begun as a successful kick-starter project. Take a look at this video to see how it works:

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Like a house on fire…

fire
A while back, the Today Show ran a story about how modern homes and furnishings burn faster than those of 30 years ago. According to their report, that means less time to escape a burning home!
If you’d like to read up on this, click here to learn more.

Remember to keep your smoke detectors in good working order, and make sure there is one in every bedroom. Stay safe!

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Need a lift?

Attic Lift
Sometimes I come across a clever new innovation that catches my attention while on an inspection. Recently, I was inspecting a house that had a lift system installed that will raise items into the attic of the home without having to carry anything up a ladder. It’s made by a company called Versa-Lift.
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Feeling pressured?

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Real estate agents can provide valuable information about the home buying process, especially if you are a new or inexperienced home buyer. They can help guide you through the confusing maze of paperwork and legal mumbo-jumbo. They can make recommendations for a home inspector that they trust. I have had the good fortune of developing great working relationships with many of the area agents and they have referred me to lots of clients. But what if you get an agent that wants you to use “their” inspector? Like really, REALLY wants you to use their inspector. They may even act like you HAVE to use a particular inspector. That’s when the red flags begin to wave! Any real estate agent that pressures you into using “their” inspector doesn’t have your best interest in mind.

As a home inspector, I work for the buyer. Period. Not the agent, not the seller, the BUYER. I’m not out to kill deals. I’m not out to make anyone look bad. My job is accurately report the condition of a home so that the buyer can make an informed decision. Most of the time, the inspectors that are recommended by an agent are really good; that’s why they made the list. But take a moment to research: read reviews on Google and Angie’s List. Look them up on the BBB site. Just don’t be pressured to use “their” inspector.

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A PSA for homeowners who have significant others…

portrait-loving-couple-smiling-front-their-house-cute-standing-home-laughing-47990268One way to ensure domestic bliss is to share the responsibilities of the adult world. One person might be in charge of paying bills and buying groceries, the other is in charge of home repair and doing the laundry. The problem is that when you get comfortable in your role, eventually you have no idea how to do the other person’s job.

I received a heart-breaking call today from a woman whose husband had recently passed away. She had just discovered a major termite infestation in her laundry room. “He always took care of things like this! I have no idea what to do.” I referred her to a pest control person that I trust and wished her good luck…but it got me thinking. How many other people out there are in the same situation?

If you are the person in your household who is NOT in charge of home repair, there are a few basic things you should familiarize yourself with, such as:
-How to shut off the water to the house if there is a major leak
-How to shut off the electricity to the house
-How to reset a breaker
-How and when to change the air filter

When it comes to the bigger things that require a professional, the best thing you can do is create a file that has information on repair people that have worked on your house in the past. Do you have a trusted plumber, electrician, exterminator? When did they last work for you and what did they do? Having all this information in one place can save some frustration down the road.

Or better yet, swap jobs every so often.

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Tax deductions for energy efficiency

warm-home
There are a lot of things you can do to make your home more energy efficient–having plenty of insulation, weatherstripping, installing energy efficient appliances, etc. All of these things can make you more comfortable in your home and save money on electricity and gas bills. But did you realize that certain home improvements are tax deductible if they are designed to improve energy efficiency?
Here is a great article that gives an overview of what is tax deductible:
https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Home-Ownership/Which-Home-Improvements-Qualify-/INF12111.html
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Don’t cover your turbine vents!

Turbinecovers copy
We’re all looking for ways to save money, and making your home more energy efficient is one way of doing this… BUT…are you listening to me? Good…DO NOT COVER YOUR ROOF TURBINE VENTS! There is a misguided idea that turbine vents should be covered to prevent heat from escaping from your home. Attics require ventilation all year long, especially in the winter. The reason is that without proper ventilation, moisture can accumulate in the attic. Condensation can form because of the difference in temperature between the inside and outside of the roof. This can lead to wood rot and mold! Besides, if heat from your living area is escaping into the attic, that means you don’t have adequate insulation, which is a far bigger problem.
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A solution to an age-old question about old age.

Thanks to modern medicine, we are living longer that our previous generation. While this is a good thing, we are faced with the problem of the best way to care for Mom or Dad in their sunset years. What if they can no longer live on their own but are unwilling to give up their independence? What if you are unable to accommodate an aging parent in your home but are unwilling to put them into a nursing home? These are questions that more and more people are being faced with, and fortunately there are companies that are addressing these issues.
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