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Is your basement wet?

clock June 27, 2009 21:12 by author blogadmin
Identifying the source of water in your basement will make your home healthier and more structurally sound. Hire an expert to install a waterproofing system.

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Having water in your basement is never a good thing. From structural deterioration to mold growth, wet basements create a number of hproblems for your home. When you have wet basement problems, it's critical to get your basement dry and keep it that way. In addition to standard basement waterproofing strategies, you may want to consider a whole house dehumidifier. Increasing ventilation and improving the overall air quality of your home, these systems can help ensure your basement stays dry!

Basement Waterproofing

Musty odors? Visible mold and mildew? Buckling or bowing walls? You likely have a basement moisture problem. Even when you don't see water, any of these problems is a sign of a leaky foundation. Damaging moisture is seeping into your home, so you need to attack it at its source! There are a variety of basement waterproofing methods and resources, so be sure that your contractor has tailored your water remediation to suit your home. The most important aspect of any basement drying solution is to identify the moisture's entry point and eliminate it. A number of options are available for sealing your basement and removing water, including:

  • Interior drain tiles
  • Sump pump installation
  • Battery or back up sump pumps
  • Vinyl wall sheeting
  • Crawl space encapsulation
  • Foundation crack repair
  • Steel Push Piers
  • Helical Tiebacks
  • Wall Plate Anchors

 Foundation Repair

Many times the water that is entering your home can also cause structural foundation problems. The moisture causes soils to consolidate under your foundation which in turn causes settlement. This settlement can be resolved with steel push piers or helical piers mounted under the footing transferring the weight of the structure from these consolidating soils to these newly installed piles.

So if you have signs of water in your basement contact a professional to help solve your homes problems. From waterproofing to foundation repairs solving water problems will make your home healthier and more structurally sound. Because...it's your home!

 



Ignoring Foundation Repair

clock June 27, 2009 20:19 by author blogadmin
By ignoring foundation repairs, your home may start to settle or move laterally. Hire a foundation repair expert to stabilize your foundation before it is too late.

 

Foundation repair is not something most of us like to think about. We tend to ignore it and hope that fixes itself. Foundation problems can be a stressful, potentially costly endeavor, filled with uncertainty, particularly if not done under the direction of a professional contractor or foundation engineer. 

Foundation Repair is needed when your foundation begins to settle or move laterally. This can be caused by building on expansive clay, compressible or improperly compacted fill soils, or improper maintenance around foundations.  

Foundation repairs aren't easily performed, so you cannot sit back and hope for the best. You must do your homework to find the best foundation repair contractor for the job. As usual, the lowest price is not always the best way to go. If you choose to make your final decision based on price, be prepared to be disappointed. Quality repairs take specialized equipment and specially trained people to perform the work. 

Needed foundation repair work can not be ignored. The traditional answer to foundation repair has been to erect piers to jack up the foundation and raise it off the expansive clay soil. The piers must be installed through the expansive or weak soils to stabilize the structure. Foundation repair can be the most expensive repair that you will make to a property. There are four major categories for this type of piering – steel push piers, helical piers, micro piles and concrete piles. Each of these have their benefits and logical applications. 

Steel push piers are hydraulically driven piers that use the weight of the structure to drive steel pier material through the soil until they reach a load bearing stratum for support. Once the pier material is driven, individual hydraulic cylinders are attached to each pier and the structure is either stabilized or lifted using a hydraulic manifold system. Steel push piers are best suited for basements, crawl spaces or other heavy structures. 

Helical piers are similar to push piers except they are screwed through the soil and use a steel plate, flight, to support the pile within layers of good soil. These piles must be monitored very closely upon installation to achieve their intended depths. Once an adequate depth is achieved, once again, a hydraulic manifold lifting system is installed to lift or stabilize the structure. These helical piers are ideally suited to light weight structures that only need a small lift or stabilization. 

Micro piles are hydraulically driven hollow steel piers that are filled with grout during installation or immediately upon completion. The hollow bar serves not only as structural steel but also as a means inject the grout. These high capacity piers use the same type of manifold lifting system as steel push piers and helical piers. While these piles have very large capacities and can be installed in soils that other piles cannot be installed in, they also require much more equipment for installation which make them more expensive to install. They are best suited for very heavy structures sitting upon poor soils laden with cobbles, boulders and trash. 

Concrete piers are piers that use a drilled hole filled with concrete that rely on skin friction for support. They are drilled or dug into the soil, usually beyond the active soils, and then filled with concrete. Once the concrete has hardened, a shimming system is usually employed to support the structure. These piers are not only messy but take much longer to complete. 

Foundation repair is critical to address as soon as you suspect a problem. For starters, the sooner you fix a failing foundation, the less damage it will cause. Due to the complexity of foundation repairs the best advice is to hire an engineer followed by a trained foundation repair contractor. These professionals will make sure that your home is fixed correctly and permanently. Do not ignore your foundation problems have them fixed by the pros.

 



The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

clock June 21, 2009 06:27 by author blogadmin
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 made significant changes to the energy efficiency tax credits that applies to products.

 

On February 17, 2009, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 made significant changes to the energy efficiency tax credits. These changes apply to products "placed in service" in 2009. The highlights are: 

·         The tax credits that were previously effective for 2009, have been extended to 2010 as well.

·         The tax credit has been raised from 10% to 30%.

·         The tax credits that were for a specific dollar amount (ex $300 for a CAC), have been converted to 30% of the cost.

·         The maximum credit has been raised from $500 to $1,500 total for the two year period (2009-2010). However, some improvements such as geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, and solar panels are not subject to the $1,500 maximum.

·         The $200 cap on windows has been removed, but the requirements for windows has been increased significantly. Not all ENERGY STAR qualified windows will qualify.   

 

Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency includes:

·         Tax Credits for Consumers

o    Tax credits are available at 30% of the cost, up to $1,500, in 2009 & 2010 (for existing homes only) for:

§  Windows and Doors§  Insulation§  Roofs (Metal and Asphalt)§  HVAC§  Water Heaters (non-solar)§  Biomass Stoves

o    Tax credits are available at 30% of the cost, with no upper limit through 2016 (for existing homes & new construction) for:

§  Geothermal Heat Pumps§  Solar Panels§  Solar Water Heaters§  Small Wind Energy Systems§  Fuel Cells

**Please note, not all ENERGY STAR qualified homes and products qualify for a tax credit. These tax credits are available for a number of products at the highest efficiency levels, which typically cost much more than standard products. If, for whatever reason, you decide not to purchase a product covered by the tax credit, you may still consider purchasing an ENERGY STAR product. ENERGY STAR distinguishes energy efficient products which, although they may cost more to purchase than standard models, will pay you back in lower energy bills within a reasonable amount of time, without a tax credit. 

Tax Credits for Consumers: 

Home ImprovementsTax credits are now available for home improvements:

·         must be "placed in service" from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010

·         must be for taxpayer's principal residence, EXCEPT for geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, solar panels, and small wind energy systems (where second homes and rentals qualify)

·         $1,500 is the maximum total amount that can be claimed for all products placed in service in 2009 & 2010 for most home improvements, EXCEPT for geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, solar panels, fuel cells, and small wind energy systems which are not subject to this cap, and are in effect through 2016

·         must have a Manufacturer Certification Statement to qualify

·         for record keeping, save your receipts and the Manufacturer Certification Statement

·         improvements made in 2009 will be claimed on your 2009 taxes (filed by April 15, 2010) — use IRS Tax Form 5695 (2009 version) — it will be available late 2009 or early 2010

·         If you are building a new home, you can qualify for the tax credit for geothermal heat pumps, photovoltaics, solar water heaters, small wind energy systems and fuel cells, but not the tax credits for windows, doors, insulation, roofs, HVAC, or non-solar water heaters. 

 



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