January 2019: Happy New Year

Ask The Inspector

Ask The Inspector

Add Value to Your Home with These Improvements

You probably have a long list of remodeling projects you want to get around to, and sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. We’ve compiled the four best home upgrades that will put the most money in your pocket when it comes time to sell. Learn more

How to Survive Winter: 7 Genius Snow Hacks

Snow is stressful, but just because it’s the dead of winter doesn’t mean you should be left out in the cold. We’re here to make it easier with these seven brilliant snow hacks you can add to your winter routine right now. Learn more

Expert Advice

Expert Advice

How to Remove Salt Stains the Easy Way

If pesky salt stains are getting in the way of keeping your floors sparkling, you’ll want in on this secret: vinegar. Find out how this inexpensive household staple can help you get rid of winter salt stains in a flash. Learn more

How to Remove Static from Your Home

It’s that time of year again. . .you can’t walk across a room without feeling an irritating little zap.  Read on to learn about a few easy solutions for removing static from your home and your person. Learn more

DIY Countertop Repair for Scratches and Scuffs

If you cook a lot, chances are your countertops have seen better days. Every scratch and chip tells a story, from that pan you dropped to the knife that slipped. The good news is that there are some simple countertop repairs you can do yourself to make your counters look like new and save some money in the process. Learn more

Snapshots From The Field

Most of us have dreamt of having our very own indoor pool at one point or another. Many determined homeowners are willing to DIY their way there, no matter what it takes. So what’s wrong with this picture?

Snapshots from the field

Answer: it’s hard to know where to start! This 45,000-gallon aboveground pool was installed in a home by the owner. Though he didn’t get a permit, he had a lot of things technically “right.” Lights are rated for a wet environment, an exhaust fan helps keep humidity levels at bay and the pool’s surroundings are perfectly dry. What makes installing an indoor aboveground pool so problematic is the risk.

In addition to humidity from a pool potentially wrecking your home’s foundation, the humidity can also wreak havoc on the rest of your home—even all the way up to the attic! And it doesn’t stop at just water. A pool’s chemicals can slowly erode a foundation and cause metal corrosion over time. Though the lights check out for a wet environment in this case, the electrical outlets aren’t protected, leading to risk of electrocution and injury. And we’ll go ahead and throw out the obvious, too: if this pool fails in any way, it could lead to flooding, severe water damage and/or a collapsed floor.

Take it from us: as tempting as it is to swim indoors all year round, installing an aboveground pool in your home is simply not worth it!

Maintenance Matters

Maintenance Matters

Your Crash Course in Dryer Vent Cleaning

It’s hard to believe that your home’s dryer vent is also one of its most dangerous fire hazards. Luckily, preventing safety issues is easy as long as you keep the area free of debris. Learn more

The Best Electrical Outlets for Your Needs

As long as they’re functioning properly, electrical outlets are something most of us don’t even think about. But believe it or not, certain outlets are better for certain purposes. Find out how to protect your home and connect to all your devices with this quick outlet guide. Learn more

 

5 Ways to Know if You Need a Gutter Replacement

Healthy gutters are an integral part of any home. With winter in full force and spring on the way, gutters become more important than ever for keeping your house free of water damage. Look for these five telltale signs to determine if it’s time for a replacement. Learn more

 

Monthly Trivia Question

Question: How many times a year should you swap out your thermostat’s batteries?

Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbucks’s gift card. Submit your answer to NPI inspector to find out if you’ve won.

Drafty Windows? We Have Help

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There is a chill in the air, the North Wind has an extra bite and a draft is coming through the windows. What can you do?

First, open and close the window and look for any torn or missing weather-stripping on the sash. Make sure the window lock is adjusted properly to close the window tight against the weather-stripping. If there are storm windows, make sure they are shut and latched properly.

Next try to determine where the air is coming in. Make sure all of the windows are closed. Make sure window coverings are held away from the glass and will not ignite. Light a candle and hold the flame near each window, fairly close to the window at the seam between the widow frame and the sash. Move the candlestick slowly around the frame and the sash, pausing to allow the flame to steady. If the flame bends or flickers while in the pause mode, then there is probably a leak, mark the area with a piece of tape or a sticky note and continue around that window and the others in the home and mark any suspect area.

Once you have identified the problem areas and drafts, you need to seal them up. Some methods can be completed by the homeowner; other, more complicated methods of repairs may be best left to a contractor.

  • Weather-stripping can be purchased at a hardware store or home center. Different products are available, most commonly plastic, felt, foam or metal. These materials can be cut and pressed into the gaps between the frame and the sash, or installed on the frame and pressed against the sash to create a good seal.
  • Caulking is usually installed on the exterior, so this is a task for warmer weather. Caulking can be applied where the trim meets the window frame and where the trim meets the wall covering. If old, deteriorating caulking is in place, remove it by scoring the caulk where it meets the trim and the frame, and remove it with a putty knife or chisel. Make sure to clean the area well with a brush before applying new caulking. A good exterior latex caulk may be preferred for ease of application and cleanup, this type of caulking is usually paintable if the caulk does not match the window or if you wish to paint the window in the future. Be sure to follow the installation instructions on the tube of caulking for proper installation.
  • Insulating film. If the window will not be opened during the winter months, then a layer of shrink film can be applied to the window. The film is usually applied to the window using double-sided tape. The window trim should be clean so the tape will stick properly, then apply the tape and film as directed in the instructions. This film is usually removed in the spring and summer months so the windows can be opened.
  • Replacement windows. This is usually an expensive venture, but in most cases the cost of the replacement is at least partially recouped in the sale of the home. Until the home is sold, you still have the benefit of fewer or no drafts and lower energy bills. Proper installation and insulation is important when replacing windows.

Several options are available to reduce drafts, and your local utility companies may offer energy audits and recommendations for weatherization contractors to help limit the amount of energy lost by drafty windows.

Submitted by Kenn Garder, Technical Support, NPI/GPI Corporate

Add Value to Your Home with These Improvements

You probably have a long list of remodeling projects you want to get around to, and sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Of course you want to remodel your home based on your personal tastes, but if you’re looking to move soon, it’s better to look at renovations and improvements that will add value to your home. We’ve compiled the four best home upgrades that will put the most money in your pocket when it comes time to sell.

1. A New Front Door

Nothing beats a new steel front door when it comes to recouping your investment. A new steel front door boosts curb appeal, rejuvenating your home’s appearance to make a great first impression for homebuyers. You can have a professional install your new door (for give or take $2000), in which case you’ll recover about 75% of the cost, or you can DIY this project (for around $250) and recoup up to a whopping 600%.

If you go the DIY route, make sure to get acquainted with the parts of the door you’re installing before you start in. If it’s your first time, you can expect to spend a bit more time on this project (don’t be surprised if it takes you six or eight hours). Oh, and enlist a friend to help—it’s a lot easier with two people, trust us.

2. New Hardwood Floors

Buyers love hardwood floors, and they’ll pay to get them (to the tune of about $5000 at closing). If you install those hardwood floors yourself, you can potentially make a 282% profit. It might be a multi-day affair if you haven’t worked with flooring before, but don’t worry—the techniques aren’t hard to master and it’s worth rolling up your sleeves to pocket the extra savings. Even if you hire a professional, though, this improvement will just about pay for itself.

If you have hardwood floors already and just want to give them a facelift, you can do that with a simple sand-and-refinish job. Floor sanders and other supplies are available to rent at most home improvement stores to make the process easy and affordable.

3. A Bathroom Update

We’re not talking about demolition down to the studs, but a mid-range bathroom update will definitely add value to your home and improve your return on investment. Replacing your bathroom’s essentials (meaning the tub, tile surround and floor, toilet, sink, fixtures and vanity) will run you somewhere in the range of $10,500, while you’ll average a tidy $10,700 back at closing. Of course if you do the update yourself instead of hiring out, you’ll pocket even more.

4. Fiberglass Attic Insulation

Attic insulation is one of those things you never pay attention to, but you sure know if it’s not there. Having adequate insulation is the best way to keep comfortable in both hot and cold weather while keeping your energy bills low, but up to an astounding 90 percent of homes don’t have enough. If you can see the floor joists in your attic, you have at most 6-7 inches of insulation, only half of what the U.S. Department of Energy recommends. Depending on where you live, you could need even more.

The good news is that insulation is easy to add yourself, and it’s also one of the most inexpensive and worthwhile upgrades on our list, costing you only about $700 to add $1500 of value when you sell.

National Property Inspections Helps You Improve Your Home

From home energy audits to full inspections, NPI has you covered when you want to find ways to add value to your home. Find your local inspector today to schedule an appointment.

How to Use a Candle: 6 Common Mistakes to Avoid

How to Use a Candle

No matter what you think of them, you have to admit scented candles are kind of amazing. Nothing’s better at creating ambience and a relaxing atmosphere in your home than a few well-placed candles, but you should know how to use them to get the best effect. It also helps to be aware of the hazards that come with having an open flame in the house. Believe it or not, it’s more than just knowing how to wield a lighter.

1. Lighting and Forgetting About It

We’ll start with one of the worst things you can do—lighting a candle and just walking away. Directions for use on most candles advise only burning under direct supervision, for a number of really good reasons. If you have curious toddlers or pets, for example, a candle can lead to burned fingers or singed whiskers. Candles can also become dangerously hot if they’re left burning for too long, which is why you should only keep them lit for two hours at a time.

2. Not Leaving It Lit Long Enough

Have you ever had to throw a candle out because the wax around the outside didn’t melt? It could be a poorly designed candle, but what’s more common is an effect called “tunneling.” That’s when you see the candle level lowering just around the wick, and it’s caused by not leaving your candle lit long enough. When you light a candle, you want to leave it burning long enough for the entire top layer of wax to melt, forming a pool from one end of the container to the other. This usually takes about an hour of burning. If you blow the candle out too fast, you’ll end up with a hole in the middle of your candle that’s hard to fix.

3. Forgetting What Season You’re In

There aren’t too many things more subtly offputting than a scent that’s at odds with the time of year. Picture pumpkin pie in the height of summer, or pina colada when it’s 20 below. Of course, you may not care about these things when you’re alone, but when you’re entertaining it’s best to keep seasonal scents in mind. For the fall and winter months, lean toward warm, spicy aromas like gingerbread or cinnamon. In spring and summer, light floral scents are best.

4. Going Overboard

When you light a candle, your sense of smell adapts quickly, which can lead you to want to light more and more. Resist this urge. To make the most of a scented candle, you’ll want to mix scents as little as possible, and avoid lighting more than two or three at a time. Walking past a candle shop can be a little headache-inducing, and you don’t want to replicate that experience in your home.

5. Choosing the Wrong Scent for the Room

This is a little like choosing the wrong candle for the season—some scents just don’t work well in certain rooms. Here are the aromas to stick to for every room:

  • Kitchen: It’s always better to be baking real cookies, but in a pinch, a candle scented like baked goods or spices can make your kitchen more homey.
  • Bedroom: This is your sanctuary, so encourage relaxation in this space with scents like lavender that help you drift off to dreamland.
  • Living Room: The living room is a versatile space, but whatever you use it for, it helps to have a scent that inspires conversation, friendliness and warmth. Try sandalwood, vanilla or coffee.
  • Bathroom: A bright citrus like lemon or grapefruit is best for the bathroom, or you can experiment with herbal notes like basil.

6. Using a Candle to Cover Up Odors

Lots of us have been guilty of this one—you might think a candle is your best bet for getting rid of odors, but scented candles aren’t designed for that. Instead of neutralizing bad smells, scented candles mask other odors without eliminating them, so you get the scent you want with an unmistakable undernote of funk. For those times when you need to get rid of a smell, it’s better to open a window or use a product that’s specifically formulated to neutralize odors.

National Property Inspections Can Help You Maintain Your Home

For answers to questions about all your home’s most important systems, call us today. Our inspectors can keep you in the know when it comes to maintaining your most important investment—your home.

November 2018: Autumn Continued

Ask The Inspector

Do You Really Need a Home Inspection? Yes!

In this special guest post, GPI inspector, Lawrence Englehart, shares why you always need to order an inspection when buying a home. He explains how an inspection report can help you make the best decision, as well as how to hire the best inspector for the job. Learn more

5 Home Inspection Myths You Shouldn’t Fall For

Ordering a home inspection is the most critical part of the buying process, and there are lot of myths floating around out there about your inspector’s role in all of it. We’re here to clear up some common misconceptions and help you know what to expect. Learn more

Look for These Problems When Buying an Old House

There are a lot of great things about owning an older home, but it’s not always all craftsmanship and charm. Be on the lookout for these costly problems that can sometimes come along with buying an older house. Learn more

Expert Advice

How to Use a Candle: 6 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Nothing’s better at creating ambience and a relaxing atmosphere in your home than a few well-placed candles, but you should know how to use them to get the best effect. Believe it or not, it’s more than knowing how to wield a lighter! Learn more

A Pajama Lounge? What It Is and Why the Trend is Taking Over

Have you heard of a pajama lounge? If you haven’t yet, you’ll probably be seeing the concept everywhere soon. We’ll give you a quick rundown of what a pajama lounge is and the different ways you can adapt it to your taste and living space. Learn more

How to Keep Your Pond from Freezing This Winter

Garden ponds provide a sense of calm in spring and summer. But as the days grow colder, it’s important to know the simple steps to take to keep your pond from freezing over until warmer weather returns. Here are the steps you need to take to keep your pond healthy. Learn more

Snapshots From The Field

Our inspectors are always sharing interesting things from the field so that we can all learn from each others’ homeowner wins and mistakes. Here’s one of the latest.

It’s pretty easy to spot what’s off about this picture. That wood definitely looks out of place! But why is it there in the first place?

It turns out that what started as a broken sink turned into an even bigger issue when a homeowner placed heavy dishes in it. The weight of the dishes started causing the sink to collapse. To make matters worse, the sink is installed in a granite countertop, which will likely lead to cracking and early replacement. This very DIY repair is not a lasting solution to the issue, and could cause even more damage in the long-run. With any sink problem, you’ll want to avoid using it or storing any dishes there, and you’ll need to seek a professional’s opinion as soon as possible.

Maintenance Matters

Make Your Refrigerator More Efficient with These 8 Hacks

When we think of ways to save energy, we don’t often turn to the fridge. It just does its thing, right? Well, not quite. Here are eight ways to get the most out of your refrigerator and even save a little money in the process. Learn more

6 Essential Fall Lawn Care Tasks

The air is crisp and the trees are changing colors. That must mean fall is here! Even if your yard isn’t fully blanketed in crunchy leaves just yet, you can still start on these essential fall lawn care tasks to get your yard ready for winter. Learn more

What You Need to Know About Sandblasting

Sandblasting is the process of sanding a surface to remove rough edges or foreign materials. Sandblasting makes sanding much easier, as it is pressure-driven and easily reaches hard-to-sand areas like nooks and crannies. The “blasting” is done using compressed air to blow sand through a nozzle for a smooth, clean finish. Depending on the project, you can use abrasive materials other than sand to prepare a surface for repainting, staining or refinishing.

What Materials Can Be Sandblasted?

  • Wood: Wood sometimes has several layers of paint, which may be peeling. Porch swings, picnic tables and gazebos are items you may consider having sandblasted.
  • Concrete: Commercial building owners may want to remove parking lines and reconfigure a parking lot, so they can sandblast the old parking lines for a clean surface to work with. Home owners may sandblast their driveways to remove paint or oil spills.
  • Cast Iron: If a cast iron railing or other detail has been painted, you may want to sandblast it to remove peeling and chipping paint.
  • Brick: Sandblasting can make painted or dirty bricks look clean and new.
  • Automobiles: Sandblasting can remove the rust on that fixer-upper in your garage before you paint it.

Costs for Sandblasting

Sandblasting can be performed on a variety of material and is preferable when sandpaper or hand-held sanders are just not appropriate for the task at hand. Sandblasting can save you time, strenuous work and the demanding physical labor of bending, sitting, squatting and reaching.

If you have never sandblasted before, you may want to contact a professional. Using a blaster without experience could potentially cause injury if correct measures are not taken or followed. In addition, keep the following in mind:

  • Some cities may require a permit for sandblasting, so check your local requirements before beginning. If hiring a professional, they may apply for the permit for you.
  • Although rare, accidental damages could occur to your property or neighboring property during the sandblasting process, so consider that additional expenses could arise.
  • The average cost to sandblast an exterior surface is between $664 and $1,116. The average cost per square foot:
    • Brush blast (1/32 inch deep): $1.35 to $2.70
    • Light blast (1/16 inch deep): $2.25 to $4.50
    • Medium blast (1/4 inch deep): $4.50 to $7.20
    • Heavy blast (3/8 inch deep or more): $6.75 to $15.75.

Originally published November 2, 2015, updated August 23, 2018.

Wet Bar vs. Dry Bar: Which One is Right for You?

Wet Bar vs. Dry Bar

If you’ve been thinking about updating your basement or patio by putting in a bar, you have a lot of options, starting with whether you want a wet bar or a dry bar. But what’s the difference? Both are great for entertaining your family and friends, but they’re each suited to specific purposes. Read on to learn the difference between wet bars and dry bars and which one will suit your home best!

Wet Bar vs. Dry Bar: A Simple Difference

In some ways, a bar is a bar is a bar. They all provide an additional place in your home for friends and family to gather, chat and have fun while they watch you mix up their favorite beverages. What type of bar you choose is going to depend largely on what kind of space you’re working with, and where you want to put it. The difference between a wet bar and a dry bar is simple—a wet bar has a sink built in, and a dry bar doesn’t, but this leads to some key differences in installation and usage.

Wet Bar Pros and Cons

First of all, wet bars are more versatile than their dry counterparts. For instance, it’s easier to prepare drinks continuously for large groups of people with a wet bar, because you can wash glasses as you go without carting them to the kitchen. Wet bars generally contain more storage, too, which is handy if you have a lot of supplies for mixing different kinds of drinks.

As always, these pluses come with a few caveats—you’ll have to make sure your bar is situated near an existing plumbing line, and be prepared to shell out for a professional plumber to connect the new sink. Aside from being more expensive to install than dry bars, wet bars may also be seen as a little dated according to modern tastes in entertaining, unless you opt for a wet bar as an extension of your outdoor kitchen. The lesson here? If you want a wet bar to enjoy it yourself, go for it—but if you’re hoping a wet bar will increase your home’s value when it comes time to sell, don’t bet on it.

Dry Bar Pros and Cons

Unlike wet bars, dry bars are easy to add to any size space without worrying about running a plumbing line. They’re also on an upward trend as a desirable home feature compared to wet bars (understatement is the name of the game here). Dry bars are a good place to display a curated selection of bottles and glassware, and since they generally take up less space than a wet bar, they’re a good way to make use of otherwise unusable space in a room.

Because of their smaller size and lack of a sink, dry bars are only really ideal for entertaining small groups. You’re also best sticking to a more limited drink menu to cut down on trips to the kitchen.

Call National Property Inspections Today

Contact us to schedule a full inspection of your home. NPI inspectors have the training, knowledge and expertise to document the condition of all your home’s major systems.

How to Organize Your Garage in One Weekend

The garage is one of those spaces that often serves as a “dump” zone. Not only does it house bikes, tools and lawnmowers, anything that can’t be stored inside tends to get shuffled off there. And before you know it, you can’t see the floor! While we realize everyone’s storage space and belongings are different, we have a few tips to help you organize your garage in a stress-free way that makes sense.

It’s Not Just You

Before you go feeling ashamed at the state of your garage, know that up to 57 percent of people with a two-car can’t even park one vehicle inside due to the sheer volume of clutter. Whether you want to blame it on consumerism, the homeowner DIY movement, or something else entirely, Americans have a lot of stuff. And with our busy schedules, we don’t make a lot of time to think about how we store it.

Because we’re betting on there being several years’ worth of clutter to sort through, we recommend setting aside one full weekend to conquer your garage with your undivided attention. It might not be the most fun you’ve ever had, but it’ll be worth it.

Make it a Family Event

Depending on how much stuff you’re dealing with, you may want to enlist the help of family or friends. Order lunch and have snacks and drinks on hand to make it an event. You may even be able to pass along your unwanted items to someone who’ll use and love them right then and there, saving you a trip to a donation center and making it a win-win for everyone.

Prepare to Go Through Every Single Item

No cutting corners! You’ll want to go through every drawer, cabinet, box and shelf to determine what stays and what needs to go. If you have screwdrivers and other small items scattered to the winds, try to place them together in a clearly labeled box so you can see what you have to work with.

Make Keep, Donate, Sell and Throw Away Piles

Everything in your garage will ideally fall under the categories of Keep, Donate, Sell and Toss. Clearly label sections of your driveway or yard for these areas and make sure all your helpers are onboard with the plan (it’s surprisingly easy to get mixed up once you’re on a roll!).

Sort Everything That’s Left Over

Once everything is divided into the above four categories, it’ll need to be broken down even further into frequently used items, like items, rarely used items and things that can be stored off the floor. You might categorize things accordingly:

Frequently used items: items like boots, jackets, pet leashes, shopping bags and seasonal sports equipment should be placed near the door that leads into your home for easy access. All the better if they can hang on hooks to keep floor space clear.

Like items: Gardening and lawn care, auto care, off-season sports equipment and any hobby items, like painting supplies, for example, should be organized together in different zones. A large shelving unit works well for this purpose.

Rarely used items: Holiday decorations, table saws, spare tires . . . these are all important items to have on hand, even if they don’t get used more than once a year. A separate shelving unit devoted to these objects will help you keep them organized. Be sure to clearly label any opaque bins with stickers facing outward so that you’re not stuck going through a bunch to find what you need.

Off-the-floor items: The more empty floor space you leave yourself to work with, the more clean and open your garage will feel. Follow this simple rule—anything that can be stored off the floor should be stored off the floor. Find hooks and hanging apparatuses for everything from shovels and rakes to bicycles and lawn chairs at your nearest home improvement store.

Get Ready to Cut Your Losses, Even on Big Ticket Items

In an ideal world, we would make back the majority of our money on gently used items that we wanted to sell rather than donate. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always pan out this way. Storing items that need selling long-term will only put a roadblock in your way to a clean and organized garage. Make a deal with yourself: you’ll hang on to items that you’d like to recoup some money from for two weeks. Post them on Facebook, advertise them in your front yard, put an ad on Craigslist and spread the word among friends and family. If no one is biting, demand might be too low, and you’ll need to let go of it for free.

Check Your Local Home Improvement Store for Storage Solutions

Once you’ve got your garage organized, you’ll need storage solutions that will be up to the task for the long haul. Choose your hooks, bins, tool chests and shelving carefully. Avoid guesswork: see what you have to store after you’ve finished with the task of sorting through your things and draw up a plan for what you have left. Take measurements and bring your sketch with you to the store so that you can get valuable feedback from staff.

Most Importantly: Stop Tossing Things in the Garage

You don’t want to go back to square one, do you? Break the habit of tossing stuff in your garage once and for all and save yourself a ton of time and effort later. Make it a yearly task to sort out the small amount of clutter that will inevitably end up there, and keep using your garage for its intended purpose.

Call National Property Inspections Today for Your Residential Inspection Needs

At NPI, our inspectors are trained to access the condition of all the major systems in your home, including the roof, foundation, plumbing and more. Contact us today!

How to Flush Your Hot Water Heater the Easy Way

We’ll bet on the fact that you haven’t thought about flushing your hot water heater in awhile—if ever. But, while it’s one of those tasks that’s easy to forget, it’s necessary for maintaining an efficient system that lasts for the duration of its life expectancy (about eight to 12 years).

Why is Flushing Your Hot Water Heater Important?

Over time, hot water heaters collect sediment, or mineral deposits, at the bottom. These mineral deposits are typically the result of hard water. If your hot water heater doesn’t get flushed over the course of years, it can lead to a premature breakdown or even a burst tank.

How often you’ll need to flush your hot water heater depends on how hard your water is. Coastal and southeastern states typically don’t experience hard water to the degree that Midwestern and western states do. For those living in states with softer water, once every three years is a good rule of thumb, and for those with harder water, flushing once a year is a good idea.

How to Flush Your Hot Water Heater

Hot water heaters generally fall into two types: gas and electric. How each type is flushed is similar except for the first step. If you have a gas model, you’ll need to turn off the gas, and if you have an electric model, you’ll need to turn off the electricity to the water heater.

Eight steps may seem like a lot, but we promise the tasks are easy. In fact, you should be finished with the whole flushing process in as little as 30 minutes.

Step 1: Turn your hot water heater’s thermostat to the “off” position.

For safety reasons, this is one, if not the most important step in the flushing process. Some say you can get away with having the hot water heater on “pilot,” but we believe in being extra cautious and turning it to the “off” position.

Step 2: Turn off the gas or electricity.

Before you begin, you’ll need to turn off the gas to the hot water heater. If you have an electric hot water heater, you’ll need to turn off the electricity to it by flipping the breaker.

Step 3: Turn off the cold water supply to the hot water heater.

You’ll find the cold water supply near the top of the hot water heater. Turn the setting to off.

Step 4: Pick a sink or tub and turn on the hot water.

You’ll need to leave a hot water tap on during the entire flushing process. This helps prevent a vacuum from forming.

Step 5: Open the pressure relief valve.

Opening the pressure relief valve can help water flow more easily during the draining process. Be sure to place a bucket underneath the drainage pipe and use caution—hot water will rush out.
Once you’ve opened the pressure relief valve, you’ll need to let your hot water tank cool off before proceeding with the rest of the steps.

Step 6: Connect a garden hose to the drainage spigot.

Find the drainage spigot and connect a garden hose, then lead the hose outside or into a large bucket. If your water heater is in the basement, you may need to use a pump to direct the water out to the ground floor.

Step 7: Drain your tank.

Monitor the water that’s coming out of your tank. If it’s been a hot minute since you last flushed your hot water heater, you’ll notice that the water is brown and that you can see sediment. You’ll want to keep running the tank until the water runs clear.

Step 8: Flush your tank.

To complete the flushing process, turn on the cold water spigot that leads to your tank. Let it run until the water coming out of the hose becomes clear.

And you’re done—almost. Now you’ll need to put everything back where it was. Here’s your checklist:

• Turn off the drainage spigot and disconnect the garden hose.
• Close the pressure relief valve.
• Turn the hot water tap in the tub or sink off.
• Turn on the cold water spigot.
• When the tank is full, open the pressure relief valve.
• Turn the hot water tap in a tub or shower on. Cold water should be coming out.
• Turn the gas or electric back on.
• If you turned the thermostat off, relight the pilot light and turn it back on.
• If your hot water heater is electric, flip the breaker to turn the power back on.
• Wait about 20 minutes for the water to heat up and then check that hot water is coming out.

Call National Property Inspections for a Full Report on Your Home’s Systems

Our inspectors have the expertise to perform a non-invasive inspection on your hot water heater and other major systems and appliances. Contact us today.

Folding Fitted Sheets Made Easy

Folding Fitted Sheets

Here’s a familiar sight—your sheets are fresh out of the dryer, and now everything needs to be folded. You take care of the flat sheet, no problem. Pillow cases, easy. Fitted sheet? Hold on a second. If you think the only way to fold fitted sheets is to crumple them into a messy ball and throw them in the closet, you’re not alone. Sure, fitted sheets are unruly, but there’s a better way to fold them that’s a snap to learn.

Before We Get Started

Why are we going through this in the first place? Isn’t it enough that your fitted sheets get sort of folded and stuffed in the linen closet? At least they’re not ending up in a pile on the floor, right? Well, there are a few good reasons to take the extra minute and do the job correctly.

First, your sheets will stay wrinkle-free, which we all know deep down is better than the alternative. Second, folding your fitted sheets actually saves a ton of room in your linen closet, so if you’re one of those people who keeps more sheets, towels and other linen-closet-y things than you probably need, anything you can do to create more space is a must. Lastly, folding fitted sheets helps keep your linen closet organized—imagine not having to pull everything out looking for the one thing you need. Feels good, doesn’t it?

Folding Fitted Sheets in 7 Easy Steps

  1. Hold the sheet by two adjacent corners of the shorter side. Making sure that the sheet is inside out with the elastic edge facing you, place a hand in each corner.
  2. Starting with your right hand, bring one corner to the other and fold it over so the left corner is underneath the right one.
  3. Look down. You should see a corner hanging down in front. Grab that one, bring it up and fold it over the corners in your left hand. You’ll know you did this right if the corner that’s showing now is inside out.
  4. One more corner to go—bring that one up to meet the others and fold it over them. At this point your fitted sheet should be in a more or less square shape, with a “c” of elastic going from one corner to its opposite.
  5. Lay the sheet on a flat surface to smooth out any wrinkles.
  6. Fold the sheet into halves or thirds, depending on how small you want it.
  7. Marvel in your handiwork and accept your exclusive membership in the Fitted Sheet Folders Association.
  8. Just kidding, that’s not a real thing . . . or is it?

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