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)
Uneven Temperature in Home
Our homeowner, Paula (not her real name), has a room in her home that always seem to be a few degrees cooler in the winter than the rest of the house? While it’s not uncommon to expect temperature variations on upper floors of multi-level homes or rooms having extended exposure to the late-day sun. But, in Paula’s case there didn’t seem to be a logical explanation for the temperature difference.
Paula had a friend who told her about HomePorter’s Virtual Homecare pilot program. Intrigued by the opportunity, she decided to take advantage of the 30-minute complimentary session and enrolled in the program. Shortly thereafter, she was connected with our experienced HomePro, Ron. Following is her story:
Diagnosing the Problem:
When Paula filled out the Pre-Session Survey provided by HomePorter, she highlighted several issues in her 15-year-old home that she hoped to address during the consultation session. While we can’t cover all of the issues in this blog, we will focus on one specific problem we refer to as the ‘Cold Room’ problem.
The room in question was situated on the main floor of Paula’s home, and it consistently failed to maintain a comfortable temperature during the winter months. To diagnose the problem, Ron began by asking a series of questions while guiding Paula through her home using her mobile phone. The visual connection allowed him to virtually observe the layout of her home and gain a better understanding of the problem at hand. This remote visual access proved to be a critical component in diagnosing the issue, as it enabled him to gather valuable information and identify potential factors contributing to the cold room problem. As the saying goes, “a picture tells a thousand words.
Ron approached the situation with the mindset of a skilled investigator, employing a series of progressively detailed questions. He started by asking about the precise location of the room: Was it positioned above the front porch? Was it next to or above the garage? Did it have any proximity to a cold cellar? By methodically delving into these details, he sought to uncover whether the room was exposed to significant temperature variations from adjacent areas that would be an early indicator of a potential insulation problem. Maintaining this line of questioning allowed him to gather crucial information and narrow down the potential causes of the problem, paving the way for a more targeted investigation.
Ron then redirected his attention to the room’s proximity to the furnace room. This line of questioning recognized the potential influence of the distance between the room and the source of heat, which led him to a focus on the ductwork and possible airflow restrictions.
He inquired about duct cleaning, but Paula couldn’t recall the last time this service was performed. He then suggested a simple test. He instructed Paula to place a paper tissue against the return air vent while at the same time asking her to use her mobile phone to provide him with a visual connection to the area. This test sought to assess the strength of the airflow by observing whether the tissue adhered to the vent cover plate. Although the tissue stuck to the plate, the attachment was weak, indicating a possible restriction or impediment in the airflow. If this was true for the intake, it was likely also true for the ductwork delivering heat to this area of the home. This valuable information provided Ron with another piece of the puzzle.
The video interface came in handy again as he closely inspected the windows. He noticed potential air gaps caused by deteriorating caulking. He also observed slight warping in the window frame caused by persistent exposure out outside weather conditions. This discovery prompted a discussion about general window maintenance and the importance of proactively addressing these issues. He concluded that while the windows were contributing factors to the cold room problem, they were not the main culprit. Replacing the windows at a substantial cost was unlikely provide a significant improvement in solving the issue. Nor was it likely to reduce her energy bill significantly.
Toe ensure he left no stone unturned, he shifted his focus to the room’s cooling during the summer months. Although Paula indicated this was a minor issue, it presented an opportunity for him to discuss the potential solution of installing a wall-mounted heat pump with her. He explained that heat pumps could provide both heating and cooling capabilities, offering a more balanced and comfortable temperature throughout the year. He advised this option would be costly and might not directly address the root cause of the cold room problem.
After carefully examining the various clues, Ron determined that multiple factors conspired to create the problem. It would require a multi-pronged action plan to fully resolve it. He shared his observations with Paula, along with his home maintenance advice.
He suggested the location of the room above the garage was likely the most prominent contributor to the problem. He recommended improving the insulation between the room and the garage would result in significant improvement. Applying high-density foam to the area would yield optimal benefits and a nice return for an investment of “a few thousand dollars”. Although it was a rough estimate, Paula felt relieved knowing that the expense to address this problem was manageable within her budget.
He also highlighted that the distance between the furnace room and the cold room was a contributing factor. He advised that proactive maintenance of the ductwork would be a straight-forward and cost-effective option for her to explore to partially address the problem.
Lastly, Ron identified the condition of the windows and sealants as a minor contributing factor to this specific problem. Addressing this deficiency would provide additional benefits in terms of preventing further damage to the windows and wood trim. It would also serve to mitigate future risk of water damage that has the potential to escalate into a very expensive problem.
This story highlights the value of homeowners engaging with licensed home professionals to address what may on the surface appear to be minor issues. It demonstrated the HomePro’s skill in systematically analyzing and unraveling a problem, much like a detective solving a crime scene. With each layer of investigation, Ron not only provided proactive solutions for Paula’s cold room issue, but also offered valuable advice on general window maintenance and other home-related concerns. The comprehensive approach ensures that homeowners receive holistic guidance and support beyond their specific problems, enhancing their overall home maintenance knowledge and well-being.
Paula found the detailed options and cost estimates for addressing the cold room problem particularly helpful. She was pleasantly surprised to receive maintenance advice on additional issues that she hadn’t even considered before. She felt empowered to create a comprehensive plan of action to tackle all the identified issues, confident in the knowledge she was now able to prioritize her action plan and work toward improving the comfort and functionality of her home.
Closing Message from HomePorter
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.
The virtual nature of our consultations eliminates the hassle of scheduling in-person visits, yet allows for a thorough, informed, and efficient communication. You can connect with our experts from the comfort of your own home, saving you time and effort.
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.