Untitled design (5)

Septic and Waste Systems

Did you know that on Long Island, many areas have coastal and groundwater pollution, which is leading to strict laws pertaining to septic and waste systems in buildings and homes? Increases in nitrogen levels in our coastal water systems and groundwater are causing bays to close for bathing and drinking water is being polluted.

New laws require septic tanks to be installed in addition to a cesspool or a drainage field.  And some municipalities even require a nitrogen reduction system on the septic tanks. This means a significant increase in the cost for replacing these systems as they age and fail and new code must be complied with.

Many areas in Suffolk are being converted to sewers in order to treat wastewater before it enters the natural environment around us in an effort to reverse many decades of increasing pollution from septic and cesspools systems.

Long Island’s sewer systems are evolving too and becoming more complex as population increases and federal and state codes become stricter to protect the environment.  Sewage treatment plants are being upgraded and massive projects of new piping and pumping are being installed to handle the increased demand.

Many areas in Nassau County are getting subsidized to convert their old, aging cesspools to newer, more environmentally friendly septic systems.  Up to $10,000 per system is given through a grant system.

This will all likely lead to rising costs for homes connected to sewer systems.  So whether you live in an area with cesspools or one with sewers, remember, there is a significant cost to flushing water down the drain.

Download PDF

Underfloor heating with collector and radiator in the room. Concept of technology heating. The order of layers in the floor.

What does Hydronic Heating mean?

Hydronic heating means water-based heating. The most common type of hydronic system

utilizes a boiler to make the water hot, a pump, and pipes to send the hot water to an air

handler, which transfers the heat from the hot water to the air, which in turn warms the space.

Now, the next question is, what is an air handler? The air handler consists of a fan and a hot

water coil. The hot water goes through the coil, which makes the coil hot. The air handler

sends air past the coil, which warms the air. The warm air then gets distributed by the fan. The

water gets pumped back to the boiler, and the cycle continues until the space reaches its

proper temperature.


This system is popular in new and retrofitted homes. It’s pretty economical and relatively easy

to install. Another benefit is that the air doesn’t get hot; it gets warm. Hot air systems can

make it uncomfortable in the winter because it continually dries the air. Hydronic systems

don’t dry the air, making it more comfortable than conventional hot air systems


Now, if somebody mentions hydronic heating, you’ll know what it means! We hope you find

this information interesting and helpful.


For more related information click on this link:


Download PDF

Golden retriever wearing wreath of yellow maple tree leafs

Late Fall Comfort Bucket List for the Season

I was going to write a technical newsletter about cleaning your gutters, replacing your air filter, etc.

But I decided to list some comfort to-dues for the season:

  • sit by a campfire or your fireplace
  • make a gratitude list
  • cook an apple pie
  • roast marshmallows
  • decide what you’re going to do/cook for Thanksgiving
  • donate to a food/clothing bank
  • make some soup
  • put some warm socks on after dinner
  • watch an old classic movie
  • go on a nature walk
  • make some oatmeal raisin cookies
  • make a pile of leaves and jump in it
  • make a scarecrow
  • play a game of monopoly
  • go to a Fall Festival
  • take a picture of your loved ones

 If you still want some more technical stuff, here it is:

  •  Clean your gutters, have gutter guards installed to avoid blockages of your roof drainage system.  Properly draining roof water can avoid water intrusion in your basement.
  • Check your roof and gutters with some binoculars to see if there are any damaged areas from age or falling branches, etc.
  • Seal up air leaks.  Go into your basement and check for air leaks around the perimeter.  Caulking is cheap and easy.  This will save you some money!
  • Check the weather stripping on your doors and windows.
  • Have your sprinkler system blown out.  Drain your outside faucets to avoid freeze ups.
  • Replace your air filters.
  • Have your HVAC guy check for mold inside your air-conditioning unit.
  • Get an HVAC service contract ASAP.  You’ll be glad you did in the middle of the winter!  Have the system checked now.
  • Get your chimney and fireplace checked by chimney contractor.  (Ask them to take pictures of any recommended items in order to keep them honest!)
  • Prune your exterior plants.
  • Drain the gas in your lawnmower and change the oil.  Clean the underside of the lawnmower.
  • If you have a whole house generator, have it serviced by a generator contractor.  If you have a portable generator, change oil and gasoline.  Fire it up to make sure it works.
  • Store your garden hoses and make sure the water is turned off.
  • Check your thermostat settings.  Lowering temperatures can save substantial money.  It’s a good idea to have programmable thermostats that automatically reduce temperatures at night.
  • Buy ice melt for your walkways and driveways.  Don’t use rock salt because it can damage your concrete.
  • Check your smoke/CO detectors, press the button to make sure it rings. This may be the most important thing you can do for your safety.  Current code requires a CO detector on each floor and smoke detectors in each bedroom and outside the sleeping areas.  Each of these detectors should be hardwired or have a 10-year battery life.
  • By a new fire extinguisher and keep it in handy area (like a kitchen cabinet or pantry).

We hope this newsletter has been fun and helpful!  Best wishes for the rest of fall and winter!

For more related information click on this link:


Download PDF

Female hand includes an LED strip for lighting on the cabinet surface on the kitchen set

Countertop Lighting

These days, it’s pretty easy to light-up your countertops.  LEDs now come built into a “tape,” which can be applied to the underside of the cabinets, usually without much trouble.  It’s just like regular tape, only with embedded LEDs.

Of course, the lights still need to be plugged into an outlet or hardwired by an electrician. Either way, it’s unobtrusive and relatively easily accomplished.  Many of these systems come with remote control and can be dimmed and even change colors.

Most homeowners can install these in under an hour if you’re using an outlet rather than hardwiring.

Many systems cost less than $100 and are available at most home goods stores.

For more related information click on this link:


Download PDF

Man holds invoice of water usage over desk with tablet and smartphone with applications made in graphic program.

Is your water bill too high?

Like everything else, the cost of water has gone up over the last several years. I’m always surprised at how much water costs when I open the bill. Here’s some information about how you can save on water.

Consider replacing your dishwasher:

Dishwashers manufactured before 1994 use about 14 gallons per wash. In contrast, newer models use about 3 gallons per wash. Hand washing does not save money; depending on how you wash, you could use between 13 to 27 gallons per hand wash.

Consider replacing your toilet:

  • Toilets manufactured before 1982 Use 5 to 7 gallons per flush.
  • Toilets manufactured between 1982 and 1992 use 3.5 gallons per flush
  • Toilets manufactured Between 1993 and now use 1.1 to 1.6 gallons per flush


CONSIDER backing off your lawn watering schedule in the spring and fall.

  • Most experts recommend watering every other day in the spring and fall to encourage root growth while reducing water usage.

For more related information click on this link:


Download PDF

Young couple in jacket and covered with blanket sitting on floor beside radiator and trying to warm up

It’s Fall! Time for heating system maintenance

Heating systems get neglected because it’s one of those “out of sight, out of mind” things. Proper maintenance can make a difference in the system’s performance, usually without much expense.

Hot water radiators should be “bled” every year. Air builds up in the radiator piping system, preventing hot water from getting to the radiator correctly. It can make a big difference in the performance of the system. And it’s not hard to do. Take the cover off the radiator. You should see a screw. Loosen the screw; you should hear a hiss of air coming out; and then water will start dripping/spraying out. When you see the water, tighten the screw. Do that for each radiator in the house. The system will perform better. The boiler should be serviced at least once a year, whether oil or gas.

Hot air systems utilize an air filter and an air handler. Air filters should be changed a few times during the heating season. If the filter isn’t changed, it clogs up and prevents proper airflow. In addition, have a heating contractor check the air handler to ensure it’s in good shape.

Sign up for a service contract with a plumbing/heating contractor. The benefits are:

  • Your system will be serviced
  • You will be on the contractor’s list as a customer. It’s a substantial benefit because you will get better service in an emergency than calling a contractor who doesn’t know you. For example, there’s a snowstorm with high winds and its very cold. Your boiler stops functioning. If you don’t have a service contract, you may have difficulty repairing your system.

For more related information click on this link:


Download PDF

Wooden roof beams with insulates the attic with mineral wool and pipe heating system

Two Main Benefits of Air Conditioning

Most people think of cooling when it comes to air conditioners. But the other main benefit of air conditioning is dehumidification. Air conditioning produces cooling and dehumidification; both are significant benefits.

The cooling benefit is predominantly related to comfort. The dehumidification benefit includes comfort and protection against mold and mildew.

By the way, sometimes the air conditioning system is too powerful and therefore doesn’t have much run time. When the system is too powerful, it cools the space too quickly, so it doesn’t have enough time to provide sufficient dehumidification. This makes it feel “clammy”.

So, the moral of the story is to have a properly sized air conditioning system installed by a licensed and qualified air conditioning contractor so that the system provides proper cooling and air conditioning.

For more related information click on this link:


Download PDF

A sample of decorative artificial stone. Natural stone texture for kitchen countertops and floors. Finishing materials.

Kitchen and Bathroom Countertops

The material used for kitchen and bath countertops can impact the home’s value. For example, some people consider laminate (Formica) inferior, which may negatively impact the home’s value. While granite, marble, quartz, and concrete may improve the home’s value.

Many materials are available for kitchen countertops, but this list represents the most common.

  • Marble
  • Granite
  • Quartz
  • Wood
  • Concrete
  • Laminate

Things to consider when selecting a countertop material:

  • Porosity – Is the material porous and prone to staining? Does it need to be regularly sealed against staining?
  • Hardness – is the material hard, making it resistant to scratch or damage?
  • How heavy is it – Will it require support in the basement?
  • Does it require professional installation?
  • What is the range of colors and patterns available?
  • Is there an impact on the value of the home?
  • What is the cost (including installation) of the material compared to other materials?
  • Will the material bring positive comments from visitors?

There are too many characteristics of the various materials to list here, but hopefully, this information will benefit you while considering what to purchase.

For more related information click on this link: https://safeharborinspections.com/blog/

Download PDF

3 pin power cord on white background

What is the third prong on my extension cord?

That third prong on your extension cord plug (and appliance cords), enables electricity to flow through the circuit and then, literally, into the ground. It makes electrical systems safer because electricity can flow into the ground rather than through you if there is a short circuit. It can prevent fires and electrical shocks.

According to electrical codes, all structures are required to have the electrical system connected to a metal grounding rod. The metal rod gets driven 8 feet into the ground (in the soil outside the house). The grounding rod must be deep in the ground because we want to make sure that there is a way for stray electricity to be dissipated into the ground.

In 1971, all electrical outlets and other electrical circuits were required to be grounded. This was a major step in the right direction for electrical safety. In addition, Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) started to be required in all new construction. Eventually, GFCIs became required in all “wet locations” including garages, exterior outlets, bathrooms, kitchens and basements. GFCI outlets shut themselves off immediately if there is an electrical leak through the grounding system. GFCIs save lives!

The good news is, that the world has become safer due to better grounding systems and electrical safety devices.

For more related information click on this link:


Download PDF

3d render very high quality

Some Information About Wood Flooring

Oak is very common, but several other species work nicely in homes, including cherry, bamboo, pine, and other exotic woods.

One of the most important things to consider when finishing a floor is how many coats of polyurethane to apply. Most flooring contractors first sand the floor, apply a coat of wood stain, and then 3 coats of polyurethane. But we recommend applying a fourth coat to add more uniformity and durability while filling in holes in tiny crevices.

By the way, using a stain on the floor is not required. Stains can add a beautiful uniform color, but you may consider not using a stain to allow the wood to show its natural beauty without adding any color. We suggest having your flooring contractor show you samples of different stains, with polyurethane applied (including no stain), on your existing floor so you can select the one you like best.

Wooden planks typically come in widths ranging from 3 to 6 inches wide. Wider planks show more of the natural grain in the wood. However, the wider the planks, the more sensitive they are to high humidity. Be aware that high humidity can cause “cupping”. Of course, most homes have air conditioning, reducing the concern about high humidity and cupping.

Costs vary widely from about $3 to $6 dollars per square foot. The size, number of stairs, floor condition, and wood type are all variables in pricing. As usual, we suggest getting at least 3 proposals from different contractors, and don’t forget to check references.

For more related information click on this link:


Download PDF