Water: get out of here

Did you notice a strong musty odor in your basement after a rain shower? If you have a septic system, probably he will be responsible for your craziness. But remember that you can have a problem from moisture build-up inside the basement too.

Proper drainage around the outside of your home is critical for the long term when you are building your house. We have a lot of options to work in a proper drainage for your foundation, when building a new home: the traditional French system is normally used, normally with a perforated 4″ PVC. More recently EZ drain is becoming one example of new products to facilitate your job (click here to check it).

EZ drain photo
EZ drain system in a trench to help water drain out of the foundation

Always remember that a clogged French drain can be a very tough situation.  So if you have French drains it is very important to have a filter to catch debris before it clogs the underground drain.

On the other hand, remember that the water always will fall from your roof, even if you live in very dry counties. Rain gutters are also an important part of the drainage system around your house. If your gutters are leaking and in poor repair, or if the downspout empties right beside your house, you could experience a huge problem in the future.

Gutters need to be installed properly so they will catch the water coming off of your roof and channel it at least 3-4 feet away from your home. To ensure your gutters are working as they should, you may need to just wait for the next rain storm, go outside and take a look.  If the rain is overshooting the gutter as it leaves the roof, then your gutters are not doing their job.   Gutters should have a downward slope towards the downspout to ensure they drain completely.

At ground level, the water from your downspout should be directed at least 4 feet away from your house. It’s best to have the water flowing through a tipout on the ground, or onto a splashguard designed to drain the water away from your home.

The goal of your home’s exterior drainage system is to simply move water away from your home – mainly from the foundation.  During the next rain storm pay attention to all the parts in this system.  If you discover any problems, getting them fixed immediately is critical. And if you are buying a new home don’t save money on gutters, and always ask your builder how was the system used near the foundation to work on the water drainage out of the foundation.

Thinking about PVC windows

Windows choices are a big decision to make when you build a new house, or even when you would like to change the old ones. A lot of people love the wood windows and brands like Andersen, Marvin and Pella are among the most popular for the majority of the customers that can spend a little bit more to have great windows. But sometimes even the most expensive windows series from these brands have problems (some prefab colors, for example, does not exist in some series). In the recent year PVC and UPVC windows are representing one of the most afordable options for replacement windows, for example.

PVC window from site
Cross section of and insulated PVC window

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a synthetic plastic polymer, which is created by chemical reactions. Vinyl is usually made in rigid and flexible forms. In order for it to become flexible, plasticizers are added to the compound. Plasticizers are commonly solvents that has a goal to turn the material a little bit more flexible.

The “U” in UPVC stands for “unplasticized”. An interesting facy is that although they are commonly referred to as PVC windows, most vinyl windows are in fact made from UPVC. UPVC is not as flexible, is more weather and fire resistant, doesn’t deteriorate, warp, or discolour as fast as regular PVC and can be a good option for your windows. It is also not as toxic or dangerous to the environment as plasticized vinyl.

Window frames made of PVC score top marks when compared with aluminium or wooden windows. They have better insulation values and are able to reduce energy and heating costs. Vinyl sashes also offer better performance and energy efficiency from your insulated sealed units. These windows can also accommodate grilles inside the sealed unit.

Think about that in your next window replacement. It can save you money and help the environment.



Basement Egress…with charm

To have a basement egress is an obligation for all constructions here in Massachusetts, and every builder understands this necessity to comply with local rules. Not a lot of systems are nice – let’s be frank, here. But some options can be fancy, practical and comply with the code in the same time.

Photo credit: http://www.casailb.com/unique-basement-egress-window/basement-egress-window-ideas/

Boman Kemp basement egress systems can play an important part in turning your  basement into an additional living area that’s both attractive and safe. It increases the natural light and ventilation while also providing a safe escape route that’s building code compliant. You have different models, colors and accessories to deal with.

You can find more information about that clicking here

Real estate sites are moving forward


Online real estate database companies are looking for more opportunities. Other than being only a database and search engine, now Zillow and Redfin are starting to test a model that will provide home owners the possibility to sell their houses directly to them, via website.

Redfin, for example, began testing an experimental new service called Redfin Now, where they buy homes directly from home sellers and resell them to other home buyers. According to a SEC filing on June 2017 the company said that “customers who sell through Redfin Now will typically get less money for their home than they would listing their home with a real estate agent, but get that money faster with less risk and fuss”.

For calculating the price of the house, Redfin believe in the algorithms for calculating what a home is worth – with this process the company expects that they will limit the risk that the price they pay a customer for a home is below the price they’ll charge a new buyer. Computers and Artificial Intelligence are everywhere now, and this is just another example of their ability to change the world we’ll live in the near future.

It sounds like another message that big names in the real estate business are trying to get more homes for better prices, to flip and resell for better prices. It is a risky strategy, and many real estate agents that are partners for some business probably will be upset. Let’s see the next moves in this very interesting area. But…every single time some risky innovative concept prove to be right for the long term, then we look backwards and called the innovator a genius.

Interactive intelligent house

Imagine something like that: your house warms before you rise, your favorite song fades in early in the morning, and the shades go up to let in the morning light. No, it is not a movie, nor the new TV series remembering that billionaires are there to show how difficult it is to belong to their world.

smarthome Aria Systems
Illustration from Arya Systems webpage (https://www.ariasystems.com)

Of course all of these new technologies are not cheap, but innovation and technology are here to stay. New home owners can dream about and depending on the systems they would like to use the prices can be attractive. If you want all the luxury behind the idea, you have to pay the price though.
Intelligent homes can do a lot of thinks:
1. You can turn off the lights of the house using your Apple Watch of Samsung G3
2. From your mobile you can start to heat your tub before arriving home
3. Wake up in the morning listening your favorite song, while your windows automatically open
4. Exterior lights automatically fading in an out in specific times of the day/night
5. Music systems being installed in your wireless network and your phone or watch selecting the music you want to listen while cooking
6. One-touch commands (with words that you can select) can prepare you home for a dinner with friends, for example (music themes, special lights turning on in your driveway, among other little surprises)
7. Good morning and good night functions can do whatever you want to save money (decrease and increase the air conditioning use, for example)

Savant is one of the companies that specializes in light home experiences, and you can check more clicking here. Products like Wink Hub 2 are designed to provide a hub for the integration of all features (lights, sounds, security cameras and sounds), and have affordable prices.

A new whole world. But in our opinion are here to stay.