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You’ve been thinking about how to make your home more energy efficient and what investing in a solar panel system entails. Federal tax breaks for solar panels ends in 2021, could this be the time? Here are 9 things to consider before pulling the trigger.
1. Does the home have solar potential? A common misconception is that solar panels only work in hot climates. To get an idea about your roof’s potential, you can enter your address at Google Project Sunroof, or by looking at maps from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
2. What are your current utility bills? Solar panels typically pay off in 8 years. However your current utility charges also reflect inefficient appliances and lack of insulation. Make sure to update your appliances, and insulation so you don’t pay for an oversized solar system.
3. Think ahead. Do you plan on moving in the next few years? If you lease the system, you’ll need to buy the system before moving, terminate the lease or persuade the new homeowner to assume the lease.
4. Determine a baseline by using a home energy monitor such as Sense Solar to find out your energy hogs before installing solar panels
5. Consider the financing and payoff. Solar panels are an investment that you want to have a payoff. Taking advantage of the current federal incentive can make a big impact. However leasing is not always short term. So you need to weigh advantages of buying or leasing. There are also solar-specific loans and resources available. Do the math.
6. Storage or no storage? Storage is still a premium option, but the prices are dropping. Consider if you have frequent disruptions in electricity from storms or downed power lines. Storage can get you through that. Also, batteries can store energy on cloudy days.
7. Once you have decided to install solar panels, identify at least 3 providers. Do your research, check online, get word of mouth from neighbors, and then ask for online quotes. Next ask the providers to visit your home and get you a final quote. Make sure any cost to upgrade your roof is included
8. Once you have 2 or 3 final estimates, ask more questions. Will the provider install the system or use subcontractors? Are the installers licensed and bonded? Can the contractor explain all the components of the system to you? Who files the permits? Will they help you file for any rebates or tax incentives? What is the warranty? Who does the maintenance?
9. And finally, be patient. You need to do due diligence and feel comfortable with your decision. It may take a few weeks or more to get the job permitted, and all the paperwork sorted out.
From a realtor.org feature article written by Brandon Doyle
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless & odorless gas produced by the burning of natural gas, oil & propane in furnaces, water heaters & stoves. These appliances are designed to vent the CO to the outside. However, incomplete combustion of fuel, improper installation, or blockages, leaks or cracks in the venting systems can cause CO to reach harmful levels inside the home. Dangerously high levels of CO will lead to incapacitation or death, with victims sometimes aware that they were in danger.
Homeowners can take action against carbon monoxide poisoning by taking the following steps:
• Never use a gas stove or oven to heat the home, even temporarily.
• Professionally inspect all fuel-burning appliances every year, preferably before the start of the cold weather season when heaters & furnaces are used.
• Appliances include gas stoves/ovens, furnaces/heaters, water heaters & gas clothes dryers.
• All such devices should be properly installed & vented to the outside.
• Have flues & chimneys for gas fireplaces inspected regularly for cracks, leaks, & blockages that may allow a buildup of CO to occur.
• Don’t start a vehicle in a closed garage or idle the engine in the garage even if the door is open.
• Gas powered generators & charcoal grills must never be used indoors.
• Install a CO detector (either battery operated, hard wired or plug-in) on each floor of the home & follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper location.
• Learn what to do if the CO alarm activates.
Based on an article by Pillar to Post Home Inspectors
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