Note: The following is a guest blog by Atlanta home inspector, Frank Cooper with Atlanta Property Inspections and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of GeorgiaMoves.com
Home buyers consider many choices when looking for a new home such as location, schools, taxes, shopping, and other amenities. Some choose to live intown while others prefer the suburbs. Whatever your choice for your new home location, there are several advantages for considering a newer home.
Newer homes can offer home buyers several benefits over older homes such as energy efficiency improvements and safety upgrades. Energy efficiency has been a common goal in newer construction and there have been significant improvements in construction standards and equipment requirements to lower energy costs. In addition, there have been a number of safety changes that affects several areas of safety including fire safety, child safety, and electrical safety.
1. Air Conditioning: One of the biggest recent changes has been the requirement that air conditioners meet a higher energy efficiency standard. We have moved from 10 SEER to 13 SEER in 2006 which is about a 25% – 30% increase in efficiency; in other words, it should cost 25% – 30% less to cool your home with a 13 SEER unit than with a 10 SEER system.. There are more choices for energy efficient HVAC systems, and there are several incentives to go with even higher efficiency units that include a federal tax credit as well as rebates from several sources.
2. Insulation: Insulation standards have been around for a while but installation and materials have been upgraded. Insulation materials such as cellulose (recycled newsprint) and spray foam materials have grown in popularity.
3. Air Leakage: Insulation requirements also include newer building codes that are more strict about air infiltration sealants. These sealants are now installed at the framing stage of construction to fully seal smaller openings in the exterior walls between studs and floors, and at wall penetrations. This simple change helps to eliminate energy loss at multiple locations around the home that used to be small areas of air infiltration and energy loss.
4. Better windows have made a big difference in maintaining an energy efficient home. In 2003, Georgia required the use of Low-E glass which was a big improvement in reducing heat gain through the window glass which helps to reduce air conditioning loads.
1. Tamper resistant outlets have been required for several years now (since 2008) for newer homes or ones that have been remodeled. This important child safety feature prevent children from getting shocked if a foreign object is inserted into the outlet.
2. Carbon monoxide detectors are now required in newer homes or additions (since 2009 in Georgia). This important device has been credited with saving many lives and should be inside every home regardless of age.
3. AFCI protection at the panel box is now required for additional fire safety. Arc Fault Circuit Interrupt breakers protect the home from arc faults which can lead to an electrical fire. Originally required for bedrooms in 2001, they are now required for multiple circuits throughout the home giving newer homes another layer of fire safety.
4. GFCI protection has been required, in various forms, since the 1970’s and provides protection to outlets in wet locations. Many older homes do not meet the minimum safety standard for GFCI protection.
Frank Cooper, Certified Inspector
Atlanta Property Inspections