New Year’s Resolution #2 for Your Home: Improve the Air Quality

As 2017 gets underway, you’re becoming well acquainted with New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you concocted a personal resolution (or two). Or, you decided to focus on getting your Murphy, NC house shipshape this year. If that’s the case, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. First, let’s assume you’re taking steps to minimize your home’s hazards. That’s certainly a worthwhile way to spend your time and resources.

However, you might not realize that your home’s indoor air can also leave much to be desired. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency has designated indoor air quality as a primary environmental health hazard. Think about it: your home’s air contains dust, pollen, mold spores, and maybe even viruses. You’re especially at risk during the winter, when your doors and windows are tightly closed to keep out the cold. But here’s some good news: by adopting four easy-to-follow home maintenance strategies, you can greatly reduce dangerous lung irritants and improve your home’s air quality.

Keep Your HVAC System Maintained
Your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) System just seems to run itself. When you flip a switch or adjust the thermostat, the heat pump jumps into action and provides you with heated or cooled air on demand. In other words, you expect a lot from this essential home system.

Just like your car or truck, maintaining your HVAC system will help to protect this expensive piece of equipment – and might help to improve your home’s indoor air quality. So, change your system’s furnace and/or air conditioning filters regularly. In fact, during the peak heating and cooling months, change your filter every month. Stock up on filters so you can keep the preventive maintenance on track.

Use Adequate Ventilation Systems
When you cook up a batch of bacon, or fry some chicken for dinner, you don’t want to smell those leftover cooking fumes for hours. An above-the-stove range hood fan should vacuum up those smells and remove them from your kitchen. Next, quickly (and safely) dispose of the used bacon grease or cooking oil (but don’t wash it down the sink). Finally, wash or soak your frying pan and/or cooking pots so the smell of cooked food doesn’t linger in the house.

In the bathroom, install a powerful exhaust fan to remove unpleasant odors and unwelcome humidity. Ensure that the fan (and all ventilation systems) transport air to the outdoors – and not into your attic crawl space or gaps between ceiling joists. Note: If you aren’t comfortable installing the fan yourself, hire an experienced professional to complete the project.

Burn Real Firewood (not Synthetic Wood)
When you crank up your fireplace or wood stove, you look forward to soaking up the rustic ambience while you watch a show or enjoy a hot drink. Warming your toes would certainly be an added bonus.

Although you might be tempted to burn some super-convenient, low-debris pressed wood logs, make the decision to burn real firewood instead. By putting several nicely seasoned hardwood logs on the fire, you’ll avoid exposure to formaldehyde, a hazardous substance often found in synthetic wood products.

Stick to Low-VOC Interior Paints
If your remodeling plans include painting your home’s interior, plan to put low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints on your materials list. VOCs are harmful chemical substances emitted by varied gases and solids, including paints and lacquers. As you might expect, you should minimize your exposure to these nasty compounds, which have been linked to respiratory illnesses and memory problems.

To find low-VOC paints, browse the paint aisle in your local hardware and/or home improvement store. Chances are, you’ll see low-VOC products from several manufacturers. To make a better-informed buying decision, research your favorite brand’s paints before visiting the store.

Now that you have a plan to improve your Murphy, NC home’s indoor air quality, you’ve taken a step toward improving your family’s health. As an added bonus, you’ve also made your home a more pleasant place to live.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

New Year’s Resolution #1 for Your Home: Decrease the Hazards

imagesThis time of year, the New Year’s resolutions are flying thick and fast. You’ve seen them all before. Lose weight, get your finances in order, and snag a better job. And while the resolutions are easy to make, they’re often much tougher to keep. So for 2017, why not switch gears and resolve to get your Murphy, NC house in better working order? If that grabs your attention, consider making resolutions that apply regardless of your home’s size or operating budget.

For starters, you certainly don’t want to live in a home filled with health and fire risks. To reduce your chances of a negative outcome, follow these five preventive strategies applicable to any home.

Detect the Carbon Monoxide: Your home’s smoke detectors can alert you to developing fire danger. To increase your protection factor, install a carbon monoxide detector on every floor that contains a bedroom. This affordable little device can alert you to a blocked or leaking furnace vent or chimney flue. Without this detector, either malfunction can cause carbon monoxide to collect in your house and kill you and your family.

Find the Radon: This odorless, colorless gas can trap radioactive particles in your lungs, potentially leading to the development of lung cancer. To learn if your home has elevated radon levels, buy an inexpensive test kit at your local hardware or home improvement store.

Reduce Potential Mold: If your bathroom and/or attic aren’t vented to the outdoors, you greatly increase your home’s chances of becoming a mold factory. If you can’t easily install the vent(s) yourself, hire a competent professional to do the job.

Dig Out All the Dryer Lint: Although you frequently clean the dryer lint trap, highly combustible lint can also collect in the ducts and vents behind the dryer. Clean these areas often to knock down the fire hazard.

Older Home Remodeling Reminder: If your home was built or remodeled before 1978, you could be living with asbestos flooring and/or lead paint. If that’s the case, and you have future remodeling plans, handle these harmful substances carefully when removing them. If you don’t feel comfortable doing the job yourself, hire a specialist who will bring the proper gear.

While some projects just require a one-time effort, plan to change your smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries on a regular basis. Develop a dryer lint removal schedule, too. By working to reduce your Murphy, NC home’s hazards, your house will be a healthier place for you and your family.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Winterizing Your Home in Murphy NC

 

It’s that time of year again, the leaves are changing and the temperature is dropping. Winter is right around the corner. Don’t let that mean you have broken pipes and damage to your house. This is the perfect time to start thinking about winterizing your home, and if this doesn’t apply to you feel free to share this with somebody that it could be helpful to.

Click for Our List Of Plumbers

Click Here for More Helpful Tips 

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.iLoveMurphy.com– Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Dress Up Your Kitchen When You Sell Your House with Stainless Steel Magic!

Stainless Steel MagicIt is true what they say, the kitchen is a big selling feature of any house. If your appliances work great but need to not look outdated, there’s no need to spend thousands of dollars to replace them. You can put a facelift on the ones you already have for a fraction of the cost.

Stainless steel is a big seller today. To get the look without the cost, we have found two great options. The first is stainless steel paint and the second is stainless steel film. Prices generally range from $25-$100 depending on the size you need. All you need to do is go to your local hardware store or Amazon.com and search “Stainless Steel Appliance Film” or “Stainless Steel Appliance Paint” and your options will come right up. Research which one you think will work the best for your application, order, and install! Voila! Your kitchen just received an instant facelift.

This article is thanks to Andy and Margaret. Great idea and suggestion! Hopefully this will help a few others.

 Call The Poltrock Team – REMAX of Murphy NC – www.MyMurphy.comJohnPoltrock@gmail.comCall us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Electrical Tips from an Electrician in Murphy NC

Over the years, we’ve put together a great list of recommended contractors and share them with you on our Gotta Guy list. In fact, it’s one thing that many of our clients and customers have said they love about us in our testimonials! One of those guys is our Electrician, Hugh Orr. He’s a great guy and owns his own company. I’ve used him personally a number of times and am always happy with his service, prices, and good work. He gave me an article he wrote intended for us and our customers. So here it is! I thought I’d share it with you and perhaps it’ll help someone out there  🙂

Need an electrician in Murphy NC? Call Hugh Orr! He can be reached at 828-835-8430

Power loss

If your power loss is complete, then call the power company. If it is a loss of lights or power to outlets affected by more than 1 breaker, then call the power company. While it could be an internal problem which would need to be addressed by an electrician, I find it is better to call the power company first for these kinds (I call system as opposed to circuit) of outages to save a service call cost. If the power loss is affected by only one tripped breaker then try to re set the breaker. PUSH THE BREAKER TO THE OFF POSITION FIRST AND THEN TO THE ON POSITION. BREAKERS CAN’T BE RE SET TO THE ON POSITION FROM A TRIPPED POSITION WITHOUT CUTTING THEM OFF FIRST.

If you followed the proper procedure for re setting the breaker and it still trips, unplug everything plugged into that circuit. After doing that and it still trips, it could be a problem in the wiring or a bad breaker. I recommend calling an electrician at this point. DO NOT CONTINUE TO TRY RESETTING THE BREAKER. A breaker that may reset at a later date does not mean that the problem is resolved. It usually means that maybe you unplugged a problem appliance or heater, or it may mean that the problem connection in your electrical system just cooled down and it will heat up (sometimes gradually) again and either trip or worse case melt something or cause a fire.

If you have a breaker that trips occasionally, it could be a marginal breaker, an overload situation (like space heaters), or a problem in the wiring. Circuits DO NOT fix themselves. While it could be that it just needs a new breaker or you need to manage how much you are plugging into the circuit, problems in the wiring circuit can be dangerous and have the potential to cause a fire.

Bad connections are, in my opinion, the most dangerous electrical issue in home wiring. If a receptacle feels pretty warm to the touch without anything plugged into it, I would have it looked at. If a cord plug does not plug snuggly into the receptacle where it feels loose or like it will fall out, it needs to be replaced. It is not legal to replace the old “2 prong” outlets with the newer 3 prong outlets. This gives the impression that a the newer grounding conductor is in the outlet box. The use of the 3 prong outlet without other measures provides a false sense of protection and serves no function. There are ways of doing this but I recommend calling an electrician at this point.

Lights flickering or dimming

If you have significant flickering or dimming on a single circuit (meaning controlled by a single breaker), it could be a bad breaker, a bad switch, or problem in the circuit. I recommend calling an electrician at this point.

If the flickering or dimming is momentary and not significant and related to a large power user like a space heater or a air conditioning or heating appliance,  a power saw or large motor like a well pump this may be normal. All these devices use a good amount of power when they first cut on.  You can think of it like a car starting off in first gear.

If the dimming is significant and is affecting more than one circuit (more than one breaker) then it is what I call a system problem and not a circuit issue. This usually means you need to call the power company. Many times I find it to be neutral connections at their connections. These can be at the meter base or top of the service mast or house service drop attachment, at their transformer location or even sometimes an UG service that is nicked or corroded.

ARCfault

These are relatively new devices that are currently breaker only devices. While there are some products in the works that would function much as the GFCI receptacles, ARC fault breakers are the only real option at this time for the typical home electrical system. These devices provide another layer of protection. They function similar to GFCI’s, in that, they provide protection “downstream” to other receptacles and/or lights and if they trip the devices they protect “downstream” lose power.  Power can be restored (unless there is a problem in the circuit) by pushing the resetting the ARCfault breaker (or ARCfault receptacle when they are available) These are designed to sense arcing which can reach over 1800 degrees and cause fires.

When they first came out they where just for any 120 volt device in a bedroom. Currently newer code requirements dictate that they are used extensively in new homes and new installations/additions.

These breakers and the circuits do protect against fire but they can be very finicky. Their are cases where vacuum cleaners and other devices cause nuisance tripping. They can be very difficult and time consuming to troubleshoot. If one of these devices is tripping I recommend calling an electrician at this point.

Space Heater

I see people using space heaters quite often. Many times they are 1000. 1200, 1500 watts ratings. A 1200 watt heater pulls 10 amps. A typical home lighting circuit is 14 gauge wire with a 15 amp breaker. If the total (add the amps or wattage) of electrical items on one circuit (meaning everything on a circuit controlled by a single breaker) like a space heater totals more than 15 amps it will trip your breaker. If a receptacle is loose (meaning when you push in the plug it is loose and may actually fall out sometimes) it should be replaced as a loose connection can heat up and cause problems. It can get hot enough to melt the plastic. I mention the lose connection (plugs) with the use of space heaters because the problem can be  much more pronounced when combined with heavier demands (higher amp) of a space heater.

One way to minimize the nuisance breaker tripping related to the use of space heaters, is to find out which outlets are on which breakers. By “managing” the load through not plugging multiple space heaters on the same circuit (breaker) you can minimize nuisance tripping and the possible creation of more serious and costly electrical problems.

I find many times in older homes that a combination of spaced heaters and “back stabbed” receptacles may cause circuit problems (heating, partial loss of circuit, or tripped breakers). It has been an option for years for electrical installers to connect receptacles and switches either by bending a loop in the stripped (insulation removed) wire and securing it under the appropriate screws or by stripping the wire and sticking it in the designated holes (back stabbing) in the back of the devices. I never use the back stab method and feel it is an inferior connection that can be a problem over time.

This is not an imminent fire danger or anything (although I can show you some examples I saved from troubleshooting many homes), I just like to make people aware of this issue, particularly in older homes.

Miscellaneous

Many of us can use more or better lights here or there. It is important to remember that our light fixtures are usually rated at 60 watts or less. Most every light fixture comes with stickers that identify the maximum wattage for that fixture. Exceeding this rating can cause the plastic portion of the bulb base to become brittle and crumble over a period of time. It can cause a marginal connections to become a problem connection do to excess heat. It can bake the insulation to the point that it cracks, can short out and potentially cause a fire in the fixture box and canopy. Depending on the fixture it can actually over a period of time cause the Sheetrock under the light canopy to breakdown to point where you can stick your finger through it as it crumbles (I have personally see this).

By using the new compact fluorescent bulbs we can go to higher equivalent wattage because they don’t have nearly the heat factor of incandescent bulbs. Recessed can lights are a good place for using these. If you use a higher wattage bulb that exceeds the recommended wattage in recessed can lights, a special heat sensor in them may cut off the light. Once it cools it would then work again but would eventually wear out this sensor cutting off and on and the light would stop working completely.

While common sense should prevail, I would ask you remember that much of the construction trade work can be troublesome and/or expensive, improper electrical work can result in loss of life and/or property and is best left to trained trades people. Just because something works does not make it safe. I find improper (and many times dangerous) work completed by either homeowners, unskilled, or unscrupulous individuals very often when I am called for my electrical services. I am not trying to drum up business or needlessly alarm people, I am just trying to make people understand that even seemingly simple electrical work done poorly or improperly can be dangerous.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX of Murphy NC – www.MyMurphy.comJohnPoltrock@gmail.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Where do I take my trash to in Murphy NC and Cherokee County?

Trash disposal is a must no matter whether your are in Murphy NC, Cherokee County, or anywhere in the U.S. for that matter! We get this questions often, so to help make life easier on you, here’s a map provided by the Cherokee County Mapping Department we wanted to share with you. Click the below link to download the map from our Drive.

The map will should you the location of the sites. The landfill is located in Marble, NC. There are several trash sites in Hanging Dog, Granny Squirrel, Peachtree, Martins Creek, Caney Creek, and the Mountain Folk Center.

We hope this information helps!

Cherokee County Trash Disposal Site Map

The Poltrock Team – REMAX of Murphy NC – www.MyMurphy.comJohnPoltrock@gmail.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Home Inspections when Buying a Home in Murphy NC

When you’ve been shopping for real estate in Murphy NC and you’ve found a home you want to buy, having it inspected by a licensed home inspector is one smart move. Regardless of the condition you may think the home is in, an inspector can find issues with a home you never knew existed.

Home Inspectors Check a Wide Variety of Items. Here, notice there’s NO insulation!!

I always joke, but do seriously mean it, that hopefully an inspection is a complete waste of your money. Hopefully they’ll go through and find a few minor issues that are no big deal. At least that way you know! It’s the big things you are looking for so they can be remedied.

Here are some frequently asked questions I get a lot about home inspections:

1) Do you recommend a home inspection on a new construction home?

Absolutely! Homes are built by humans just like you and I. The fact is, they make mistakes. Although the odds are less for things being wrong, I believe it is still wise to do.

2) Can they check every aspect of the home I’m buying?

No. Although a home inspector checks a very wide array of parts of your home, there are limitations. Termite and septic are two things they are unable to check and are offered by a separate inspection. Also, they can’t see through walls and things of that sort. If you’d like more detail on what they are able to check, I encourage you to contact a reputable inspector.

3) What happens if an issue is found that needs repair?

When an item is found that needs repair, it is completely negotiable between the buyer and seller. Bear in mind that when you pay an inspector to do a full home inspection, there is an obligation to find something wrong with the property. Some items found are silly and some are important. So before you consider asking for a repair, ask yourself a few questions.
-Is this a big deal?
-Is the item doing the job it was intended to do?
-Was that item required as part of the building code when the home was built?

4) What about foreclosures?

You may have noticed that many foreclosures are being sold as is, where is. That does not mean that you cannot have inspection done on the property. In fact, I highly encourage you have foreclosures inspected. It is common that the bank nor the listing real estate agent know much of any use about the property. Because of that situation, it makes an inspection that much more important. What the bank means by as is, where is is they have no intention of doing any repairs to the property when you find something on the home inspection. In some instances, we have been able to successfully negotiate repairs on a foreclosed property. However, that is not the norm. It is a case-by-case basis that we can guide you through if you are purchasing a foreclosure home.

5) What price range can I expect for a normal home inspection?

Home inspections by a licensed home inspector normally cost between $300-500. The cost is normally driven by factors such as size, location, and features of the home.

6) What does a home inspector actually inspect?

As I mentioned above, the home inspector truly checks a wide array of items in a home. To give you a better idea though, here is a laundry list style of things to expect to be checked: the foundation, basement, structure, siding, windows, doors, other exterior elements, roof, plumbing, electrical system, plumbing system, central and other types of heating and air conditioning, walls, ceilings, floors, and major appliances.

If there are other questions you have about a home inspection, tell us! If you’re looking for a good home inspector in Murphy NC we recommend, check out our Gotta Guy List! You can email us, comment on this post, and more! When you are looking to buy a home in Murphy, NC, contact the team that has your best interests in mind! Call The Poltrock Team at REMAX in Murphy Today!

Searching for a home in Murphy NC? CLICK HERE to Search the ENTIRE Murphy NC MLS for all REAL ESTATE FOR SALE! You can also Search The Poltrock Team’s Listings. Not only that, we can do the work for you! CLICK HERE to tell us what YOU are searching for and we’ll send you the BEST properties we have!

John Poltrock – The Poltrock Team – REMAX of Murphy NC – www.MyMurphy.com – JohnPoltrock@gmail.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC – 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team