News You Can Use From Leading Edge Homes

February 2015




In case you were wondering why I haven't sent out a newsletter in a couple of months, here's the reason.  My daughter and son-in-law purchased their first house and moved into it last week. Prior to moving day, I was elected to correct all the problems and make several improvements before they moved in.  It's been a 7 day a week mega-project.


Although the house appeared to be in good shape when I inspected it, and I knew about some of the following problems ahead of time, once they took ownership and I could "peel back the layers of the onion", I discovered even more issues:

  • Numerous electrical receptacles and switches were added that were either not grounded or were wired incorrectly
  • The master bath GFI receptacle did not work at all because the GFI breaker in the electric panel was incorrectly connected
  • The extra layer of blown in insulation was installed to conceal multiple illegal junction boxes with more electrical problems and violations
  • The door from the house to the garage was not fire rated
  • Two sink drains dripped because they were missing washers and were held together with concealed duct tape
  • Sliding glass door screens did not slide because they were installed up side down
  • The loft staircase was so steep even I didn't want to climb up it for safety reasons and it had to be replaced after modifying the loft floor and structure

Besides correcting problems, I also added a breakfast bar, replaced two doors with impact rated ones, installed "accordion" hurricane shutters over the sliding glass doors, and replaced three windows with ones having impact glass.  When you add in painting and replacing door locks, I've been a busy guy.


The point here is that even after you have had an inspection performed on a resale house, problems can still exist.  You can't look behind walls and pipes or dismantle an electrical system on an inspection because you don't own the property yet.


My children were lucky that they knew someone in the construction business who was honest with them, performed the corrective work properly, and gave them the deal of the century when it came to the price! 


If you know someone who is buying a house and wants it thoroughly inspected before the purchase, or repaired/remodeled after the purchase, please feel free to pass along our phone number - 561-795-2551.




Todd Perry
Leading Edge Homes, Inc.


Lighting fundamentals: How style and function blend for ideal bathroom visibility



(BPT) - Bathroom remodels are one of the most popular home improvement projects and they provide impressive return on investment. While plenty of focus goes into selecting the perfect tile or ideal shower surround, there's one critical area that too often is overlooked: the lighting.


To make the most out of your remodel and ensure a space that is as functional as it is fashionable, it's important to understand the purpose of different types of lighting and how each influences the style and usefulness of the bathroom. A surprising number of bathrooms have critically poor lighting that not only detracts from their design, but makes it more difficult to do daily tasks. Whether you have a petite powder room or a grand master bath, there are four main types of lighting you should consider: ambient, task, accent and natural.

Ambient lighting

Ambient lighting is the main source of illumination and is fundamental to a solid bathroom lighting plan. Also known as general lighting, ambient lights are typically installed overhead and provide lighting for safety and overall comfort. Recessed lights, wall-mounted fixtures and small chandeliers have become popular options for bathroom ambient lighting. Many people choose to install dimmers for the main source of lighting so they can adjust the illumination depending on what they are doing; brighter is used for quick showers and softer lighting is used for soaking in the tub.


Task lighting

Task lighting is absolutely necessary for daily grooming activities like putting on makeup and shaving. Typically located by the mirrors, quality task lighting is free of glare and shadows, and it will never strain the eyes. High-end mirrors like the Reception mirror from Robern feature built-in premium task lighting. With a sleek design and open storage, the mirror features fluorescent vertical task lighting at an ideal light value that simplifies grooming tasks. Pair with the M Series Cabinet for a mixture of open and closed storage that is lit on the inside and comes with a nightlight. Finish with a Robern Adorn freestanding vanity with Digital Wood design for the ultimate functional bathroom focal point. By coordinating finishes, lighting and design aesthetics of different Robern pieces, orientations can be created to meet specific functional needs for the ultimate in bathroom customization.


Accent lighting

To add dramatic visual interest and call attention to certain objects in the bathroom, use accent lighting. These types of lights artistically highlight special objects, like paintings, plants, sculptures or architectural detailing. Accent lights are typically smaller and include a shield that allows you to direct the light on the desired object. Wall-mounted picture lights, halogen spotlights and table lamps are a few examples of accent lighting.


Natural lighting

Due to privacy concerns, many bathrooms do not have any natural light sources. Fortunately, thanks to ambient, task and accent lighting, natural light is not a necessity. But some homeowners like the option of natural light and a skylight can be a simple solution. Skylights allow sunlight in during daylight hours without jeopardizing any privacy, plus they can be installed with shades for optional closure if desired. Natural light from sources like skylights can be particularly inviting near the bathtub.

If you plan to remodel your bathroom soon, you can take your upgrades to a whole new level with the right lighting. Consider how you will use the space, what you want to highlight, and your personal preferences to create a bathroom lighting plan you'll love for years to come.

Discover the home improvement that can save you money




(BPT) - For many homeowners the biggest utility bill is electricity. Heating and cooling the home makes up nearly half of electricity costs, but the next biggest source is the water heater. Water heaters can account for up to 25 percent of total household energy use. Taking steps to improve the energy efficiency of a home with better insulation and more efficient furnaces and air conditioners can reduce energy costs significantly, as can making sure water heaters are operating properly.


However, purchasing a high efficiency water heater does little good if the environment in which it operates is not right. The main culprit in reducing the efficiency of water heaters is hard water. Nearly 90 percent of American homes have hard water which contains high levels of calcium and magnesium. These minerals cause scaling, a buildup that clogs waterlines and plumbing forcing appliances to work harder and operate less efficiently. Hard water can reduce the efficiency of water heaters and increase electricity costs by as much as 48 percent according to the Battelle Memorial Institute.


The problem can be particularly severe with electric water heaters. These can accumulate up to 30 pounds of calcium carbonate, a rock-like scale, eventually damaging the heating element which will have to be replaced. The cost of hard water is not higher just because of reduced energy efficiency and higher electric bills; hard water also damages appliances like water heaters, dish washers, shower heads and faucets. These must be repaired and replaced more often as a result.


To determine if you have hard water, look for spots and scale build-up on fixtures. "A less obvious indication is the lack of that luxury feeling of a hot shower you get at a nice hotel," says Michael Mecca of Performance Water Products. "That feeling is not because of the nice towels and soaps. It's because nice hotels use soft water not only for their guests' benefit but also to protect their investments in boilers, piping and fixtures."


Kitchens benefit from soft water as well because soft water is up to 12 times more effective at cleaning dishes than increasing the amount of detergent used. Researchers also found that for washing machines, the most important factor in removing stains from clothing was water softness. Reduction of water hardness was up to 100 times more effective at stain removal than increasing the detergent dose or washing with hotter water. In fact, soft water can reduce soap use by as much as half.


Many water treatment companies offer free tests to homeowners to measure the degree of hardness in the water and offer appropriate systems that fit. "Hardness in water can vary widely in some parts of the country and pipe size, number of bathrooms, number of people in the house, types of showerheads and intended use all need to be considered for the right system," says Mecca.


"Wells in particular are susceptible to hard water since municipal water departments often take care of the worst offenders such as iron-manganese-hydrogen sulfide. Even if you get municipal water you likely still have calcium and other hard water deposits and can benefit from a water softener. Systems for well water will cost a little more but it is well worth it," he adds.


The only way to truly remove the calcium and magnesium from household water systems is with a salt-based water softener. These remove the scaling in the pipes entirely by running the incoming hard water through a resin filter that traps the calcium and magnesium in the water - as well as any iron, manganese or radium ions. It then replaces them with sodium ions.


A salt-based water softener is one home improvement that will not only pay for itself but add value to a home. A properly sized quality water softener appliance can save a homeowner thousands of dollars over its life in reduced soap and detergent costs, electricity, efficiency and extended life for expensive appliances.

Did you know ...
Most municipalities will let you replace windows and doors of the same size on your existing house without needing to comply with the Florida Energy Efficiency Code and without having the plans signed/sealed by a Structural Engineer or Architect?  This can literally save you thousands of dollars!
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