Virtual HomeCare Pilot Series
At HomePorter, we are committed to empowering homeowners to make informed decisions by offering unbiased advice from licensed home professionals (‘HomePro’). We understand that every homeowner’s journey is unique, and we aim to be a trusted resource for all their home maintenance challenges. What sets us apart is our virtual accessibility to experienced Home Pros that enable homeowners to obtain the guidance they need, conveniently and efficiently.
We are thrilled to present this new blog series where we document some of the many valuable lessons we are learning alongside homeowners. We share these articles in the hope that they are insightful and useful to others on their homeownership journey.
We encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions by leaving your comments below. (need to be able to capture comments, and manage this exchange once launched)
Many Neighbours are Replacing Windows, Should I?
Our homeowner, Kristian (not his real name), couldn’t help but observe a growing trend in his neighbourhood – many of his neighbours were opting to replace their windows. This caught his attention, especially since he had noticed some issues with his own windows, such as the presence of moisture between the panes of glass. The question now lingered in his mind: Was it time for him to consider replacing all his windows? The thought of the potential cost weighed heavily on him, considering other pressing financial responsibilities in his life.
It is natural for homeowners to be tempted to observe their neighbours’ actions and assume that they possess knowledge or insights that they themselves may lack. This tendency is especially common among homeowners who do not have extensive experience or technical expertise in the subject matter. It can be easy to fall prey to unconscious cognitive biases and succumb to the ‘bandwagon effect’.
Kristian found himself caught between his neighbourhood observations and his own thoughts regarding his home maintenance situation. To address this uncertainty, he turned to HomePorter for assistance. Having learned about HomePorter’s pilot program offering complimentary 30-minute virtual homecare sessions with licensed professionals, Kristian saw this as the perfect opportunity to seek advice from an expert to put an end to his indecision. Following is Kristian’s story:
Like many of our interactions with homeowners, Kristan had prepared a number of issues to discuss with our Home Pro, Michelle. In this blog, we will focus only on the decision of whether or not to replace all the windows in a 25-year old home.
He started the session by sharing his neighbourhood observations with Michelle, including the fact he felt compelled to consider following suit. Michelle quickly alleviated his worries by emphasizing the uniqueness of every home and the importance of evaluating his specific circumstances. With this reassurance, Kristian felt a sense of relief and was eager to proceed with the session.
As they began to proceed with the investigation it became clear HomePorter’s virtual interface capabilities would be a critical tool to enable Michelle to assess his home remotely, as if she were physically present. This allowed for a comprehensive view of the house to make accurate assessments and informed recommendations.
During the virtual session, Michelle closely examined the problem areas on the main floor where Kristian had noticed moisture between the window panes. As she inspected the surroundings, she detected early signs of mold in the adjacent area, which provided an important clue for further investigation. Michelle focused her inquiry on the family’s behaviors in that specific area of the home, particularly regarding the internal shutters. She inquired whether they always kept the shutters drawn and closed.
Kristian revealed that his teenage son had a habit of keeping the shutters closed at all times. Recognizing the implications of reduced airflow and trapped moisture, Michelle began to piece together the puzzle. She concluded that the moisture issue affecting both the window and the mold growth was likely a result of inadequate airflow and excessive moisture buildup. Even a small pinhole leak in the seal between the window panes, combined with the stagnant air caused by the closed shutters, would create a favourable environment for moisture accumulation. The lack of circulation allowed the moisture to condense and contribute to both the moisture problem between the window panes and the development of mold nearby.
With the understanding that the moisture problem and mold growth were localized issues rather than indicative of overall window aging or product flaws, Michelle reassured Kristian that replacing all the windows in his home was not necessary. Instead, focusing on addressing airflow and moisture management in the affected areas would likely resolve the problem.
Michelle advised Kristian to explore various ventilation options. The localized problem could be substantially resolved by simply opening windows and shutters regularly to allow for improved air circulation. Using fans strategically around the home to enhance airflow could enhance the air circulation effect. By implementing these measures, the stagnant air and excess moisture could be mitigated, leading to a reduction in the moisture-related issues affecting both the windows and mold growth. This advice was received by Kristian as being very practical and effective solutions to address the localized problem areas in his home.
Michelle also recommended that the window pane with the breached seal be replaced. She estimated a new window could be purchased for a few hundred dollars at one of the large hardware retailers, which would be the cost-effective option to address the specific problem area. She also mentioned that if he preferred a higher quality window and frame, or if custom sizing was required, he might want to consider purchasing a replacement from specialty contractors. The additional benefits of this higher-cost option would be durability and energy efficiency. He appreciated the range of options, as it allowed ho to choose the most suitable and cost-effective solution based on his preferences and budget.
As the session progressed, they examined the caulking around the windows, which showed signs of aging and wear. Michelle emphasized the importance of addressing this issue promptly and advised Kristian to have the caulking replaced as soon as possible.
During their conversation, Kristian expressed a curiosity about the typical lifespan of windows and when it would be necessary to replace them all at once. Michelle clarified that windows do not have an expiration date and shared a personal anecdote about her own home. She mentioned that her house, which was built in 1895, still had some original windows that were functioning well. This revelation pleasantly surprised him, as he had previously believed that there was a specific timeline for wholesale window replacements. She did offer that while the original windows in her home had historical value, their energy efficiency was below par. She reiterated that energy efficiency is a separate issue from the minimal functionality when assessing a homeowner’s need for replacement windows.
Kristian felt relieved and enlightened by Michelle’s insights. He understood that the functionality and energy efficiency of his windows should be considered separately, and that he could prioritize repairs and replacements based on their specific needs. He appreciated her knowledge and guidance, as it provided him a clearer perspective on his window-related concerns to the extent it would allow him to informed decisions about this aspect of maintaining and improving his home.
At the end of the session, Kristian expressed his sincere appreciation for the valuable advice and education provided by Michelle. The session not only resolved the cognitive dissonance he had been experiencing between what he observed in his neighbourhood and his own intuitive beliefs, but it also reinforced the notion that following the herd is not always the best course of action. Kristian realized the importance of considering his unique circumstances and making informed decisions based on expert guidance rather than simply following the trends of others.
Cognitive bias often influence our decision-making process. Evaluating advice from well-meaning individuals or drawing inferences from actions of neighbours, requires careful consideration. In the case of Kristian, he recognized the importance of pausing to reflect on a given topic, as well as the decision-making process itself to ensure he would make informed choices in the future.
HomePorter understands the significance of having access to licensed experts who possess the required knowledge, skills, and experience to effectively guide homeowners. By facilitating easy access to professionals, we seek to assist homeowners in making optimal decisions as they address their unique home maintenance challenges.
For Your Consideration:
To learn more about HomePorter’s Virtual Homecare service or to schedule your own consultation session, we invite you to sign-up on our website.
Exciting Offer: Join our limited-time pilot program and receive a 30-Minute Complimentary Virtual Homecaresession with one of our experienced Home Pros. This is a great opportunity to obtain expert advice and guidance at no cost to you.
Stay tuned for more success stories and innovative solutions brought to you by HomePorter’s commitment to exceptional home services.