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Tag Archives: home upgrade

Maximizing Energy Efficiency with Attic Improvements

If you’re looking for an effective way to improve your home’s energy efficiency, the best place to look is up. While steps like upgrading interior lighting or installing a “smart” thermostat can lower energy usage, an even more beneficial measure is to make improvements to your attic space. By augmenting attic insulation, air sealing and other related aspects, you can make a substantial impact on comfort and energy savings in your home.

One of the most effective ways to boost your home’s energy efficiency is to improve attic sealing and insulation. Photo: McHale’s Environmental Insulation, Inc. (2014)

One of the most effective ways to boost your home’s energy efficiency is to improve attic sealing and insulation. Photo: McHale’s Environmental Insulation, Inc. (2014)

1. Maximize attic insulation. One of the most basic yet effective ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency is to bring your attic insulation up to current standards. Over the years, building code changes have called for higher grades of insulation, which means if yours hasn’t been upgraded for a few decades, it’s probably under-performing. Continue reading “Maximizing Energy Efficiency with Attic Improvements” »

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Diamond Certified Experts: Maintenance to Increase Home Safety

An often-overlooked aspect of home safety is proactive maintenance of systems, appliances and other integral components. Photo: Carmen Miranda – Alain Pinel Realtors (2014)

An often-overlooked aspect of home safety is proactive maintenance of systems, appliances and other integral components. Photo: Carmen Miranda – Alain Pinel Realtors (2014)

Above all else, your home should be a safe place, which is why it’s important to stay up-to-date with changing safety code standards. However, while devices like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) provide protection from potential hazards, other aspects of home safety often go ignored or unnoticed. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Maintenance to Increase Home Safety” »

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Recognizing the Signs of Foundation Issues

A concrete foundation is the proverbial rock upon which a house is built, so when it begins to settle due to erosion or another issue, it’s no small matter. Since the signs of foundation settlement issues can be surprisingly subtle, it’s a good idea to be proactive about identifying them in your home. Here are a few things to look for:

Foundation settlement can cause major structural problems in a home, but the warning signs are often subtle. Photo: Gaelic Construction (2014)

Foundation settlement can cause major structural problems in a home, but the warning signs are often subtle. Photo: Gaelic Construction (2014)

Wall cracks
While cracks in walls aren’t always a concern, in some instances they can be a direct result of foundation settlement, such as diagonal cracks at the corners of doors and windows. If you see these types of cracks, there’s a simple way to determine if they’re related to foundation movements: fill them in with latex paint. Continue reading “Recognizing the Signs of Foundation Issues” »

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Making the Most of a Roof Replacement

Replacing a roof is an expensive endeavor, so it makes sense to implement related energy efficiency improvements at the same time. By investing in things like roof ventilation, attic insulation and natural overhead lighting, you can increase the comfort of your home while keeping money in your pocket.

Replacing a roof is an ideal time to make related improvements to home energy efficiency. Photo: R E Roofing and Construction, Inc. (2014)

Replacing a roof is an ideal time to make related improvements to home energy efficiency. Photo: R E Roofing and Construction, Inc. (2014)

Roof ventilation
There are minimum code requirements for ventilating a roof, but it never hurts to exceed this standard. Maximizing your roof’s ventilation will not only make your home cooler in the summer, it will also help protect against moisture build-up in the winter. Continue reading “Making the Most of a Roof Replacement” »

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Re-pipe to Improve Water Quality and Pressure

If the tap water in your home has a foul smell, discoloration or a metallic taste, it could be the result of corrosion in your water pipes. This is particularly likely if your home has galvanized pipes, which were installed in many homes built before the 1960s. Galvanized pipes are comprised of steel that’s coated with a layer of zinc to extend the life of the pipes and resist corrosion. However, this layer of zinc erodes over time, which allows “scale” to build up on the inside of the piping. Besides adversely affecting water quality, another common symptom of corroded piping is a reduction in water pressure, which occurs as the accumulation of scale gradually clogs the pipes. Continue reading “Re-pipe to Improve Water Quality and Pressure” »

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San Francisco Prepares for Mandatory Seismic Retrofit Program

As of June 18, 2013, if you own a residential building of a certain size in San Francisco, you’ll be required to seismically retrofit it. The law specifically applies to wood frame buildings with “soft stories,” which means buildings with three or more stories, or two stories above a basement or underfloor area that has any portion extending above grade. The buildings must contain five or more units to comply with the new rules.

Ivan Diviney, owner of Diviney Construction Inc., a Diamond Certified company, explains why soft story buildings are so dangerous: “During an earthquake, large openings on the ground floor (like garage doors or commercial spaces with large window and door openings) are especially vulnerable. These openings have no shear structure to stop a ‘soft story’ from failing, which means residents who live above them are at high risk. Even if the upper floor is structurally sound, the base of the building isn’t, so gravity will take its course.” Continue reading “San Francisco Prepares for Mandatory Seismic Retrofit Program” »

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