Blog :: 10-2018

Your Mind In The Gutter?

Probably not, but roof gutters need your attention at least twice a year.

They need cleaning and care in the spring and fall to work properly.

If you don’t have a gutter system, your home needs a ground drainage system that will handle rain and snowmelt dripping (and sometimes cascading) from your roof eaves.  Either system prevents a buildup of water at your foundation; this is particularly important for older homes that might not have the advanced waterproofing coatings that have been available for the last several years.

Gutters and downspouts are meant to carry water away from the house, so the base of each downspout should extend away at ground level for a least six feet. “Splash blocks” only help minimally.  Another solution is in-ground pipes that take water from downspouts away below grade and discharge a safe distance away. These systems also diminish “splash back” from water hitting the ground, which will add life to your siding and trim.

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    What Am I Drinking?

    Well, municipal, or spring water? It may be a good idea to occasionally test the drinking water coming out of your faucet.  It’s one of the home chores you’d like to get ahead of before you end up asking yourself  “I was drinking what?!”

    The Torrington Area Health Department office provides water tests. A basic $135 kit tests for general chemistry, hardness and alkalinity, toxic and heavy metals, nitrate and nitrite, plus Coliform and E. coli. An advanced test ($110+) will include VOCs (volatile organic compounds) such as diesel fuel, home oil fuel, dry cleaning and degreasing chemicals. There is a two-week turnaround.

    There are also companies offering testing online. Tap Score is one endorsed by The Water Systems Council, a governmental group focused on safe well water.  Join their “Wellcare” group for updates, blogs, and discounts on well testing. Tap Score has a 5-day turn around. Their advanced testing kit is $219, or with the “Wellcare” discount, under $200.

    Do-it-yourself kits are also available, as are tests for individual components. It’s such an important test, I’d tend to stick with the professional options.

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      Being Festive!

      Halloween is a perfect time to practice your arts and crafts skills. Whether it is making costumes for the kids or creating a graveyard in your front yard, everyone appreciates your efforts, especially if you let the kids join in.

      Don’t let the pressure of making something perfect stop you because, unless you’re a pro, nothing will be. The heads will be misshapen on your ghosts, the jack-o-lantern may not illuminate the way you saw in Southern Living magazine, and the monster claws you YouTubed and tried to recreate may end up with two right hands. That’s all part of the process and the fun!

      Decorating for the holidays can spread as much revelry as a smile spreads joy. So head out to the nursery and get some mums and cabbage for an autumnal front porch display or to Goodwill for ghost-making materials and let the season inspire you.

      And be sure to take a stroll through the festive towns of Salisbury and Lakeville to view all the scarecrows the businesses have created for some inspiration!

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        Do Solar Panels Add Value To Your House?

        It’s complicated.  Appraisers will not attribute any value to them whether you are buying or selling. Real estate agents never recommend installing panels to make your house more salable.

        Solar panels are a big investment —average installation costs can range from $15,000 to $26,000 which can be reduced by an assortment of rebates and tax credits, depending on your state.  An installer can estimate the number of years to reach break even, but the answer can range from 8 to 15 years to recoup your investment.

        Solar panels will usually save you money immediately on your electricity costs. Some people have seen their electric bill cut in half and feel great that they are helping the planet. While the economics of solar panels are murky, it would be a good idea to turn your thermostat down in the winter and turn out the lights to save energy before you put your house on the market whether or not you have solar panels. Buyers do look at electricity costs.

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