Archive for November, 2019

Which Home Improvements Add Value?

Posted by Rayne Water

Every homeowner wants to boost the value of their real estate. Knowing which home improvements add value can help you make targeted improvements to your home that improve your return on investment.

Not all home improvements are equal. While it can be tempting to pursue older methods of adding value to a home, such as building a pool in your backyard or patio, these methods may no longer be appropriate for current homebuyers. Instead, home improvements ideas that increase the efficiency of your home, boost your living space or increase the longevity of your appliances and fixtures are often prioritized by today’s homebuyers.

Improve Energy Efficiency

Today’s home buyers are acutely attuned to the energy efficiency of modern homes. The trend of going green has firmly extended into the home improvement sector, with potential homebuyers of both younger and older generations paying close attention to the energy efficiency of the homes they are looking at. If you are looking for which home improvements increase value, improving your home’s energy efficiency offers a strong starting place.

Effective ways to boost the efficiency of your home and add value are to install energy-efficient windows, replace existing light bulbs with LED lighting, and consider adding solar panels. These improvements are examples of home improvements that are tax deductible. The addition of Energy Star certified windows can reduce your monthly energy bills by up to 15%, which can offer substantial savings over the lifetime of your home. Keep in mind that transitioning to high-efficiency windows may not pay off in the short-term, but should be a strong investment if you plan on staying in your home for a few years before you sell.

Transitioning to LED lighting is a quick and easy way to both reduce your monthly energy bill and attract homebuyers who are energy efficiency-conscious consumers. LED lighting substantially reduces the energy cost for each bulb in your house, while also offering extended lifespans of over 20 years.

Homeowners can also consider boosting their home’s efficiency by replacing their water heater. Water heating represents a significant amount of your home’s energy consumption, by some estimates as much as 16%. Installing a new, more efficient water heater can attract energy efficiency-minded consumers. 

If you are considering installing a new water heater, you might want to also consider installing a water softening system for your house. A water heater can be particularly prone to the effects of hard water, or water that contains a high content of minerals. The minerals in hard water are left behind as deposits in water heaters, reducing their efficiency and lifespan over time. By installing a water softening system alongside a new water heater, you’ll get the benefits of soft water throughout your whole house and improve the lifespan and efficiency of your water heater.

Boost Curb Appeal

Making your house more attractive is a time-tested method of improving the value of your real estate. Curb appeal refers to making your house more attractive from the street, which will ultimately improve the first impression on a potential buyer. If you are searching for what home improvements add the most value without breaking the bank, you should consider focusing your efforts on your home’s curb appeal.

The key areas to focus on if you want to improve the curb appeal of your house are on your landscaping and outward appearance. Ensure that your landscaping is neat and maintained. If you live in a more arid area, consider transitioning to drought-tolerant plants. Drought-tolerant plants will reduce your monthly water cost and are generally easier to care for than plants that are more sensitive to hot and dry conditions.

If you are redoing your landscaping, don’t forget to update your irrigation systems. Modern irrigation systems are geared towards efficiency while still delivering adequate levels of water to your plants. Savvy homebuyers are keenly aware of where waste occurs, and many will request copies of your most recent utility bills. Adopting high energy-efficient irrigation systems can help you reduce your monthly bills, while also giving you greater control over what gets water and how long it is watered for. 

When you are updating your landscaping, don’t forget to refresh the look of your house. Giving your front door a fresh coat of paint can make a lasting first impression and give life to an otherwise drab exterior space. A fresh coat of paint on the outside of your house can protect your home against the elements while also providing a big boost to your curb appeal.

Keep in mind that while painting your house can boost your curb appeal, to see a return on your investment you will probably want to do most of the painting yourself. Paying a professional to paint your house can cost thousands of dollars, and while it might attract potential homebuyers, it probably won’t improve the value of your home enough to result in a sizable return. By doing the work yourself, your investment is minimized so you save money and you’ll still reap the benefits that a fresh coat of paint offers.

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Update Your Kitchen and Bathroom

The kitchen and bathroom are the two areas that new homeowners will focus on. If you want to improve the value of your home, it’s a good idea to focus your efforts on updating a dated kitchen or bathroom. Updates to these two areas have a strong appeal, particularly to younger homeowners who are well aware that they may need to update kitchens and bathrooms in any older home that they purchase.

For your kitchen, you’ll want to start by making improvements that are both functional and improve the visual appeal of the space. Consider updating your appliances with new, more energy-efficient models. Installing matching appliances is an added bonus, with stainless steel appliances still carrying a high appeal.

When renovating your kitchen, your countertops are one of the most visually striking upgrades you can make. Installing new quartz countertops can make your kitchen pop, while also offering durability and longevity that will appeal to potential homebuyers.

If your home is older, it will be a good idea to upgrade your bathroom fixtures as well. Fixtures such as your showerheads, sink, and toilet are all easy upgrades that can boost the value of your home. As the baby-boomer generation ages, features that improve accessibility like a walk-in shower can be appealing.

The fixtures and surfaces in your bathroom are particularly prone to the impact of hard water, so in order to keep your new bathroom looking clean, you may want to consider transitioning to soft water. Soft water will reduce mineral deposits and scaling on the fixtures and surfaces in your bathroom, minimizing the work required to keep it looking good and boosting the value that your renovations offer.

Updated Systems

One area of particular concern for first-time homebuyers is ensuring that the fundamental systems and structural components of the home are updated and livable. Most first-time homebuyers will have used the majority of their savings on their downpayment, so ensuring that core mechanical features of your home such as your plumbing, heating, and electrical are updated can have a high appeal and be a major selling point.

Alongside core mechanical systems in your house, it may be worthwhile to replace your roof if you are experiencing leaking or damage. Roof replacement can be an expensive proposition, but it can also be a deciding factor between selling a home and having a buyer walk away from a deal. 

If you are considering making major structural upgrades to your house like renovating electrical or plumbing systems, be sure to prioritize systems that offer reliability. You’ll want to be able to point not only to a new system but a new system that has a reputation for reliability and long-term functionality.

Additionally, making targeted updates to your home that improve longevity can offer a boost to your selling power. Foremost among these is changing out aging carpet and installing longer-lasting hardwood flooring, which has a substantial appeal to many homebuyers today.

If you do plan on updating your plumbing and electrical, it can be a great time to install a water softening system for your whole house. If you live in an area with hard water, then you are intimately familiar with the effects of hard water. One area that hard water has a large impact on is your plumbing. Hard water leaves behind mineral deposits which can reduce the flow of water throughout your house over time. Installing a water softening system for your home while you are updating your plumbing will improve the longevity of the improvements you are making and increase the value of your home.

Closing Thoughts

Today’s homebuyers are likely to be more interested in seeing improvements that boost the efficiency or functionality of your home. First-time homebuyers will be attracted to improvements like updated plumbing, heating, and electrical systems. Additionally, focusing your improvements on your kitchen and bathroom first can boost the appeal of your entire home for potential homebuyers, and represent an area where your home improvements are more likely to raise the value of your home. 

If you are looking to improve the value of your home, don’t forget to address your curb appeal. Clean, environmentally conscious landscaping signals reduced maintenance and ongoing costs to potential buyers, while also improving the visual appeal of your home. If you are doing the labor yourself, it can also be a good idea to put a new coat of paint on or around your house. Not only will this make your home more visually appealing, but it will also protect against the elements and reduce potential costs down the road.

It is important to also protect the improvements you are making. Renovating your bathroom or updating your appliances can be a big investment. In order to make the most of that investment, consider protecting your new appliances and fixtures from the damage of hard water by installing a water softening system. Water softening systems address the impacts of hard water, improving the efficiency of your water heater and other appliances over time while also reducing unsightly mineral deposits and scaling.

To learn more about how a water softening system can improve the value of your home, please contact Rayne Water today to speak with a knowledgeable water expert.

Sources

  1. https://www.consumerreports.org/home-improvement/8-ways-to-boost-your-home-value/
  2. https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/mortgages/how-to-increase-home-value/
  3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/juliadellitt/2018/06/29/3-ways-to-increase-your-home-value-in-the-first-year/#3d9dc4d24bf7
  4. https://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2018/

What Is a Water Filter?

Posted by Rayne Water

What is a water filter? A water filter removes harmful contaminants from your water. To remove contaminants, there are different types of water filtration systems. These different types of filtration systems have advantages and drawbacks that make them suitable for removing certain contaminants but not others. Many people question do water filters work.  Let’s dig into what is in a water filter to really understand their importance.

Types of Water Filtration Systems

The three most common methods of filtering water within a residential setting are reverse osmosis, activated carbon, and ion-exchange. Each of these filtration methods has advantages and disadvantages that make them suitable for some applications and unsuitable for others. Understanding how do water filters work can help you gain a better sense of what are water filters and which type of system might be right for your needs.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis (RO) systems use pressure to force contaminated water through a specialized membrane. The membrane in an RO system contains very small pores that allow water molecules through, but contaminants that are larger than the water molecule can not pass through.

One of the most visible uses of reverse osmosis technology is to remove salt from seawater to create freshwater known as desalination. The same technology is how a residential reverse osmosis system reduces the number of total dissolved solids (TDS) from contaminated water. 

Reverse osmosis systems have several advantages. They are extremely effective at removing most contaminants from water. This includes salt, nitrates, or mineral ions. Reverse osmosis systems for home use are also quite small, allowing them to conveniently be installed under a sink or in a tight space.

Reverse Osmosis Systems starting at only $25/mo. Try before you buy!

Activated Carbon 

Activated carbon filtration is the most common water filter that you’ll find in a residential setting. Activated carbon is a type of charcoal that has been treated with oxygen, making it more porous and more effective at trapping contaminants. Activated carbon filters trap contaminants through a process known as adsorption. 

Activated carbon filtration will remove contaminants that are attracted to carbon. This includes chlorine, pesticides, industrial solvents, and other carbon-based contaminants. Activated carbon filters won’t remove contaminants that aren’t attracted to carbon, which includes nitrates, sodium, and the heavy metals and minerals that contribute to water hardness.

The advantage of activated carbon filters is that they are widely available, effective at reducing carbon-based contaminants, and capable of removing bad odor and taste from water. The downside is that once the porous carbon in the filter becomes saturated with contaminants it must be replaced. Also, because these filters don’t remove the entire spectrum of contaminants and bacteria they must usually be used with another filtration system.

Ion-Exchange 

Ion-exchange filtration systems are used as softeners for hard water. These systems remove the mineral ions and heavy metals that increase water hardness through the process of ion exchange. These systems rely on a tank filled with porous resin beads that are negatively charged. When hard water enters the system, the resin attracts the mineral ions and extracts them from the water. The mineral ions are replaced with sodium ions, which allow the water to maintain a balanced electrical charge.

Ion-exchange filtration systems are highly effective at removing mineral ions and heavy metals, like lead and arsenic, from hard water. These systems aren’t effective at removing other contaminants. Ion-exchange systems also periodically need to be recharged. One further advantage of ion-exchange units is that they are water softeners for your entire house, which eliminates many of the most common problems associated with hard water.

Closing Thoughts

Filtration systems remove contaminants from water, but there are many different types of water filters available. Water filters in a residential setting typically use reverse osmosis, ion exchange, or an activated carbon filter. Each of these water purification processes has advantages and drawbacks that make them suitable for removing certain types of contaminants and less effective for other types of contaminants.

Many water filtration systems integrate multiple different types of filtration methods. For example, it is not uncommon for a reverse osmosis filtration system to also contain one or more in-line activated carbon filtration systems. With these types of hybrid multi-media systems, it becomes easier to remove a broad spectrum of contaminants while also improving the flavor and odor of your water.

To find out which type of water filtration system is right for you, you’ll want to have your water tested. A water test can let you know what types of contaminants you have. Then you can find the right type of water filtration system for your needs. To find out more about what water filtration options are available, please contact our water specialists at Rayne Water today. 

Sources

  1. Hamers, Laurel. “Drinkability.” Science News 194, no. 10 (November 24, 2018): 18.
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/04/us/tapwater-drinking-water-study.html
  3. https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/27/us/pfas-california-contamination-trnd/index.html
  4. https://www.ewg.org/research/toxic-forever-chemicals-detected-drinking-water-supplies-across-california#table
  5. https://www.explainthatstuff.com/howwaterfilterswork.html
  6. https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/question209.htm  

How Do Water Filters Work?

Posted by Rayne Water

Throughout your life, you probably have had filtered water. You may even be using a house water filter in your home right now. Many people living in the United States have turned to water filtration as a means of removing contaminants from their tap water. Despite the widespread use of water filtration, many of us can’t fully answer the question, “how do water filters work?”.

Gaining a better understanding of do water filters work and how do water filters work can help you and your family make an informed decision about whether investing in a water filtration system is right for you. There are a variety of different water filtration systems on the market, each with its own separate advantages. What is a water filter and how will it remove those toxic, harmful substances  that may be in your drinking water? Taken as a whole, residential water filtration systems offer a cost-effective method of removing the potentially harmful contaminants that are in your tap water.

Reverse Osmosis Systems starting at only $25/mo. Try before you buy!

Why Filter Water?

Tap water undergoes a series of treatments before it arrives at your faucet at your house. However, that treatment doesn’t capture every contaminant that may be harmful. Even the chemicals used in the treatment itself, like chlorine and bromine, can react with other chemicals and form dangerous substances that are toxic to our organs and the central nervous system.

Although there are regulations dictating what constitutes safe drinking water, notably among these the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act, all too often the water coming out of our tap contains harmful levels of contaminants that violate those very standards. The challenge isn’t simply in understanding how to filter your water so that it is safe drinking water, it is also in understanding whether or not your water is actually contaminated with harmful bacteria. Inadequate reporting by water agencies can obscure the true level of contaminants that leave your tap water and enter your body.

Violations of tap water safety regulations abound in the news. Most people immediately think of Flint, Michigan which had dangerously high levels of harmful lead contamination in their tap water in 2015, but there are many other, smaller stories that continue to occur around the country. A report by the Environmental Working Group found that chemical contaminants were making it into the water supply for roughly 7.5 million Californians in 2019.

Here are a few of the most common contaminants found in tap water in the United States:

How Water Filters Work?

There are different types of water filtration systems. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Some systems combine multiple methods of water filtration, which are known as hybrid multi-media systems. For example, some reverse osmosis systems also use an activated carbon filter, combining two of the most popular filtration methods. Gaining a better sense of the most common water filtration methods will help you understand how does water filters work. 

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis (RO) systems are one of the most effective methods of reducing the amount of total dissolved solids (TDS) from drinking water. Reverse osmosis systems use pressure to force water molecules through a specialized membrane. The membrane in RO systems has very small pores that allow water molecules through, but not larger molecules. 

The advantage of an RO system is that it removes nearly all contaminants in water. They are great at removing nitrates, heavy metals such as copper, lead and arsenic, as well as some organic chemicals and fluoride, which is commonly added to water in municipal water supplies. RO systems also tend to be very small, so they can be easily installed under a sink to provide clean tap water.

Activated Carbon

Activated carbon systems are the most common house water filters available. Activated carbon systems utilize a form of charcoal that has been treated with oxygen. The carbon in the system is very porous, giving it a large internal surface area. As contaminated water moves through the activated carbon filter it attracts chemical impurities through the process of adsorption. 

On its own, activated carbon filters are great at removing the chemicals used in water purification, including chlorine and bromine, pesticides, and industrial solvents. Standard activated carbon filters won’t attract other chemicals like nitrates,fluoride and microbes. 

Ion-Exchange 

These systems use a process known as ion-exchange to remove mineral ions from hard water. Hard water is water with relatively high mineral content. Those minerals are left behind on surfaces that the water comes in contact with in the form of limescale. The minerals in hard water can also form soap scum, as well as dry out your skin and hair.

In an ion-exchange unit, water enters a tank that contains resin beads. These resin beads have a sodium ion attached to them. When hard water passes over the resin beads, the mineral ions separate from the water molecule and attach to the resin beads, displacing the sodium ion into the water. The resulting water is considered “soft” because it now has low mineral content.

Ion-exchange units are highly effective at removing mineral ions from water, as well as heavy metals like lead and arsenic. These systems are less effective at reducing other contaminants and bacteria that might be contained in water. This is why many people choose to use them in conjunction with an additional filtration system, such as an RO system installed under their sink to provide drinking water.

Closing Thoughts

Water filtration systems remove contaminants from water. There are three common methods through which residential water filters remove contaminants. The first is reverse-osmosis, a process that involves forcing contaminated water through a membrane containing very small pores under high pressure. As the water passes through the membrane, contaminants are left behind. Reverse osmosis systems are highly effective at removing contaminant existence, but they generally aren’t used for whole-house water filtration, and they may not be effective at removing certain types of impurities.

Activated carbon filters are the most common filtration method used in a residential setting. These filters contain a form of charcoal that has been treated with oxygen, giving the activated carbon a large surface area through which it can capture contaminants in a process known as adsorption. Activated carbon filters are great at removing carbon-based impurities, as well as things like chlorine and chloramine, which are used in water treatment facilities to address microbial contamination. However, activated carbon filters won’t remove everything, including nitrates, fluoride, and microbes.

The third filtration method is known as ion-exchange and is a process for removing the heavy metals and mineral ions that contribute to water hardness. Ion-exchange units contain resin beads that remove mineral ions from hard water and replace them with sodium. Periodically these systems must be refreshed. While ion-exchange systems are effective water softeners, they don’t necessarily address other contaminants that you may want to remove.

Due to the limitations of each filtration method, many residential water filtration systems utilize more than one method to remove contaminants. For example, the Rayne Pure Plus system contains both a reverse-osmosis and activated carbon filter. This allows the reverse osmosis component to reduce the number of total dissolved solids in the drinking tap water, while the carbon filter removes chlorine, chloramines, as well as giving your drinking tap water a fresh taste.

To find the water filtration system that is right for your home and provides you with safe drinking water, contact our water specialists at Rayne Water today. Our knowledgeable staff can guide you through the many house water filters  available and find the water filtration system that is right for your home and needs.

Find a location near you!

Sources

  1. Hamers, Laurel. “Drinkability.” Science News 194, no. 10 (November 24, 2018): 18.
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/04/us/tapwater-drinking-water-study.html
  3. https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/27/us/pfas-california-contamination-trnd/index.html
  4. https://www.ewg.org/research/toxic-forever-chemicals-detected-drinking-water-supplies-across-california#table
  5. https://www.explainthatstuff.com/howwaterfilterswork.html
  6. https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/question209.htm 

Home Improvements Ideas

Posted by Rayne Water

If you’re looking for inspiration for home improvement ideas, we can help! Home improvement remodeling projects can be used to increase curb appeal, increase efficiency, and renovate dated appliances or looks. 

Whether you are looking for which home improvements add value to your home, or you are looking to overhaul major mechanical appliances for long-term occupancy, home improvement projects are a great way to breathe new life into your home.

Increase Your Efficiency

Today’s appliances are more efficient than ever. If you are looking to renovate your house, one of the first places to focus your efforts can be replacing older appliances with newer, energy-efficient appliances.

Replacing an aging water heater or heating or air-conditioning unit can result in a big boost to efficiency. Water heating represents an average of 16% of a home’s energy costs, so updating an older unit with a newer, energy-efficient model can result in reduced energy costs on your utility bill. Not only that, but you’ll likely see an improvement in performance when you make an investment in a newer model.

If you are replacing systems like your heating or air-conditioning unit, you might also want to explore swapping out your windows for more energy-efficient windows. Replacing your current windows with poor insulation with Energy Star rated windows can reduce your electricity bill by up to 15%. One thing to note is that this is a fairly large, costly project that is often a better investment if you plan on living in the house for a long period of time.

Reverse Osmosis Systems starting at only $25/mo. Try before you buy!

Refresh Your Landscaping

One of the most effective maintenance projects to give your home a totally new look is by redoing your landscaping. Landscaping is one of the areas that homeowners look to when they want to boost the value of their home prior to selling. 

While you can always get your landscaping done professionally, you should consider doing it yourself. As far as DIY home improvement ideas, few are as accessible as landscaping and most won’t have as big of an impact on your home’s resale value.

If you are planning on reselling your house soon, consider transitioning to vegetation that is hardy and low-maintenance. If you live in an arid region, drought-tolerant landscaping can be attractive to ecologically conscious homebuyers. Don’t forget to also update your irrigation and sprinkler systems. Integrating smart technology into your irrigation system can be beneficial, not only because it gives greater control over how you water your plants, but also because it is an attractive option for younger technologically-integrated prospective buyers. With a modern irrigation system, you’ll lose less water to evaporation, reducing your monthly water bill.

Make it Easier to Maintain

Whether you are planning on selling or living in your home, making it easier to maintain can be beneficial. Potential homebuyers are less likely to shy away from a purchase if their fears about the failure of a major mechanical system or structural component of a house are alleviated. If you are planning on living in your home for a few years, upgrades that address high-maintenance issues around your house will give you more free time and reduce expenses over time.

Replacing your carpeting with wood flooring can be a great way to reduce your cleaning time throughout the week and improve your home’s resale value. Hardwood floors are more resilient and easier to clean than carpeting. Hardwood floors offer a clean, classic look to a living space that is in high demand among today’s prospective buyers.

You can also consider reducing your normal maintenance costs by transitioning to soft water throughout your house. Water softening appliances  for your whole house are a great way to reduce maintenance and increase the value of your home. Water softening systems are installed at the water line coming into your house, and soften the water before it is piped throughout your home. 

If you aren’t familiar with the impacts of hard water,  you may be surprised by how much time is spent combating its effects. The minerals in hard water are deposited on the surfaces and fixtures they come into contact with in the form of limescale. When hard water comes into contact with soap it forms soap scum, an insoluble precipitate that is difficult to clean and will quickly return.

An added benefit of a water softening system is that it will improve the longevity of your appliances. In particular, your water heater, dishwasher, and washing machine won’t be subject to the impact of mineral deposits which can reduce their efficiency and lifespan.  Adding a water softening system is one of many examples of what home improvements are tax deductible.

Improve Your Quality of Life

Internet-connected devices are all around us, and our home is no different. There has been an explosion of smart devices for your home that can be used to reduce your utility bills and give you greater control over your home’s systems.

If you want to bring your home’s systems online, you’ll most likely want to start with your thermostats and lighting. Transitioning to smart systems in these two areas can give you granular control over your home’s heating and lighting, while also reducing your energy bill. Other popular areas for smart technology include doorbells, security cameras, locks, and fire and carbon monoxide alarms. 

With all of those connected devices, you’ll also want to beef up your home’s wireless internet system. If you’re still relying on a single wireless router placed somewhere near your cable modem, you might want to explore installing a wireless mesh network throughout your house. Mesh networks, such as Google Wifi or Netgear Orbi, utilize multiple access points throughout your house to give you full-field wireless coverage. You’ll no longer have dead zones without internet access. With wireless mesh technology, you can even push your wireless network outside of your home, which can be beneficial if you find yourself hosting parties in your backyard. 

If you are looking for home improvement ideas DIY, one of the easiest places to start is by replacing legacy technology with smart devices. Most of these projects, including updating your wireless network, can be done yourself with minimal tools or technical knowledge. These types of upgrades will also boost the appeal of your home to technologically savvy home buyers if you are planning to sell.

Remodel Your Bathroom or Kitchen

Bathroom or kitchen remodels are one of the best ways to refresh the look and feel of your home. An added benefit of these projects is that they are also one of the best ways to boost the value of your home.

Many first-time homebuyers find themselves in older homes that require a refresh but aren’t sure where to start. Replacing outdated fixtures and appliances can improve your efficiency and give you a clean, modern look. It’s a good idea to get matching appliances for your kitchen, as this will improve the value of your home. Modern appliances are also more efficient and effective than the older appliances they replace, so you’ll likely see a reduction in your utility expenses.

An easy way to improve your quality of life, boost your home’s appeal to buyers, and reduce your monthly expenses is to install a reverse osmosis system under your sink. If you drink bottled water or have a water delivery service, filtering your water can be much more cost-effective. Reverse-osmosis systems are small in size, making them ideal for installation under a kitchen sink. At the same time, these systems are capable of filtering out harmful substances and unwanted solids from your drinking water.

Dated bathrooms are also a great area for home improvement. Replacing your toilet, showerheads, faucets, and sinks can refresh the look of your house even if you don’t do a full bathroom remodel. For example, adding a soft water system to your home can greatly increase the feel of the water coming from your faucets. Additionally, If you are getting older or have aging in-laws living with you, swapping to a walk-in shower with handrails can provide a big boost to the safety and accessibility of your bathroom for years to come.

Closing Thoughts

There are a variety of ways to improve your home, and our home improvement ideas 2019 demonstrate that no matter what your budget is there are projects you can take on that improve your quality of life, reduce maintenance, and increase the efficiency of your home. Large projects, such as renovating your kitchen or bathroom can breathe new life into a dated look and boost the resale value of your home. If your kitchen and bathroom are up-to-date, turn your attention outward and consider refreshing your landscaping. Transitioning to drought-tolerant plants and modern irrigation systems can reduce maintenance and water costs, while also boosting curb appeal and attracting environmentally-conscious home buyers.

Smaller projects, such as installing smart integrated technology throughout your house can often be accomplished alone without any specialized technical knowledge. Smart thermostats and lighting will give you greater control over your home and improve your home’s efficiency. Installing a wireless mesh network in your house can reduce gaps in your wireless coverage and push your wireless network outward to accommodate smart devices such as security cameras.

If you are looking to boost your home’s efficiency, you’ll want to consider swapping to Energy-Star rated windows and updating dated systems such as your heating or air-conditioning. These projects can represent a large investment, but they can reduce your ongoing expenses substantially. This usually makes them a better investment for homeowners who plan to stay in their home for years to come. 

Lastly, if you are looking to improve your quality of life, transitioning to soft water or installing a water filtration system can be an excellent way to boost your home’s value, reduce ongoing maintenance, and make your home more energy-efficient. Water softening systems reduce the impact caused by hard water around the interior of your house, including on fixtures and surfaces in your bathroom and kitchen. Installing a reverse-osmosis system under your sink can be a smart way to reduce monthly expenses on drinking water and boost your home’s appeal to prospective buyers down the road.

To learn more about the benefits of water filtration and softening systems, please contact Rayne Water today.

Find a location near you!

Sources

  1. https://www.consumerreports.org/home-improvement/8-ways-to-boost-your-home-value/
  2. https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/mortgages/how-to-increase-home-value/
  3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/juliadellitt/2018/06/29/3-ways-to-increase-your-home-value-in-the-first-year/#3d9dc4d24bf7

Do Water Filters Work?

Posted by Rayne Water

Do water filters work? The short answer is yes! Water filters are highly effective at filtering contaminated water. The effectiveness of the water filter depends on what contaminants are in the water and what type of filtration method is used. Gaining a better understanding of what types of contaminants water filtration systems are able to remove will help illuminate the real-world effectiveness of your water filtering system.

Reverse Osmosis Systems starting at only $25/mo. Try before you buy!

What is in Your Drinking Water?

Tap water may contain contaminants that you may not want to consume, which is why many people turn to water filtration systems. The water coming from your tap may contain levels of impurities that violate long-standing regulations put forth in the 1974 Safe Drinking Act. Not all tap water in the United States is poor quality containing harmful contaminants, but understanding if yours is and how to treat it is important.

To illustrate this, a recent study by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that the drinking water for 7.5 million California residents contained dangerous, harmful levels of fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS. PFAS are used in firefighting foams, nonstick coatings, and food packaging. 

The study found that roughly 40% of the municipal water systems tested had harmful levels of PFAS that exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) thresholds for safe exposure. PFAS in even low doses has been linked to a number of negative health impacts, including liver and thyroid disease and increased risk of certain cancers.

It isn’t uncommon for similar violations to occur for other contaminant substances. The most notable recent drinking water crisis involved extremely elevated levels of lead in Flint, Michigan. Lead and other heavy metals are dangerous contaminants that can leach into drinking water from old pipes used in aging water delivery infrastructure.

Common contaminants found in drinking water include:

What do Water Filters Remove?

Different types of filtration systems remove different types of contaminants. Because of this, many water filtration systems combine different filtration methods to capture a broad array of contaminants and remove impurities. An outline of the strengths of each type of filtering method not only explains how do water filters work, but also how overlapping filtering methods can produce better results.

Let’s explore what is a water filter and the three most common water filtering methods for residential use.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis (RO) is one of the most effective methods to reduce harmful bacteria and produce safe drinking water  In an RO system, contaminated water is forced through a membrane that contains very small pores. The pores are small enough to let through water molecules, but not large enough to let through other solids and particles.

Reverse osmosis systems are great at removing substances that are larger than a water molecule, including sodium, nitrates, and the mineral and metal ions like calcium carbonate and lead that contribute to water hardness. RO systems are less effective at removing any other contaminant whether that be bacteria or chlorine.

Activated Carbon

Activated carbon is a type of charcoal that has been treated with oxygen to increase the surface area of the carbon. As water passes through activated carbon water filters it attracts and traps any contaminant or impurity that exists.

Activated carbon water filters are effective at removing disinfectants, pesticides, and industrial solvents. This filtration method is also used to remove bad odors and taste from the water. Activated carbon water filters are less effective at removing the mineral ions that contribute to water hardness, sodium, fluorine, and nitrates.

Ion-Exchange

Ion-exchange systems are often referred to as water softening systems because they are used to remove the mineral ions and metals that contribute to water hardness. These systems contain a tank filled with negatively charged resin beads. As water flows over the resin beads, the mineral ions attached to the water molecule are attracted to the resin and replaced with sodium ions.

Ion-exchange systems are effective at removing mineral ions and heavy metals from water, but they won’t remove disinfectants used in water treatment, sediment, fluorine, or industrial chemicals and solvents.

Putting it all Together

Each water filtering method has different advantages, which is why many residential filtration systems combine multiple filtration methods into the same system. For example, the Rayne Clear reverse osmosis drinking water system combines a water reverse osmosis component with a sediment and carbon pre-filter and activated carbon post filter. This allows the system to capture a wider spectrum of total dissolved solids (TDS), contaminants, and bacteria than simply using activated carbon water filters or water reverse osmosis systems on their own.

Due to the fact that some filtering methods are effective at removing certain types of contaminants and not others, it is important to understand exactly what contaminants are in your water before you invest in a water filtering system for your home. This will allow you to choose the filtration system or combination of filtration systems that are right for you. 

The first step towards achieving purified water that tastes better and contains fewer contaminants is to talk to a water filtration expert. Rayne Water has been conditioning water since 1928, so our helpful staff has the expertise to guide you towards the right system for your needs.

We have many SoCal locations and can provide water softeners in Bakersfield all the way down to San Diego! Give us a call today to schedule a free two month trial!

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Sources

  1. Hamers, Laurel. “Drinkability.” Science News 194, no. 10 (November 24, 2018): 18.
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/04/us/tapwater-drinking-water-study.html
  3. https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/27/us/pfas-california-contamination-trnd/index.html
  4. https://www.ewg.org/research/toxic-forever-chemicals-detected-drinking-water-supplies-across-california#table
  5. https://www.explainthatstuff.com/howwaterfilterswork.html
  6. https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/question209.htm 
  7. https://www.ewg.org/research/toxic-forever-chemicals-detected-drinking-water-supplies-across-california#table

Are Home Improvements Tax Deductible?

Posted by Rayne Water

If you are considering doing some home improvement projects, you might be wondering whether those projects are tax-deductible. Tax deductions can have a big impact on your overall tax burden, so gaining a firm understanding of what home improvements are tax deductible is sensible for all homeowners.

How Do Tax Deductions for Home Improvements Work?

Are home improvements tax deductible? Unfortunately, expenses made making home improvements aren’t deductible because they are considered personal expenses. This doesn’t mean that making improvements to your home can’t bring tax benefits. The tax benefits of home improvements are gained when you sell your home, rather than in the year that you spent money on the project.

To understand how this system works, you’ll need to understand the terminology used by the IRS to classify different types of home projects, as well as gain a sense of what your tax and cost basis is.

Improvement Versus Repair

One thing that gets confusing is whether a project around your house is an improvement or a repair. While these two terms have a similar meaning in an everyday sense, there are big differences when it comes to reaping your tax benefits.

Improvements can be primarily thought of as projects that add value to your home, although it can also be a project that adapts your primary residence to a new use or improves the life span of your home. Which home improvements add value to your home? Kitchen, plumbing, or bathroom upgrades are all considered home improvements because they increase the selling price of your home.

In contrast, a repair is something that may be necessary but doesn’t add value to your home with no profit as a result. There’s no comprehensive list of what qualifies as a repair, but some easy examples are replacing a drafty window, fixing a broken water heater, or repainting a room.

What is Your Tax Basis?

An important concept to understand regarding tax deductions for home improvements is your tax basis. Your tax basis is the amount of money that you subtract from your sale price to determine your profit.

Each home improvement you make as a homeowner can be added to the tax basis of your home. Let’s look at an example of how this works in action:

Weighing the Tax Benefit of Home Improvements

In the past, raising your tax basis through home improvements was one of the most effective ways to reduce your tax rate from selling your home. Recent changes to the law made this less necessary in some situations.

The current tax law stipulates that if you lived in your home for two of the five years before the real estate is sold, you won’t have to pay taxes on the first $250,000 of profit for single filers and $500,000 for married-filing jointly filers.

So, if you are a single filer and anticipate receiving less than $250,000 in profit off of your home sale, you likely won’t see a benefit from including expenses from home improvements in your tax basis. The same can be said for married filers if their profit from the sale is less than $500,000.

The tax benefits of home improvements are much more likely to be a factor if you have lived in your residence for a long time and home real estate sales have steadily risen in your area. In this case, it is conceivable that some portion of your profit would be subject to taxes and understanding if are home improvements tax deductible becomes much more important.

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What Home Improvements Are Tax-Deductible When Selling?

Here we’ll provide a list of what home improvements are tax deductible when selling. There is no comprehensive list available, so it is important to remember that in order to be considered an improvement, the project must add value to the home and ultimately increase the profit of the sale. Here are a few of the most common home improvements ideas:

The list of projects that can increase the selling price of your home is fairly extensive. One thing to keep in mind is that the improvement you make must still be present when you sell your house to be valid. For example, if you upgrade your air-conditioning unit, that same unit needs to be present when you sell the house in order to be added to your tax basis.

Prioritizing Improvements That Add Value

Due to the recent changes in how homeowners’ sale profits are taxed, it can be a good idea to prioritize improvements that increase the selling price of your home. Unless you anticipate a profit exceeding the tax exemption threshold of $250,000 for single filers or $500,000 for married filers, your focus will probably be on improvements that add value rather than the tax benefit those improvements provide. 

Final Thoughts

Most homeowners are curious about whether their home improvements are tax-deductible. While home improvements aren’t tax-deductible in the year that they are done, they can be added to the value of your primary residence to raise your tax basis. Your tax basis is subtracted from your final selling price to determine your profit.

Although it was incredibly important to track your home improvement expenses in the past, recent changes to the tax law made it less of a priority. If the profit from your home sale is less than $250,000 for single filers or $500,000 for married filing jointly filers, you won’t face a tax penalty on your profits. If your profit exceeds those thresholds then including your home improvements in your tax basis makes sense. 

Under the current law, it makes sense to prioritize home improvements that increase the selling price of your home. These include improving the size of the living space in your home through an addition or basement or renovating your bathroom or kitchen. Improvements that add to the quality-of-life of the occupant, such as a water softening system for your whole house attract potential homeowners by reducing maintenance requirements and ongoing costs. 

To learn more about the benefits of water softening and filtration systems, contact Rayne Water today.

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Sources:

  1. https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tips/home-ownership/home-improvements-and-your-taxes/L6IwHGrx6
  2. https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tips/home-ownership/tax-aspects-of-home-ownership-selling-a-home/L6tbMe3Dy
  3. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-home-improvements-tax-deductible.html
  4. https://www.hrblock.com/tax-center/filing/credits/home-renovation-tax-credit/