Top 9 AC Maintenance Tips for a Moisture-free, Cool Home

  • Filter cleaning
  • Evaporator servicing
  • Unclogging the condensate drain line
  • Condenser coil servicing & fin cleaning
  • Fin straightening
  • Keeping compressor unit covered during winter
  • Leveling up the condenser unit
  • Getting a programmable thermostat
  • Using an AC with a higher star rating

Life, in scorching summer, is simply unimaginable without an air conditioner. Think about the monstrous combo of heat, humidity, and sweat. Isn’t an AC the best thing to invest in this season? It keeps you and your home cool, controls the in-house moisture content, supplies you with clean and allergen-free air to breathe in. However, it takes no time for your little oasis to turn into a boiler room when your airconditioner stops working. Sounds nightmarish? Well, over-consumption and ill-maintenance can make even the world’s smartest appliance permanently idle. So, spare yourself the torture. Here are nine essential AC maintenance tips. Educate yourself about the proper maintenance of an AC and enjoy a glitch-free, cool summer.

First thing first: Know your air conditioner

An air conditioner has three main parts: compressor, condenser, and evaporator. The compressor and the condenser are located in the outside part of the air-conditioning system. The evaporator, on the other hand, is fitted inside the in-house unit. The system absorbs hot humid air from the outside atmosphere, cools it down, and removes the excess amount of moisture from it making it dry and fresh. This is of utmost importance because excess moisture inside a home can lead to dampness which in turn may cause the moulds to flourish. So basically, an AC in working condition, if used judiciously, can help keep your home mould free and your loved ones healthy and happy!

Essential maintenance tips for an AC

A combination of DIY usage and cleaning techniques and professional AC servicing is all you need to keep your home’s air conditioning system working in its optimal condition. Here are nine must-dos of AC maintenance:

1. Filter cleaning

Clean the filters of your air conditioner every month or once in every two months, especially during the cooling season. Dirty filters block normal airflow allowing the air to bypass it eventually. The bypassing air carries dirt with it and when it enters directly inside the evaporator coil, it damages the coil’s heat-absorbing capacity badly. It is proved that replacing a clogged filter with a clean one can lower the energy consumption by an AC by 5 to 15 percent.

2. Evaporator servicing

It is the evaporator where the actual cooling takes place in an air conditioning system. To make sure it is working perfectly, you must check its gas level at least once in a year. Call up your AC service centre and get the checking done for you.

3. Unclogging the condensate drain line

With time, the exit route of the water collected below in the condensate drain pan becomes filled with dirt and slime. Due to infrequent cleaning, the slime blocks the drain tube outlet. The water then unable to find an exit collects inside the system and eventually starts dripping from the indoor unit. This raises the humidity level of the room and increases the risk of damp.

4. Condenser coil servicing & fin cleaning

The condenser and fin of an air conditioning system (in a split AC) are located inside the outdoor unit. The condenser coil is the part through which the heat is removed from the refrigerant. As it is located outside, it easily gets soiled by the dirt, rain, and falling leaves. The dust and debris make it extremely difficult for the hot air to come out and get dissipated. Due to such poor heat dissipation, the condenser and compressor units get heated up leading to malfunctioning of the AC. Yearly maintenance of the condenser coil is much-needed to keep it running in proper condition for a longer period of time.

The aluminum fins on the condenser are visible from outside. Dust and debris tend to get accumulated on these fins. To protect the evaporator and condenser, you must clean the coil fins regularly. You can use a powerful shop vacuum or a fin cleaning spray to remove the dirt from the fins. However, never use a pressure washer for cleaning as it severely damages the coil fins.

5. Fin straightening

Damaged fins reduce air flow bringing down the efficiency of the air-conditioning system. So,if you notice any bent fin get it straightened immediately using a fin-straightening tool. But be gentle with the tubing embedded within the fins. They can get damaged easily.

6. Keeping compressor unit covered during winter

During winter, when you are not using your AC, keep the compressor unit covered with a piece of cloth or plywood or plastic. This will prevent dust from entering inside the unit. However, don’t completely cover the unit’s sides as moisture build-up inside can cause corrosion.

7. Leveling up the condenser unit

The pad upon which the condenser unit sits begins to swell with time as soil settles beneath it. As a result, the condenser unit becomes out-of-level and starts malfunctioning. To avoid such a problem, get the condenser checked and bring it back to level.

8. Getting a programmable thermostat

Programmable thermostats allow variable temperature setting during different times of the day. This technology helps you to save energy and manage your comfort level without having to press constantly the AC remote controller buttons.

Also, make sure there is no direct light falling upon the thermostat for the major part of the day. Or else, it will crank up your AC and show inaccurate readings.

9. Using an AC with a higher star rating

According to the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) standards, an AC with 5-star rating has the highest ISEER i.e. Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is ‘the Ratio of the total annual amount of heat that the equipment can remove from the indoor air when operated for cooling in active mode to the total annual amount of energy consumed by the equipment during the same period’ (4.5). So, it is always advisable to invest in a 5-star inverter AC to save on the running cost substantially.

Remember, you are not a technician!

There are many more trivialities that you must take care of to maintain your AC like using blinds or drapes on the windows to prevent direct sunlight from heating up the room and dusting the AC unit daily. However, there can be no alternative to a professional AC service. Get it done in time to help your AC serve you better for many years.

11-Point Checklist to Simplify Home Buying

The idea of buying a house or an apartment has undergone a sea change. It is no longer only about owning a space where one can live comfortably in a city for years; home buying has evolved as an investment decision that today’s ‘anywhere generation’ takes to reap good returns, irrespective of where they are stationed for work.

Nevertheless, the decision to buy a home is an important one and it demands in-depth research, proper guidance, and a lot of legwork. From applying for the home loan to getting a final home inspection done, every step requires the home buyer’s active participation. If you’re getting into the process anytime soon, here’s a checklist you can bank upon:

1. Research

Internet is a treasure trove of information for home buyers. Browse thoroughly and make a list of upcoming, new real estate properties that are already open for advance booking. Get to know about each of the properties, where it is located, the neighbourhood, and the security. Don’t forget to take a virtual tour of it to get a feel of the place. Calculate the acreages and then, depending on your budget, you shortlist the properties. You can also consider looking up the property selling websites for a good deal. Going old-school is also advisable in the case of home buying. Keep an eye on the Real Estate page of the newspapers and magazines so you don’t miss out on a lucrative deal. Some of the prominent websites for research include www.magicbricks.com, www.99acres.com, www.makaan.com, www.housing.com/in/buy, www.proptiger.com, www.regrob.com, www.remax.in, www.commonfloor.com, www.nkrealtors.com, www.squareyards.com, www.jll.co.in, etc.

2. Site Visit

Plan a visit to each of the shortlisted property sites but not before you have made a checklist of amenities you would wish to have in there! If the house/housing complex is at its Phase Zero or under construction, take a tour of the site, talk to the realtor and try to know if the property actually has those amenities or not. Also, note down the details of the price and the payment/ loan options. Mark ‘right’ if you like the property and move on to check the next.

3. Builder/ Seller’s document verification

Once you have zeroed in on a property, ask your builder/ seller for the clearness certificates and other legal documents. A builder’s credibility is a crucial factor in home buying and so, you must consult a lawyer who can guide you in the matters of paperwork. Get the builder’s document verified by the lawyer. This will protect you from any possible breach of trust and breach of contract in the future. In case it is a new project check the State RERA website for project detail/ status/ approvals, etc. Any project with a land area over 500 square meters or includes eight apartments or more must mandatorily register their project along with all the relevant details on the State RERA website. Some of the State RERA websites are www.hira.wb.gov.in (West Bengal), www.maharera.mahaonline.gov.in (Maharashtra), www.tnrera.in (Tamil Nadu), www.rera.karnataka.gov.in (Karnataka), www.dda.org.in/rera (Delhi), www.up-rera.in (Uttar Pradesh), www.haryanarera.gov.in (Haryana), www.rera.goa.gov.in (Goa), etc.

4. Check your neighbourhood

Do a review of your neighbourhood development, the availability of basic amenities/ utilities, like grocery, fruits & vegetables, logistics, computing resources (autos/ bus/ cabs/ metro), etc. The developments in and around your apartment are very important to be checked thoroughly.

5. Home Inspection

If you’re buying a resale property, the next important step will be a home inspection. Get a complete health and safety checkup of the property you are buying. This is the step that helps you to take an informed home buying decision by assessing the property against parameters such as Moisture Content and/or Dampness, Electrical Wiring condition, and condition of Water Pipeline, Cracks, Electrical issues, etc. There are possibilities that the seller will try to convince you about the worthiness of the property and somewhat discourage you also from getting the home inspection done. But you being the buyer must go for it.

A property, in all likelihood, will have mild to a severe damp problem and other issues like leakage and seepage, crack, electrical/safety issues, other construction related issues. Due to finishing/ renovation, they may not be visible from outside. A professional home inspection can help you detect this problems and save you from future harassment. All the elements like wall, ceiling, floor, doors, windows, plumbing, electrical, etc have to be check properly.

6. Organizing home buyer’s credentials

Once you get a nod from the third party property inspection company, proceed to organize your KYC and financial documents and credentials. When you apply for a home loan advance, the first thing a home loan provider asks for is your financial reports. These include your KYC documents, credentials, income tax returns, bank statements, etc.

In case you’re not sorted out, finding these reports can turn out to be tedious and faulty at the end. So, organize everything in a folder that you can access it easily. The sooner you find and forward the files to the home loan provider, the sooner your application is accepted and you get endorsed by the bank for a credit.

7. Credit score check

You may think you have an astounding credit score, but the actual report can paint a different picture. To avoid getting last minute surprises (read ‘shocks’), check your credit report in advance. In India, companies, like CIBIL, CRIF High Mark, Equifax, and Experian provide such reports. You can get your free credit score generated from any of these companies, once in a year.

Check the report for any mistake and initiate the process for a new record generation if there’s any indication of possible fraud. Remember, any mistake on your credit report can bring down your credit rating and imperil your home loan approval.

8. Getting Pre-Approval Loan

After assessing your credit score, the bank releases a confirmation (virtual) of loan approval. The pre-approval loan gives you the initial financial support with which you can make down payment for booking the property. However, the loan comes with a time window within which if you fail to purchase the property, the bank cancels it. Do read our related blog for more information on this…… www.macj-abuyerschoice.com/guide-take-home-loan-dream-home

9. Construction monitoring

If you’re buying an under-construction property, visit the site periodically to check if all the commitments made by the builder are being fulfilled properly. If you’re staying abroad or in a different city and is not possible to visit the site in person, delegate the duty of checking to a professional home inspection company. They will report you from time to time and coordinate with the builder for any real-time modification.

10. Completion of purchase

Complete the legal diligence followed by the signing of the sale agreement. If you’re an NRI, your property manager will help you prepare the agreement papers. Recheck the sale deed so as to make sure all the specifications of your home are met.

11. Pre-handover home inspection

Finally, get a professional home inspection done to make sure the property is ready for moving in. Once ‘Okayed’ by the company, proceed to further activities like doing your home interiors.

There’s nothing more exciting than purchasing a home. But, the tonnes of paperwork and issues like appraising a property’s health can make it less gratifying. Follow the above tips to make the complicated home buying process smooth sailing for you.

8 Simple Tips to Keep your Kitchen Clean and Germ-free

  • Wash your hands before preparing and eating meals/snacks
  • Focus on the cooking area
  • Correct Storage
  • Washing Fruits and Vegetables
  • Use of Anti-bacterial wipes
  • Cleaning your dishcloths properly
  • Frequently disinfecting the kitchen floor
  • Kitchen Waste Management

Read on to use these simple tips……

Kitchen is the heart of every household. It is a place where you prepare healthy and delicious meals for your family. An unhygienic cooking space attracts cockroaches and rats that make your cooking area a hub of diseases. Keeping your kitchen unclean can lead to unhealthy cooking and can make your family prone to several diseases like food poisoning, stomach infection and many more.

Since a kitchen space is prone to wetting and accumulating food waste, oil and others, it is recommended to have regular sanitation for this area. In order to keep you and your family well fed and healthy, a clean kitchen is essential. Also, Kitchen has many objects which include electronic appliances, storage ducts, food waste and drainage, so proper attention for hygiene and sanitation to be given for each of this section.

Keeping the kitchen clean & germ-free is not as tough as it may appear if regularly maintained.

Let us take a look at some of the ways to maintain cleanliness in the kitchen thereby ensuring a healthy family.

1. Wash your hands before preparing and eating meals and snacks:

Surely, everyone knows about this tip. But though most of us know this, many of us are still neglecting our hand hygiene. Germs spread very easily between our hands and food, so having a clean pair of hands before engaging in any food preparation or cooking is essential. Washing your hands properly after touching any raw vegetarian / non-vegetarian item, after going to the toilet and after using the bin can help to reduce the spread of harmful bacteria. Using anti-bacterial hand wash makes a real difference in hand and kitchen hygiene.

2. Focus on the cooking area:

The cooking area of the kitchen must be the focus area in order to maintain proper cleanliness and hygiene. The area must be cleared and freed from clutter so that no nearby items get contaminated while chopping vegetables etc. After chopping down vegetables and other eatables, it is advised to clean the space and chop board immediately. Cleaning on time is important because leftover food particles and wetness can attract flies and insects. If you are cleaning it at a later stage, use a disinfectant to clean. Additionally, a separate chopping board can be used for vegetable and non-vegetarian items.

3. Correct Storage:

Correct storage of food in kitchens is as important as correct cooking. When storing food in fridges or coolers make sure the food is at room temperature or lower. Putting warm food in a fridge means the food does not cool evenly and therefore can cause food poisoning. Cover your food too, food left out in the open is vulnerable to bacteria.

4. Washing Fruit and Vegetable:

When handling fresh fruit and vegetables it is always advisable to wash them before using. Washing fruit and vegetables can help remove harmful germs and bacteria from the food’s surface. This is one of the healthy habits for food hygiene.

5. Use of Anti-bacterial wipes:

The use of some mild anti-bacterial wipes are recommended once every day to areas like the sink and counter/ slabs. Spills or oil stains on gas stoves should be immediately wiped. Cleaning cloth or a wire brush can be used to clean tiles and other surfaces. Appliances like refrigerator, oven or microwave should be cleaned and disinfected using the recommended cleansers at least once in a week. Storage areas and cabinets need a regular check for insects and cockroaches. Natural cleaners like lime and cleaning up is very important. As cooking is done multiple times, so after every meal cleaning can be done with a cloth.

6. Clean your dishcloths properly:

Dishcloths are one of the most overlooked components of any kitchen when it comes to disinfection. Believe it or not, dirty sponges and dishcloths are the perfect spot for harmful bacteria to breed. Frequent disinfection of dishcloths becomes important to avoid health-related concerns.

Soaking them in a solution of warm water and chlorine bleach can potentially destroy all lurking germs and bacteria. However, it is recommended to replace your dishcloths if they continue to give out foul smell despite disinfecting.

7. Frequently disinfect the kitchen floor:

Kitchen floors can be a potential breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Bacteria can be introduced to the kitchen floor through various means. One of them is walking with shoes or socks on. Alternatively, bare feet can leave behind dead skin cells. All of these factors eventually add up to degrade the hygiene of the kitchen.

It is strongly recommended to disinfect the kitchen floor very often. Cleaning the kitchen floor with warm soapy water is an effective way to disinfect. Deep cleaning the floor once a week can further reduce the growth of pathogens. A solution of baking powder, vinegar, dish soap, and lukewarm water can be effectively used to wipe off all microbial pathogens from your kitchen. Additionally Sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor every day to keep the kitchen dry is preferable.

8. Kitchen Waste Management:

It is an important factor to be looked for keeping kitchen hygienic. The better way to proper waste management is to use dedicated waste buckets for organic and inorganic waste. Any vegetable or fruit peels should be kept in a dedicated organic waste bucket and dumped into either the home compost or waste disposal can. Germs often breed in the waste bucket overnight. Germs and bacteria from leftover packaging can easily come in contact with the cooking space and create a bad odour inside the kitchen and attract other pests. If you use non-vegetarian items, leftovers from it should be removed without any delay from the kitchen, as it attracts bacteria fast. It is advisable to clean the kitchen waste each night before retiring. Additionally Wasting of food should be minimized to make sure there is less organic waste to be managed.

Conclusion:

Following these tips will make it easy to keep the kitchen clean and hygienic. It is the kitchen where the foundation of your family’s well-being is laid. As it is related to the health and hygiene of your family, you cannot afford to neglect kitchen cleanliness. Moreover, a clean kitchen stimulates good mood leading to better cooking experiences and also provides hygienic food. Good health and physical well-being of all family members is a direct indication of the hygienic practices followed in their kitchen. Hence the kitchen is one of the most important places in a home to be kept clean and germ-free.

11 Ways to Keep Your Home Cool During this Summer

During the summer a house can get really hot. The quick way or solution to get rid of this would be to turn on the air conditioner, ceiling fans, and other cooling devices that run on electricity. Effective as they may be, these artificial coolers can use up a lot of power and this will reflect on your electric bill.

There are other ways to beat the heat in your home.

Keeping your home cool during summer can be a challenge when temperatures begin to rise—and unfortunately, so does your energy bill due to the use of an artificial cooling device. The easiest way to keep your home cool this summer is not to let it heat up in the first place.

Fans and proper home ventilation can help to keep the house cool without any air conditioning. Paint or clad the exterior of your house with a light color. The Light color will reflect light, unlike dark colors which absorb up to 90% of the sun’s energy and create more heat inside your home.

Here are 11 simple tips to keep your home cool this summer.

1. Air Conditioner maintenance

Something you may not know about your air conditioner is that it runs far more efficiently when it is properly cleaned and maintained. Change the filter regularly. An air conditioning unit with dirty filters can use 5 to 10 percent more energy than necessary.

2. Reduce and reflect sunlight

Direct sunlight coming into your home can increase the temperature. Another option for keeping your home cooler is applying heat-reflective window film to windows that receive direct sunlight. Close the drapes during the hottest part of the day or during times when the sun shines through a particular window. Placing curtains, blinds for windows or reflective window panels are some of the ways to make room cool and the sun out of windows.

3. Use heat-producing equipment at a certain time of day

Limit the use of stoves, dishwashers, dryers, washing machines, and other heat-producing equipment/appliances during midday and early evening. Use them in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler.

4. Make use of your bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans

Apart from drawing out any excess steam, exhaust fans also draw out the heat from other rooms nearby. There will be a noticeable difference. You can probably do this at the warmest part of the day when you’re not using your AC.

5. Invest in indoor plants

To prevent excess sunlight entering your house, invest in indoor plants. According to House Beautiful, putting plants in front of sunny windows allows the absorption of some of the sun’s energy that will otherwise heat up your home. This is the reason why investing in house plants is a great way to make your house feel cooler and greener. Water the plants regularly in the mornings and evenings.

6. Turn off lights when not in use

Light bulbs produce heat, especially the incandescent ones. If you can’t replace this type of bulb, the least you can do is minimize their usage.

7. Usage of proper fixtures

Improve air circulation in your kitchen by changing lighting fixtures and fans with fixtures that provide a cooling breeze in your cooking area.

8. Application of cool roof paint

Application of cool roof paint on roof surface will reduce approx 5 to 10 degree temperature of an inside house as it reflects the suns heat and emits absorbed radiation back into the atmosphere at a higher rate than standard materials, literally staying cooler than a standard roof.

9. Air Conditioner – Outdoor and indoor units

The Correct distance between the indoor and outdoor unit plays a very important role in efficient cooling. The maximum allowable distance between the indoor and the outdoor units of air Conditioner can be about 15 meters. Air Conditioner Outdoor unit fan flow should not be obstructed by anything.

10. Keep rooms with Air Conditioning closed

Rooms having Air Conditioner should be closed properly otherwise cooling efficiency will be less. For example, sometimes the door panel has a distinct gap under it which will be a path for cool air to flow outside.

11. Fix Vetiver roots mats on the windows-exterior

Fix Ramacham mats or Vetiver roots mats (or Khus Khus grass mats as known in Hindi) on the windows-exterior such that whatever air comes will blow in through the damp mats and you will make a cool breeze. Thick damp bed sheets are also ideal for this purpose.

Hopefully, these tips will help you in keeping your home cool. You won’t have to suffer the hot weather or spend too much on your electric bill to keep your house comfortably cool, especially during the summer.

8 Safety measures you need to take in your Homes

Be Safe Be Alert

1. Buy (deadbolt and chain) Locks

For added safety, consider installing a deadbolt and chain lock if your door doesn’t already have them. A deadbolt is more secure and difficult to pick than a standard doorknob lock, because the deadbolt only opens by rotating the lock cylinder, whereas a spring bolt lock can be withdrawn by applying force to the bolt itself. Additionally, a chain lock provides an extra layer of security when opening your door, allowing you to open your door to an extent only to talk to a stranger or ask for identification, before opening up completely.

2. Lighting in the apartment

An apartment with lots of lights is rarely at risk. One can have an entryway and the sideways flooded with lights which will make it easier for anyone to recognise strangers.

3. Buy Good Blinds / Curtains

This will prevent robbers from looking inside your home and being tempted by all the valuables they see. Install blinds / curtains that completely block the view from outside, and make sure to close them when you go out. That way, you’ll keep the wandering eyes from scanning your valuables and reduce your risk of break-ins.

4. Use a Safe

A safe can be a last line of defense to protect your most valuable possessions. Items such as jewelry, cash and sensitive documents can be locked away in a fireproof case. Find a safe that fits your budget and needs, and talk to your carpenter about bolting it to a floor or wall, so a burglar can’t pick it up and take it.

5. Install a Security System

CCTV cameras have become a must nowadays. Have them installed in strategic positions which will cover the key areas of your home. And needless to say install the app in your phone also. In that way you can keep an eye even in your absence. Work to make sure your residence is secure, and take personal steps to keep it that way.

6. Keep a written schedule or reminders of events

If you’re expecting a package through a company jot down the estimated date of arrival. Schedule all appointments, such as cable / internet company, electric, equipment servicing or other necessary needs at a specific date and time. Be sure that you get identification prior to allowing them in, even if it’s having them slide a badge under the door if there isn’t a peephole available.

7. Be careful on how and whom you notify when leaving your apartment

Never, under any circumstances, leave short notes on your doors for others that reside with you. You will never know who is around while you’re gone. Always give the intended party a short call or text message letting them know your whereabouts, even if it’s a short trip to the store. Always contact nearby family and friends when planning on leaving for a longer time duration.

8. Neighbors make a huge difference in the quality of life

We should have some amount of rapport with our neighbours and other residents. It’ll give us a sense of security of knowing those living around us. Offer a hand to your elderly neighbors, such as carrying groceries from their car. Living in a complex may gives us a chance to befriend each other and create a healthy bond. By this, we can be of help to each other. Treat their packages left outside like your own and leave it by their doorstep instead of ignoring it as you pass by.

Throughout the year, the facility manager or the person in charge is required to check the maintenance of the overall building and your own apartment, such as proper lighting, smoke detectors, and apartment inspections. Usually a note to all residents will be posted somewhere near the main entrance or mailboxes prior to the intended date. They may also need a secondary person to assist with assignments, so thoroughly read any notices to be aware of the situation.

9 Steps to Make Your Home Monsoon Ready

If summer comes, can monsoon be far behind! Every year by the end of June, monsoon arrives in major parts of the Indian subcontinent ushering in a prolonged spell of light to heavy rainfall. There is a visible change in life everywhere. Nature’s palette all of a sudden gets filled with diverse shades of green. But beauty and relief aren’t all that the season of showers brings along with it.

The rains turn out to be quite an ordeal for our beloved homes. Hidden crevices and leakage in the home infrastructure lead to damp and seepage problems, and if a home is already suffering from one of such problems, during heavy rainfall, it tends to get intensified. Result? – Damage at multiple levels.

Damp, seepage or leakage has a toxic effect on the health of a house. There are watery patches and black mildew spots on the exterior or interior walls, plaster and wallpaper start peeling off, tiles on the bathroom and kitchen walls seem to bulge out, and in worst conditions, ceilings become leaky and water starts dripping down the walls!

Damp poses serious health threats to the inmates of the house. The high moisture content leads to the growth of microbes such as fungus, mould and algae turning home into a hub of diseases. Allergic rhinitis, bronchitis, asthma, skin and sinus infections become a regular concern. To add to the plight of all, a typical odour of dampness fills the air triggering discomfort and claustrophobia.

To avoid such torment every year you need to be a little alert. Even before the first shower of the season wets the earth you must make your homes monsoon ready. Here’s how you should go about it:

1. Examine the house visually

Take a closer look at your home. Do you see any crack or damaged tile on the ceilings or the walls? Is there a leaking pipe in your kitchen or bathroom? Get it repaired immediately or else, the monsoon rains will worsen things further. Damp spots are obvious if there is seepage on the wall. But then, these are signs of deeper problems which call for expert intervention.

Find the underlying cause of water seepage

Water seepage is a common problem in regions receiving high monsoon rainfall. Studies show within five years of construction completion, water starts seeping through the external walls of a building. The main reason in most of the cases is poor construction practices. The findings of a survey conducted on about 10,000 households in Mumbai revealed the use of single layer of brick walls. As a result, cracks develop on them easily resulting in water ingress.

Other reasons for water seepage are:

  • Water absorption and permeability of the wall materials
  • Faulty control joints and expansion joints
  • Penetrating moisture
  • Capillary action-led rising dampness
  • Developing honeycomb structures in plaster or concrete
  • Inadequate separation gaps

All these issues can be addressed through visual inspection, waterproofing & crack bridging of walls.

2. Clear blockages in the drainage system

Make sure there is no blockage in the drainage pipes of the buildings to avoid overflows and water-logging. Standing water in the roof, especially, can be a real headache if not cleaned in time. The water tends to seep through the ceilings and walls before finally making its way through cracks not visible to the naked eyes. Soon, ugly water spots begin to show up and the ceilings and walls start flaking and sprouting moulds. To solve the problem you may opt for roof waterproofing but before that, get a thorough inspection done for a long-term solution.

3. Service your big home appliances

Before the onset of the monsoon, get all your big home appliances serviced. Check your air conditioner for any possible leakage, both in the indoor as well as the outdoor unit. Defrost the freezer and drain the water if required. And finally, make sure your washing machine spinner/drier is working in its optimal condition so that even if you have to dry your clothes indoors when it is raining, you don’t end up increasing moisture content of your home. Servicing your home appliances will also reduce the possibility of bigger problems like electrocution.

4. Ventilate your home properly

Proper ventilation is crucial for maintaining a damp-free, healthy environment at home. Keep your windows open when you are not using the AC and let the fresh air and natural light come in. Sunlight kills mould spores and fungus and helps to reduce in-house moisture content. You may wonder why bother about the moisture condition of your home? Well, moisture is the invisible culprit that disturbs the functioning of your building system rendering it weak, over the years. It is important that you learn to identify the common symptoms of the moisture problem and save your home and family from long-term damages.

5. Get rid of pests and insects

Ventilating will address pest issues of your home only partially; to get rid of them completely, go for a pest control drive. Make all the possible passages, corners, outlets, and cracks of your house pest-free. This will not only help reduce the chances of allergy and infection in monsoon but will also stop cracks from widening further.

6. Keep your surroundings clean

As you ensure your home ventilation, do not forget to check the surrounding area too. See if any tree branch is leaning on your terrace. Cut or trim it before it gives way during a heavy downpour damaging your walls. Also, check if any loose electrical overhead line is hanging near to your building. Alert the civic authority of your area and get it fixed to avoid major electrical accidents.

7. Other nitty-gritty of a clean home interior

Wooden doors tend to swell with moisture in a damp house. During monsoon, the problem increases. So, get them fixed by your carpenter properly while also putting a fresh polish on them to minimize water absorption. In the case of metal-framed doors and windows, it is advisable to go in for a repaint to avoid rusting and seepage of rainwater through them. Get your windows sealed with a good sealant.

Furniture is another crucial part of home decor. Clean them regularly with dry clothes to keep them dirt and fungus-free.

8. Get moisture / damp intrusion of your home assessed for long-term solutions

No matter how vigilant you are about your home, you cannot vouch for its complete monsoon-readiness. There is always more than what your eyes can see. So, it is better to seek an expert’s help and get things assessed properly by a Home Inspection Company.

Deeper causes behind moisture, damp, seepage and leakage:

  1. Condensation – happens when a property is unable to deal with the normal level of moisture inside it. It happens due to lack of insulation, poor ventilation, or a combination of both things.
  2. Rising damp – happens when the water vapour tends to rise from below the ground level to a height of about one metre of the building.
  3. Penetrating damp – happens when rainwater or water from an external leakage enters into the envelope of a building.
  4. Construction damp:
    1. Plumbing failure
    2. Concealed leaks i.e. leaks in AC gas pipe, drain pipe etc.
    3. Humidity on toilet tanks, HVAC systems, water pipes, and other mechanical objects

It is impossible for a person who is not an expert in construction and engineering to speculate the above problems in an apparently healthy home. Only someone equipped with an advanced solution like thermal imaging technology can detect the problem by going to the core of it.

9. Do consider a thorough electrical inspection

Everyone knows water and electricity make a dangerous combination. If your home is damp and there is a hidden problem in your building’s electricity line, monsoon will bring you serious headaches. Your home will be vulnerable to minor to major electrical accidents. To avoid any such mishap it is important to get your entire home electrical system inspected so that even the smallest of problems are detected and you are able to repair it in time.

In India, data shows that the majority of household fires are caused due to electrical short circuits. Though there is a regulatory framework in place the awareness against electrical fire safety is lacking big time.

We all know that prevention is better than cure. So, do not leave your home’s safety at the mercy of the Rain God. Get a timely damp/seepage inspection of your home done along with a detailed assessment of the electrical system. Then as per the reports, repair and refurbish the damaged parts, and be ready to welcome the monsoon!


Reference

www.nbmcw.com/product/waterproofing-repair/28659-waterproofing-external-walls-of-buildings.html

www.ieema.org/electrical-fire-safety-be-smart-be-safe

8 Safety measures you need to take before moving into Your Home

Be Safe Be Alert

Security and safety are the two most common concerns for everyone.
Whether you’re taking public transportation, taking a stroll on a park, or even when you’re not home, you always have to keep yourself, your loved ones, and your belongings safe. However, safety and security still needs to be applied at all times.

Before Moving In

Before deciding on a new residence, it is important to consider the security aspects of it. Security measures should not only be considered after moving in. Infact it’s a foremost criterion before moving in also. Some measures or aspects that you should keep in mind are:

1. Keep yourself updated on the Local Crime

When you think you’ve found your dream apartment, check the local crime data in its vicinity. Make sure you know about any troubles in the area before buying or taking rent in an apartment. Talk to the locals and neighbours to get an honest picture of what life will be like in your new place.

2. Test Lighting

Robbers and intruders prefer to sneak around in poorly-lit or dark areas. Therefore, when considering an apartment, check the entrances, hallways, walkways, parking areas, elevators, and stairways, to make sure they have enough lighting at night. If not, talk to the facility manager/caretaker about getting more lights installed or consider installing your own lights around the entrances of your unit. The fewer places an offender has to hide, the safer you’ll be.

3. Observe General Upkeep

Take stock of the general look and feel of your new place. Broken windows, cracked drywall, or water stains could show a lack of concern from the maintenance team or whoever is in charge. Check to see if the lawn and landscaping are well-kept.

4. Check Apartment Entrances

When looking at apartments, consider the security of the building. Many times, an outside entry door will require a key, pass code, or buzz-in through security to access the hallways and doors of the actual apartments. This way, residents control who can approach their apartment door, reducing loitering, break-ins, and solicitors.

5. Get New Door Locks

Replacing your locks reduces the risk of unwanted persons being able to access your new place. Many landlords say they’ve replaced the locks, but sometimes apartment managers will just rotate the old locks between apartments, and extra keys are not always returned. When you move into new housing, you never know how many keys have gone missing or how many previous residents may still have keys. Ask your landlord about having your locks replaced with brand new locks, not redistributed old ones. Don’t risk somebody being able to return to your apartment with an old key.

6. Examine Window Locks

Good window locks keep intruders from gaining easy access to your residence. This is especially true for windows on the ground level, but all windows should be properly checked—you’d be surprised how determined burglars can be. Treat all windows as potential entry points, and make sure all window locks are working properly and cannot be manipulated from the outside.

7. Try the Peephole

A peephole can keep you and your family safe by allowing you to see who’s at your door before you open it. If your door does not have a peephole, inquire about having one installed before you move in. When a questionable character is at your door, a peephole will help you and your children avoid any compromising situations. Installing a smart doorbell camera is another option, depending on the type of apartment complex you live in. Smart doorbells allow you to see who is visiting your apartment through your smartphone, so you don’t even need to get up if you discover it’s a solicitor.

8. Pay attention to Fire Escapes

In apartment complexes, exterior fire escapes can be lifesavers during an emergency, check the fire exit, if possible do a mock drill to inspect whether it’s ok or not. Also be aware that their access to windows and balconies can also attract burglars. If your apartment has a fire escape, make sure intruders can’t reach your apartment.

Do not get nervous nor wreck your head over it. Just stay cool, calm and composed while judging about the safety measures in an apartment before in.

There are two times when home safety and security should come in the forefront.
One: Before Moving In which is already discussed in this blog.
Next – After Moving In. The sequel to Before Moving In is After Moving In which will come next.

Once you have done with your checking, we suggest you get a Home Inspection done so that every nook and corner of your apartment will be inspected thoroughly and you will be given a detailed report regarding any issues that comes to the forefront along with its relevant affordable solutions. This double checking from the experts will add value in one of the biggest decisions that you take and also be worthy of the money you spend.

11 easy peasy ways to save water in the kitchen | How not to waste water in the kitchen?

Water is the source of life on Earth. It is considered among one of the four fundamental elements, in addition to earth, air and fire. Water is required for the survival of all plants and animals. No water means No life on earth. 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water which is mostly in seas and oceans. But only 1% of water is usable. Water has become very scarce and we should not waste water anywhere. Conservation of water is of paramount importance.

One of the prominent places of high water usage among innumerable ones is our kitchens. We simply should not waste water in the kitchen. Some tips for saving water in the kitchen:

1. We have to wash our vegetables and fruits. Wash it keeping it in a bowl/container and not in running water so that the water is not wasted, also can be reused for your plants.

2. One of the important tips for saving water in the kitchen is by using proper size pots for cooking; if you cook a small amount of food in a large pot then obviously it will consume more water.

3. If you have a dripping faucet, fix it immediately. Repairing cost is quite less than buying a new one. Also, do not delay as a small issue now can become a mighty problem in the future and then you have to shell down much more money. FYI, a leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water per year. So let’s not waste water in the kitchen.

4. We can swipe off the leftover bits of food in our plates into the garbage bin instead of water soaking the dirty dishes.

5. Defrost frozen food by keeping it overnight in the fridge rather than defrosting it under running water.

6. Do not use excessive dish-washing liquid/ bar to wash your dirty dishes/ utensils. It will require a lot of water to wash off liquid/ bar and we will waste water in the kitchen.

7. We must close all the taps in the kitchen when not in use.

8. Eat steamed vegetables as it takes less water to cook and is healthy as well.

9. If an ice cube drops on the floor, instead of throwing it away, give it to your plant.

10. Try to get a dishwasher as most of the water in a dishwasher gets recycled by spraying the dishes over and over again.

11. Get checked for any concealed leakage in water supply/ drainage pipelines or hidden seepage from the walls/ ceilings/ floor outlets. As it will not only be loss of water, but can adversely affect health of your home & family too. Thermal imaging/ Infrared technology can help detect such concealed leaks/ seepage with least property damage resulting in long term – low cost solutions. Read further for more related information…… www.macj-abuyerschoice.com/damp-seepage-assessment-with-solutions-through-thermal-imaging-technology

Kitchen takes up a large portion of energy in most homes, as well as a fairly large amount of water. The ultimate sustainable kitchen is one that encourages green living beyond just counter materials and appliances. The necessity to emulate wise practices for a sustainable kitchen is the need of the hour.

Let us not waste this precious gift by the nature to mankind. Let us conserve it for our future generation as well for us because water is a scarce resource and it may not get replenished over time or because of overuse.

‘Secret 7’ ways to save energy at home

Want to spend less and save more? Here are the ‘Secret 7’ ways to do so.

Energy conservation is important and very beneficial. The two major motives for conserving energy are to save on utility bills and protect the environment all through simple energy-saving measures. By simply taking few small steps towards living a more energy-conscious lifestyle, you can begin to enjoy all of the perks of being energy efficient. There are many different ways to reduce your household’s energy use, ranging from simple behavioral adjustments to extensive home improvements. Here are seven common ways to conserve energy and save electricity in your home.

1. Replace Glowing lights

The average household dedicates 11% of its energy budget to lighting. Traditional incandescent lights convert approximately only 10% of the energy they consume into light, while the rest 90% becomes heat. Turn off incandescent / shining lights when you are not in the room.

2. Adjust your day-to-day behaviors

To reduce energy consumption in your home, you do not necessarily need to go out and purchase energy efficient products always. Energy conservation can be as simple as turning off lights or appliances when you do not need them. The behavioral adjustments that have the highest potential for utility savings are using your air conditioners (AC) in a limited manner in the summer.

What is the best way to run AC?? It is always better to run AC at 25+ degrees and put the fan on at slow speed.

This will cost less electricity and your body temperature will also be in the range and there will be no ill effect on your health. Another advantage of this is that the AC will consume less electricity, the blood pressure on the brain will also decrease and Saving will ultimately help reduce the effects of global warming. How?? Suppose you save about 5 units per AC per night by running AC on 26 Degree and other 10 lakh houses also do like you then we save 5 million units of electricity per day. At the regional level this savings can be crores of units per day. Please consider the above and do not run your AC at all below 25 degrees. Keep your body and environment healthy.

3. Weatherize your home

Weatherizing or sealing air leaks around your home, is a great way to reduce your heating and cooling expenses. The most common sources of air leaks into your home are vents, windows, and doors. To prevent these leaks, you should ensure that there are no cracks or openings between the wall and vent, window, or doorframe.

4. Older appliances are often less energy efficient

Electricity rates are increasing every year. The appliances of today are much more efficient than their predecessors as they have made energy-saving leaps over the years. Replace the old ones with energy efficient products.

5. Take shorter showers

Ahem! Please do not get angry on me for saying this but I am just helping you to save energy. I know it really feels relaxing, rejuvenating and soothing taking a long shower. But did you know that a typical shower head spits out an approx average of 2.5 gallons per minute. Reducing your shower time by 4 minutes per day may save 3650 gallons annually if you shower once a day. So just make your shower time shorter.

6. Let your Computer/Laptops hibernate

You knew that frogs and other amphibians are the only ones who can hibernate? Well think again. You can set your Computer/Laptops to Hibernate also. It is a power-saving state designed for Computer/Laptops. Hibernation puts your open documents and programs on your hard disk and then turns off your computer. Of all the power-saving states in Windows, hibernation uses the least amount of power. Put your computer to hibernate mode instead of using a screen saver so it uses less electricity during periods of inactivity. And the best part is Hibernation of your computer can reduce your electric bill too.

7. Unplug battery chargers

Once charging of your device is complete, unplug the charger from the device and electrical outlet when the batteries are fully charged or the chargers are not in use. Many chargers draw power continuously, even when the device is not plugged into the charger. As Cambridge professor David MacKay points out, that half a watt equates to saving one hot bath’s worth of energy every year if you unplug your charger when it’s not in use. You have heard it from the best so you know what to do now.

Since the ‘Sultry Summer’ has already arrived, it’s the best time to use our ‘Secret 7’ ways in to use.

Maintain your Homes because your Dreams are Sown here

Your home is your one of the biggest investments, maintaining it is a must.

Home Maintenance is a job that involves inspecting and basically maintaining the place where you live. It’s about maintaining the structure, fixtures and fittings and ensuring your home stays healthy, safe and secure so that your home looks after you in your day to day life and during emergencies.
Home maintenance should not be confused with things like cleaning, gardening etc.

Just like regular servicing & oil changes for your vehicle keeps your engine happy and healthy, keeping up with regular home maintenance tasks will keep your headaches at bay and also save your money. Like you schedule your health/physical check-up, a home maintenance schedule is equally important for every home’s upkeep and well-being. Continuing to check up on your exterior, interiors, plumbing, security and electrical systems will help prevent breakdowns, save money, and keep your home looking its best.

Home maintenance can feel like a daunting chore. But it doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. Periodic maintenance will make your house run like a well-oiled machine. There are jobs that homeowners often forget about or don’t even know about. This is where your home needs home inspectors. Neglecting them can cause you immense worries, or worse, a big hole in your pocket.

The responsibility of keeping a home clean and maintained is up to the homeowners. The main purpose is to help homeowners who have systems and appliances that fail from ageing or normal wear & tear or due to any other reason.

Maintenance plays a major role in proper functioning of all the components of your home. Here’s a look at some of the key areas where & why the home elements needs Maintenance and how.

Wet Areas (Bathrooms / Kitchens)
Deterioration occurs in Floor outlet / tile joint grouting
Leakage from pipes or fittings/fixtures
For both the above conditions maintenance is a must.

Clean Plumbing Ducts
Wall surface conditions, vent conditions, clamping pipe conditions need to be checked and cleaned. Accessibility provision to carry out repairing work is to be ensured.

Check for Water Pressure
High water pressure can harm pipes, connections, and appliances. It also creates water hammer and waste massive amounts of water. Checking for high water pressure is an often overlooked and one that’s easy enough to perform. A new pressure-reducing valve and a simple pressure gauge are all you will need for this.

Leakage/ Seepage from bore packing and wall sleeve position needs to have maintenance carried down at intervals.

Windows
Weep Holes can get plugged with bugs and debris, and if that happens, water could fill up the channel and spill over into your house. Hence regular cleaning and maintenance is required.

Sealant condition
General wear and tear occurs in exposed condition needs to be checked. Most common water damage (damp / seepage) due to Rainwater occurs from the gap in between window frame & external wall.

Lubrication is much needed to avoid friction and for smooth running of mechanical fixtures and fittings.

Wall Surface
The vulnerability needs to be checked for bearing and structural cracks. For external wall surface, plaster condition needs to be checked.

Door
If you observe bending of wooden panel or loose fittings and fixtures, or if the wooden portion is moisture affected, then the issues need to be addressed accordingly.

Air Conditioners
Deterioration in insulation needs to be checked and regular maintenance needs to be done.
Drainage pipe junction and probable leakage, for Gas pipes-heat loss and condensation needs to be checked and rectified accordingly. External VRF-Gas pipe insulation and wall sleeve packing calls for maintenance.

Grounds
Blockage at underground sewer line with peripheral pits, boundary wall condition, illumination testing, general surface condition, weed and vegetative growth, water stacking, needs to be checked periodically and proper maintenance should be carried out.

Façade
Deterioration of external wall plaster condition, window panels, porch, balcony condition, paint condition needs to be arrested.

Roof / Balcony / Terrace
Functional conditions of surface, water proofing condition, associated plumbing installation condition, parapet wall condition, electrical components conditions, clogging of rain water pipes and gutter has a certain life expectancy period after which it has to undergo maintenance works.

Sneak Peak into the types of Maintenance required

Annual maintenance – White washing, distempering, Painting, cleaning of lines, tanks, etc.
Routine maintenance – Leakage, replacement of damaged socket, choked lines, Gap filling, etc.
Preventive maintenance – Damp / Seepage, Roof, breakdown of MEP component, life expectancy of components
Special repairs like water proofing, replacement of electrical components
Suitable periodic maintenance time – inspected during the months of March-April and September-October
Post monsoon maintenance – External areas condition, drainage, window shutters, etc.

It is easier said than done. Hence it is better to engage a home inspector who will help you to find the areas, elements or items which needs maintenance. Home inspectors not only identify problems with properties, they can give buyers and sellers information that will help them with the upkeep. Also there are different types of Maintenance – Scheduled Maintenance, Preventive Maintenance, and Periodical Maintenance etc.