Keeping Your Furnace Working Properly This Winter

The cold weather has taken its time lately, but it seems that is finally here to stay. As homeowners, we need to make sure the furnace is working properly and is ready to last through the winter.  A furnace, according to experts has a life expectancy of 18-20 years.  For you to get the most out of your furnace, a yearly checkup by professionals is recommended, and changing the filters regularly ensures clean air is circulating in your home.

Waiting to see snow on the ground to call the heating and cooling professionals may not be the best move for you.  If your furnace is old or is having “issues,” you need to be proactive and call a professional.  Waiting till the furnace stops working for you to call, may cost you more in the long run.

By changing the filters in your furnace regularly, you ensure your furnace will have a long life.  Another reason to change the filters regularly ensures the allergens that could be blowing through the vents won’t affect the people in your home that suffer from allergies or other respiratory health problems. There are a wide variety of filters to choose from.  30-day filters are available at your local Home Depot, Walmart or Lowe’s stores. From dust and pollen high-performance filters to cleaner air filters you will have no problem choosing the one that is right for you.

Carbon monoxide is one of the more scary issues you have to deal with if you have an old furnace.  The experts can detect if you have a carbon monoxide leak and can fix the problem before it becomes something fatal.

Efficiency is another reason why having an old furnace is expensive.  The newer furnace models can save you money over the long run and can keep your home safe and warm.

Top three actions you need to take to ensure a long life for your furnace:

  • Yearly check-up is recommended
  • change the filters monthly if you can
  • Make sure the area around the furnace is clear and dry

During the holidays, as we use more heating and put our appliances to work overtime, ensuring they are working properly can save us a lot of headaches and money in the process. 

Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday!


Basement Waterproofing and Remodeling

Do you know if you have a water problem in your basement?  Many families across the country dream about having a fully functioning basement where they can enjoy with their families and friends.  A place where they cannot only store Christmas or other holiday decorations but and can spend time watching TV or playing with their kids.

What are some of the easy signs to look for in case you have water damage in your basement?

  • Water sitting on the floor of the basement
  • musty smell
  • condensation on the walls, ceiling or doors
  • cracks where the wall meets the floor
  • Rust in appliances you have in the basement
  • Dark spots on the walls or ceiling

Before starting with the basement remodeling, Do you know if there is a water issue you have to attend to first? Water problems in the basement of your home can come from two places only, the inside or outside of your home.  If there is a problem with the pipes of your home and the basement is getting water sitting on the floor, replacing the piping may be the only solution at your disposal.  If on the other hand, the water is coming from the outside, there may be different causes and solutions.

Having gutters clogged by debris and blocking the water passage could be the problem with an easy solution and a prompt fix.  If on the other hand, the foundation is the one with the problem, you may need to contact a basement waterproofing expert to look into it and offer a solution that makes sense to you.

If you know you have a basement problem and want a professional opinion, calling a contractor can be the only option you have.  Finishing a basement by yourself is a project worth doing, and one you may know how to tackle, but having a professional handling a basement project may the right  answer for you. Do you know how to hire a professional to handle your home remodeling project? If not, here is a link for you to check and see what are the right questions to ask before you hire a contractor.


 

Mold in The Basement

Mold and mildews are both common problems indoors and outside your home.  Humidity in your home can be an indicator that you have water seeping into the walls and floor of your basement.  Humidity is a key component to the mold growing in your basement and causing eye irritation, stuffiness, and more serious respiratory problems.  If you have a family member suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems, the mold growing in the basement could be making their symptoms much worse.

What are some of the reasons you have water sitting on the floor of the basement of your home?

Clogged gutters

If the gutters of your home are full of debris, the water may not be finding the correct pathway and overflowing.  Ensuring the gutters are unobstructed to allow the water to flow to the right spout is just common sense, and can save you some headaches along the way.

Cleaning the gutters of your home does not take long if you do them every year.  Try to have someone to help you with the ladder and make sure you follow safety precautions before you start climbing.

Drainage

If water is just gathering around the foundation of your home with no place to go, it may be a major reason why you have water on the basement floor, and seeping through the walls.   The drainage should be taking the water about ten feet from the foundation of your home.

Flower Beds

The flower beds should have the soil sloping away from the foundation to ensure the water doesn’t find a way to your basement.  Bushes and other types of greenery should be kept trim and away from touching the walls of your home as well.

Mulch

Mulch should also be laid flat close to the foundation to avoid gathering water pools and eventually seeping into the walls of the foundation.

Driveways

Even if this is not as common, unleveled driveways can allow the water to run towards the foundation instead of away creating pools of water to seep into the walls and basement of your home.

Leaking Pipes

Indoor water leaking is also a problem if you have leaking pipes without knowing where they are. Before this problem gets any bigger, replacing those leaking pipes can be the solution to the humidity and water problem in the basement.

If you need to find a solution to the water in the basement of your home, contact us, we will be happy to talk to you and offer a solution to your problem that makes sense.


Flood Insurance Coverage; Do You Have It?

 

If hurricanes Irma and Harvey have taught us anything is the fact that natural disasters can occur quickly, and with disastrous consequences.  Hurricanes in the United States are commonplace, specially in Florida and the coastal regions of the country. 

With the hurricanes or heavy rains, flooding is a natural disaster that can occur to any of us.  Flooding can affect people in  every state, and is one of the most common natural disasters in the country.

As homeowners, we cannot control the occurrence of hurricanes, nor  predict the severity or the financial implications that come along with those disasters, but we can help our homes and our financial stability  by ensuring that we do have flood insurance for our homes.

If you have homeowners insurance, it does not mean you have flood insurance.  Make sure you buy it separately through your home insurance agent, so you know you are protected.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) one inch of water in your home can cost you more than $20,000 in damages, why risk not having flood insurance coverage?

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


What Flood Insurance Does and Does Not Cover

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey puts renewed attention on the policies. Here’s what you need to know.

The devastation from Hurricane Irma is far from over, but property owners in Florida—as well as those who faced Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana—are already facing the daunting task of rebuilding.

Beyond the human tragedy, the widespread flood damage caused by the storm serves as an important reminder to homeowners in the region—and around the country—about what is covered by insurance and what you need to know about protecting yourself.

As most property owners know, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage. But even in Florida, Texas and Louisiana—where many people live in coastal areas—only about 20 percent have flood insurance, according to a study by the Washington Post.


About 80% of Hurricane Harvey victims do not have flood insurance, face big bills

NEW YORK – Homeowners suffering flood damage from Harvey are more likely to be on the hook for losses than victims of prior storms — a potentially crushing blow to personal finances and neighborhoods along the Gulf Coast.

Insurance experts say only a small fraction of homeowners in Harvey’s path of destruction have flood insurance. That means families with flooded basements, soaked furniture and water-damaged walls will have to dig deep into their pockets or take on more debt to fix up their homes. Some may be forced to sell, if they can, and leave their communities.

All these people taken out in boats, they have a second problem: They have no insurance,” said Robert Hunter, director of insurance at the Consumer Federation of America.


Basement Waterproofing and Foundation Repair

According to the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness, peak tornado season for the state of Ohio is officially between the months of  April and July. It does not mean however that tornados won’t happen at any other time. In 2016, there were 24 tornados in Ohio and the severity of each was different. According to the Ohio weather safety page, the basement of your home is the safest place to be in case of a tornado warning. 

Extreme downpours or a few inches of rain can easily tell you whether you have a dry basement or not.  If there is a problem with the drainage of your home, the few inches of rain can find a way to the basement  and make the basement unlivable.

Finding a safe, comfortable place in case of a tornado warning becomes a bit unlikely if the basement has issues.  But, that is not the right reason to find a waterproofing company. If you have water in the basement of your home, the structural integrity of the home becomes an issue, and a huge liability if you ignore the problem.

There are many problems associated with a wet basement:

  • Structural damage to the home
  • Damage to the walls, floors and belongings stored in the basement
  • Respiratory Issues
  • unlivable wasted space
  • Mold and mildew
  • humidity that can affect the air quality of your home

Finding the right waterproofing company to take care of your basement issues is not difficult.  At Pioneer Basement Solutions, we have a long history in the community with great customer satisfaction.  We let our work and customers speak for our workmanship and professionalism. If you want to tackle the basement problem, contact us, we will be happy to work with you.


Protecting Your Home

Flood Insurance is not included in your policy in most cases.  You need to verbally ask and be offered flood insurance by the Insurance company and go from there.  Insuring your home is not only advisable but extremely important.  It can be a financial catastrophe if a natural disaster occurs and you are unprepared to face the consequences.  If you are in an area where flooding is likable, make sure you have flood insurance to make sure your home is protected.

Structural home problems start with a leaky basement that is not taken care of and is left unattended.  Cracks on the wall and bowed walls are serious problems that can play havoc with the structure of your home.

Mold and mildew are dangerous pollutants in your home. Clean air becomes a luxury if you have a wet basement.  Water seeping into the basement of your home jeopardizes the stability of the foundation, making your home less valuable in the long run.

Basements have served many families as storage facilities for many years, but leaky basements can damage and ruin your belongings.  With flood insurance you can protect your personal belongings and replace them in case of a flooding.  Make sure you talk to your insurance agent and understand the type of insurance you need and for the quantity you need to insure your home and your belongings.

There is a minimum amount you need to insure your home, but it does not include your personal property.  Ask questions before you agree to sign anything.  Make sure you have enough insurance to be properly covered.

Nobody can protect themselves from natural disasters, but it does pay to be protected in case the need arises.  Don’t procrastinate and leave something as important as your home for another day.  If you have a basement or foundation problem, call today to make sure your home and your family are safe.


Home Foundation Repair Problems

Finding problems with  the structure of your home is distressing to say the least.

Structural home problems can range from small issues that are easy to fix, to structural damages that can take a week or more. The cost associated with these problems can also vary, from a $500 repair issue to more serious amounts.

Finding a crack on the basement walls, water sitting on the basement floor, humidity, mold or mildew are serious problems that you have to addressed quickly. Waiting can only lead to more serious issues that can end up costing you a lot more.

Hiring a professional to look over the foundation problems in your home is the only option you have.  Structural problems are serious issues, and you want the expertise and warranties associated with hiring a professional company to do the job.

How do you know which company to hire?  There are many companies out there with a reputation that bears not mentioning.  But, there are many other companies that pride themselves with the work they do, and the history they have in the community. Looking at the credentials of the company you are thinking of hiring can save you a lot of headaches and a lot of money.

Where can you start?  Looking at a company at the Better Business Bureau is the first step you can take.  Look at the complains, and whether they were resolved satisfactorily, and in a timely matter. But, most importantly look at the kind of complains people had and the issues involved with such company.

Google the company. There are many people out there that will leave a nasty comment about a company because they are not quite happy with the results.  But, if the company has many more good comments than bad ones, or only that bad comment, call them and see for yourself.  Talking to them on the phone, or personally is the only way to go.

Recommendations from friends and family members are possibly the best way to go about hiring a company to do any job around the home.  You can look at the workmanship, talk to them about pricing, cleanliness, and punctuality and make the decision then.

If you need the services of a company with a long history in the community and an A+ rating from the BBB, contact us.  We will be happy to offer you a solution to your basement and foundation problems without hard selling you.


Is Your Company Talking To The Right Person?

A 1992 book called Men are From Mars and Women are from Venus explores and explains the relationship between men and women and the way women and men communicate and view things differently.  The author explains thatnot only do men and women communicate differently, but they think, feel, perceive, react, respond, love, need, and appreciate differently.”

Business across industries have to addressed the fact that women and men respond differently to the sales pitch, the way they are addressed, and the information they received by the sales people.  We all know sales people are doing their job, and that they have to “pitch” their products and services.  We – as employees ourselves-know they have to do a job.  But, the way they do it can be pivotal to the sale.

According to the US  Census Bureau there were an approximate 12 million single parent families last year.  And of those 12 million single parent families households, more than 80% were headed by single mothers.

When female customers call a company for a free consultation for a home project, and the company asks whether they are married or not, or that the male of the house needs to be present for them to come over, it sends a message that perhaps women cannot make a decision or worse yet, they cannot possibly understand their “lingo.”

For any big or small company doing business in the United States, it pays to consider this: A 2008 Pew Research Center Survey found that in 43% of all couples, the majority of decision making is done by women. That is to say, if a woman calls your business and asks for a quote, chances are that she will be making the decision to hire you or not.

The times have change, but the decision making in a household has not.  From which company to invest, how much money to save, or where to go on a vacation, women are the decision makers in a family.

Studies in the United Kingdom have shown the prominent role women play in financial decision making.  More and more, women research what they need and they communicate their decision to their partners.  Up until the last stage of the decision making process will the “spouse” play any role in making a financial decision.

In the United States, the similarities are the same.  Financial decision making is mostly a woman’s role.


Home Renovation Projects and Insurance Coverage

Home renovation projects are a sure way to improve your living space, spruce up the home and increase the value of your home.  Adding a room or a whole section to your home, requires capital and great companies to make the process less difficult. Obtaining permits, contractors, and financing takes a lot of the joy out of a home renovation project, but most often than not the whole process can give you a sense of accomplishment, and the extra room you were needing.

If you already have most of the contractors ready to go, the financing approved, and the permits are in your possession, now is the time to call your insurance agent, and talk about the new home insurance policy you are going to need. As the renovation goes, you need to keep the insurance agent informed of the progress.  Accidents do happen and you need to be able to be financially covered if anything disastrous should occur.

Did you make sure the contractor or companies you hired have their own insurance coverage?

Accidents within your property may be catastrophic if you do not protect yourself.  Before you allowed a contractor to start the work, make sure he has insurance coverage/liability insurance and workers compensation up to date before he starts.  If they do not have the proper paperwork and an employee gets hurt, you can be sued for damages.

Receipts, contracts and any other pertinent information regarding the renovation should be kept within easy reach till the project is done, the insurance agent notified of all the changes, appraisals done and checked, and the construction is done to your specifications.  Any receipt related to the construction should be kept filed and safe should any problem emerge.

Almost anyone that starts a renovation project have an idea of what they want. They want the extra space,  a better kitchen, a bigger bathroom, or a new looking master bedroom. Regardless of what you want to do to your home, having an idea of what renovation projects will give you the most ROI can be financially advantageous for you.  If you are selling your home, and want to get the most for your investment, there are many home renovation companies that clearly state the best home renovations projects for you if you are selling or only improving your home.

As always, inform yourself before starting hiring and signing documents for a project done in your home. If you need more information about Insurance coverage or any other insurance issues, go to the Insurance Information Institute to learn more. 


Humidity In The Basement? Read This

Where is the humidity in your basement coming from:  There are a few reason as to the why, but the three main reasons are:

1. Ground water or rain water seeping into the basement

2. External air that enters the basement and condenses on cool surfaces

3. Leaks from pipes in your basement, bathrooms or leaky faucets that are constantly on.

How do you know you have too much humidity in your basement?

Having a humidifier in the basement of your home is a great solution to your humidity problems, but if you are collecting a gallon of water in the container of the humidifier every single day, then you may have other issues that are far more serious.  Sitting water around the foundation of you home and seeping to the basement of your home may be a reason why you have so much humidity in your basement.  Making sure water does not sit around the foundation of your home, could be the only solution you need. 

Providing a clear and an unobstructed path for the rain water to find a way far enough from the foundation of your home, is a solution that does not cost a lot of money and can solve a problem for your in the future.

What to do in case you need a waterproofing Company?

A Google search for a basement waterproofing company will give you about 896,000 results in about .82 seconds.  How do you  choose one?  I researched landscaping companies by doing a Google search once.  Their rating ( 5 stars, 4stars, etc…) were very good. When I tried to find them at the BBB online, some of them didn’t even exist even though they were rated as a 4 start company using other home improvement sites. They were either long gone, or their rating at the BBB was very bad.Be careful when choosing.  Not all home improvement sites have the same level of ratings for the companies that advertise there. Waterproofing companies, or landscaping companies that are listed on those sites should be checked thoroughly using the BBB, or asking those companies for testimonials that are not from family members or friends. And you should truly check those testimonials before committing to anything with a company. Don’t sign anything and do not advance huge quantities of money before the work begins.

Do you need to check a company using the BBB?

Then, here is a link for you to do so, but remember that is only the first step.  You need to talk to the people that will be doing the work at your home, and if you don’t feel “right” about them, choose another one with a good rating and begin the process again.

BBB – The Better Business Bureau Locator

BBB of Akron, Ohio  – It serves the counties of  Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit & Wayne Counties.