Winterizing Outdoor Faucets

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Winterizing Outdoor Frost-Free Faucets

If you have frost-free faucets, your home winterizing process is much easier. Frost-free faucets with hose bibs are a relatively new invention designed to prevent water from freezing in pipes during cold weather by removing water from freezing air.  They require minimal maintenance from homeowners.

Instructions:
1.  Turn off the frost-free faucet’s interior valve.

2.  Remove the hose from the exterior valve.

3.   Open the faucet to drain any remaining water.

4.  Shut the faucet off.

There is no need to cover a frost-free faucet with insulation material or coverings.

If your home has older hose bibs, follow the above process but in addition, add an insulation covering (especially on walls facing the North).  These can be picked up for a couple of bucks at your local hardware store.

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/HomeRunInspect2

 

 

 

Safely Burn Fuels

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I inspect a lot of homes with some sort of fireplace.  So many fireplaces today are merely decorative and can be started with a flip of a switch, but there are many homes purchased by “first time home owners” that have masonry fireplaces designed to burn “solid fuel”, meaning wood logs or fire logs.  Starting and managing a real wood fire seems to be a fading art, so I put together a quick list of tips for those home owners out there who are planning on starting up the fireplace this year.

  • Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Use only seasoned hardwood. Soft, damp wood accelerates creosote buildup. In pellet stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood pellets.
  • Build small fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
  • Never burn cardboard boxes, trash, or other debris in your fireplace or wood stove.
  • When building a fire, place logs at the rear of the fireplace on an adequate supporting grate.
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Allow ashes to cool before disposing of them. Place ashes in a tightly covered metal container, and keep the ash container at least 10 feet away from your home and any other nearby buildings. Never empty the ash directly into a trashcan. Douse and saturate the ashes with water.

As a home inspector, I always advise buyers to have there fireplace inspected by a professional before the first use of the season.  It only takes a minute for a romantic evening to turn into a three alarm disaster.

 

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/HomeRunInspect2

Fall Home Maintenance

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Fall is here and its time once again to get our homes ready for another season.  Here is a quick list to get you started this weekend.

  • Have a heating professional check your heating system.
  • Protect your home from frozen pipes.
  • Run all gas-powered lawn equipment until the fuel is gone.
  • Test your emergency generator.
  • Have a certified chimney sweep inspect and clean the flues and check your fireplace dampers.
  • Remove birds’ nest from chimney flues and outdoor electrical fixtures.
  • Make sure the caulking around doors and windows is adequate to reduce heating/cooling loss.
  • Make sure the caulking around the bathroom fixtures is adequate to prevent water from seeping into the sub-flooring.
  • Clean the gutters and downspouts.

Remember to take a moment before starting machinery or climbing a ladder to think about safety. A few hours of preparation can save you and your family some misery this winter, not to mention some money.
Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/HomeRunInspect2

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Keeping French Drains Operational

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As a home inspector in Oklahoma I see these these french drain grates a lot.  I usually find them around homes that are built on a relatively flat lot, or at a point at which water needs to be taken away to avoid intrusion into a home or a feature such as a patio.  You may be surprised to hear this from a Home Inspector, but I am genuinely happy when I get to do an inspection during a heavy rain or just afterwards.  It gives me a better chance of ensuring that I catch any drainage problems the homes property may have that my client should be aware of.

Usually when I see these grates, which come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they are filled with debris.  This is their purpose, to catch debris before it enters into the drain pipe system and leads to a clog.  Best case scenario, the drain pipe takes the water to the street and to a main neighborhood drain, but this is not always the case.  Unfortunately, I often can find no evidence of where the drains lead to.

Downspouttofrenchdrain

The bottom line is; french drain systems are like any other drain. In order for them to function properly they need to be kept clear of debris.  If you have drains like these or others, pay attention next time you get some good rainfall and see if they are doing their job.  If they are not, clear away any obstructions that you can gain access to.  Should the problem persist, I recommend you gave the drains cleaned professionally by a plumber using a power-feed drain cleaner.  If you fancy yourself or someone in the family as handy with tools like this, they can be rented at your local big box store for a reasonable fee.

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Like any other home maintenance project, the longer you prolong the repair of these drains, the more costly the fix is likely to be.  I’ve seen homes requiring literally thousands of dollars in foundation repair as a result of roof drainage that could have been easily upgraded for less that $50 bucks when the problem first started.

Happy Home Maintenance!

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/HomeRunInspect2

Preparing Trees for Winter

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A lot of home owners were caught off-guard by the recent, relatively early ice storm that impacted much of Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas.  El Reno and Bethany were some of the harder-hit areas this go-round.

Keeping your trees well-watered throughout the year makes them stronger during those ice storms and other extreme weather.

While some limb breakage is inevitable during extreme weather, properly pruned trees are an important precaution a homeowner can take toward protecting a property’s value.  Proper pruning protects from heavy snow fall, ice (usually more damaging than snow), and our sometimes-devastating spring storms with high winds.

While there are some pruning chores homeowners can do without endangering themselves or the tree, certified arborists are trained and outfitted for the big jobs.  Maintenance and damage repair on mature tall or spreading trees often require more skill and equipment than most people can handle safely.  The chore is fraught with danger, from electrocution to falls and being struck by heavy limbs.

Some pruning needs to take place when trees are young, which helps develop a stronger branching structure.  Thinning canopies of mature trees also can help reduce breakage, while too much thinning is detrimental.

Shade trees are more structurally sound and cost-effective to maintain when they are allowed to develop one dominant, central trunk (or leader, as arborists call it).  If a trunk is allowed to develop two equal leaders, that juncture (or crotch) creates a weak spot prime for splitting.

Trees should be pruned so that branches are spaced along the dominant trunk, and they will be stronger than trees with many dominant branches.  Some experts say it’s best if this central leader reaches at least 30 feet high.

Safety First!  Consulting a professional is always recommended if you are tackling a project you have no experience with or are unsure of.

Here are some links to local arborists that can get the job done for you:

Bill Long Arborist
Cross Timber Arborist

Chainsaws flew off the store shelves following the last storm. Below are a couple of links to check out before purchasing one of the most dangerous tools available to the public.

Chainsaw Safety
Osha Quick Card

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
www.Home-RunInspections.com
www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Midwest City, Bethany, El Reno and others.

Autumn Home Maintenance Tips

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Be sure to:

  • Check and change your furnace filters.
  • Clean and check gutters for leaks, misalignment, or damage (use extra caution when climbing ladders to clean gutters, hang holiday decorations, etc.  Always wear protective gloves when doing outside yard and home work.)
  • Have your furnace serviced by a licensed HVAC contractor.
  • Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Check and replace home fire extinguishers that have expired.
  • Have rock salt, sand, and snow shovel on hand to keep walkways and driveways passable.
  • Know where your water shut-off valve is in case of frozen, burst pipes.
  • Check plumbing shut-off valves for proper operation.
  • Drain outside faucets and cover with a styrofoam insulator.
  • Winterize your sprinkler system.
  • Drain hot water heater to remove accumulated sediment (consult a licensed plumber prior to performing this maintenance task as older hot water heaters may be better left alone).
  • Check for proper flow of water in your faucet aerators.  If the flow is reduced, clean the aerator screens.
  • Check the attic for evidence of any leaks, check insulation and add any if needed, and check for evidence of birds, squirrels, raccoons, etc.  Check for proper ventilation.  Repair as needed.
  • Check countertops for separations at sinks and backsplashes; re-caulk where required.
  • Check for loose or missing grout or caulking in tiled areas; re-grout or re-caulk if needed.
  • Check shower doors and enclosures for proper fit, and adjust if needed.  Check caulking and re-caulk if needed.
  • Check caulking and weather-stripping around windows and doors.  Check window and door screens.  Adjust or replace if needed.
  • Check fireplace flue, and clean if needed.  Check fireplace brick and mortar for cracks or damage.  Repair as needed.
  • Lubricate garage door rollers.
  • Remove debris from around air conditioning units, and clean with a garden hose (be sure to disconnect the unit from power  before cleaning it or have your licensed HVAC contractor perform this service for you).  Remove window air conditioner or protect with weatherproof cover.
  • Clean refrigerator coils.
  • Check the roof for leaks and damaged/loose/missing shingles.  Check vents and louvers for birds, nests, squirrels, and insects.  Check flashing around roof stacks, vents, and skylights for leaks.  Repair as needed.
  • Clean and check chimney for deteriorating bricks and mortar.  Check for leaks.  Check for birds, nests, squirrels, and insects.  Repair as needed.
  • Check exterior walls for deteriorating bricks and mortar.  Check siding for damage or rot.  Check painted surfaces for flaking.  Repair as needed.
  • Trim shrubbery around walls.  Remove tree limbs, branches, or debris that can attract insects (no wood or shrubbery should be closer than 3 inches to your house).  Maintain grading.
  • Check concrete and asphalt for cracks or deterioration.  Reseal or repair if necessary.
  • Examine septic system drain field of flooding and odor.  Repair as needed.  Have tank pumped yearly.
  • Clean and store or cover lawn and patio furniture with weatherproof material.
  • Close swimming pool for the winter.

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