Spring is here!

Bats are an essential component of a healthy environment.   Making a bat-friendly area in your backyard helps to promote bats’ ecologically important roles in the environment, such as pest control, pollination, and seed dissemination.  Bats are Nature’s mosquito police and feed on moths, wasps, beetles, gnats, midges, and mayflies, as well as other unpleasant insects that disturb your outdoor activities.

Explaining how many insects bats can eat is one of the most effective methods to urge people to protect bats. Some little bats have been revealed to be capable of catching 1,000 or more microscopic insects in a single hour, according to scientists. A nursing mother bat consumes the most insects, taking up to 4,000 in a single night.

 

While having them live in your house isn’t ideal, you can still benefit from them if you install an artificial roost, such as a bat house.  This is one of the finest ways to help bat conservation. Bat houses can be very valuable in providing secure roost areas for bats, especially since bat populations have declined dramatically. Bats serve humans and the environment in a variety of ways, and they need your support!

 

Place your bat house in the best possible place to stimulate bat activity.  The site is equally as crucial as its design.  The bat house should be properly situated for maximum occupancy.

 

Houses facing South or Southeast usually do well. It shouldn’t be too close to a tree or anything else that will obscure sunlight or let predators to get in.  The higher the better. Place the bat home on a pole or outbuilding that is at least 15 feet above the ground. It’s not a good idea to hang it on your house since bats carry mites, fleas, and insects (and, in rare cases, rabies) that you want to keep out. Furthermore, bats are untidy.

 

The temperature has a significant impact on whether or not bats will use a bat house.  It should be kept at a comfortable temperature that is neither too cold nor too hot.

 

Without exception, bat houses should be placed in areas that receive at least eight hours of direct sunlight every day.  Allowing your bat house to enjoy some afternoon shade, especially in the hottest sections of the state, may be useful.   It should be located near a water supply, and in an open area.

 

Bat boxes can be erected at any time of year, but they are more likely to be used during their first summer if they are erected before the bats emerge from their winter hibernation in the spring

 

There are many pre-built bat houses and plans to build your own.  The National Wildlife Federation has a great article.  https://www.nwf.org/garden-for-wildlife/cover/build-a-bat-house

Happy Pi day!

“Probably no symbol in mathematics
has evoked as much mystery, romanticism,
misconception and human interest as
the number pi”
William L. Schaaf

We here at Middle Tennessee Inspections love to celebrate Pi Day which is on March 14th (3/14).  As engineers and techs we love math!  And it’s a great excuse to eat pie!

Pi (often represented by the lower-case Greek letter π), is one of the most well-known mathematical constants. For any circle, the distance around the edge is a little more than three times it’s diameter.  This ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter is approximately 3.141592 represented as ‘pi’.  That is about 22/7 ths.

Pi has been calculated to over 50 trillion digits beyond its decimal point. As an irrational and transcendental number, it will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern. While only a handful of digits are needed for typical calculations, pi’s infinite nature makes it a fun challenge to remember, and to computationally calculate more and more digits.

 

History

In 1988, the earliest known official or large-scale celebration of Pi Day was organized by Larry Shaw at the San Francisco Exploratorium, where Shaw worked as a physicist, with staff and public marching around one of its circular spaces, then consuming fruit pies. They still hold annual Pi Day celebrations every year. In 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution recognizing March 14 as National Pi Day. In 2010, Google presented a Google Doodle celebrating the holiday, with the word Google laid over images of circles and pi symbols; and for the 30th anniversary in 2018, it was a Dominique Ansel pie with the circumference divided by its diameter.

The entire month of March 2014 (3/14) is observed by some as “Pi Month”. In the year 2015, March 14 was celebrated as “Super Pi Day”. Since it had special significance that the date is written as 3/14/15 in month/day/year format. At 9:26:53, the date and time together represented the first 10 digits of π, and later that second Pi Instant represented all of π’s digits.  Pure awesomeness.

Observance

There are many ways to celebrate Pi Day, including eating pie, throwing pies, and discussing the significance of the number. Pi Day is celebrated every year on March 14th, and is named after a pun based on the words “pi” and “pie” being homophones in English and the coincidental circular shape of many pies. In addition, some schools hold competitions to see which student can recall pi to the greatest number of decimal places with the greatest accuracy.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has traditionally mailed its application decision letters to prospective students on Pi Day, so that they arrive in time for the celebration. MIT has announced that, beginning in 2012, it will post those decisions (in private) online on Pi Day at exactly 6:28 p.m., which they have dubbed “Tau Time,” to honor the rival numbers pi and tau equally. In 2015, regular decisions were made available online at 9:26 a.m., which coincided with the year’s “pi minute,” and in 2020, regular decisions were made available online at 1:59 p.m., which coincided with the first six digits of pi. Engineers enjoy having a good time.

 

The 28th of June is “Two Pi Day,” which is also known as “Tau Day.” 2 is a common multiple in mathematical formulas, and it is denoted by the Greek letter tau in this case. There has been some debate as to whether is the more fundamental constant and whether Tau Day should be observed instead. To commemorate this occasion, some people joke about eating “twice the pie.”

Albert Einstein

The town of Princeton, New Jersey, where Albert Einstein lived and taught for twenty years, is hosting a variety of events to commemorate Pi Day and Einstein.  His birthday also falls on March 14. Einstein worked at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton for more than twenty years during which time he resided in the city. In addition to pie-eating and recitation competitions, there is an annual Einstein look-alike contest that takes place.

Before you eat that celebratory ‘we-just-bought-a-new-house’ pie (be it homemade or McDonalds) give the ‘math wizs’ at Middle Tennessee Inspections a call to make sure your prospective home will still be safe and wonderful for many more Pi days!

Spring is almost here!

Take some time after spring has arrived to give your home a thorough inspection as well as its annual spring cleaning. Including these home maintenance recommendations in your daily routine will help your home run more smoothly.

Check your Air Conditioning

Have a professional HVAC contractor come out and perform a tune-up on your air conditioning system. You should do this once a year to ensure the system is operating at its manufacturer-rated efficiency, which can help you save money on your energy costs and keep you cooler on those soon-to-be-here hot Tennessee days. Check the condensate drain hose on your system as well, since we live in a humid region. Mine becomes blocked with algae and debris and I have to clean it regularly.  You can save money by inspecting the hose yourself on a regular basis. Try to flush any debris out then suction any remaining obstruction with a wet-vac.

Roofs And Gutters

Because the strong Middle Tennessee Summer heat may quickly destroy shingles on a roof, you should call a contractor if you haven’t inspected it in several years.  You can take a look from the ground or at gutter level for any loose shingles or screws. Remove any leaves or other material that has accumulated on them or in your gutters. There are many ‘gutter cover’ companies.  I did get a quote from one once; then went to my local hardware store and bought and installed them myself.  This just depends on your comport level on a ladder.  Double-check to verify if your gutters are securely secured and free of leaks.  Look at the fascias and trim. To avoid a potential basement flood, make sure that downspouts guide water away at least six feet from the house’s foundation.

Remember your Foundation

Before the spring rains arrive, inspect the foundation around your home to ensure that your basement is adequately protected. Remove any leaves that may be around it.  Look for cracks or defects and seal them or, if required, get a contractor to fix these issues. In addition, search for low spots in the yard near the foundation that could collect water during a severe downpour. Fill up the depressions in your yard with compacted earth to make them level. Keep an eye out for any additional “ponding” spots in your yard, as well, because standing water might form after a very heavy rain. Mosquitoes can spawn in these pools, making them a breeding site.  This will also make your Summer more enjoyable.

Exterior Tips

Check your outside faucets for freeze damage.  Make sure your window screens have no damage, and rechaulk doors and windows if necessary.  We have a lot of squirrels in Middle Tennessee so make sure all house entry points are sealed. Now’s a great time to make sure your lawn mower is running; better to get it into the shop now instead of when everyone needs repairs.  Spring is also a great time to think about planting trees.  Last year we got a bunch and planted them around the property.  Check out https://www.tn.gov/agriculture/forests/seedlings.html

Decks

If you have a patio deck, look for stains, discolorations, or warping in the wood before using it. If you discover any, you may want to consider resealing the deck.  For confirmation that your old treatment is still functional, pour some water onto a dry deck and watch to see whether it beads up in any way. Generally speaking, deck-sealer manufacturers recommend that you reseal your deck once a year; I do mine every other year. If there are no obvious problems that need to be addressed, you may likely wait until the next spring to reseal. Examine the wood for any sharp edges, splintered wood, or rotten wood before proceeding. In addition, search for rusted nails or screws, or any that are coming loose or causing their connections to weaken or come loose. Inspect the deck posts for any signs of decay.  Also, make sure that the railings and steps are secure and not shaky before you start using the space.

Don’t Forget Inside Safety

Spring is a good time to check your smoke detectors and Fire Extinguishers.  We have all heard that your smoke detector batteries should be changed twice a year but did you know your home fire extinguishers should be checked at least monthly.  Spring is a great time to make sure they are okay.

 

These simple steps will help you and your home enjoy the cool Middle Tennessee Spring weather.