5 Tips For Winter Weather Maintenance

The winter season causes some serious challenges and dangers for homeowners. This is true whether you live in your home, rent it out or have it up for sale.

The severe weather and storms that are indicative of the winter season include things like rain, snow, high winds, thunder and lightening.

Each of these weather systems can cause some serious damage to your home and property. Thankfully, there are some maintenance tips that you can follow or, provide to your tenants to protect your home from serious winter weather damage.

Here are a few of the top ways you can make sure your home fairs the winter weather:

  • Be sure to never set your thermostat to anything lower than 69 degrees. It may be tempting to turn off the heat, but in the unfortunate event of a quick temperature drop – your pipes are in danger of freezing completely!
  • Do your best to keep all doors to various rooms in your property open. This allows for proper air flow, ensuring that your home is evenly heated and appropriately balanced when it comes to circulation and ventilation!
  • Stay up to date with furnace filters. Keep track of when your furnace will need a new filter and contact our maintenance department for a new one! A new filter traps dust and keeps the heat in your home regulated and functioning efficiently.
  • Make sure your property’s doors and windows are properly insulated. Poor insulation leads to more opportunities for Jack Frost to sneak in, causing you to turn up your heat, and spend more money! Cut heating costs and extra stress by sealing doors and windows efficiently.
  • Keep the exterior of your property well maintained. Excess leaves and trees branches left in the yard of your property make snow and ice removal difficult and leave you at a disadvantage!

Make sure that your home makes it through the winter weather without a scratch by following these simple tips for winter weather maintenance. While each season has it’s own weather than can be damaging to your home – nothing is quite like a southern Oregon winter.

 

How To Manage Maintenance Requests At Your Rental Property

Having a rental property is a great investment and as we go into the new year and you get ready to file your taxes – those investment benefits will be realized!

However, a big part of maintaining your investment is to make sure that the maintenance to the property is upheld.

Here are a few ways that you can deal with a maintenance need at your rental property:

  • Make sure that the property is rent ready from the beginning. If you have just purchased a rental property or you have been living in your home and are now renting it out, it is essential that you make sure that the property is ready to be rented. Any repairs or areas that need maintenance should be addressed right away before they escalate. If you notice any leaks or light switches that don’t work properly – make sure to call professionals out to investigate and make the repairs before to put it up for rent. Having a ‘clean slate’ before renters move in will help to make sure that the property stays in good condition, long-term.
  • When you rent your property – make sure that you have a clear maintenance policy in place that your renters acknowledge and sign. It is essential that people know who to call and how to get help if there is a need for maintenance. The sooner that the repair or maintenance is done, the less chance there is for serious damage to your property. Having a long-term problem that isn’t addressed quickly and properly – will definitely call you more money and stress in the long run.
  • Build relationships with vendors – If your rental property needs an appliance or a plumbing or electrical repair – it is important that you have a specific person to call who is an expert in their field. The longer that you research looking for a plumber – the more chance there is for serious damage to your property. Have someone on-call for each type of maintenance or repair need so that you and your renters know exactly the name and number to get ahold of.

Going into the new year, it is important to be thinking about protecting your rental property investment. You want to make sure that your tax benefits are as big as possible for next year!

4 Signs That Your Garage Door Need Replacing

18568570_sWhether you own your home and are looking to put it on the market, or you own your home and you rent it out, you know the importance of maintaining the value.

One of the major ways to retain the value of your home, is to keep the aesthetics and the functionality of the home in-tact. One part of your home that embodies both the aesthetics and functionality is your garage door.

Your garage door is a good portion of the curb appeal of your home as it is a major piece of the exterior of your home.

It is also the largest point of access to your home, making the functionality and security of the garage door extremely important.

Installing a new garage door can be a stressful experience if you weren’t expecting to have to do it. Luckily, there are some signs that your garage door will give that tell you it is time to schedule maintenance or have a new door installed.

Some of those signs are:

  • When the garage door opens and closes, if there are significant creaks, pops, clicks, and signs of straining – it is definitely time to schedule a maintenance appointment and inspection. These are signs that the door needs to be calibrated and the runners and springs need grease.
  • When you are pulling into your driveway and you look at your garage door, if you notice any signs that it is sagging or bending then it is likely off-balance and when you open or close the door it could damage other parts of the system.
  • If your energy bills are suddenly very high this could be a sign that your garage door is not as energy-efficient as it was before and you should probably consider having it replaced with a newer model that works more efficiently
  • If you push the button on your remote and the garage door is slow to respond or it doesn’t respond at all, it is likely that the system needs some maintenance and you should call and schedule an appointment.

Addressing issues that your garage door is having sooner than later is the best way to avoid a malfunction that leaves you and your car stuck inside of the garage because the garage door won’t open.

Electrical Safety Tips For Holiday Decorating

15035785_sIf you are planning on decorating your home this holiday season – either inside or outside – make sure that you are being thoughtful of electrical safety.

Each year, thousands of homes suffer damage from house fires caused by misuse of electrical appliances and gadgets. In addition to the extra electrical activity around most homes this time of year, there are various storm patterns that can cause damage to electricity.

To avoid any kind of disaster ruining your family time this holiday season, make sure to follow these electrical safety tips:

  • While candles are not electricity, they do come in handy if the power goes out. However, there are some things to consider if you have to burn candles during a power outage. If you have small children, make sure that the candles are not set on a surface that is within their reach. Children are very curious and if they see a lit flame in the darkness they will be drawn to it. Also, make sure to blow out the candles before you go to bed, or if you plan on leaving the house.
  • If you have a decorated tree in your home this season, make sure that it is kept watered if it is live. A live tree can quickly dry out inside of a home, especially with the heater going and drawing the moisture out of the indoor air. Keeping your live tree well-watered will dramatically reduce the chances of it catching on fire. If you have an artificial tree, there is much less danger but it should be purchased from a reputable store and it should be labeled “flame retardant. Also, if the tree comes with lights already on it, make sure they are labeled and certified by Underwriters Laboratory.
  • As you pull out any inflatables or strands of lights to decorate (both indoor and outdoor kinds) look carefully at the cords and plugs. Check for any damage or chewing. During the off season it is not unusual for rodents to chew through cardboard boxes that are stored. A damaged strand of lights will pose a serious fire hazard to your home.

Keep yourself and your family safe this holiday season. Stay mindful of electrical safety and don’t take for granted that all of your decorations that require electricity are safe to use. Double-check everything before you install and being using them.

 

3 Plumbing Checks For This Season

46394816_sSince most kitchens get more use during this season than any other, it is important to take the steps necessary to get your appliances, fixtures, and pipes ready. During the summer months, many people cook outdoors but, still do a lot of prep and clean-up in the kitchen.

Kitchen plumbing takes a real beating all year around but, especially during the cold weather. Not only do most homes have more people in them this time of the year but, the weather can be very hard on a home’s plumbing system.

Whether you are looking for a home to buy or, you are looking forward to having company over in the coming weeks these are a few tips for areas of the plumbing system to check:

  • In the bathrooms it is important to check and make sure that the toilets are working properly. Flush the handle of each toilet and listen to make sure it evacuates water and then fills back up again. Also listen to see if the sink makes any kind of gurgling noise when the toilet flushes as this could be a sign of a sewage back up. Lift the lid on the back of the toilet and take a peek to make sure all components are in place and working properly.
  • Run the water at the kitchen sink and use the produce sprayer. Look for any signs of leaking from around the faucets or the hose of the sprayer. If there is a water filtration system, make sure to check it as well. While water is running in the sink, use the garbage disposal and make sure that is runs smoothly. Check to see that the dishwasher is in good working order by opened in the door on the appliance and look inside.
  • Water heater. If it has been awhile since the water heater tank was drained, this is a good time to schedule that appointment. The water heater tank could be filled with sediment that is preventing the heating element from working properly. Draining the sediment out will make the water heater run much more efficiently.

Each of these little checks won’t take much time but, will save you a lot of stress and money. Make sure that your plumbing system is in good shape and ready for the cold weather that is upon us. Having a plumbing emergency this time of year can be a real hassle.

Be Safe About Combustion Appliances This Fall

37910646_sFor homeowners and renters alike, the fall season inspires more time spent indoors. The days get shorter, darker, and colder making it difficult to spend several hours outside. The warm days of fun in the sun have passed, and now is the time to think about how to stay warm and what kind of delectable stew or casserole will be warming you up for dinner.

With all of the extra activity around your home comes more use of your appliances. If any of those appliances require natural gas, oil, wood, or propane for combustion – you should be aware of how to keep yourself and your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, odorless, and colorless gas that is emitted when propane, wood, oil, or natural gas are used for combustion. For instance, if your water heater uses gas to power the heating element, then carbon monoxide is produced. When the appliance is working properly, the carbon monoxide is not at levels that can be harmful. But, if the appliance is malfunctioning or, if the area around it is not properly ventilated, then the carbon monoxide will build up in the air and can become harmful – possibly lethal.

Make sure that you follow these safety tips for protecting yourself and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Do not leave your car running in the garage, even if the door is open. A car that is parked in the garage and left to idle can build up enough carbon monoxide to be lethal in under 10 minutes. Pull your car into the driveway and leave it to idle if you need to warm it up.
  • Make sure to have all of your combustion appliances serviced annually. This is especially true if your heating system requires gas. Your heating system is a seasonal appliance that sits idle for several months throughout the year, make sure that nothing has been damaged during the spring and summer that could cause a release of deadly carbon monoxide.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. Make sure they are installed in the hallways outside of rooms used for sleeping. They should be affixed to the wall near the ceiling or, to the ceiling itself.

Carbon monoxide detectors are designed to register carbon monoxide in the air before it is to a deadly level. They are the best way to protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning.