Tips to keep your home healthy

Trees can be a Wonderful Thing

 

Trees are a wonderful addition to any home because of the many benefits they offer.  The production of oxygen and shade, and of course the enhancement of the home’s aesthetic appeal.

 

If you have a small yard and are looking for the right tree for the job, a shade tree might be the best option for you to go with. An excellent shade tree can make your outdoor space feel 10-15 degrees cooler. This is what differentiates heat that can be tolerated from heat that is just miserable. Here are some of the recommended and best suited trees for Middle Tennessee.

Red Maple

Red Magic

Red Maples have smaller leaves than most maples, but they are a thick and full tree that can compete with the best trees for shade coverage. Although their leaves are smaller, red maples are one of the best shade trees. When fully matured they can reach heights of 65 feet, making it an excellent addition to any yard and providing beauty throughout the year. Because of the breathtaking display of dark and light reds that they put on in the autumn, the area is known as “Red Magic.”

Sugar Maple

The sugar maple is the most well-known and widespread member of the maple family. They are not only one of the best and easiest to care for shade trees you can get, but they are also well-known for their ability to produce delicious maple syrup. Sugar maples have the potential to grow to heights of more than 80 feet and can cast a shade of up to 60 feet, making them an excellent choice for the area around your deck or patio. They will take your breath away with their brilliant yellow, red, and orange tones during the fall season.

 

Bald Cypress

Bald Cypress Tree

This is the classic tree of the Southern swamps’ but can be planted in most Middle Tennessee homes with the right soil.  It can grow to a height of between 50 and 70 feet and has a spread of approximately 30 feet. Its natural growth form is a conical shape with horizontal branches. Because the bald cypress is a medium-sized tree that grows between 13 and 24 inches per year, you need to ensure that it has plenty of room to grow and spread out.

 

Weeping Willow

weeping willow

weeping willow

The weeping willow is one of the most regal-looking species of tree you will ever come across. It can reach a height of 30–40 feet and a width of 35–40 feet during its lifetime. At any point during the day, a canopy of shade is produced by the long, drooping branches of this tree. If you have a yard that is relatively large, you should consider planting this tree. Because of the potential for the tree’s roots to cause significant damage to nearby structures, you should take care not to plant this tree in a location that is too close to your house, pool, or septic tank. If you want to get rid of that pool of stagnant water that just won’t go away, planting weeping willows next to a pond is a good idea because they are native to wetland and swamp environments and grow naturally there.

 

Sycamore

When it reaches its full maturity, this colossal tree can reach a height of up to 100 feet. It produces fruit in the summer and fall, which draws in a large number of different kinds of wildlife, and it blooms with bright red flowers in the spring. The sycamore tree is a fast-growing species, capable of gaining up to 1 meter of height per year. The sycamore tree should be planted at a distance from other trees due to its height and rapid growth rate. It has the potential to become taller than most trees and consume all of the available sunlight.

Sycamore

Sycamore

 

Eastern White Pine

When fully mature, eastern white pines can reach heights of up to 80 feet and spread out to an incredible 40 feet across. This makes them one of the evergreens that are likely to grow to be the tallest in our recommendations. It does best in soils that are either acidic, moist, well-drained, or dry, as well as in full sun or partial shade. It has some drought tolerance, but you shouldn’t let it go for too long without getting a good watering. The needles of an Eastern white pine can grow to be as long as 5 inches and are distinguished by their length and slenderness. They have a natural tendency to grow in a pyramidal shape and are favored as a food source by a great variety of birds and other animals.

Eastern White Pine

Eastern White Pine

Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple

This is one of my favorites.  They prefer ‘dappled sun’ which is perfect for our yard with limited sunlight.  It’s bright red leaves give nice contract to the darker plants around it.

Littleleaf Boxwood

This little shrub grows leaves that are dense and oval-shaped all through the year. It is ideally suited for the climate of Tennessee, which allows it to thrive here. Littleleaf boxwoods thrive best in soil that is moist, cool, and well-drained.  It does well with pruning and does will require full sun. It is also resistant to damage caused by rabbits and deer. Small white flowers that bloom in the spring produce a scent that is fleeting but pleasant, and these flowers are a welcome sight.

 

 

There are several types of trees that are not well-suited to have in your yard for many reasons.  They include:

Bradford Pear Trees

In the spring, this gorgeous tree is covered in flowers but all of this beauty comes at a cost.  It smells like the putrid odor of rotting fish.

Black Walnut

The black walnut tree emits a chemical known as juglone, which causes some plants to die and deprives other plants of their nutrients. Because of this, the tree is an unwelcome neighbor for vegetable gardens, especially ones that contain potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes.

Norway Maple

This invasive species casts a thick shadow, which prevents other plant species from receiving the sufficient amount of sunlight they require. In addition to this, this tree has fibrous roots, which are capable of absorbing all of the nutrients in the soil before any other plant has the opportunity to feed.

Sweetgum Trees

Because of the tree’s unusually large surface roots, your home’s foundation may be in jeopardy if it remains in this location. Anything that is in close proximity to a sweetgum tree, including your lawn, pool, and patio, is at risk of being damaged.

 

There is a wealth of resources out there including

https://www.tn.gov/agriculture/forests.html

https://www.arborday.org/trees/treeguide

 

Red Maples

Red Maples

HOW TO AVOID HAVING TREE BRANCHES HIT YOUR ROOF

TIPS ON TRIMMING THE TREES AROUND YOUR HOUSE

Tree limbs that are too close to your home can cause damage to the rooftop and other parts of your property. Branches scraping against roof shingles on windy days can strip off layers of asphalt. Also, leaves that fall directly into the gutter can clog it, leading to premature deterioration, mold growth, and even leaks. That is why you would want to avoid having tree branches hit your roof. Here are a few tips to prevent damages.

TRIM THE TREES

Trim all tree branches that come within 6 feet of your roof. We recommend that you hire a professional arborist to get rid of overhanging branches, as they will be able to protect your roof as they work. Making a wrong cut could cause a branch to fall, leading to expensive and extra repairs to your roof, siding, windows, and even your car.

PRUNE YOUNG TREES

Pruning is an excellent way to control shrub and tree growth. Thus, avoiding the branches from reaching your roof. The general rule of thumb is to make the cuts just outside the branch collar to avoid damaging the trunk and compromising wound responses. Eliminate branches that show signs of damage first.

HOW TO CUT A TREE LIMB OVER YOUR HOUSE?

Cutting tree limbs over your roof is a dangerous task, and mistakes can cost you more money than expected. That is why we highly recommend hiring a certified, insured, and experienced arborist to perform the task. Professionals in the field know how to correctly trim the tree and remove branches while keeping your home intact.

Cutting tree limbs will not only avoid costly damages to your roof but will also prevent small animals from gaining access to your roof to try to intrude your home for spring nesting.

 

Give the engineers and inspectors at Middle Tennessee Inspections a call for more ‘tips’ and let to let us check the integrity of your roof.  Keep your home happy and dry!

 

Original post by  Secure LawnRoof inspector logo Drone Pilot Training logo

LANDSCAPING HELPS

 

Whether you’re looking to sell your house or just want it to look like a million bucks lawn care and landscaping is a great way to add curb appeal to your property.

The most obvious benefit of lawn care is that you’ll get to enjoy your lawn in its most beautiful form. A great-looking lawn can be an awesome gathering place for friends and family. Perhaps a more enticing benefit for some is the promise of a higher property value. A great-looking lawn is the first impression for potential buyers. This can help you move your house off the market faster, and ideally at a higher price.

Greenery

There are many tips to keeping your lawn looking great, and one of the biggest ones is maintaining your trees and shrubs. To further increase the resale value of your home, consider adding trees and shrubs to your yard. When well maintained, this type of greenery can increase your property value by up to 15%.

Maintaining this greenery is essential to keeping your yard looking great. One of the more important landscaping tips you can get is to keep your shrubs and trees pest-free. Managing these pests can take stress and pressure off of trees and let them look healthier and more appealing to your potential buyers. Giving your shrubs and trees and healthy environment to thrive is one of our top landscaping tips.

Professional Lawn CarePlant a tree

These days, everybody is busy. After a long work week, the last thing you want to do is spend hours tending to your lawn every weekend. Instead, let professionals take care of it so that you get all the benefits of a beautiful yard without the hassle of doing it yourself. Professional, licensed lawn care technicians are able to care for your lawn all year long so that come summer, it looks as good as it possibly can.

Coming home each day to a well-manicured lawn is about more than that feeling of pride of ownership. When it comes time to find a new home, a healthy lawn will make your property more attractive to potential buyers by adding curb appeal.

Increase Property Values

A professionally maintained lawn does more than just attract interested buyers. It can also increase the value of your home. And it’s a good investment, too. It has been estimated that lawn care provides a 300% return on your investment. How is that possible, you may ask. Consider the selling price of a nearby home similar to yours, but with a poorly maintained lawn. Now take your lawn care cost, triple it, and add it to your house price. You’ll see the price of your house, considering your beautiful landscaping, is definitely worth it.

 

 

Because IR cameras help inspectors rapidly and precisely find and document faults, thermal imaging has become a crucial tool for the engineers and inspectors at Middle Tennessee Inspections. Infrared thermal imaging cameras detect slight but significant temperature changes in various sections of a home, indicating problems that the human eye would never notice and that a visual inspection might only guess about. Its capacity to read heat as color and show that information in an easy to understand way for homeowners. Many full color IR photographs will be included in your Middle Tennessee Inspections inspection report.

Moisture is a major concern that these examinations identify, including hidden mold sources, roof leaks, and posts that indicate termite nests. Electrical issues, heat and energy loss, foundation fissures, structural concerns, missing insulation, ventilation issues, and rat infestations are all uncovered. Let’s go over a few of the most common camera issues we encounter, which might save you a lot of money.

William Herschel, the British astronomer best known for discovering Uranus, discovered infrared light almost 200 years ago. After World War II, IR pictures were utilized by the military as a reconnaissance tool, with cameras attached aboard planes collecting photographs. IR technology had advanced to commercial and industrial applications by the time of the Vietnam War. The practical uses of thermography have constantly risen as the technology has evolved and become more portable and less expensive. Thermal imaging has become highly popular for building inspections because it can find and document faults in ways that provide more data and accuracy than many of the more traditional equipment and procedures.

During an inspection, thermal imaging is mostly employed as a non-contact temperature measurement method. This method of measuring temperature differences allows for a fast assessment of huge areas. During building inspections and energy audits, infrared cameras can be used to discover problems by observing temperature changes, which the camera interprets as infrared radiation and displays as gradient colors. Infrared radiation is emitted by all objects, which is invisible to the naked eye but detectable by thermal imaging. Inspectors can use this information to uncover flaws that would otherwise be more difficult and time-consuming to locate. Understanding the data displayed by the camera is critical to properly exploiting IR technology to its full potential.

Infrared cameras are mostly employed in the inspection business to determine what is known as “apparent” temperature. Because of the varying levels of emissivity of different areas and objects, as well as other factors that can affect data, such as wind and weather conditions, determining the e

xact temperature of an anomaly with infrared alone can be difficult, which is why the most common use of thermal imaging in inspections is to locate and document problems.

A dark region in the thermal image of a ceiling, for example, could suggest moisture above it. A moisture meter can be used to confirm moisture penetration once this has been seen. The wet spot’s pattern can be recorded with the camera, and the region above the ceiling can then be studied with infrared to try to figure out where the leak is coming from. Many moisture meter readings and infrared photographs will be included in your Middle Tennessee Inspections report.

In a situation like this,  when infrared is frequently employed in inspections, the precise temperature measurement — the quantitative value — is irrelevant. What matters is that the apparent temperature difference alerted the inspector to a problem location that could be reported and investigated further. As a result, IR camera examination is a qualitative rather than a quantitative measurement. Thermal imaging is used to find abnormalities in the form of temperature variations,

evaluate the patterns, and document the problems.

In most inspection reports, thermal pictures are utilized to visually document faults discovered on site. The ‘visible-light snapshot’ as well as the IR picture are included as a background in the FLIR IR cameras utilized by Middle Tennessee Inspections, along with a description of the issue that was detected. Because it displays any clear, visible problems, the addition of standard, digital photographs makes side-by-side comparisons easier for both inspectors and clients to understand. IR, on the other hand, does not stop at the obvious. The infrared image accurately depicts a fault that the digital camera was unable to capture. For example, a digital image may show a dried water stain at a wall-ceiling junction, whereas an infrared image may show a black spot in the same location. While the digital image appears to show an old stain, the IR image reveals that moisture is still present, necessitating more study to discover and repair the problem.

Middle Tennessee Inspections’ engineer inspectors are InterNACHI Infrared Certified.

 

 

Recently I inspected a property here in Coffee County, TN with a newly installed attic hatch. At Middle Tennessee Inspections we always take a lot of InfraRed (IR) pictures and I’m glad I did here. The attic was insulated, but the door was not. It lacked a ‘weatherstrip

Attic Door IR

Attic Door using IR Camera

ping seal’ to close up the gap between the door and the frame. A quick trip to Lowes or Home Depot might save a lot of money for the homeowner.

Attic hatches have a hidden issue in that they may look to be in good working order but actually still leak a lot of energy. Even if the woodwork and paint on an attic hatch are immaculate, it can still be a gigantic heat leak. Although your attic is probably insulated, there’s a strong possibility your entrance hatch isn’t.  In the Summer, it will radiate heat into the home, and in the Winter, it will release heat and let warm air out. Despite the fact that attic hatches can be the source of massive air leaks and radiant heat loss, they are rarely repaired.

Here are two suggestions for saving energy and you some money. Increase the thickness of the insulation on and around the door itself. Then, and this is frequently the most important step, close the space between the door and the hatch to prevent air flow and heat loss. For this example, we’ll utilize a standard plywood hatch with finish molding over the rough-cut hole.

Fiberglass insulation on the top of the door will help, but a better long-term option is to construct a box out of solid insulation that fits over the framed opening of the door, as well as any folded steps if you have them. Rigid insulation is more effective than fiberglass in terms of sealing the box. Plus, when you open the hatch, none of that fiberglass will fall into your house. There are commercially available alternatives. For attic stair insulation, your local hardware store has everything from ready-made reflective foil tents to complex covers manufactured from thick expanded polystyrene (EPS).  You can also readily purchase pre-cut kits at hardware stores or on-line. They come in a number of sizes to fit a variety of attic door styles. Over time, that initial investment will save you a lot of money.

The weather-stripping on the hatches is frequently missing or insufficient. Even if it was fitted, there’s a good chance it’s been damaged as a result of use over time. When they dry out, they lose their effectiveness as well. Examine the weatherstripping and gaskets surrounding your attic hatch’s opening. If they appear to be damaged or dried out you should consider replacing them. It’s possible that they’ll simply rip away from the frame but if the weatherstripping was fastened with nails or screws, simply pull them out with a screwdriver or plyers.  A wire cutter works to remove all of the fasteners as well.  Two inch wood stays should be installed all the way around the opening if the attic hatch sits directly on the molding. These stops allow you to apply fresh weatherstripping with more ease. Hook and loop fasteners are a great idea to secure your door and hold it close to the weatherstripping.

After removing the old weatherstripping, or if there was none to begin with, you’re ready to install new weatherstripping. Cut it to fit snuggly on all four sides along the bottom edge of the trim as well as the other three edges. It’s much easier to use self-adhesive weatherstripping.  When finished, completely close the door/hatch and press down on the gasket to create a complete seal.

Let the engineers and inspectors at Middle Tennessee Inspections assist you in minimizing your heating bills. We have the experience, knowledge, and equipment necessary to quickly diagnose problems and save you money.

Check out this great article for more information and some tips – https://ygrene.com/blog/property-improvements/7-ways-make-your-attic-more-energy-efficient

Attic Door Frame

Attic Door Frame with no Weatherstripping