Helpful Hints and Tips
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How to save on new construction cost
Cost estimating for your house plan is an inexact science and actually
more of a “liberal art.”It involves balancing quality with affordability
and there will be inevitable trade-offs depending on the level of
finish and detailing you require.
1. House Shape Is Key:
Complex geometries such as angles, bump-outs, irregular shapes, and curves are more expensive to build. Simpler shapes, rectilinear forms, and shapes with fewer angles.
2. Size Building
A smaller house generally saves money. BUT, there is an economy of scale in building a larger house: typically the kitchen and bathrooms are the most expensive rooms so an extra bedroom can be inexpensive square footage. Building up as aposed to out, in some cases can also save money!
3. Plumbing Placement Affects Cost.
It can be “stacked” to save money — example, bathrooms that sit over one another .Plumbing for the kitchen and bathrooms can also be placed back-to-back or adjacent to one another for additional savings.
4. Roofs Rule.
Simpler roof forms save money and trouble. Roofs with lots of hips, valleys, and ridges require more flashing and water-proofing, and more material and labor. More complex roofs have a greater chance of leaking because of the transitions at ridges, hips, and valleys.
TIPS FOR SPRINGCheck for loose or leaky gutters. Improper drainage can lead to water in the basement or crawl space. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear and free of debris.Low areas in the yard or next to the foundation should be filled with compacted soil. Spring rains can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation flooding and damage. Also, when water pools in these low areas in summer, it creates a breeding ground for insects.Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Make repairs now before the spring rains do more damage to the exposed wood.From the ground, examine roof shingles to see if any were lost or damaged during winter. If your home has an older roof covering, you may want to start a budget for replacement. The summer sun can really damage roof shingles. Shingles that are cracked, buckled or loose or are missing granules need to be replaced. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys need to be checked and repaired by a qualified roofer.Examine the exterior of the chimney for signs of damage. Have the flue cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep.Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. All exterior slabs except pool decks should drain away from the home's foundation. Fill cracks with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk. When weather permits, power-wash and then seal the concrete.Remove firewood stored near the home. Firewood should be stored at least 18 inches off the ground at least 2 feet from the structure.Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. Turn the water on and place your thumb or finger over the opening. If you can stop the flow of water, it is likely the pipe inside the home is damaged and will need to be replaced. While you're at it, check the garden hose for dry rot.Have a qualified heating and cooling contractor clean and service the outside unit of the air conditioning system. Clean coils operate more efficiently, and an annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance levels. Change interior filters on a regular basis.Check your gas- and battery-powered lawn equipment to make sure it is ready for summer use. Clean equipment and sharp cutting blades will make yard work easier.
How to Protect Your Home
During Extreme Cold Weather
cold weather can be hard on both you and your home. Here are some tips to put
into practice when freezing weather, snow,
and ice hit your area.
How to Deal
with Frozen Pipes
and drain garden hoses.
outside faucets with insulating foam covers.
off water to outside faucets, if available, and open valves on faucets to allow
them to drain.
off sprinkler system and blow compressed air through the lines to drain them.
or cover foundation vents under house and windows to basements.
exposed pipes (both hot and cold) under house with foam pipe insulation.
cabinet doors under sinks.
hot and cold faucets in kitchen and bath. Drip single control faucets with
lever set in middle.
icemaker to make ice if the water line to it runs under the house.
forget to check on pipes to your washing machine in the laundry room
water main cut-off valve, and have a cut-off key handy.
hair dryer, heat lamp, electric heat tape, or a portable space heater to thaw
frozen pipes that have not burst.
the faucet open when thawing frozen pipes to allow water to begin flowing
the weather has warmed above freezing and any frozen pipes have thawed, turn
off dripping faucets and monitor your water meter to check for unseen leaks.
How to Keep
Warm in Your Home
your furnace inspected before cold weather arrives. Inspect the heat exchanger
for cracks, install a clean air filter, and check the thermostat to see if it’s
fireplaces, and chimneys before using, and have them cleaned if needed.
drapes and blinds closed, except when windows are in direct sunlight.
storm windows, or install sheet plastic window insulation kits on the inside of
or remove any window air conditioners.
electrical outlets and switches on exterior walls with foam seals available at
any cracks or holes on the outside of your house.
or replace weather stripping and thresholds around doors and windows.
paddle ceiling fans on low in reverse (clockwise when looking up) to circulate
draft snakes on window sills, between window frames, and against doors.
heat with propane or fuel oil, make sure the tank is full.
heat with wood or coal, have plenty of fuel on hand.
Protect the Outside of Your Home
your gutters and downspouts before cold weather arrives to prevent ice from
forming in them.
an ice repellent solution on steps and walks before freezing weather arrives
antifreeze levels in cars. Add if needed, then run the engine to circulate the
new antifreeze through the radiator and engine block.
resistant windshield wiper fluid, and spay to circulate it in lines.
air pressure in tires, since cold weather causes the pressure to lower.
in container plants, add mulch around plants, and cover plants that are prone
to frost damage. Remove covering when temperatures warm above freezing.
birdbaths and fountains
sweep snow off plants and shrubs in an upward motion with a broom.
rock salt, sand, or clay based kitty litter on walks and drives (NOTE: Salt can
damage grass and other plants).
overdo it when using a snow shovel.
off your roof during freezing weather, but once the ice and snow have melted,
inspect your roof for any damage.
How to Stay
Safe in an Ice or Snow Storm
nonperishable food and water.
prescription medications in advance of storm.
car with gas.
flashlights, batteries, a weather radio, and a manual can opener on hand.
portable generator can come in handy when the lights go out, but take
precautions to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning when using.
sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and the batteries
powering them are fresh.
working fire extinguisher on hand for emergencies.
chain saw can come in handy for removing broken limbs after an ice storm.
By: Danny Lipford