Friday, December 14, 2018

Tips to keep your home warm in the winter


By Mel Oldakowski

To say it's freezing outside would be an understatement. We're all feeling the effects of this brutal Maine winter; and for those looking to reduce your heating bill without a big investment, here are a few tips. 

Be sure to use the correct ventilation.

Replace bathroom exhaust vent switches with timer switches so vents will not be left on accidently and vent only when needed.
Winter air tends to be dry, so if you don't mind a little less privacy, open your bathroom door and let the steam escape into the house instead. Make sure bathroom fans/vents have baffles/draft blockers on the outside so you don't have cold air blowing back into the house.

Switch ceiling fans (reverse them) spring and fall.

If you have heated floors turn off the ceiling fans but if you have forced air heat, turn them on. 
Close the doors and vents in unused rooms if you are trying to reduce heating costs or keep your living space warmer in an emergency.

Get heat where it’s needed.

If you have radiators, line the inside of the exterior wall with tinfoil. This will reflect some heat back inside. 
Double check to make sure you aren't blocking airflow from forced air vents with furniture or other objects, and that the vents are open where you need heat.
If you have a chimney and are not using it, make sure its flue and draft (if it has both) are closed. Open chimneys can suck the heat right out of your home. This is one of the biggest issues with open fireplaces – too much heat loss from the room. Consider blocking the chimney with a fireplace insert for insulation to reduce heat loss if it will be unused indefinitely – just don't forget to take it out if you use it again.

Insulate inside.

Insulate hot water/radiator pipes and duct work running through non-living areas. You don't want that heat dumped in a crawl space or utility area you want it to get your house warm. 
Attic access can be the source of large amounts of heat loss so make sure your attic access is well insulated. 
Don't let the cold radiate up from your floor. A non-insulated floor can cause more than 10 percent heat loss in a home. This is especially important if your home is on a slab. Insulate the floor with warm rugs or carpets. 
In extreme cold, hang blankets along the wall, even where there aren't windows because the wall can radiate cold through it if the insulation isn't good enough. If this happens regularly you need to check your wall insulation.

Reduce window heat loss.

Uncover the south facing windows to let in solar heat on sunny days.
Add interior window insulating kits, insulating shades, and curtains. You can purchase these items inexpensively online and in most major stores. If you have very large window, you can tape a large clear shower curtain to the inside (just past the frame).  It will allow sun in during the day and still provide an air gap to reduce heat loss.
Never forget your Realtor can always be a great resource, and may have pull, should you need an experienced contractor. We are always available and willing to help.


Friday, December 7, 2018

All about easements


By Randee McDonald

The word easement is defined as, “a right to cross or otherwise use someone else’s land for a specified purpose.” In its simplest terms, a property easement allows for a third party to use a portion of someone else’s property for a specific use. Most commonly we see this as a “right of way” issue or to allow service maintenance – such as utility companies – to access a certain piece of land.

Easements can also exist to address a number of issues. Reasons for easements can differ depending on the situation, such as an easement of necessity, a private easement, or a utility easement.

One example would be if the only way to access property B from a main road is to go through an alley or driveway that is located on a neighboring property A, then property A would most likely be burdened with an easement that benefits property B.

Another example would be if electric lines are located above property A and property B, then both properties would most likely be burdened with easements that benefit the electric company so that they can access either property in the event they need to repair or maintain those electric lines.

But what does this all actually mean to the homeowner who has the easement attached to their property?

If you have an easement attached to your land, you are not permitted to build any structure on or over the easement land, or to use it in any way that interferes with the rights of the party benefitting from the easement. Failure to comply could actually result in the new structure built on the easement to be destroyed, or the homeowner could even be sued.

When you work with Cumberland Title, you can be confident that we conduct thorough title searches and will disclose if we find any easements – as well as liens or encroachments – and we will share that information on the title report prior to closing. And as always, we are here to answer any questions you may have about the title search process, or any other aspect of your real estate transaction and closing.