Understanding Septic Systems

The septic tank is buried, watertight container typically made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. It holds the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle out, forming sludge, and oil and grease to float to the surface as scum. It also allows partial decompositions of the solid materials. Compartments and a T-shaped outlet in the septic tank prevent the sludge and scum from leaving the tank and traveling into the leach field area.The most common leach field consists of a series of trenches containing perforated pipe surrounded by septic rock, or gravel, and covered with mesh and dirt. The effluent entering the leach field is partially absorbed into the soil and partially evaporated. the leach field should not be driven on or covered by a driveway or patio.

If your home’s plumbing system does include an on-site septic system, it is incredibly important to be aware of the signs of possible damage, along with the maintenance needed to prevent it. A damaged or clogged septic system can be costly to repair. It can also impose possible health risks for homeowners, tenants and neighbors. A failing septic system could be responsible for releasing wastewater and harmful bacteria and viruses, including E. coli.

Unfortunately, there is no absolute way to predict how long a septic system will last or if it will be able to handle an increased load. A septic inspection, however, can yield useful information on the condition of the system as it exists when the system is inspected. While predicting the future with regard to the septic system is not part of any septic inspection, the inspection often uncovers defects in the system which can save the purchaser unexpected expense.

The in-ground type of septic system uses a series of perforated pipes located below the ground surface. These pipes are placed in a bed of crushed stone or aggregate. The sewage flows over the crushed stone or aggregate into the underlying soil. The condition of this soil determines how well your septic system will operate and how large the absorption area needs to be. If the absorption area is too small and the soil is too tight as with clay soils, the liquid cannot soak into the soil fast enough causing the waste to either back up into the home or emerge at the ground surface. An early sign of waste emerging at the surface is “lush growth.” The saying “that the grass is always greener over the septic tank” isn’t true when it comes to a properly operating septic system.

You pump out your septic tank to get rid of the solid sludge that accumulates at the bottom of the tank and the grease that accumulates as scum floating near the top. Both sludge and grease can foul the leaching field. How often to pump out depends on your tank size, family size, and how much of your wastewater is solid waste. For example: suppose your tank is 1,500 gallons, you’ve got four people in the family, and your solid waste is the average amount. Then you should pump your tank every 4 years. The volume of solids in the wastewater varies with such things as garbage disposals, dirty clothes, where you live. A family with a garbage disposal (compared with one that scrapes the dishes into a trash can) dumps up to 50 % more solid wastes down the drain, and, therefore, needs to pump the septic tank twice as often. Additives don’t do any good-or, at least, no controlled scientific study has shown them to be effective. So, save your money.

A choice needs to be made as to how far one wants to go to investigate a system. In nearly all cases it is impossible to check all of the septic system components as this would require unearthing the tank, absorption area, distribution system, etc. If this is done, there is a risk of damaging the system and ruining the landscaping of the property. In addition, the soil conditions change over time due to both natural and man made alterations. Soil suitability testing which is discussed later could be performed, but is usually impractical in a typical real estate transaction.

Learn more about Professional Barrie Home Inspector. Stop by www.barrie-home-inspector.com. MJilitary personnel posted to Borden use the Angus Home Inspector for their relocation needs.

7 Ways Solar Panels Will Save the Planet and Make You Rich

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With the global capacity for solar energy production more than doubling every year, the question of whether or not to jump on this growing trend is one that homeowners are being faced with on a more regular basis. This has become especially true with the rise in the number of companies offering to outfit homes with solar panels at little to no cost to the owner—with some caveats we’ll get to in a moment.
With that in mind, we decided to take a look at what you stand to gain from going the solar power route. As it turns out, there’s quite a lot. Some of the biggest benefits beyond contributing to a greener planet are:
The federal government and some states offer large rebates for installing solar
You can eliminate your monthly electric bill
If you don’t use all the electricity you generate, you can sell the surplus to utilities
Excess power can be used to charge electric vehicles for free
Installing solar panels can increase the value of your home
Of course, having solar panels installed on your home is still a pretty pricey endeavor. Even though the price per watt of photovoltaic panels—the most common—has dropped more than 20 percent since early 2010, the system required to power the average American home still runs more than $55,000. Fortunately, like we mentioned above, going solar actually costs less than the initial sticker price thanks to some nice financial incentives from the government.
You can get a solar power system installed for next to nothing, but the companies that provide them do so in exchange for signing an equipment lease and turning over government rebates and a cut on any extra energy produced.
Let’s take a closer look at the upsides of solar power.
When Going Green Earns You Green
Solar panels might not be the prettiest things, but their benefits are extremely attractive. Photo: Flickr user futureatlas.com

Using the handy and popular calculator available here, you can get an estimate of how much it would cost to install a solar power system capable of providing enough energy to run your home. What’s more, it’ll provide some insight into how much you’ll be able to take off the rather sizable cost for hardware and installation right off the bat.
In most cases, this includes a 30 percent federal tax credit based on the gross cost of setting up the system. In addition, the state you live in will have its own form of rebate. In California, for example, the rebate amounts to several hundred dollars. In some states it’s in the thousands. You can see a breakdown of federal, state, and utility-offered rebates in this nice table.
Beyond getting a good chunk of the upfront cost covered, you’re actually able to sell electricity you generate to your utility company in some cases. This often takes the form of a credit that accumulates throughout the year and becomes a nice payout depending on how much you have to sell.
Say Goodbye to Your Bill
In most situations, installing solar power on your home doesn’t entirely liberate you from the power grid. After all, you need a way to send the excess power to the utilities and without some rather large and expensive batteries there’s no way to store power for later use. Even though you’re still connected to the power company, the amount of energy you’re generating can more than take care of your needs, so you’ll no longer be paying an electric bill.
For many households, this can mean a savings of hundreds of dollars per month, especially during the summertime when electricity usage is higher.
Power More Than Just Your Home
Fully electric cars like the Nissan Leaf can be charged directly off your home’s solar array. Photo: Flickr user NCDOTcommunications

Installing solar panels can not only let you bid adieu to your home electric bill, but also some of the cost of operating a car—if you’re willing to go all-electric for your transportation. That’s because if you’re producing more electricity than you need to power your home and decide to invest in a fully electric automobile like the Tesla Model S or Nissan Leaf, some of that extra juice can go to charge your car without incurring any charges from a utility.
If you switch from a fossil fuel powered car, the savings each month can reach into the hundreds of dollars depending on how much you drive. Even if you had an electric car to begin with, you stand to save money—and the environment.
Sparking an Increase in Home Value
According to a nine-year study conducted by the Department of Energy, installing solar panels on your home can produce an average increase in its value of $5.50 per watt of energy generating capability. For a system capable of generating 3,100 watts—the average in the study—it amounted to more than $17,000 of added value.
Considering that the cost of having solar panels installed is nearing the $5.50 mark in the U.S. depending on the company you contract to do the work, you’re actually looking at adding nearly as much value to your home as you’re spending on adding the panels. This is in addition to the other benefits we’ve discussed, which really sweetens the deal.
Plus, like we said earlier, this is all in addition to the considerable benefits that switching to solar power can have for the environment. In fact, based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the use of solar power reduces oil consumption on a global basis by 75 million barrels annually and keeps 35 million tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. This number is only growing as countries like Germany, the No. 1 user of solar power on the planet, continue to expand their capacity.
All in all, it’s a win-win deal in the long run—for your pocketbook and the planet.
The Movoto blog is a service of Movoto Real Estate. If you’re looking for a new home, keep us in mind. We have up-to-date real estate listings and local agents throughout the country. When you want to take a break from browsing homes, you can keep coming back to read awesome blog posts like this one.

See original here: 7 Ways Solar Panels Will Save the Planet and Make You Rich

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Common Home Solar Power Issues And How To Fix Them | Solar …

Using solar energy to power your home has a number of advantages. First of all, it is a more sustainable and is a greener source of energy that is better for the environment. Also, it is more affordable for you in the long run and will save you a great deal on your electricity bills.
Maintaining a solar power system takes a little bit of worth and maintenance to get the most benefits out of this technology. Here are a few of the most common problems that homeowners face with solar panels and what you can do about them.

Living off the electricity generated by your solar panels will work well, as long as you have plenty of sunny days. But what happens when a week of cloudy weather comes along and you don’t see anything but clouds for several days in a row? One of the number one concerns with solar energy is not having enough light from the sun to generate a sufficient amount of power for your home. Several completely cloudy days in a row can start to cause an issue for a solar energy powered home.
This problem can be avoided in the first place by choosing a site for your solar panels where they are guaranteed to get enough sunshine. Also, if you are in an area that averages more than 5 hours of direct sunlight every day, you will be virtually safe from this problem. Also, make sure that your solar panels are not being shielded by leaves and branches which are overgrown.
The best way to combat those grey and dreary stretches is to use banks of batteries to store excess power. You can also negotiate with your utility company to set up reverse metering, which will provide you with power on the days when it is raining, snowing or not sunny enough outside.
Solar Panels Not Effective
Perhaps the sun is shining, but your solar panels are not producing as much energy as they should be. What is happening and what can you do to fix it?
There are a number of possible reasons why your solar panels might be losing their efficiency. The first thing to check is whether they are facing in the right direction so that they will get the maximum sun. You should also check that your appliances, computers, TVs and lights are as energy efficient as possible, as they might be eating up all the solar power during the day.
Cleaning your solar panels might also help to improve their efficiency. If they are covered in dust, dirt and debris the sunlight won’t be able to reach the photovoltaic cells and activate them to create energy. Be very careful when cleaning your solar panels and make sure that they are disconnected from the electrical source before doing so. Follow the correct procedure for washing them and see if this improves their efficiency.
Solar Panel Damage
Some solar panels start to perform badly or become damaged when they get too hot. If you are living in a very hot climate you might need to install the panels a few inches above the roof so that there can be air flow underneath them to cool them down.
If you determine that overheating solar panels are still causing you problems, you can look for specific types of photovoltaic panels that are designed to work better in hotter climates.
These are just a few of the common issues that come with owning solar panels, as well as strategies to fix them. With the proper care and maintenance, your solar power system will provide your home with green electricity for many years.
Sally Dimmock is a writer who has a keen interest in environmentally friendly technology. She believes that installing solar power systems makes perfect financial sense as they will save you money by using natural resources to create energy.

Read more: Common Home Solar Power Issues And How To Fix Them | Solar …

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Cuisinart CHW-12 Coffee Plus 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker with Hot Water System, Black/Stainless

Cuisinart CHW-12 Coffee Plus 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker with Hot Water System, Black/Stainless

Fresh, delicious coffee is only the beginning! This incredible 2-in-1 hot beverage center brews great coffee plus delivers press-to-dispense hot water for tea, hot cocoa, instant soup and more. It’s fully automatic with all your favorite features, like programmable auto-on and auto- off settings, carafe temperature control, Brew Pause, 1-4 cup option, and self clean. The blue backlit LCD with digital clock is elegant and easy to read. Convenient indicators lights let you know when water is

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