Preparing your home for summer
As the hotter months approach West Texas, soon we will all be looking for ways to stay cooler!
With that in mind, I wanted to share a few pointers to help homeowners ready their homes for hot temperatures!
#1. - Is your A/C system ready?
Many times, our A/C system will "decide" to bite the dust during the hottest stretch of summer - this is not something that anyone can predict, so it's in your best interest to make sure your system is ready long before it gets too hot to handle!
How old is your system? If you received a home inspection before purchasing the home, you can find that info on your inspection report IF Double C inspected your home. Generally, A/C units average about 15 years of life, so if your system is near that date or older, you might want to plan ahead for replacement now!
Also, make sure you've been changing your return air filters monthly. This simple task is vital to the longevity of your system!
If your system is older, or you're not sure whether the system has been maintained correctly, it might be prudent to contact a licensed HVAC company to service the system. Sometimes this can result in improved performance, and extended life!
2. Windows and doors leaking? Sometimes this is easy to tell - I've inspected many homes that had doors and windows that did not close properly. If this is your home, correcting this issue can help with energy savings!
3. Insulation in your home - this one can be more challenging to correct, but a lack of adequate insulation in the attic and walls can negatively impact energy consumption in your home. The Texas Real Estate commission standard states that 6" or less of attic insulation is inadequate and is considered a defect.
In conclusion - we all need to prepare for another hot West Texas summer!
Tankless water heaters, also known as demand-type water heaters, provide hot water only as it is needed. They don't produce the standby energy losses associated with storage water heaters, which can potentially save money.
Tankless water heaters heat water "on demand" without the use of a storage tank. When a hot water faucet is turned on, cold water flows through a heat exchanger in the unit, and either a natural gas burner or an electric element heats the water. As a result, tankless water heaters deliver a "constant" supply of hot water. You don't need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water. However, a tankless water heater's output limits the flow rate. (This is important, as you should not expect endless amounts of hot water.)
Typically, tankless water heaters provide hot water at a rate of 2–5 gallons (7.6–15.2 liters) per minute. Gas-fired tankless water heaters produce higher flow rates than electric ones, and don't require the high amp requirements of an electric unit. Sometimes, however, even the largest, gas-fired model cannot supply enough hot water for simultaneous, multiple uses in large households. For example, taking a shower and running the dishwasher at the same time can stretch a tankless water heater to its limit. To overcome this problem, you can install two or more tankless water heaters. You can also install separate tankless water heaters for appliances -- such as a clothes washer or dishwater -- that use a lot of hot water in your home. However, additional water heaters will cost more and may not be worth the additional cost.
Per the US Dept of Energy: For homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, demand water heaters can be 24%–34% more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters. They can be 8%–14% more energy efficient for homes that use a lot of hot water -- around 86 gallons per day. In some cases you may be able to achieve even greater energy savings if you install a demand water heater at each hot water outlet.
Now, the initial cost of a tankless water heater is greater than that of a conventional storage water heater, but tankless water heaters will typically last longer per research, and have lower operating and energy costs, which could offset their higher purchase price. Most tankless water heaters have a life expectancy of more than 20 years, though they have not been around long enough to prove out this research in my opinion. They also have easily replaceable parts that may extend their life by many more years. In contrast, storage water heaters last 10–15 years nationally, and around 6-10 years in West Texas.
Tankless water heaters avoid the standby heat losses associated with traditional tank water heaters. However, although gas-fired tankless water heaters tend to have higher flow rates than electric ones, they can waste energy if they have a pilot light. This can sometimes offset the elimination of standby energy losses when compared to a storage water heater. In a gas-fired storage water heater, the pilot light heats the water in the tank so the energy isn't wasted.
The cost of operating a pilot light in a tankless water heater varies from model to model. Review the manufacturer's literature to determine how much gas the pilot light uses for the model you're considering. Look for models that have an intermittent ignition device (IID) instead of a standing pilot light. This device resembles the spark ignition device on some natural gas furnaces and kitchen ranges and ovens.
Proper installation and maintenance of your demand water heater can optimize its energy efficiency.
Proper installation depends on many factors. These factors include fuel type, climate, local building code requirements, and safety issues, especially concerning the combustion of gas-fired water heaters. Therefore, it's best to have a licensed, qualified plumbing and heating contractor install your demand water heater.
Well, there you go! Everything you ever wanted to know about tankless water heaters!
What is a septic system? It's essentially an on-site sewer system. Whereas a residence in a city would be connected to a municipal sewer system, many rural properties are connected to an on site sewer system.
The differences between these two types of sewer systems are numerous. In Lubbock, Midland, Odessa, Snyder and Colorado City, or for that matter most areas of the South Plains and Permian Basin, you'll generally only come across one specific type of septic system; anaerobic systems. We won't get into the finer points of how a septic system functions today, but we will show you the basics of how we perform a septic system inspection!
Okay, let's pretend you've been consulted to perform a septic inspection.
Your first question you need to answer is: Where is the septic tank?
The photo above demonstrates the basic challenge of any septic system inspection: where is the septic tank?
Many times, there are few (if any!) visual clues as to the location of the septic tank. This is most often due to the septic system being installed in an unconventional manner, &/or not being properly maintained over the years! National and Texas standards recommend that a septic system should be pumped every 2-5 years. You would not believe how many homeowners have gone DECADES without ever pumping their system! This is a disaster waiting to happen!
The photo above illustrates how some visual clues are better than none! We still don't exactly know where the tank is located, but we can see a sewer clean out near the home. At least in theory, the tank should be nearby, though this doesn't mean that a plumber, septic contractor, or Joe Homeowner didn't decide to do something weird and place the septic tank in an illogical location away from the cleanout.
The photo above shows what we might assume is the location of the drain field or "leech lines". This provides the final step in the sewage treatment process. There is no way for anyone to inspect the drain field without fully excavating all lines, generally 100' of digging. We don't provide this service for numerous reasons; for one, can you imagine how this homeowner would feel about the damage this digging would cause to their lovely yard?
Due to our wealth of experience, we were able to locate this septic tank after excavating about a foot below the surface. This is crucial - no access to the lid, the septic tank can't be inspected OR maintained! As mentioned before, no maintenance of the system is a disaster is waiting to happen! It is not uncommon for us to encounter a septic tank lid that can't be removed, again, most often due to lack of maintenance!
Success! We were able to locate the tank, the tank lid, and access to the interior of the tank was possible!
As you can see, this is a very time consuming process that involves a lot of hard, physical work most of the time. We love it when we can drive up to a home and the tank lid is clearly visible (which is recommended by licensing authorities), but most of the time, the tank is located under hard as concrete caliche, rock, driveways, sidewalks, or flat out missing - again, all due to improper installations, lack of maintenance, or both!
Like to learn more or request your an inspection?
We also offer pool inspections!
Make us your first call, and we can complete all of the necessary inspections on your next property!
We have inspected hundreds of swimming pools over the last 9 years in Lubbock, Midland, Odessa, Snyder and Colorado City, or for that matter most areas of the South Plains and Permian Basin, & our company offers this service as an ancillary service with our standard home inspections!
So, you might be wondering, how does a TREC pool inspection work?
We look at dozens of components related to the swimming pool during the inspection: our main focus is safety.
Safety should be the #1 priority of any pool owner:
2021 - there were 6,800 pool related injuries to children under 15 in the U.S.!
2017 - 2019 - an average of 389 pool related Deaths to children under 15 in the U.S.!
#1 - is electrical safety - in a nutshell, everything connected to a pool should be GFCI protected. Simple defects like loose conduit can be dangerous, but are also generally an easy fix!
#2 - is the condition of the pool itself: cracks in the pool surface can quickly expand, creating further damage and even make the pool beyond repair!
#3 - Condition of installed components: each pool is different, but generally will include some of the same basic features. Improperly installed items can have a limited useful life, or could even damage other components of the pool!
#4 - Equipment malfunctions: this could include the pump, heater, filter, etc. It's not unusual for us to observe one or several of these items that does not function properly or at all. Leaks are also a common defect we fine!
#5 - Other components of the pool and pool area: this might include a diving board, ladder, slide, etc. Items not correctly installed or damaged could result injury!
#6 - And possibly MOST important (just ask your insurance agent!) - is the security of the pool area! As crazy as it sounds - if you own or are responsible for the pool, it's possible that you're liable; even if someone trespasses and gets injured or worse on your property. (Good ol' American legal system hard at work!) This is why door locks, alarms, and gate locks/latches that are child resistant are so important! Many times we observe that these are easily overlooked by homeowners!
If you'd like to request your next home, termite, pool, septic, or sewer camera inspection, click here: Request your next inspection HERE
If you'd like to learn more about other areas of the home, click here: More great info HERE
We appreciate you reading and your feedback!
Average Home Inspection Cost In The U.S. (Courtesy of repairpricer.com) Every year, we survey hundreds of home inspection firms in every state across the US to track the average cost of a home inspection. Not that price alone is always the best deciding factor to use when choosing a home inspector (read more on this below) but it’s useful to know what to expect when ordering a home inspection.
If however you’ve come here looking for a home inspection cost calculator to turn your inspection report into a repair estimate then head on over to our homepage for instructions on a fast, easy way to do that.
Still reading this? Then that means you’ve probably been asking yourself “How much does a home inspection cost?” and read a lot of articles and posts out there that claim to show you the average home inspection cost in the US today.
Which is great. Except you’re probably not buying the average house in the average area of the average age and average square footage. So we’ve gone even further and broken down our pricing survey by not only average cost in each state, but also by size of home, and also prevalence and cost of additional services like termite, radon and sewer inspection services.
So here it is – the average cost of a home inspection as actually quoted by REAL US Home Inspectors.
Based on our survey, for the average 3 bed, 2 bath US Home of 2400 sf, (with no additional services) you should expect to pay around $450 for a home inspection. You will also see a second graph that shows the high, low and average cost for typical add on services you will find offered on inspections in your area.
And here’s an actual breakdown of data from our survey (rounded to two decimal places.)
In Lubbock, Midland, Odessa, Snyder and Colorado City, or for that matter most areas of the South Plains and Permian Basin, we have seen just about everything you could imagine in a property inspection process. We love to help our client's make informed decisions, and that's why we'd love to share this info!
So you are looking for the "perfect" home, and you've found one that is within your price range and in a nice neighborhood.
Now it's time to tour the home to see what's inside!
So, what you should be wary of prior to making an offer?
From a home inspector's point of view, there is not much that would discourage me from purchasing a home; at this point, I've inspected around 4000 homes, so it's very rare for me to see something that surprises me.
That said, you are not in the same situation, which might be why you're reading this!
Here are a few things that I see from time to time that might make me want to know more about the home if I were a buyer:
1.New cosmetic details on an older home.
Let's be real, homes from the 60's didn't have an "open floor plan". If I see a home like this, I wonder how it was done, who did the work, and did they receive the required permits? Unfortunately, the answers to those questions are usually: Wrong, Someone that didn't know what they were doing, & NO.
The new cosmetic details can be much simpler, like new interior doors, crown molding, baseboards, flooring, paint, texture. All of these things can certainly make the home look nice, but these items are also cheap and don't require a licensed pro to perform their installation. This means that it was almost certainly cheaper for this work to be done and it also makes a big impression on a potential home buyer. We are visual creatures, so it looks nice and therefore our brain says it must be nice! Almost every home I've inspected that meets the above criteria had numerous significant defects that weren't readily visible without a home inspection! Yet another reason a Double C Home Inspection is crucial.
2. New texture/paint on walls. In any home where you see this, just know that there was a reason this repair was completed. Maybe the damage was innocent, like a chair falling over and hitting a wall, putting a hole in the wall. But sometimes, we see homes where the repair was not so innocent! Texture is a great camouflage for termite damage. The texture will dry and harden once applied and being able to visually establish that termite damage is present becomes nearly impossible! This is why Double C Pest www.doublecpest.com/ provides Termite inspections AND Termite treatments!
3. Septic systems. Septic systems are a perfectly acceptable means of treating waste water. Millions of septic systems exist nationwide. However, we find that the majority in West Texas have not been properly maintained. You would be surprised to know how many home owners don't even know where their septic tank is! How can you maintain something you own if you don't know a thing about it? This is why Double C Home Inspections provides septic system & also sewer camera inspections as an optional service!
4. Older home with big trees in the yard. Let's be real, a tree that manages to survive decades in West Texas is a force to be reckoned with! Sometimes, said tree survives in a yard by finding the sewer drain line under the home and working it's roots into the line. This is why Double C Home Inspections provides sewer camera inspections as an optional service! You would not believe how many homes have some sort of plumbing problem that is completely unknowable without the use of this service!
5. Finally, look around at the home's interior and see if you see small dark stains around light switches, electrical outlets, lights, etc. This could mean that the home has or has had a serious ROACH infestation! Along those lines, if you see live bugs during your tour, this may be a sign that the home has a pest problem! Think about it, how often do you see live roaches? This is because they are generally a nocturnal pest, so live ones in the day time mean they are either fearless or desperate; either of these are bad signs. This is why Double C Pest www.doublecpest.com/ provides a complete pest management plan to fit your needs!
The most important part of a home purchase is the home inspection! Don't let anyone convince you otherwise!
The Internet is the future of commerce, right? You can use it to buy sneakers, groceries, cars, and now…homes? That’s right. Consumers can simply log onto the nearest computer and snatch up properties without even physically walking through the home in person, thanks to online flippers called iBuyers. IBuyers such as Offerpad, Opendoor, and RedfinNow, make data-driven cash purchases of properties, make minor updates and repairs to the homes, and resell them on the open market. Buyers then purchase the property solely based on the online listing and maybe a 3D virtual tour. With the news of Zillow retreating from the iBuyer market, we could only wonder, is online home buying here to stay? And if so, where? To find out, we decided to analyze which cities are the best and worst for virtual home buyers. based on the number of homes in the area that offer a 3D tour and the average home price.MethodologyWe based our analysis on the 49 most populous cities in the U.S. to ensure high sample sizes of home listings. We focused on the number of nearby homes offering an online 3D tour and relevant factors like home value and average list price in each city. Specifically, we gathered the following factors for each of the 49 cities in our analysis: 3D Listings Weight: 3.00 Zillow Home Value Index Weight: 2.00 For Sale Inventory Weight: 2.75 Median List Price Weight: 2.25 Note: The Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) is a smoothed, seasonally adjusted measure of the typical home value and market changes across a given region and housing type. It reflects the typical value for the region’s homes within the 35th to 65th percentile range. Importantly, ZHVI dollar amounts reflect the typical home value for the region—not the median home value. After collecting the individual city factors above, we assigned each one with an appropriate weight given their importance in determining a city’s value for buying homes online. We then assigned each city a score of 0-5 for each ranking factor based on the raw value and its weight. Individual factor scores were then added together to give each city a final score from 0-50. Higher scores indicate cities are better for buying homes from Zillow online. Nashville and Salt Lake City were not included in the final results due to insufficient data available. The remaining 47 cities were ranked according to their individual factor scores and weights. Read on to see what we found.The 20 Best U.S. Cities for Online Home Buyers, According to ZillowFirst, we looked at the 20 best cities for Zillow home buyers. Offering a whopping 20,244 available properties at a median list price of just over $322,000, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is the number one city for home buyers. The typical home value is even lower—$225,000—making it even more affordable for those looking to settle into the City of Brotherly Love. Additionally, while not the most on our list, there are 315 listings with 3D showings online for those who want to attend open houses from the comfort of their couch. Just shy of Philadelphia’s city score of 47.62 out of 50, Houston, Texas took second place with a city score of 47.02. The Southern mecca has more than 8,000 more listings than Philadelphia and almost 400 additional online 3D showings, but the higher median list price took the city down a notch for prospective buyers. Going down the list, Chicago, Illinois came in third with a score of 46.92 and Phoenix Arizona was fourth with a score of 44.97. Washington, D.C. rounded out the top five cities for Zillow home buyers with a score of 42.29.The 10 Worst U.S. Cities for Online Home Buyers, According to ZillowSo, what about the worst cities for Zillow home buyers? With a whopping median list price of 1,249,333, we’re not surprised to see San Jose, California score 8.11 out of 50 and take the title as the worst U.S. city for Zillow home buyers. In addition to eye-popping prices, the city only has 104 listings out of 3,029 with 3D showings available. Other large metropolitan areas where homes are notoriously expensive suffered in our ranking as well. We saw San Diego, California, Buffalo, New York, and Memphis, Tennessee on the list in third, ninth, and tenth place, respectively. But where the top 10 worst cities for Zillow home buyers really failed is their lack of 3D tours online. In Hartford, Connecticut, sixth in the ranking, just 2 out of 3,616 listings had them. Likewise in Birmingham, Alabama, which placed eighth, only 3 out of 4,068 listings featured 3D tours.Scores by CityDo you live in one of the top 47 most populous cities in the U.S. and want to know where it ranks in terms of buying a home on Zillow? Check out our full dataset above to find out. We included all the cities in our analysis as well as the raw data for each ranking factor so you can further analyze why your home city did well or not so well in the ranking.Closing ThoughtsWhile Zillow reportedly pulled out of buying homes online due to paying prices they could not recoup when selling them, it’s still very easy for consumers to log on and purchase a home without even setting foot on the front lawn. Some states are better than others for doing this, as we have seen above, but we at Repair Pricer don’t recommend it at all. When you visit a property in person, you gain invaluable information about its condition that you’d never discover through a webcam. Additionally, you should always have a professional home inspection performed to uncover hidden repairs and potential dangers of your new home.
This great article is available with additional info from one of our 3rd party vendors at www.repairpricer.com/zillow-homebuyers/?utm_medium=email&_hsmi=197900027&_hsenc=p2ANqtz--nw104FzE_xt4RQm2bCpdbIUQ2zyg3hNIytVI5P4YhesI-O4_OjobvJD1H7My4cCYRwaoPWZCl6HEJ9VQOx9wazig3BCJ_yM4sBnDKvUniJWs6Wn0&utm_content=197900027&utm_source=hs_email
Why should you have a Double C Home Inspection completed on a new construction home?
Newly built homes are great. They have the new home smell and look amazing. So, why get a
home inspection, right?
Skipping out on a home inspection is like not looking at your car because it just got to the lot.
How many recalls are heard about with new vehicles? Buying a home and getting it inspected is
in the same category… except a home can be a lot more costly to fix.
Who wants to move into a home that must be fixed because things weren’t done right? Who
has the time to complete things that should have been installed correctly?
Home inspections can provide you with peace of mind!
From touring the home for the first time, to when the builder says they are done, we know that this is the best feeling
in the world. You may be thinking, “the wait is over” it is finally time!! Everyone may be arguing over who
gets what room and where they are going to put their things. But, did anyone notice that when
the doors are closed, they don’t fully close? Or did anyone notice that when someone uses the sinks, there's a leak in the cabinet below?
Many of the small things that are missed due to excitement and relief when it's finally time to move in, might first be caught by Double C Home Inspections. We take pride in inspecting for these issues, and we provide you with a report that will bring them to your attention before you move in.
One thing that is usually forgotten and super easy to fix is missing splash blocks at the bottom of rain gutter downspouts.
This item is inexpensive and easy to install, but if not present can potentially cause big problems with a structure's foundation.
In the end don’t let the small things a Double C Home Inspection could have found, cost you big bucks!
We take great pride in providing each service we perform! If you'd like to learn more, check back again here often!