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Welcome to iBrattleboro!

Welcome to iBrattleboro!
It's a local news source by and for the people of Brattleboro, Vermont, published continually. You can get involved in this experiment in citizen journalism by submitting meeting results, news, events, stories, reviews, how-to's, recipes, places to go, things to do, or anything else important to Brattleboro. Or, just drop by to see what others have contributed.

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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Spring Home Improvements: Repair, Replace, Enjoy!


Spring is a great time to clean, garden, and make sure one’s home is in good repair. Besides cleaning closets and planting flowers, spring should involve inspecting one’s house following the tough winter weather. Repairs and replacements won’t just help people enjoy their homes more; they’ll also keep energy costs down.

Windham & Windsor Housing Trust’s Home Repair Program is available to help income-eligible homeowners affordably rehab and repair their homes. The Home Repair Program has low-cost loans and provides expert help every step of the way. The loan officer works with homeowners to tailor a loan that is affordable and allows homeowners make ends meet. The Program’s home repair specialists assist owners take a top to bottom look at their home so they can identify all needed repairs and maintenance. The seasoned specialists provide guidance with developing the work specifications, identifying contractors, and overseeing the work ensuring it’s completed in a timely fashion and in line with homeowners’ expectations.

The home repair program will help homeowner’s prioritize costs and get the most for their money. These 10 improvements are at the top of the home repair program’s list.

Repair Roofs, gutters and downspouts – After the winter is a great time to take a look at roofs, gutters, and downspouts. If the roofing material is near the end of its life, it probably makes sense to replace it before leaks begin. Of course if winter storms and spring rains have already led to leaks, homeowners should take care of repairs soon as leaks can lead to more damage and mold hazards. Clean gutters and downspouts come spring so that water can flow through them; downspouts should be angled away from a house to stop water pooling around a foundation and seeping into the basement.

Replace aging heating systems or water heaters – if your furnace or boiler or water heater is on its last legs, it may be time to install a new one during the warmer months. Any new system should carry an EnergyStar label and check with Efficiency Vermont for rebates and other incentives.

Install more insulation – A home’s first lines of defense to stop cold or hot air — depending on the season — should be the attic and basement. An energy audit can determine where to do air sealing and how much insulation is needed. Investing money while energy bills are lower will help keep your heating bill manageable into the future.
Remodel bathrooms and entrances for accessibility and aging in place – For many older homeowners providing safe and convenient accessibility is important to their peace of mind and ability to stay in a house that has been home for years or decades. The home repair program will help homeowners determine suitable and affordable remodels and identify other available resources including grants.

Replace knob and tube electrical wiring – Many Vermont homes contain outdated electrical wiring that is a fire hazard as well as an impediment to getting homeowner’s insurance and selling the home in the future. Replacing it as part of repair project can reduce stress and fuss at a later time.

Clean and repair chimneys – Many Vermonters heat with wood and have older homes with aging chimneys. Spring is a great time to make sure that the chimney liner is clean and intact as well as the exterior masonry is in good shape and safe.

Mold and moisture remediation – The warmer weather and higher humidity levels of summer can bring on mold and all its health hazards. The key to mold control is moisture control. Get a jump on it now and fix moisture problems such as condensation on windows, poorly ventilated bathrooms, leaky sinks, wet attics or basements as soon as possible.

Tripping, slip and fall hazards – Vermont’s older homes often have steep stairs, aging flooring, worn exterior steps, and other fall hazards. Fixing these items can save a homeowner an expensive trip to the emergency room.
Asbestos Remediation - Asbestos are most commonly found in older homes via pipe and furnace insulation materials, shingles, millboard, textured paints, coating materials and floor tiles. If you think there may be asbestos in your home it is best to leave it alone if it is intact. Any asbestos remediation work should be performed by a licensed specialist. The home repair program can assist in identifying common asbestos hazards.

Lead remediation - Homes built before 1978 likely contain lead paint. Lead-based paint, even if hidden under layers of newer lead-free paint, can break down because of age, poor maintenance or household repairs and create environmental home health hazards. Lead poisoning is a preventable disease.

The home repair construction specialists can assist with evaluating and determining the best solutions for any of the above projects.

As homeowners spring clean and inspect their homes, here are some easy DIY suggestions.

Smoke and CO Detectors – if not already in place, install smoke and CO detectors in the home. If detectors are in place, change the batteries in the spring and in the fall!

Change lightbulbs – Consider switching out any incandescent or compact fluorescent lightbulbs to LED bulbs. Today’s LED bulbs are high quality, consume much less energy, last longer, and have come down in price.

Change filters – make sure all your appliance filters are cleaned or changed including furnace filters and air conditioner filters. Also be sure your refrigerator is free of dust per manufacturer’s manual.

Windham & Windsor Housing Trust’s Home Repair Program will help homeowners determine the highest priority items for a safe, healthy, and efficient home. For more information call Tara Brown at 802-246-2119 or visit w-wht.org.

ABOUT:

Windham & Windsor Housing Trust strengthens the communities of Southeast Vermont through the development and stewardship of permanently affordable housing and through ongoing support and advocacy for its residents. To accomplish this, WWHT acquires, rehabilitates or constructs, and holds land and housing in trust, providing permanent access to decent and affordable housing for citizens of Windham and Windsor Counties. WWHT has a rich history of responding to critical community challenges through innovative housing solutions. Today, over 1,500 local residents reside Windham & Windsor Housing Trust homes throughout the region.

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