Monday, December 22, 2014

How Water Heater Efficiency Standards Are Changing in 2015

Now that we are in the thick of the cold seasons, our most prized household commodity is heat.

And it can be EXPENSIVE!

Whether increasing the room temperature of your units, hot water to bathe, or to wash dishes in the kitchen sink, heat is an essential asset for boston property managers.

When searching for boston area apartments for rent keep in mind that the state and federal government standards have been changing. The standards are expecting to save money for consumers and reduce our gas emissions.

Forecasting a 30-year period, consumers will save about $8.7 billion and carbon dioxide emissions will be cut by 154 million metric tons from the new standards.

What Are Efficiency Standards?

The efficiency standards were established by Congress after the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987 to regulate a minimum level of energy consumption for residential and commercial products.

Household Appliances Included:
  • Clothes Dryers
  • Clothes Washers
  • Direct Heating Equipment
  • Dishwashers
  • Furnaces
  • Microwave Ovens
  • Pool Heaters
  • Ranges and Ovens
  • Room Air Conditioners
  • Boilers
  • Refrigerators and Freezers
  • Incandescent Reflector Lamps
The efficiency standard levels are updated every five years by the U.S. DOE (Department of Energy), and the last date for the updated levels was in 2010.

The DOE allows three years of lead time for manufacturers of the aforementioned products to comply with the updated standards. We are now approaching the fifth year in the newest update, as of April 16, 2015.

Save Money From New Efficiency Standards on Water Heaters

There are two types of appliances that are used for water heating, which are typical storage/heater units and instantaneous water heaters. They account for an average of 20% of total energy consumption in U.S. households.

Other important percentages that pertain to energy consumption averages include the required energy factor (EF) which varies depending on the type of water heater, and rated storage volume.
  • 53% of households use natural gas water heaters
  • 38% use electricity
  • 4% use oil
The DOE's initiative is for gas-fired and electric storage water heaters with a volume greater than 55 gallons, placing new standards effectively, and requiring heat pumps for electric storage products.

Also, they are looking for condensing technology for gas storage products. Learn more about thermostats, radiators and surviving the winter.

The goal of the standard is that it will save a projected 2.6 quads of energy over 30 years or about enough energy to meet the total energy needs of about 13 million typical U.S. households for one year. Forecasting a 30-year period, consumers will save about $8.7 billion and carbon dioxide emissions will be cut by 154 million metric tons.

Final Thoughts on Hot Water Heater Efficiency Standards

Landlords and property managers need to be aware of these regulations in order to save some money per the initiatives on energy consumption of these household appliances within their owned units and properties at large.So what does this means for you regarding condo maintenance and heating repair fees? Do you think that you can create new practices along with your tenants to reduce energy consumption through the next 6 months and beyond? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Why You Should Consider Flood Insurance in Boston

Prepare Your Property For Flooding and Water Damage

The purpose of this article is to give ways for landlords and renters to prepare your property and personal valuables from detrimental flooding in Boston, MA.

Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States. Flood insurance is a great investment for both property owners and renters to prevent significant financial loss. 
Your decision to take out a flood insurance policy will be based partly on two things: 
  1. Risk of flooding in your area
  2. Value of your possessions and/or property.  
As our sea levels continue to rise yearly, one thing that we cannot avoid discussing is the chance of floods and the cost of higher premiums over time as the demand for policies may increase.  
When choosing flood insurance it is important to assess risk, know the coverage limits of your flood insurance policy, and not to rely on the government to financially rescue you. 
*Understand that your insurance plan's increase of high premium rates will depend on your property value.

Risk Assessment For Flood Insurance

Homeowners are 26 times more likely to be affected by a flood than a home fire as calculated by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of AmericaYou can also expect the risk of floods to continue to increase in Boston, MA with a 70% increase in heavy rainfall in the Northeast from 1958.

But only about 1 in 4 homes in high risk areas carry this kind of insurance.
Map of boston flooding
Courtesy of
Most homes in Boston, MA are inevitably under-insured due to being located in higher risk areas since we are near the coast line and are along the Charles River. The help of a Boston property management company can only do so much to preserve the welfare of your property. 

Steps to Prepare Property for Flooding in Boston

Most property owners would believe that they do not have enough valuable items to even take out a policy for rental property damage control. If that is your circumstance, you can do a things to help prevent permanent damage to your floors, windows, furniture, upholstery, and other items by doing the following:
  • Seal your windows with heat-shrink window films along the ground floor and basement. You can purchase this at any hardware or home improvement store
  • Apply more grout down in between your floor tiles to prevent them from erosion
  • Caulk your tub, counters, sinks, and glue any infrequently used lower cabinets shut 
  • Map the risk of your property's location by contacting the FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program called FIRMS or call 888-379-9531. 

Knowledge of Limits to Flood & Renter Insurance Policy Coverage

Please note that flood insurance covers damage resulting from rising water from outside the house. 

But it doesn't cover: 
  • Leaky bathtub 
  • Broken pipes
  • Sewer back-ups
Tenants should consider renter's insurance since they have valuables that need to be covered inside of their humble abode. Renter's insurance will help protect property not included in flood insurance.

It is important to have effective communication methods for renter's and property owners to ensure everyone is on the same page in the course of a natural disaster. 

Get Flood Insurance - Dont Rely On The Government

Sue Nestor of the IIAB states that "one-third of claims we see come from people who live outside flood zones.This means that even though may not live near a body of water, you still cannot elude the risk of flooding. 

Why Flood Insurance & Renter's Insurance for your Property in Boston?

The selling points for insurance products and services to new customers is chance, future value, and financial security with a value proposition of education on what is covered in the policy. Keep in mind that finished basements including carpeting, wallpaper or personal belongings are not insured by the government, nor are they insured with an excess flood insurance policy.

Knowing the ins-and-outs of your insurance plans will help gauge what you should place up high, what needs extra caulk and how much extra work should be done to insure flooding stays out of your home in Boston, MA.