By: Michele Karl, Broker

If you saw my last article, you learned that there were quite a few misconceptions about homeownership that could actually end up costing you quiet a bit of money and time. Whether you are buying a house with my help or maintaining the one you already have, I want to make sure that you have all the information necessary to keep your home up to the standards you want.
So, let’s take a look at some more myths that you want to avoid.
A Recommendation Isn’t Always Enough to Hire a Contractor
While recommendations from friends help you find friendly people who do great work, they aren’t always enough when you want to hire a contractor. This is because they don’t only need to look like they’ve done a good job, but the work has to be stable enough to last for years, follow all necessary code and they need to be reliable.
After you get a recommendation from a friend, check sites to see if you can find an online presence for them with reviews to see how others’ experience with them was.
If you are undertaking a large project and want to be certain that your contractor will do everything as they should, talk to a local building inspector to see if your potential contractor has met code on past properties that they’ve worked on.
Other questions you can ask before hiring your contractor is for some past clients you can talk to and how often they do projects like yours. If you think of this as a job interview, it makes more sense. After all, if you’re spending a lot of money on a large, time-consuming project, you want to make sure that it’s done correctly.
Turning Off Your AC Might Not Be the Best Choice
You want to save money on your air conditioning bill while helping the environment at the save time, but turning off your air conditioning might not be the best choice. In fact, this could end up costing you more money.
In the summertime, if you turn off your air completely, the house can dramatically heat up. This means that when you come home and turn it back on, it has to work overtime to cool the entire house.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should leave the temperature very low in the summer months when you’re not home. Instead, turn it up 5-10 degrees when you’re gone so that it saves you money while you’re gone, but still only has to adjust to a smaller change when you get back to your house.
If you want to take the high-tech options, you can install a programmable thermostat that changes temperatures at different times of the day, many of which you can change directly from your smartphone.
Duct Tape Does Not Actually Work to Seal Ductwork
Even though the names sound familiar, you shouldn’t try to fix your HVAC’s ductwork with duct tape. Duct tape does not seal leaks well because the hot air from the HVAC system degrades the glue. This means that it deteriorates over just a few years, meaning that air conditioning will escape before cooling off your house.
So, what should you do instead? You can use duct mastic to seal metal and flexible ductwork. This is a gooey substance that dries after it is applied. Combine it with a layer of fiberglass mesh if the gap is bigger than 1/16 of an inch wide.
Bleach is Not Enough to Get Rid of Mold
Well, sometimes it is. Bleach can actually destroy the mold on non-porous surfaces. However, it doesn’t work well on absorbent materials, such as grout, drywall, caulk, carpet and insulation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Although the bleach seems to remove the mold, it only takes away the color so it isn’t visible anymore. Additionally, if you attempt to use bleach combined with water to clean it, this could actually create more mold because the surface could absorb the water.
Instead, buy an anti-fungal product that kills the mold from its roots. If you need to get rid of mold that is larger than about 10 square feet, you should hire a professional who can get rid of it safely and permanently.
You Should Never Put Dryer Sheets in Air Vents
Someone had the idea that putting a dryer sheet in your air vent will help you house smell good at all times, and it was widely circulated throughout social media. However, this is extremely unsafe.
It blocks the flow of air in the air vents, meaning that not only do you have to pay more for the extra energy the HVAC system has to use, but this could also pose a fire risk in the winter.
All you have to do to is buy candles, scented plug-ins, sprays or any other number of options to make your house smell great without the extra energy expenditure or risk of fire.
An additional misconception about air vents that we hear a lot is that you have to change them every single month. This isn’t actually true. While it’s best if you check them every month, they typically need to be changed about every three months (sometimes sooner, but never later).
While you won’t save a lot of money on this one, it could save you about $100/year and your time.
Now that you understand the misconceptions that can cost you time, safety and money, you can be sure to avoid them and keep your home nice for your whole family.

Michele Karl is the Owner/Broker of Priority Real Estate. She can be reached at her website www.priorityretn.com, her email at [email protected] or give her a call at her office at 865-577-6600.

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