Home Maintenance

Home Warranty Q&A

What is a home warranty and what does it cover?
A home warranty is essentially a service contract for home owners that, in its base version, commonly covers repair or replacement of appliances and heating and cooling systems. There may be more expensive versions of the warranty that offer more inclusive coverage. In addition, coverage of other items such as pools, hot tubs, septic systems, etc. may usually be added at an additional cost.

What do home warranties cost?
Basic plans cost in the mid $400s. Upgraded plans are closer to $600. Some companies charge more or less, depending on the size of the house or the part of the country your home is in. Home warranties are often purchased for homes that are being sold, but may also be purchased by homeowners that are not moving.

What's the difference between a home warranty and homeowner's insurance?
A home warranty covers appliances or mechanical systems in...

Ice Dams: Causes and Cures

Ice Dams: Causes and Cures

To say that that the Winter of 2014 has been rough in the northeastern US is to put it mildly. In Philadelphia, we've already had 58 inches of snow and could challenge the 2009-2010 record of 78 inches. Add frigid temperatures to the mix and you have the key ingredients for ice dams which can cause home damage, making them less salable as well as less inhabitable.

But what is an ice dam? It's the buildup of ice at the base of the roofline (see photos below), and frequently on top of gutters, that can impede the flow of melting water from the roof. This water can then seep under shingles and cause various kinds of damage to the interior and exterior of a home including: mold and mildew, wood rot, water stains and insulation damage. The weight of such dams can cause gutters to bend or even detach completely from the house.