News You Can Use From Leading Edge Homes
June 2014



Florida's relatively new Energy Efficiency code has had a big impact on room addition and home remodeling costs.  This doesn't mean you shouldn't remodel; it just means you need to budget accordingly.  In order to meet the code, it has become necessary to use costly windows and doors that have Low-E coated and insulated glass.  If something were to happen to these new windows, this type of glass can not be replaced by your local glass company.  New sealed units must be ordered from the manufacturer which takes time and is expensive - so be careful not to break you new windows. 


Many times when you have to add a new air conditioning system, it must have a higher SEER rating (15 or 16) than minimum which is 14.  This too costs more money to purchase and install.


Sometimes conditions are such that fiberglass batt insulation won't work to meet the code.  Then more costly spray foam insulation must be used.  Although I consider spray foam a superior product,  it still costs more - especially on small square footage projects.


While it is true that in the long run you will save money on your energy bills with these more energy efficient products, it will take many years of small savings to recoup the initial investment.  This should not, however, stop you from making changes to your home to meet your wants and needs.


Please remember that I am but the messenger and my intent is to merely keep you informed.  These requirements were mandated by the Florida Legislature.  Leading Edge Homes, Inc. simply complies with them.


For more information on how to make your home more energy efficient, please call me at 561-795-2551 and I will be happy to share my knowledge with you.






Todd Perry
Leading Edge Homes, Inc.


My New Septic Tank is Higher Than the Pipe Coming Out of My House - Now What Do I Do?


If your house was built before 1981 and you have to replace your septic system drain field or if you are adding a new septic system for a room addition, you will probably run into this problem.


Somewhere around 1981 the minimum elevation for septic drain fields was raised about one foot higher throughout Palm Beach County.  This causes a problem if the house elevation is too low to allow sewage to enter the septic system by gravity.


The most economical solution to this problem is to install a lift station (see picture) which gets installed between the sewage pipe coming out of your house and the pipe going into the septic tank.





This device is like a combination garbage disposal and pump.  The sewage enters the lift station from the house side and, once a predetermined level is reached, the unit grinds up the sewage and pumps itself out through a 2" pipe until empty.  The pipe can go up hill to the septic system since the discharge is under pressure. 
Yes this device is electrically operated, needs periodic maintenance, and should have an alarm with light (as shown) to alert you to a problem, but it resolves the issue quite nicely.
Lift stations can also be used with city sewers if the house is built below the sewer lines.  This is common in other parts of the country and world where houses are built below the road on the side of a hill or mountain.


What Are My Room Addition Choices? 
If you need more room than you have in your current house, you have four choices.  You could buy a larger new house, buy a larger pre-owned house in move-in condition, buy a pre-owned house that has room to expand (perhaps in a more desirable neighborhood), or add on to your existing house.


Assuming you select either of the last two options, now you have another choice to make - build up or build out.  Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages.


Adding a second story conserves yard space; however, the drawbacks, to name a few, are:
  • The existing first floor is left open and subject to water damage during construction and the house usually is uninhabitable until done
  • The foundation may need to be enlarged to hold the extra weight
  • The finished house room sizes or layout may have been compromised due to the existing house's design

Adding a one story addition (or new 2 story addition) may eliminate a good chunk of yard space, but some of the advantages include:

  • The design is far less restricted
  • It is less expensive
  • The homeowner/family can live in the house during construction
  • There is no wasted space for the staircase (safer/easier for the elderly)

Other Considerations

A big challenge is to blend the addition seamlessly with the existing structure.  Floor levels need to match, doors and moldings need to look the same as in the existing house, and the roof lines need to look like the entire house was built at the same time.


Other things to think about are the orientation to the sun, the local zoning regulations, and  the increased load on existing electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems, which may need to be upgraded to operate at maximum efficiency.


While everything previously mentioned is important, the most important part of a successful room addition is hiring a contractor who understands homeowner needs from the start and with whom you can freely and comfortably communicate.


Leading Edge Homes, Inc. has been listening to homeowners and making their room addition dreams come true for over 23 years.  If you are considering a room addition or a major home remodeling project, please call the office at 561-795-2551 to schedule a FREE design consultation.

Did you know... ?
Construction is one of the nation's largest industries with 8.3 million workers.


The average age of a construction worker is 47.
The famous 1932 photo that was made into a highly commercialized poster and shows 11 men sitting on a beam of the GE building eating lunch is authentic, with no modifications or computerized alterations.
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In This Issue
Septic System Problems?
Should You Build Up or Out?
Did you know... ?
Featured Article
Do you know your room addition options?  Click on the article above to discover some great points of view.
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