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Air Conditioner Maintenance

Air Conditioner Maintenance

Summer is almost here! The warmer days we’ve had recently on the north shore gave homeowners with air conditioners some relief and some surprises. If your air conditioner isn’t cooling your home the way you expect it to, check on these simple maintenance items before calling out a professional. BTW, if your system is working properly, check these things anyway to head off problems that might be brewing.

The Air Filter

Air filters are the most important thing for homeowners to maintain i.e. change regularly. In most central AC systems, the AC filter and furnace filter are one in the same. If you have one of those cheap single-ply filters, it should be changed at least once per month. Better yet, speak with your HVAC professional about upgrading to better quality filters. Inexpensive filters can’t trap small particulates that can accumulate on the evaporator coil where they restrict airflow, reducing system efficiency.

The Condensing Coil

The compressor and condensing coil are the parts that sit outside the home. To help dissipate the heat that gets removed from the home, a big fan pulls outdoor air over the condensing coils. To work properly, it needs plenty of airflow. The condensing coil should not be obstructed by plants, weeds, flowers or decorative shrouds. Condensing coils also need to be cleaned regularly. When operating, the fans suck air in on all the open sides. This tends to pull in debris such as dirt, grass clippings and most everything else in the air. Inspect all sides of your outdoor unit and clean the coils off annually, or as needed.

If you notice ice on your unit either inside the house or outside and you’ve already checked everything listed above, it’s time to call in a professional. Just be sure to contact someone you know and trust.

At Spyglass we maintain a list of professionals we recommend to our clients. These are licensed professionals who have worked for us on our own properties. After 50 years in the business we’ve learned to separate the pros from the posers. If they haven’t proven to us to be skilled, reliable and fair, they never make the list.

At Spyglass we never leave our clients with a list of problems without suggesting some solutions. Just another example of our commitment to seeing you safely home.

By: Bern Galat, Principal, Spyglass Home Inspections

Your Home Inspection – Be There

Your Home Inspection – Be There

I encourage my clients to attend the entire inspection, so we can go through everything together. We talk about concerns they may have with the house and I try to get a sense of what’s important to them. Some clients are focused on the roof or foundation. Others may have had plumbing or electrical problems in other homes they’ve owned and want to avoid similar problems in their new house. In some cases, the buyers are planning to completely remodel the house so are less concerned about older windows, heating systems or outdated kitchens and baths.

When my clients attend the inspection, we talk about the importance of repairs. Some defects have little impact on the home, such as minor cracks in the foundation, small areas of peeling paint or dings and dents on interior walls. Conversely, handyman additions to electrical or plumbing systems could have a major impact on the house and the safety of the family that lives there. Without discussing these items or seeing them firsthand, it’s difficult for buyers to prioritize repairs.

That’s why at Spyglass we inspect your home as if our family will be living there and we want you to see firsthand how we do that.

By: Bern Galat, Principal, Spyglass Home Inspections

Negotiations after the Inspection

Negotiations after the Inspection

Negotiations are common after a home inspection, and the inspector is often caught in the middle – often through their own fault. It is not within the purview of an inspector to determine what should or shouldn’t be negotiated- that’s a job for the real estate agent.

It’s important to know what a home inspection is and is not. A buyer hires a home inspector to learn about the home, and the inspection report details the results of the inspection. The inspection report is not a repair list for the seller, nor is it a lever for strong-arming the seller into renegotiating the price. Issues that come up during a home inspection may be negotiable, but there are no hard and fast rules about repairs that sellers need to complete as a result of a home inspection. When defects are found during the inspection, the buyer has four options.

Renegotiate the price

The buyers can use the savings on the purchase price to hire their own professionals to do the work after they own the house.

Ask the seller to complete the repairs

When asking a seller to perform repairs, it’s important to be specific. Describe in detail what should be done. Insist that a licensed professional be engaged and that all required permits are pulled and the work inspected and approved by the local municipal building inspector.

Cancel the deal

When buyers decide there are too many issues with the house, the issues are more complex than they can handle or find the seller unwilling to negotiate, they may decide to move on.

Do nothing

This is often the best option for buyers. When buying a home, don’t expect things to be perfect, because they never are. This doesn’t mean buyers shouldn’t ask for serious issues to be corrected but it’s unrealistic to expect sellers to fix every little defect. Asking them to address a long list of minor repairs will put them on the defensive, make you look petty and squander any good will you’ve developed to this point. Stuff happens and when you get to the closing you may regret having created an adversarial relationship.

By: Bern Galat, Principal, Spyglass Home Inspections

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