Category Archives: kirkland

July 4th Celebrations in the Greater Seattle Area

By: Rebecca Darley, AMS Inspection:  Home Inspections in Seattle and surrounding areas.

Seattle:  Family Fourth at Lake Union

July 4: Gas Works Park.  Games 12-8 p.m. Food vendors, beer garden, personal picnics OK, no BBQ or alcohol allowed. Fireworks at dusk. (www.family4th.org).

Bellevue Family 4th

July 4: Celebration with live music, kids activities and food 4-10:30 p.m. Fireworks at 10:05 p.m. Bellevue Downtown Park (www.bellevuedowntown.org/events/familyfourth).

Kirkland:  Celebrate Kirkland

July 4:  Kid parade, hat making and face painting at 10 a.m.  Main parade at 12 p.m.  Food vendors 1-5 p.m..  Bouncy Toys 2 p.m.  Heritage Park live music in the evening.  Fireworks at 10:15 p.m. Marina Park (www.celebratekirkland.org).

Sammamish:  4th on the Plateau

July 4: Live music, food, playground.  Fireworks at 10:15 p.m.  Sammamish Commons Park (www.ci.sammamish.wa.us/events/4thJuly.aspx).

Carnation: Fourth of July

July 4: Craft vendors, Hot Rods and Harleys, 5K Run/Walk, music, food, pony rides and bouncy toys.  Kid Parade at 10:30 a.m.  Grand parade 11 a.m.  Fireworks at dusk..  Tolt Commons Park (www.carnation4th.org).

Renton: Fabulous 4th of July

July 4:  Free kids activities, food vendors, face painting, 12-8 p.m. Stage entertainment 1:30-9:30 p.m. Fireworks at 10 p.m. Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park (rentonwa.gov).

An Edmonds Kind of Fourth

July 4:  Fun run at 10 a.m.  Children’s parade at 11:30 a.m. and main parade at 12 p.m.  Firefighter waterball competition at 3 p.m.  Entertainment at 7:30 p.m.  Fireworks at 10 p.m. Civic Stadium (www.edmondswa.com/events/fourth-of-july.html).

Bothell Freedom Festival

July 4:  Free pancake breakfast at 8:30-10:30 a.m.  Kids parade at 11:15 a.m. Main parade at 12 p.m. (www.ci.bothell.wa.us).

Everett’s Colors of Freedom

July 4: Parade at 11 a.m.  Kids activities, food fair, live music and fireworks over Port Gardner Bay, 1-11 p.m.. Legion Memorial Park (www.enjoyeverett.org).

For a more complete list Puget Sound July 4th Celebrations read the Seattle Times article that was sourced.

Closing Costs Calculator for the Washington Home Buyer

We perform home inspections in about 10 counties throughout Washington from Seattle to Wenatchee.  Occasionally our clients call to book an inspection and are still a little confused about the inspection cost– who pays it, how much it is, etc.  We did a little internet search and found a few closing cost calculators that may help the potential home buyer.  The calculator we are sharing seems to have the most descriptions of the costs, but will only give you a rough idea since the costs are only estimations.  For example, they estimate the cost of an inspection at $175, but our inspections start at $275…this is standard for a single family home.  Condos may be less.  Also, the appraisal fee usually starts around $300.  A loan application fee will be added to the credit report for a combined fee of $75-$300.  With all this in mind you can use the calculator to get an idea of the added costs associated with buying a home.  If you have a good agent to walk you through the buying process then you won’t be blindsided with these costs.  They can also help you negotiate fees that may be shared with the seller.

Closing Costs Calculator from Mortgage-Investments.com

Homeowner Tax Guide: Get All Your Deductions!

In a time where buyers are cautious and are really weighing out all the benefits of home ownership here are some considerations for tax season. Several tax deductions and credits are providing relief to homeowners and making them very proud of their investment decision. Deducting mortgage interest, home equity debt, capital gains on home sales and taking advantage of energy conservation credits are just a few of the tax season benefits that homeowners can cash in on. Do you have a home office? There’s another one. Most of our monthly home loan payment is interest and you can deduct every bit of it. Only those folks with a loan of $1,000,000+ receive a cap on this deduction.

Stephanie Singer, a Realtors.org contributor wrote about this topic in Tax Time Less Taxing for Home Owners. She said that, “ninety-one percent of homeowners who claim the mortgage interest deduction earn less than $200,000 a year, and the ability to deduct the interest paid on a mortgage can mean significant savings at tax time. For example, a family who bought a home in 2010 with a $200,000, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, assuming an interest rate of 4.5 percent, could save nearly $3,500 in federal taxes when they file this year.”

We found a great resource from Kiplinger.com. They have listed all the deductions for homeowners at “What’s Deductible? – A to Z.” Check it out to make sure that you’re getting the most deductions as a homeowner. We use a skilled accountant in Wenatchee to guide us through our own tax deductions. We suggest that you hire a recommended accounting professional to point out these important opportunities for you.

WA State Energy Code’s New HVAC Requirement

This week one of our staff went to a WSU Extension Energy Program training in Wenatchee with a focus on duct sealing and testing requirements for the 2009 Washington State Energy Code for HVAC: 503.10.3 Sealing. We have two Energy Star Performance Technicians on staff so this class was more of a refresher course on duct testing but we did benefit from understanding more about the changes to the new HVAC requirements. Basically, the code is in a trial period. Contractors must test the HVAC now but do not have to meet the target rate of allowable leakage during this 120-day testing period. In April 2011 a judicial committee will listen to arguments from all sides and make a decision about the 503.10.3 Sealing WA State Energy Code.

We performed a HVAC leakage test on a home in South Wenatchee. The new construction home performed well. It would have passed the new requirements. It was interesting to note the small leakages that could be easily fixed by mastic. The equipment used for testing the HVAC includes a duct blaster, manometer and blower door which could add up to $5,000. This is a new expense to contractors. There is also discussion about requiring third party testing due to conflict of interest. Should HVAC contractors be able to test their own work?

 Here are a few interesting facts we learned in class this week. Did you know that 40% of a home’s fresh air comes from the crawl space or garage? Thinking about cleaning those spaces right now…aren’t you!? This is also a good time to remind you to open your garage door any time the car is on. A family of four can emit up to 3 gallons of water into a home daily from sweating, showering, cooking, etc. Where do the 12 gallons of water go? Be sure to use your oven and bathroom exhaust fans regularly!

Seattle Home Show: Feb. 19-27th

Seattle Home Show

credit: Seattle Home Show

Spring is just around the corner and it’s beginning to look a lot like Home Show Season!  Wenatchee’s Home Show was a huge success last weekend, now we look forward to the Seattle Home Show starting on Saturday and open for 9 days.  Your online ticket purchase includes a full year subscription to “Better Homes & Gardens” and free parking.  Check out this info from their website:

The Seattle Home Show opens its doors for its 67th annual home products extravaganza on February 19, 2011 for a nine-day run through February 27.   This much-anticipated show of nearly 500 exhibits includes everything for the home and landscape, highlighted by Idea Street™ – a community of furnished and landscaped model homes. Idea Street is a showcase for home design, interior style and the latest appliances and fixtures.  Show attendees enjoy the variety and scope of the exhibition which includes green living displays, kitchens and baths, home decorating, arts and crafts, garden displays, and Meet the Expert Seminars featuring home improvement topics presented by industry professionals. America’s Biggest Open House™ – the Seattle Home Show – takes place in downtown Seattle at the Qwest Field Event Center. Details at www.SeattleHomeShow.com.

Hot Water Heaters Expansion Tanks, what do they really do?

Thermal expansion of water in a closed plumbing system can create a number of annoying and potentially dangerous problems. These include: unusually high pressure in a system, pressure surges, and the chronic or continuous dripping of a temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve. In addition, dripping faucets and leaking toilet tank ball cock fill valves are also symptomatic of thermal expansion.   More serious problems can also occur due to thermal expansion. When dangerous pressures are built up in a water heater, internal parts may fail such as the internal flues, fittings or water connections. If a flue way collapses it can lead to the potential release of toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide into living spaces.

Virtually, every modern plumbing code requires the installation of an expansion tank on hot water heater installations. The reason is simple. Water expands when heated. This extra volume of water needs to go somewhere. Before the widespread usage of backflow preventers, check valves and pressure reducing valves, this expanded water simply pushed the cold water back into the city water main. Now with these devices required in new construction and most permitted remodels we have successfully closed this system.

Where does the pressure to go?

Expansion tanks are really simple devices. They contain compressed air and a special rubber bladder. When your hot water heater turns on, the water within your piping system begins to expand. This expanding water slowly enters the expansion tank as the water is brought to temperature. Eventually, hot water is drawn from the system thru a faucet and the expansion tank releases the extra water into the piping system.

The installation of an expansion tank is a simple upgrade for any hot water systems.  There are some things you need to know before running out and purchasing your unit such as existing water pressures, capacity of the hot water tank, and ensuring the unit you purchase is for potable water systems.   I always recommend working with a licensed plumbing contractor.

Home For the Holidays: Thanksgiving Safety Tips

thanksgiving safety tips for home

Photo from bhg.com

According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), Thanksgiving Day receives the most reports for home-cooking fires, which is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries.  I compiled a list of reminders to make sure your family has a safe and fun holiday.

Watch the stove.  Unattended cooking is the leading cause of kitchen fires.  Turn off appliances when no one is in the kitchen and set loud timers.

Stay alert! Medicine, sleep depravation and alcohol consumption can all make you drowsy and less able to concentrate on safety.

Remain tidy.  Keep oven mitts, potholders, utensils, food packaging, bags, towels, etc. away from your stovetop and ovens.

Keep a lid on it.  Use a lid to smother small grease fires.  Never use water.

No Falls!  Shovel and de-ice the driveway and walkways to make sure your guests don’t slip on their way into your house.  Shovel out additional areas for parking so your guests aren’t blocking roads.

Don’t overload circuits!  With crock pots, blenders and all the small appliances needed to make the feast you can easily overload the breaker.  Only plug in 2 appliances at a time into a standard duplex outlet.  Using an extension cord to multiple usage will increase the risk of overload.

Know where your fire extinguisher is located.

From our home to yours…Happy Holidays!