Monthly Archives: January 2020

Hand of a carpenter pointing at a wood plank destroyed by termites isolated on white

Termites and Your New Home

 

There are two words no homeowner wants to hear: termite damage. Discover why having termites can be so costly; make sure your new home is protected and that you’re doing everything you can to prevent an infestation in the future.

Termite Damage

For many people, purchasing a home is their largest investment. Termites can literally eat their way through that investment, causing thousands of dollars in damage per home. There are several different types of termites and they can attack your home from different entry points. They feed on wood, but they can also consume plant-based materials like fabric and wallpaper.

What makes termites especially unnerving is that they can go undetected for years. By the time they’re found, the damage may already be done.

According to the National Pest Management Association, termites cause more than $5 billion in documented damage each year. Some damage may go unreported however, because homeowner’s insurance doesn’t typically cover termite damage. Those without a warranty through an exterminating company will be paying out of pocket and not through a documented claims process.

Pre-construction Termite Treatment

To protect your new home, a preconstruction termite treatment is applied by an exterminating company. This pretreatment establishes a warranty with that exterminating company. After closing, the homeowner keeps up the warranty with the exterminating company and they work together to keep termites out of their new home.

A termite warranty is an agreement between an exterminating company and a homeowner. Typically, the homeowner pays for a yearly inspection and the exterminating company provides treatment and control if termites are discovered. The warranty may also provide protection if termites are found. This would include either repair of damages or a retreatment covered by the warranty. For a termite warranty to remain valid, the homeowner must keep up with yearly inspections.

In addition to a termite warranty, there are steps you can take to prevent an infestation in your home:

  • Reduce food sources
    • Store firewood away from the house
    • Keep landscaping mulch at least six inches away from your foundation OR replace mulch with a cellulose-free option
  • Remove access
    • Seal off all entry points including cracks, crevices, and gaps around pipes with caulk, foam, or weather stripping
    • Keep hedges and trees trimmed at least 18 inches away from the home
  • Reduce Excess Moisture
    • Reduce moisture in and around your home
    • Repair leaky faucets, pipes, and AC units
    • Ensure downspouts and gutters are working properly
  • Know the Signs
    • Inspect lumber before your DIY project
    • Routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of mud tubes
    • Keep your eye out for swarmers – these termites have wings and they look like flying ants

With a good termite warranty in place and a little preventative care, your investment in your new home will be protected and enjoyed for years to come.

3D rendering of a house cross section showing bathroom and sewage system

Getting to Know Your Septic System

 

When we build a Horizons East Home, we take care to ensure you have great details in your home and underground.  For homeowners with septic systems, that includes the use of a quality EZflow® Septic System.  Let’s take a look at what your septic system does and how you can ensure a long life.

How Septic Systems Work

Septic systems essentially work as a self-contained waste-water treatment plant in your own back yard.  They contain two main parts: a tank and a drain field.  The tanks is water-tight with an inlet from the sewer pipe and an outlet to the drain field.  The septic tank treats wastewater naturally by holding it in the tank long enough for solids and liquids to separate.

Wastewater in the tank forms three layers. Solids like greases and oils that are lighter than water float to the top forming a layer of scum. Solids heavier than water settle at the bottom of the tank forming a layer of sludge. This leaves a middle layer of partially clarified wastewater.  Scum and sludge layers stay in the tank to be broken down by bacteria.  The partially clarified wastewater is distributed throughout the drain field through environmentally friendly EZflow® engineered lines.

Benefits of EZflow® Septic Systems

EZflow system showing pipes surrounded by packing material wrapped in netting

Your EZflow® system is and engineered geosynthetic aggregate system designed to replace traditional stone and pipe drain fields.  Because it’s a self-contained perforated pipe surrounded by aggregate that’s held in place with durable, high-strength netting, the system is always clean and free of fines.  It’s made from recycled materials and is cost effective to install.  The system is engineered for optimal storage and absorption efficiency.  It can also be easily contoured around existing trees or other obstacles.   Download the spec sheet to learn more about product specifications.

4 Ways to Maintain your Septic System

The EPA recommends 4 ways to care for your septic system.  The main items for septic system health are:

  1. Inspect and Pump Frequently This depends on the size of your home and system, but most septic systems should be professionally inspected every three years.
  2. Use Water Efficiently Since everything that goes down the drain ends up in the septic system, conserving water helps reduce the load on the system. High-efficiency toilet, washing machines and showerheads all help control the volume of wastewater produced daily.
  3. Properly Dispose of Waste
    Don’t flush any solid waste except for human waste and toilet paper. Make sure grease, oil, wipes, feminine products, dental floss, coffee grounds, and other items are put in the trash not poured down the drain or flushed.
  4. Maintain Your Drain FieldDon’t park, drive or pour concrete over the drain field. Compression will reduce its efficiency.  Ensure other water sources like gutters or sump pumps do not empty into the drain field.

You can learn more about how the EPA recommends you care for your septic system here.  With a little care and maintenance, your EZflow® system will provide safe and efficient disposal of wastewater for your home and family.

12 Ways to Save Energy on Laundry Day

Saving energy on laundry day not only helps the planet, it can reduce your utility bill. Often for new home-buyers, the most energy efficient thing you can do is purchase a washer and dryer that is engineered to reduce energy consumption.

What to Look for in an Energy Saving Laundry Appliance

The best way to find an energy-efficient washer and dryer is to look for laundry appliances that have the Energy Star symbol. Energy Star is a program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to promote energy efficiency. Clothes washers and dryers boasting the Energy Star symbol cut energy consumption by 25% and water consumption by 33%. This reduction of energy use is beneficial because it has the potential to help the environment as well as save you time and money.

Energy Saving Tips

If you’re not in the market for new laundry appliances, don’t worry. There are still plenty of things you can do to reduce your energy use while getting your laundry done. No matter which type of laundry appliance you have, here are some laundry best practices to help you save energy on laundry day:

  1. Dry bulkier cottons like towels and blankets in a separate load
    This helps items dry faster, using less energy.
  2. Use the cool-down cycle
    This allows your clothes to finish drying with the heat remaining in the dryer.
  3. If you have a front-loading washing machine, always use HE (High Efficiency) detergent
    Front-loading machines require HE detergent because other detergents create more suds. More suds will affect your machine’s performance and could eventually cause damage
  4. Wash and dry full loads
    Run full loads when you can because whether you’re running a light load or a full one, you’re using the same amount of energy.
  5. Wash in cold water
    Save the energy it takes to heat the water for your cycle by washing in cold water as often as possible.
  6. Use a drying rack or hang clothes outside to dry
    Skip the dryer altogether and air dry as often as you can. This will also help your clothing last longer.
  7. Choose high spin or extended spin
    High or extended spin features reduce the amount of remaining moisture in your clothes after washing. The less moisture there is in your clothes after washing, the less time and energy they will need in the dryer.
  8. Leave washing machine door open
    Saving energy includes properly cleaning and maintaining your appliances so they perform at their best. Leaving your washing machine door open prevents mold and mildew from building up in the drum.
  9. Clean your washing machine
    Saving energy includes properly cleaning and maintaining your appliances so they perform at their best. Follow your owner’s manual to keep your machines working for years to come.
  10. Use the low heat setting
    Use less energy with longer drying cycles on a lower heat setting.
  11. Clean the lint screen after Every. Single. Load. (This is a safety issue as well)
    Clogged lint screens can lead to fires. Cleaning the filter after each load improves air circulation and increases the efficiency of your dryer.
  12. If you use dryer sheets scrub the lint filter regularly to prevent buildup
    Dryer sheets can cause a film to form on your dryer filter which will reduce air-flow. Scrub with a toothbrush to remove this film.

That seems like a long list, but making these little tips consistent habits in your laundry routine will save you money for years to come.