Every time you see a reduction in your utility bills, it is a chance for you to put more money back into your account. Moreover, lower energy bills also indicate less electricity consumption, which means fewer emissions are released into the environment.
Florida homeowners can save money and help minimize their carbon emissions. Here is a list of 10 easy ways to save money and energy in your home to get you started.

Reasons for Making Your Home More Energy-Efficient

Significant reductions in cooling, heating, and electricity costs can be easily accomplished via a few simple changes, most of which homeowners can do on their own.

Obviously, homeowners who wish to take advantage of the most advanced systems in home energy efficiency can always seek help from energy auditors at KNH Inspections. The latter can perform comprehensive tests to discover the best energy solutions for your home.

All those lightbulbs and home appliances might seem insignificant at this stage, but they eventually add up. What’s even better is that you will end up saving a lot of money on your electricity bills.

If you still need convincing, here are some valid reasons why you should consider making your home more energy-efficient.

  • It saves a great deal of money since it costs relatively less to power energy-efficient homes.
  • The state, federal, local, and utility jurisdictions’ financial incentives, like tax breaks, are incredibly beneficial for homeowners in several parts of the United States.
  • It adds to the comfort level indoors.
  • It helps minimize pollution. Conventional power production produces pollutants that make their way into the water, soil, and air supplies.
  • It minimizes our impact on climate change. Most scientists favor becoming more energy-efficient as they believe excessive energy consumption significantly contributes to global warming.

With this, here are ten easy ways to save a significant amount of money and energy in your home and protect the environment from further harm.

1. Discover better ways to cool and heat your house

Almost half of the energy (or more) we use in our home goes towards cooling and heating. Cut down on your energy bills by adjusting your cooling and heating systems such as:

  • Replace the air filters in your heaters and air-conditioners periodically.
  • Install ceiling fans in every room. As opposed to air-conditioners, ceiling fans consume a lot less energy, so use them more often in place of air-conditioners.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. This saves a significant amount of money by allowing the cooling and heating appliances to shut down automatically at night or when nobody is at home. A programmable thermostat contains no mercury and can even save up to $150 annually in energy costs in some climate zones.
  • Set the thermostat to a suitable temperature. More specifically, you should always turn down the thermostat at night or when nobody is home. For instance, decreasing the thermostat from 75° F to 70° F can help you save about 10% on heating costs.
  • Draw the curtains over the windows at night for better insulation.
  • Install a pellet or wood stove in your home. They are relatively more efficient sources of heat compared to furnaces.

2. Replace incandescent lights

An average household devotes almost 11% of its energy budget to lighting. The traditional incandescent lights we are so used to seeing in our homes convert roughly 10% of the energy into light. The rest becomes heat.

On the other hand, the newest and latest lighting technologies, such as LED (light-emitting diodes) lights and CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps), can minimize the energy use required by lighting by 50-75%. Here are some enlightening facts about LEDs and CFLs:

  • LEDs don’t have moving parts, and unlike CFLs, they have no mercury.
  • LEDs consume less energy and last significantly longer than CFLs.
  • CFLs use almost 75% less energy and last 10x longer than conventional incandescent light bulbs.

3. Install a tankless water heater

The instantaneous or tankless water heaters are in high demand as they only provide you hot water supply as needed. Unlike traditional storage water heaters, they do not produce standby energy losses, making them an excellent option for saving energy costs.
Tankless water heaters directly heat water without using a storage tank. Cold water travels via a pipe into the unit when the hot water tap is on. An electric component or gas burner heats up the water. Consequently, tankless water heaters provide a constant supply of hot water.

4. Install efficient and resourceful toilets and shower heads.

One of the best ways to save up on money and energy costs is to conserve water usage in your homes by installing one or more of the following systems:

  • Low-flow toilets
    Toilets are responsible for consuming roughly 30-40% of the total water supply in our homes, making them the most significant sources of water consumption and wastage. But, if you replace an older 3.5-gallon toilet with a contemporary, low-flow 1.6-gallon toilet, you can significantly minimize the water usage by an average of 2 gallons-per-flush (GPF). Doing this can save up to 12,000 gallons of water every year!
  • Dual-flush toilets
    For many years, dual-flush toilets have been in use in Australia and Europe. However, they’ve recently gained recognition in several parts of the United States. In a dual-flush toilet, you can choose amidst a 1-gallon flush for liquid waste and a 1.6-gallon flush for solid waste. A 1.6-GPF dual-flush toilet is an excellent option and reduces water consumption by an extra 30%.
  • Vacuum-assist toilets
    This toilet comes with a vacuum chamber that uses a siphon action to suck the air from the tap underneath the bowl. This enables it to quickly fill with water and clear the waste.
  • Low-flow shower heads
    These are available in many flow rates, and a few of them are equipped with a pause button to turn off the water supply while you lather up with soap.

5. Use electronics and appliances responsibly

Electronics and appliances are accountable for almost 20% of household energy bills in a typical U.S house. These essential tips can help in minimizing the required energy of household appliances and electronics:

  • Freezers and refrigerators must not be situated near the dishwater, stove, or heat vents. In addition, they shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight either. Exposure of such electronics to warm areas will force them to consume more energy to stay cool and maintain the optimum temperature of the things stored inside.
  • You should shut off the laptop or computer when it is not in use. If you must leave on an unattended computer, make sure the monitor is shut off. As per some studies, computers, and laptops account for almost 3% of the household energy consumption in the U.S.
  • Start using efficient ENERGY STAR-rated electronics and appliances. As sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR Program, these devices include DVD players, home-theatre systems, TVs, speakers, receivers, CD players, etc. As per the EPA, if just 10% of households switch to using energy-efficient appliances, it will decrease carbon emissions next to an equivalent of 1.7 million acres of trees.
  • Chargers for cell phones and laptops consume a lot of energy when they are plugged in. Hence, they should be unplugged when they’re not connected to electronics.
  • A laptop consumes significantly less electricity compared to a desktop computer.

6. Seal and insulate your home

Sealing and insulation of the house are incredibly cost-effective ways of creating a more energy-efficient and comfortable home. A tightly sealed home enhances the indoor air quality and adds to your comfort while drastically minimizing the utility bills.

Energy auditors from KNH Inspections can examine signs of leakage in the building envelope and suggest easy fixes that will significantly increase your energy and money savings and bring you the comfort you need. Leakages most commonly tend to occur in:

  • Mail slots
  • Electrical outlets/receptacles
  • Attic hatches
  • Around wires and pipes
  • Baseboards
  • Window or wall-mounted ACs
  • Inadequate weather-strips around doors
  • Fireplace dampers
  • Switch plates
  • Window frames

Air leaks most likely tend to occur in the attics of your home, primarily because the hot air rises. As a result, homeowners can conduct an array of maintenance and repairs in their attics that can save heaps of money on heating and cooling, such as:

Seal the small holes

This can quickly be done by identifying areas where the insulation is darkened. Darkened insulation usually results from the dusty indoor air being filtered by insulation before leaking through the tiny holes in the building envelope.
In cold weather conditions, you might notice frosty insulation areas, generally caused by moist and warm air condensing and freezing as it meets the cold attic air. You might find water stains in warm or hot weather conditions in these areas.
Use caulk or expanding foam to seal these tiny openings, especially electrical wires and plumbing vent pipes. Cover the areas well with insulation once the caulk is dry.

Plug the large holes

Leakages are most likely to be the greatest in the attic areas where the walls meet the attic floor, in dropped-ceiling areas, and behind and under the attic knee walls.

Seal the attic access panel with weather-stripping

Another great idea is to cut a small piece of fiberglass or foam board insulation, preferably in the attic hatch’s size, and use a strong adhesive to glue it to the back of the attic access panel. If you have an attic door or pull-down attic stairs, you can also seal them in the same manner.

7. Insulate doors and windows

Almost one-third of the heat in your home is lost through doors and windows. Here are some ways you can minimize the loss of energy through doors and windows:

  • The simplest and cheapest option is to seal all the cracks and window edges with rope caulk.
  • You can have the windows weather-stripped with a special lining that’s inserted between the frame and the window. For the doors, apply weather-stripping around the entire perimeter to ensure a firm seal when they are closed. You can also install high-quality door sweeps at the door’s bottom.
  • If existing windows have cracked glass, damaged or rotted wood, locks that don’t work, poorly fitting sashes, or missing putty, you should get them repaired or replaced.
  • Install storm windows at single-paned windows. You can also install removable glass frames over the existing windows.

8. Install daylights as an alternative to electrical lighting

Daylighting is an excellent practice that entails using natural lights to light up the interior of your home. Here are some fantastic approaches to daylighting:

  • Light shelves
    These are passive devices designed to bounce the light deep into the building, and they might be exterior or interior. Light shelves can light up a space up to 2.5 times the distance from the floor to the window’ top, whereas advanced light shelves can add light 4 times that amount.
  • Skylights
    We recommend “out with the old and in with the new” skylight options! More natural light, improved energy efficiency, and even fresh air ventilation to further minimize heating, cooling, and lighting costs. You must ensure the skylights are double-paned, or they might need to be more cost-effective.
  • Clerestory windows
    They are short and expansive windows that are set high on the wall. Protected from the scorching summer sun by the overhanging roof, they enable the winter sun to shine bright through for warmth and natural lighting.
  • Light tubes
    They use a unique lens explicitly designed to intensify the low-level light and minimize light intensity from the afternoon sun. The sunlight is channeled via a tube coated with a reflective material. It then enters your home living space via a diffuser, evenly distributing light.

9. Engage in smart cooking

A massive amount of energy is lost while cooking. Here are some statistics, along with excellent recommendations that illustrate less inefficient ways of cooking.

  • A microwave oven uses 80% less energy than a conventional oven.
  • A convection oven is way more efficient than a conventional one. It uses a fan to force the heat and hot air to evenly circulate, thus cooking food at unbelievably low temperatures. Moreover, a convection oven uses 20% less electricity than a conventional oven.
  • Place the pans on the flame or heating element of the matching size.
  • A pressure cooker drastically reduces cooking time.
  • A lid on your pan or pot tends to heat the food more quickly than cooking it in an uncovered pan or pot.
  • Place food on the top rack when you use a conventional oven. The top rack is generally hotter and allows the food to cook faster.

10. Change the way you do laundry

To conserve as much electricity as possible, pool the entire household’s laundry together and do full loads all together to minimize the number of times you use the washer every week. Also, you should treat warm-water washing as optional for events when you really need it.

Not heating the water each time you prep for washing the clothes is an excellent way of saving energy. Use these helpful tips to do your laundry more efficiently:

  • Where possible, air-dry your clothes on racks or clothing lines.
  • Don’t use the medium setting on your washing machine until you have a full load of clothes. This saves almost half of the water and energy used for an entire load of clothes.
  • Clean the lint trap every time before using the dryer. Excess lint can lead to a fire hazard and extend the amount of time needed for the clothes to dry.
  • Do not use high-temperature settings when the clothes aren’t very dirty.
  • Always wring or spin-dry the clothes before throwing them in the dryer.

Great Habits Make a Difference!

Florida homeowners who take the initiative to implement these changes typically discover that their energy and money savings are significantly more than worth their efforts. Our home inspectors at KNH Inspections can further simplify this process by conducting more thorough examinations of energy and money-saving potential than the average homeowner can.

Florida homes and buildings’ central air-conditioning systems must be periodically inspected and maintained to function correctly. While an annual inspection performed by a trained professional is recommended, property owners can do much of the work by following the tips offered in this guide.

Clean the Exterior Condenser Unit and Components

The exterior condenser unit is the large box on the side of the building designed to push heat from the inside of the building to the outdoors. Inside the box are pipe coils surrounded by thousands of thin metal “fins” that allow the waves more surface area to exchange heat. Follow these tips when cleaning the exterior condenser unit and its inner components — after turning off the power to the team!

  • Remove any leaves, spider webs, and other debris from the unit’s exterior. Trim foliage back several feet from the team to ensure proper airflow.
  • Remove the cover grille to clean debris from the unit’s interior. A garden hose can be helpful for this task.
  • Straighten any bent fins with a tool called a fin comb.
  • Add lubricating oil to the motor. Check your owner’s manual for specific instructions.
  • Clean the evaporator coil and condenser coil at least once a year. When they collect dirt, they may not function properly.

Inspect the Condensate Drain Line

Condensate drain lines collect condensed water and drain it away from the unit. They are located on the side of the inside fan unit. Sometimes there are two drain lines—a primary drain line that’s built into the team and a secondary drain line that can drain if the first line becomes blocked. Homeowners can inspect the drain line by using the following tips, which take very little time and require no specialized tools:

  • Inspect the drain line for obstructions, such as algae and debris. If the line becomes blocked, water will back up into the drain pan and overflow, potentially causing a safety hazard or water damage to your home.
  • Make sure the hoses are secured and fit correctly.

Clean the Air Filter

Air filters remove pollen, dust, and other particles that would otherwise circulate indoors. Most filters are typically rectangular, about 20 inches by 16 inches, and about 1 inch thick. They slide into the main ductwork near the inside fan unit. Depending on the manufacturer’s instructions, the filter should be periodically washed or replaced. A dirty air filter will not only degrade indoor air quality but also strain the motor to work harder to move air through it, increasing energy costs and reducing energy efficiency. The filter should be replaced monthly during heavy use during the cooling seasons. You may need to change the filter more often if the air conditioner is in constant use, if building occupants have respiratory problems, if you have pets with fur, or if dusty conditions are present.

Cover the Exterior Unit

When the cooling season is over, you should cover the exterior condenser unit in preparation for winter. If it isn’t being used, why expose it to the elements? This measure will prevent ice, leaves, and dirt from entering the unit, which can harm components and require additional maintenance in the spring. A cover can be purchased, or you can make one by taping plastic trash bags together. Be sure to turn the unit off before covering it.

Close the Air-Distribution Registers

Air-distribution registers are duct openings in ceilings, walls, and floors where cold air enters the room. They should be closed after the cooling season ends to keep warm air from back-flowing out of the room during the warming season. Pests and dust will also be unable to enter the ducts during the winter if the registers are closed. These vents typically can be opened or closed with an adjacent lever or wheel. Remember to open the registers in the spring before the cooling season starts. Also, ensure drapes, carpeting, or furniture do not block them.

In addition, homeowners should practice the following strategies to keep their central air conditioning systems running properly:

  • Have the air-conditioning system inspected by a professional each year before the start of the cooling season.
  • Reduce stress on the air conditioning system by enhancing your home’s energy efficiency. Switch from incandescent lights to compact fluorescents, which produce less heat.

In summary, homeowners can perform periodic inspections and maintenance on their home’s central air-conditioning system.
Need a trusted property inspector in Pensacola or surrounding cities? Reach out to us to schedule your inspection.


Designing and building an energy-efficient home that conforms to the many considerations faced by home builders can be a challenge. However, at InterNACHI, we believe that any house style can be made to require relatively minimal amounts of energy to heat and cool, and be comfortable. It’s easier now to get your architect and builder to use improved designs and construction methods. Even though there are many different design options available, they all have several things in common: a high R-value; a tightly sealed thermal envelope; controlled ventilation; and lower heating and cooling bills.

Some designs are more expensive to build than others, but none of them needs to be extremely expensive to construct. Recent technological improvements in building components and construction techniques, and heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) systems, allow most modern energy-saving ideas to be seamlessly integrated into any type of house design without sacrificing comfort, health or aesthetics. The following is a discussion of the major elements of energy-efficient home design and construction systems.

The Thermal Envelope

A “thermal envelope” is everything about the house that serves to shield the living space from the outdoors. It includes the wall and roof assemblies, insulation, windows, doors, finishes, weather-stripping, and air/vapor-retarders. Specific items to consider in these areas are described below.

Wall and Roof Assemblies

There are several alternatives to the conventional “stick” (wood-stud) framed wall and roof construction now available, and they’re growing in popularity. They include:

  • Optimum Value Engineering (OVE)
    This is a method of using wood only where it does the most work, thus reducing costly wood use and saving space for insulation. However, workmanship must be of the highest order since, there is very little room for construction errors.
  • Structural Insulated Panels (SIP)
    These are generally plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) sheets laminated to a core of foam board. The foam may be 4 to 8 inches thick. Since the SIP acts as both the framing and the insulation, construction is much faster than OVE or its older counterpart, “stick-framing.” The quality of construction is often superior, too, since there are fewer places for workers to make mistakes.
  • Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF)
    These often consist of two layers of extruded foam board (one inside the house and one outside the house) that act as the form for a steel-reinforced concrete center. This is the fastest and least likely technique to have construction mistakes. Such buildings are also very strong and easily exceed code requirements for tornado- and hurricane-prone areas.


An energy-efficient house has much higher insulation R-values than required by most local building codes. For example, a typical house in New York state might contain haphazardly installed R-11 fiberglass insulation in the exterior walls and R-19 in the ceiling, while the floors and foundation walls may not be insulated at all. A similar but well-designed and constructed house’s insulation levels would be in the range of R-20 to R-30 in the walls (including the foundation) and R-50 and R-70 in the ceilings. Carefully applied fiberglass batt or roll, wet-spray cellulose, or foam insulation will fill wall cavities completely.

Air / Vapor Retarders

These are two things that sometimes can do the same job. How to design and install them depend a great deal on the climate and what method of construction is chosen. No matter where you are building, water-vapor condensation is a major threat to the structure of a house. In cold climates, pressure differences can drive warm, moist indoor air into exterior walls and attics. It condenses as it cools. The same can be said for southern climates, just in reverse. As the humid outdoor air enters the walls to find cooler wall cavities, it condenses into liquid water. This is the main reason that some of the old buildings in the South that have been retrofitted with air conditioners now have mold and rotten wood problems.

Regardless of your climate, it is important to minimize water vapor migration by using a carefully designed thermal envelope and sound construction practices. Any water vapor that does manage to get into the walls or attics must be allowed to get out again. Some construction methods and climates lend themselves to allowing the vapor to flow towards the outdoors. Others are better suited to letting it flow towards the interior so that the house ventilation system can deal with it.

The “airtight drywall approach” and the “simple CS” system are other methods to control air and water-vapor movement in a residential building. These systems rely on the nearly airtight installation of sheet materials, such as drywall and gypsum board, on the interior as the main barrier, and carefully sealed foam board and/or plywood on the exterior.

Foundations and Slabs

Foundation walls and slabs should be at least as well-insulated as the living space walls. Uninsulated foundations have a negative impact on home energy use and comfort, especially if the family uses the lower parts of the house as living space. Also, appliances that supply heat as a by-product, such as domestic hot water heaters, washers, dryers and freezers, are often located in basements. By carefully insulating the foundation walls and floor of the basement, these appliances can assist in the heating of the house.


The typical home loses over 25% of its heat through windows. Since even modern windows insulate less than a wall, in general, an energy-efficient home in heating-dominated climates should have few windows on the north, east, and west exposures. A rule-of-thumb is that window area should not exceed 8% to 9% of the floor area, unless your designer is experienced in passive solar techniques. If this is the case, then increasing window area on the southern side of the house to about 12% of the floor area is recommended. In cooling-dominated climates, it’s important to select east-, west- and south-facing windows with low solar heat-gain coefficients (these block solar heat gain). A properly designed roof overhang for south-facing windows is important to avoid overheating in the summer in most areas of the continental United States. At the very least, Energy Star-rated windows (or their equivalents) should be specified according to the Energy Star Regional Climatic Guidelines.

In general, the best-sealing windows are awning and casement styles, since these often close tighter than sliding types. Metal window frames should be avoided, especially in cold climates. Always seal the wall air/vapor diffusion-retarder tightly around the edges of the window frame to prevent air and water vapor from entering the wall cavities.


A well-constructed thermal envelope requires that insulating and sealing be precise and thorough. Sealing air leaks everywhere in the thermal envelope reduces energy loss significantly. Good air-sealing alone may reduce utility costs by as much as 50% when compared to other houses of the same type and age. Homes built in this way are so energy-efficient that specifying the correct sizing heating/cooling system can be tricky. Rules-of-thumb system-sizing is often inaccurate, resulting in oversizing and wasteful operation.

Controlled Ventilation

Since an energy-efficient home is tightly sealed, it’s also important and fairly simple to deliberately ventilate the building in a controlled way. Controlled, mechanical ventilation of the building reduces air moisture infiltration and thus the health risks from indoor air pollutants. This also promotes a more comfortable atmosphere and reduces the likelihood of structural damage from excessive moisture accumulation.

A carefully engineered ventilation system is important for other reasons, too. Since devices such as furnaces, water heaters, clothes dryers, and bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans exhaust air from the house, it’s easier to depressurize a tight house, if all else is ignored. Natural-draft appliances, such as water heaters, wood stoves, and furnaces may be “back-drafted” by exhaust fans, which can lead to a lethal build-up of toxic gases in the house. For this reason, it’s a good idea to only use “sealed-combustion” heating appliances wherever possible, and provide make-up air for all other appliances that can pull air out of the building.

Heat-recovery ventilators (HRV) or energy-recovery ventilators (ERV) are growing in use for controlled ventilation in tight homes. These devices salvage about 80% of the energy from the stale exhaust air, and then deliver that energy to the entering fresh air by way of a heat exchanger inside the device. They are generally attached to the central forced-air system, but they may have their own duct system.

Other ventilation devices, such as through-the-wall and/or “trickle” vents may be used in conjunction with an exhaust fan. They are, however, more expensive to operate and possibly more uncomfortable to use, since they have no energy-recovery features to pre-condition the incoming air. Uncomfortable incoming air can be a serious problem if the house is in a northern climate, and it can create moisture problems in humid climates. This sort of ventilation strategy is recommended only for very mild to low-humidity climates.

Heating and Cooling Requirements

Houses incorporating the above elements should require relatively small heating systems (typically, less than 50,000 BTUs per hour, even for very cold climates). Some have nothing more than sunshine as the primary source of heat energy. Common choices for auxiliary heating include radiant in-floor heating from a standard gas-fired water heater, a small boiler, furnace, or electric heat pump. Also, any common appliance that gives off “waste” heat can contribute significantly to the heating requirements for such houses. Masonry, pellet and wood stoves are also options, but they must be operated carefully to avoid back-drafting.

If an air conditioner is required, a small (6,000 BTUs per hour) unit can be sufficient. Some designs use only a large fan and the cooler evening air to cool down the house. In the morning, the house is closed up and it stays comfortable until the next evening.

Beginning a Project

Houses incorporating the above features have many advantages. They feel more comfortable, since the additional insulation keeps the interior wall temperatures more stable. The indoor humidity is better controlled, and drafts are reduced. A tightly sealed air/vapor retarder reduces the likelihood of moisture and air seeping through the walls. Such houses are also very quiet because of the extra insulation and tight construction.

There are some potential drawbacks. They may cost more and take longer to build than a conventional home, especially if your builder and the contractors are not familiar with these energy-saving features. Even though the structure may differ only slightly from a conventional home, your builder and the contractors may be unwilling to deviate from what they’ve always done before. They may need education and training if they have no experience with these systems. Because some systems have thicker walls than a typical home, they may require a larger foundation to provide the same floor space.

Before beginning a home-building project, carefully evaluate the site and its climate to determine the optimum design and orientation. You may want to take the time to learn how to use some of the energy-related software programs that are available to assist you. Prepare a design that accommodates appropriate insulation levels, moisture dynamics, and aesthetics. Decisions regarding appropriate windows, doors, and HVAC appliances are central to an efficient design. Also evaluate the cost, ease of construction, the builder’s limitations, and building code-compliance. Some schemes are simple to construct, while others can be extremely complex and thus more expensive.

An increasing number of builders are participating in the federal government’s Building America and Energy Star Homes Programs, which promote energy-efficient houses. Many builders participate so that they can differentiate themselves from their competitors. Construction costs can vary significantly, depending on the materials, construction techniques, contractor profit margin, experience, and the type of HVAC chosen. However, the biggest benefits from designing and building an energy-efficient home are its superior comfort level and lower operating costs. This relates directly to an increase in its real-estate market value.

Electricity is an essential part of our lives. However, it has the potential to cause great harm. Electrical systems will function almost indefinitely, if properly installed and not overloaded or physically abused. Electrical fires in our homes claim the lives of 485 Americans each year and injure 2,305 more. Some of these fires are caused by electrical system failures and appliance defects, but many more are caused by the misuse and poor maintenance of electrical appliances, incorrectly installed wiring, and overloaded circuits and extension cords.

Some safety tips to remember:

  • Never use anything but the proper fuse to protect a circuit.
  • Find and correct overloaded circuits.
  • Never place extension cords under rugs.
  • Outlets near water should be GFCI-type outlets.
  • Don’t allow trees near power lines to be climbed.
  • Keep ladders, kites, equipment, and anything else away from overhead power lines.

Electrical Panels

Electricity enters the home through a control panel and a main switch where one can shut off all the power in an emergency. These panels are usually located in the basement. Control panels use either fuses or circuit breakers. Install the correct fuses for the panel. Never use a higher-numbered fuse or a metallic item, such as a penny. If fuses are used and there is a stoppage in power, look for the broken metal strip in the top of a blown fuse. Replace the fuse with a new one marked with the correct amperage. Reset circuit breakers from “off” to “on.” Be sure to investigate why the fuse or circuit blew. Possible causes include frayed wires, overloaded outlets, or defective appliances. Never overload a circuit with high-wattage appliances. Check the wattage on appliance labels. If there is frayed insulation or a broken wire, a dangerous short circuit may result and cause a fire. If power stoppages continue or if a frayed or broken wire is found, contact an electrician.

Outlets and Extension Cords

Make sure all electrical receptacles or outlets are three-hole, grounded outlets. If there is water in the area, there should be a GFCI or ground-fault circuit interrupter outlet. All outdoor outlets should be GFCIs. There should be ample electrical capacity to run equipment without tripping circuit breakers or blowing fuses. Minimize extension cord use. Never place them under rugs. Use extension cords sparingly and check them periodically. Use the proper electrical cord for the job, and put safety plugs in unused outlets.

Electrical Appliances

Appliances need to be treated with respect and care. They need room to breathe. Avoid enclosing them in a cabinet without proper openings, and do not store papers around them. Level appliances so they do not tip. Washers and dryers should be checked often. Their movement can put undue stress on electrical connections. If any appliance or device gives off a tingling shock, turn it off, unplug it, and have a qualified person correct the problem. Shocks can be fatal. Never insert metal objects into appliances without unplugging them. Check appliances periodically to spot worn or cracked insulation, loose terminals, corroded wires, defective parts and any other components that might not work correctly. Replace these appliances or have them repaired by a person qualified to do so.

Electrical Heating Equipment

Portable electrical heating equipment may be used in the home as a supplement to the home heating system. Caution must be taken when using these heating supplements. Keep them away from combustibles, and make sure they cannot be tipped over. Keep electrical heating equipment in good working condition. Do not use them in bathrooms because of the risk of contact with water and electrocution. Many people use electric blankets in their homes. They will work well if they are kept in good condition. Look for cracks and breaks in the wiring, plugs and connectors. Look for charred spots on both sides. Many things can cause electric blankets to overheat. They include other bedding placed on top of them, pets sleeping on top of them, and putting things on top of the blanket when it is in use. Folding the blankets can also bend the coils and cause overheating.


Electricity is important to the workings of the home, but can be dangerous, especially to children. Electrical safety needs to be taught to children early on. Safety plugs should be inserted in unused outlets when toddlers are in the home. Make sure all outlets in the home have face plates. Teach children not to put things into electrical outlets and not to chew on electrical cords. Keep electrical wiring boxes locked. Do not allow children to come in contact with power lines outside. Never allow them to climb trees near power lines, utility poles or high tension towers.

Electricity and Water

A body can act like a lightning rod and carry the current to the ground. People are good conductors of electricity, particularly when standing in water or on a damp floor. Never use any electrical appliance in the tub or shower. Never touch an electric cord or appliance with wet hands. Do not use electrical appliances in damp areas or while standing on damp floors. In areas where water is present, use outlets with GFCIs. Shocks can be fatal.

Animal Hazards

Mice and other rodents can chew on electrical wires and damage them. If rodents are suspected or known to be in the home, be aware of the damage they may cause, and take measures to get rid of them.

Outside Hazards

There are several electrical hazards outside the home. Be aware of overhead and underground power lines. People have been electrocuted when an object they are moving has come in contact with the overhead power lines. Keep ladders, antennae, kites and poles away from power lines leading to the house and other buildings. Do not plant trees, shrubs or bushes under power lines or near underground power lines. Never build a swimming pool or other structure under the power line leading to your house. Before digging, learn the location of underground power lines.

Do not climb power poles or transmission towers. Never let anyone shoot or throw stones at insulators. If you have an animal trapped in a tree or on the roof near electric lines, phone your utility company. Do not take a chance of electrocuting yourself. Be aware of weather conditions when installing and working with electrical appliances. Never use electrical power tools or appliances with rain overhead or water underfoot. Use only outdoor lights, fixtures and extension cords. Plug into outlets with a GFCI. Downed power lines are extremely dangerous. If you see a downed power line, call the electric company, and warn others to stay away. If a power line hits your car while you are in it, stay inside unless the car catches fire. If the car catches fire, jump clear without touching metal and the ground at the same time.


  • Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring.
  • Hire an InterNACHI inspector. InterNACHI inspectors must pass rigorous safety training and are knowledgeable in the ways to reduce the likelihood of electrocution.
  • Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old and damaged appliance cords immediately.
  • Use electrical extension cords wisely and don’t overload them.
  • Keep electrical appliances away from wet floors and counters; pay special care to electrical appliances in the bathroom and kitchen.
  • Don’t allow children to play with or around electrical appliances, such as space heaters, irons and hair dryers.
  • Keep clothes, curtains and other potentially combustible items at least 3 feet from all heaters.
  • If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
  • Never overload extension cords or wall sockets. Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch, as well as lights that flicker. Use safety closures to childproof electrical outlets.
  • Check your electrical tools regularly for signs of wear. If the cords are frayed or cracked, replace them. Replace any tool if it causes even small electrical shocks, overheats, shorts out or gives off smoke or sparks.

In summary, household electrocution can be prevented by following the tips offered in this guide and by hiring an InterNACHI inspector.

The vast majority of homeowners barely consider their roofs at all. It’s what protects the house from the sun and rain and as long as it does that job well, who cares, right? In fact, the top of your roof is a lot more complicated than you might think even if you’ve been up there a few times. When a professional does a roof inspection, they have a lot more ground to cover than simply taking a look around. To effectively inspect a roof, you need to take the health of the shingles, the structure beneath the roof, every vent and sunroof and the flashing around them. There are overt signs of damage and more subtle signs of potential future problems. They even need to assess how your yard is arranged in case there’s a tree or power line that might need to be taken into account.

The best way to understand the importance of a roof inspection is to understand the inspection checklist itself. This will help you to know why a trained professional is needed for the twice-yearly inspection and what shuold be able to tell you about your roof when the inspection is over.

Damaged Shingles

Singles, Shake, or Tiles are the primary material of your roof and so it’s easy to understand why the inspection starts here. Your inspector needs to look for a large number of damage types over the entire surface area of the roof. Blistering, curling and splitting can be an environmental problem while cracked, broken, and loose shingles are often the result of extreme weather or falling branches. Soft shingles are also a problem because they indicate dangerous decay stages.

Loose Nails

Singles are nailed down and sealed. If the seals or nails come loose, this can cause a loose shingle and compromise the integrity of your roof.

Shingles and Sagging on the Ridges

The ridges of your roof are the areas most at risk of damage and holes eventually forming. The inspector will look for broken or loose shingles on the ridges and signs of sagging.

Damaged Flashing

The flashing is what seals things like chimneys, windows, and vents to your roof and is usually a metal sheathing caulked to the roof and the object. Flashing can rust, warp, corrode, or get incredibly dented and the caulk can also rot or break away. These will all put your home at serious risk of leaks and infestation.

Gutters and Downspouts

All the features that connect to your roof are part of both roof safety and your inspection. The gutters and downspouts are there to direct water that hits your house away from the walls which could begin to rot if over-exposed to water.

Shingle Overhangs

There are many kinds of roof design and some angles have shingle overhangs rather than a directly attached gutter. These need to be checked on to ensure they will continue to properly direct water down and away from the home.

Cracks on Roof Sheathing

The roof sheathing is what’s between the rafters and the actual shingles. It’s often made of a lightweight wood or composite board like plywood but is an integral part of your roof structure. After the exterior inspection, your inspector will head into the attic to check on the internal features.

Attic Ventilation

The ventilation in your attic matters a surprising amount to the health of your roof and is part of it’s design to keep your house comfortable and safe.

Leaks and Light

Inspections during the day allow for detection of potentially serious leak issues. If you can see light coming through the roof in your attic, it’s time for repairs.

Exhaust Fans

Finally, exhaust fans usually go through the attic to the roof and should be properly sealed at every stage. Your roof inspector will usually take a look at these connections inside and outside to ensure they’re installed correctly and don’t need repairs.

Given how important the roof is to your home, it makes sense for the inspections to be quite complex and the basic checklist doesn’t even include specialty items like skylights and satellite dishes. For more information about roof inspections or to schedule one for your home or business, contact us today!

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