Posted on April 28, 2015 in A La Carte Services, Disasters, Tips by ShannonNo Comments »

Over and over we end up with expensive maintenance issues that are the result of prior short cuts taken. Over the years we have had several issues with hose bibs and other areas where shortcuts have been taken.

The most recent one is a very expensive repair to a dripping exterior hose bib. Typically an old bib is just removed, a new one installed and the job is done in under an hour. For this one, a remodel was the cause of a future giant plumbing bill. The contractor put the remodeled cabinets on top of the plumbing, with no easy access to the back of the hose bib. In order to change out the hose bib, cutting into the cabinets is necessary. Stupid, costly and expensive! If just ignored, it will freeze during the cold temps, crack and probably flood the house (starting with the kitchen of course).

Leaky Exterior Hose Bib

Painting is one area that we occasionally see – a cheap painting job that takes shortcuts on quality paint products and too few coats, won’t last as long. Cheap materials do not hold up and we are happy to see the recently built homes appear to be using better materials.

The list of issues we have seen in the past decade covers every facet of a home from poor design, poor roofing materials, ventilation and lack of proper drainage. The stories are endless. The most important part is to take care, do the right thing and make the repair and maintenance in a timely fashion.

At Home Fridays we are huge proponents of doing it correctly the first time and taking care of regular maintenance. It is so much easier to pay in the front end, rather than the VERY costly repairs and potential floods! Central Oregon weather is extreme with major temperature swings that are hard on all the homes. With regular maintenance and oversight the problems can be taken care of.

Need help with your home? Give us a call to discuss how Home Fridays can help you 541/317-3088.

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Posted on March 30, 2015 in Disasters by ShannonNo Comments »

We often talk of all the issues that happen in the winter from the furnace failure to pipes bursting.  But often times we forget how many things can happen any time of the year.  Recently we had a house get ‘skunked’.  That is right, a skunk let loose under the deck and stunk up the entire house.

Imagine if the owners had come in late one night and arrived to a house full of skunk smell.  So much for your nice holiday!  Because the smell was identified early and a series of steps taken.  The house will be aired out before the owners and guests arrive.

We had pest control over right away to make sure the skunk was gone – and assist him in moving on if necessary.  Because he stunk up the crawl space in the house we had issues with the skunk smell in the furnace and duct work.  Contact with the furnace company and discussions on how best to get rid of the smell ensued.

With daily trips to the house for airing out we have almost eliminated the smell.  Laundering of bedding and some clothes was necessary to eliminate the smell.  But with a little elbow grease, time and patience the smell will be eliminated.

So when the owners arrive next week, all should be good.  Just another disaster that was avoided with regular home wellness checks.  It is nice to know that our clients will have a relaxing stink-free vacation.

If you don’t want to worry about your Central Oregon home when you are away, contact Home Fridays and we can take care of you as well.

Skunk!

Skunk!

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Posted on October 24, 2014 in Disasters, Fall, Tips, Winter by ShannonNo Comments »

Things that will likely be on your home’s winterization to do list:  Store the patio furniture, cover the foundation vents and hose bibs, have the furnace serviced and blow out those sprinklers!  What you don’t want in the middle of your winter is a spouting sprinkler line-river running through your yard-full of snow, covering your bushes with a thick layer of ice.  Protecting your sprinkler lines from freeze damage is an easy process, best handled by a professional landscaper that has the proper tools and experience.  The landscapers hook up their commercial air compressors to the irrigation system and blow out any water in the lines.  If water is left in the system it will freeze and expand, cracking the lines, causing expensive repairs.  Save yourself the headache and expense by getting it done, and get on to pumpkin carving.  November and freezing temperatures are right around the corner ushering us closer to winter!

Home Fridays offers professional home management and concierge services to second homeowners in Central Oregon. If you need help managing your second home call me! Danielle Little, Caretaking Lieutenant at Home Fridays – 541-318-3088 or send me an email at Danielle@homefridays.com

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Posted on October 10, 2014 in Disasters, Tips by ShannonNo Comments »

The smell of gas….

Upon entering two client homes during our weekly inspections this week,  I was struck by the strong odor of natural gas.  

After a quick call, the gas company came right out and in both cases the test came back positive.  One leak was from a gas fireplace with a leaky valve, the other from a dryer connection…both were easily fixed but dangerous! 

The gas company was very easy to work with and gave great recommendations on what to do, who to call and what it would take to solve the problem. 

Just like that…in no time we had both homes back up and running again and safe from the gas leak.

This brings to mind the question about furnaces, gas stoves, dryers, and water heaters aging out.  How old are your appliances and their connections to gas lines?  How often are they checked?  It is always a good idea to have all gas connections and appliances checked regularly.

 

Home Fridays offers professional home management and concierge services to second homeowners in Central Oregon.If you need help managing your second home call me! Danielle Little, Caretaking Lieutenant at Home Fridays – 541-318-3088 or Danielle@homefridays.com

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Posted on December 19, 2013 in Disasters, Tips, Winter by ShannonNo Comments »

It was a rough one this last week with temperatures at -29 in Central Oregon.  We had days without anything above freezing.   The weather did not come without warning – and we had all the houses prepped and ready for the cold.  But you never know how they will do.  Thankfully all our homes made it through with zero issues.  We are relieved and happy about that.  If you don’t have anyone lined up — well it might be about time!

 

We heard from a number of concerned owners after they received this email from Sunriver Home Owners Assocation;

 

“It’s the Ice Queen here getting back to you with an update on the impact of our 20 degrees below zero temperatures Sunday morning.
If you’re a non-resident owner or away from Sunriver and you chose to ignore our previous warnings about the potential for frozen pipes at your Sunriver home, here’s a reality check for you: The Sunriver water utility called us this morning to report that in the past 24 hours they have turned off the water at the main for well over a hundred homes with burst pipes!

It’s warming up now and those frozen pipes are thawing. Pressurized water is spewing into walls, ceilings and crawl spaces, under sinks and behind tubs, showers and washing machines. It’s flooding second story rooms and running down stairways. It’s seeping out from under entry doors and spilling from porches. We don’t want this to be what awaits you at your home.
SROA is not able to conduct property checks for 4200 properties.”

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Posted on April 12, 2013 in A La Carte Services, Disasters, Spring by ShannonNo Comments »

It is a busy time of year at HF – of course I always say that.  You just never know what will need attention next!

Snow Tires -We are trying to get all the snow tires changed over to summer tires on the cars.  Yes I missed the date again – and I always do that on purpose.  It seems we have the best snow storms right before the deadline to get the tires off.  Then the madness ensues with everyone in town trying to get their tires changed over on the same day.  April 1st is the deadline, so I always wait a week or two to start switching over the tires.

Spring Yard Cleanup – It is time to start undoing the winter damage to the lawns.  That means thatching, clearing leaves and the dreaded pine needles.  Aeration is a great idea to bring back the health of the lawn and of course spirnklers will go back soon.  We also have a few owners with bigger projects – removing grass and putting in Xeriscape (refer to landscaping and gardening in ways that reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water from irrigation.)  While costly for the initial installation, it can really save in the long run and is more consistent with our desert environment.  Of course weeds are getting cleaned up at other homes, bark mulch put down and next week the sprinklers may get turned on (weather dependent of course).  NEWS FLASH – The City of Bend has moved up the timing on the Annual Backflow testing.  Typically the paperworks was due at the end of the summer, this year they are requiring at the beginning of the season.  Here is a link to more information http://www.bend.or.us/index.aspx?page=182     Be sure to schedule your test!

Failing Fridges – We had a clients refrigerator fail this week.  All the food was a total loss.  The house had a nice aroma as well.  Of course all appliances have a life cycle and nothing lasts forever.  Thankfully we were able to toss out the food, clean out the fridge and air out the house.  We have measured the fridge and the owners are shopping remotely for a replacements.  By the time they arrive, the new fridge will be in place.  While failing appliances are not ideal – at least this problem was caught and cleaned up before the owners arrive.  Can you imagine opening up your home after a long absence to the smell and rot of a dead refrigerator and freezer?  And just think of the amount of your vacation that would be dedicated to fixing the issue.  Once again, it is nice to have someone there to find the problems and keep an eye on the house!

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Posted on April 3, 2013 in A La Carte Services, Disasters, Spring by ShannonNo Comments »

An interesting article ran in the Bend Bulletin last weekend about cleaning out the dryer hoses.  For most second homes, not that much laundry is done.  But for large houses, in a busy rental pool.  The dryers are working overtime!

Check out the article for great information on the preventing vent fires http://www.bendbulletin.com/article/20130326/NEWS0107/303260313/

If you use your dryer a great deal – be safe and get your vents and flex hoses cleaned out.

 

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Posted on January 17, 2013 in Central Oregon Magazine, Disasters, Published Articles, Tips, Winter by ShannonNo Comments »

Top 10 Weather Management Tools

 By Shannon Bassett, Published in Central Oregon Magazine January 2013

We are in the thick of winter with every day bringing a new weather challenge, mountains of snow, cold temperatures and the occasional warm sunny day.  Are you managing the changing of temperatures and the freezing and melting of the snow?

As one of the area’s top property managers, I have to make sure the homes I look after are ready for whatever winter brings. My top 10 items will help you through the remaining cold months without breaking the bank (or your neck on an icy driveway!).

  • Furnace Control – Keep warm with easily      automated furnace controls that guide you through improved efficiency. The      new Nest Learning Thermostat will learn your average daily and weekly habits      and adjust the temperature up and down as needed, even lowering      temperatures when you leave home. Temperature can also be monitored and      adjusted from anywhere through Wi-Fi.  The Nest sells for $250 and      can be purchased at Amazon.

 

  • Cold and water alerts – During extended      time away from home through the winter season, the addition of cold and      water sensors to your alarm system is well worth the money. Temperature      and water sensors can be added to existing alarm systems and run about  $75. If your house dips below a set temperature (usually 45 degrees) you will be notified with a phone call. The water alert also triggers a call or message to you when water is detected in sensitive areas allowing you time to get the situation resolved, hopefully before any serious damage has occurred!

  • Garage door thresholds – Melting snow      and rain getting under the garage doors is easily preventable with the      installation of a garage door storm threshold. Of course, my property      management team and I have had experience when even that won’t hold back      the water and sand bags are the only solution, but this is a good      preventative measure for an average snow melt.

 

  • Heated walkway mats – I love these silly things that melt the snow, allowing for a safe walk to the front door. The old salted sidewalk method of melting snow can cause issues for your pets and damage the concrete. With the mats, simply plugging them in will melt      your snow and make it safe for your guests and the mailman. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 – $300, depending on mat size, from Home Depot or Amazon.

 

  • Snow scoops and shovels – If there is      more snow than your heated mats can handle, you might need a new shovel.      Don’t settle for the one in the garage when there are so many      revolutionary new models out on the market that reduce time and back      strain. The new shovels have ergonomic shapes, bigger blades and even      wheels to help you move the snow. I love the Snow Wolf Wheeled Snow Shovel      from Amazon $129.  A large wheel on      the shovel takes all the back strain out of clearing a big long      driveway.  Who says shoveling snow can’t be fun?

 

  • Snow Rake – As the snow piles up, you need to prevent ice dams by keeping the eaves clear and make sure the melting snow has a path off the roof. A new tool has simplified this previously nasty task. No more teetering around on ladders. A telescoping snow rake will let you remove the snow yourself safely from the ground.

  • Heat Tape – Installing electric heat tape on your home’s eaves, gutters and downspouts will prevent the      freezing and ice dams. Removing an ice dam is not a fun task. It requires      shovels, ice picks and sometimes heat. An ounce of prevention is better      than several pounds of ice weighing down your gutters, to say nothing of   the water that would probably back up into your house!

  • Electric snow thrower – When the snow piles up, getting out the gas powered snow blower takes more than a little  elbow grease. Electric snow throwers are smaller, lighter and easier to use for clearing the sidewalk, walkways and driveway.  Prices vary from $100 – $300 depending on the size. You might have so much fun that you’ll want to clear the neighbor’s driveways as well.

 

  • Emergency kit and candles – It never hurts to have the candles and matches nearby along with any other emergency supplies. But you’ll need more than that. Lose your source of heating and you’ll quickly feel like you’re living inside a refrigerator.  If blankets and jackets aren’t sufficient for what could be a few days of  a power outage, then back up heat such as a Mister Heater or a generator will help put your mind at ease and keep the cold at bay.

 

  • When all else fails, be sure to have your snow removal company, furnace repairman and home managers phone numbers on hand to come in and save the day.

Add these items to your winter management arsenal and have fun with the changing weather.  Before you know it, we will be getting ready for spring and the back aches of snow removal will be a distant memory.

To get help with your home call me, the Caretaking Commander, at Home Fridays. I have been buying, renovating and managing residential and commercial properties for over 20 years. My locally-based company, Home Fridays (homefridays. com), offers professional home management and concierge services to vacation home owners. You can reach me at 541/317-3088 or shannon@homefridays. com.

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Posted on October 5, 2012 in Disasters, Questions When Hiring, Tips by ShannonNo Comments »

The Bend Bulletin reports new legislation will penalize home and business owners if they have false alarms . Fees will increase with the number of false alarms but the exact dollar amounts have not been defined. Avoiding the fines with no false alarms is the ideal. However, real life is not like that. At Home Fridays we have worked with our alarm providers to make sure the alarm call comes first to us. Then we can ask lots of questions – is there a motion detector going off in addition to a window or door? Does the path of movement show someone is in the house or is it a single point going off? If there is a path of movement then a response is necessary. If it is a single window alarm, a visit by Home Fridays staff can check it out. This is helping us to keep the costs of false alarms down for our clients. If you don’t have someone checking on your home, how are you going to avoid false alarm fees? Call us at 541.317.3088 and we can help you with a solution.

 

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As printed in the August 2012 Sunriver Scene

By Shannon Bassett – Caretaking Commander, Home Fridays

No one stays home all the time. Do you have a built-in system to cover you for accidents or emergencies? A guest breaks a faucet and doesn’t know how to shut off the water. A quick look at a list on the refrigerator will immediately show who to call for the repair and more importantly where the water shut off is. If you have an updated list posted that is.

Whether a caretaker is checking on the house, a guest or renter is staying there, or you and your family members are in residence, having an updated contact list can make the difference of solving the problem quickly or allowing more damage to occur while you try to identify the correct course of action. Depending on the type of problem, such as running water, waiting time could be costly. Hire a professional to take care of the details or identify all the trades and create a relationship for potential emergencies and regular maintenance.

Here is the Contact List I use for emergencies. You will want to fill in your blanks for things such as insurance, neighbor contacts, water shut-off and electrical panel locations;

 

Police Fire or Medical Emergency— 911
Sunriver Police Non-Emergency—– (541) 593-1014
Sunriver Fire Non-Emergency——- (541) 593-8622
Deschutes Sheriff Non-Emergency– (541) 693-6911
Water and Sewer (Sunriver Resort)- (541) 593-4197 or (541) 593-8034
Electric (Midstate Cooperative) —– (541) 536-2126 or (541) 536-2165
Natural Gas (Cascade)————— (888) 522-1130 or (800) 426-0242
Garbage——————————- (541) 382-6660
Sunriver Owners Association——– (541) 593-2411
Sunriver Lodge ———————- (866) 482-3909
Pest Control (Alpine Pest)———– (541) 389-4942
Plumber (Bryan Young Plumbing)— (541) 317-5852
Tree Removal (Spring River Tree)– (541) 526-7501
Snow Removal (Quality Irrigation)– (541) 593-0344
Road Conditions———————- www. tripcheck. com
Web Weather Cam——————- http://tinyurl. com/7qbz9fx
Your Insurance Agent—————-  
Your Alarm Company—————-  
House Caretaker (Home Fridays)— (541) 317-3088
Neighbor——————————  

Electrical Panel Location————–

Water Shut-Off Location————–

It is not enough to keep your personal list is up to date, you also want to make sure those people who might need to provide you with emergency or other service have the most current information related to you home. When a neighbor spots a broken window at your house and wants to let you know,  a call to Sunriver Owners Association (SROA) can quickly get a message to you as long as your contact information is current. So set your mind at ease and make sure your emergency contacts are up to date with SROA. You actually get a twofer with this update since both SROA as the Sunriver Police Department use the same database of owner information. Update your information by calling SROA (541)593-2411.

Of course there is only so much you can do when you are dealing with a vacation home from afar. How do you cover issues when you are not around?  I had one homeowner who had planned to fly over from the East Coast to take care of a ‘cold alert’ alarm. He was right to worry about the possibility of broken pipes, but I told him to sit tight and let me handle it.   The money he saved by not having to miss work or purchasing last minute plane reservations more than paid for my charges.  It is hard to handle emergencies when you are far from Sunriver but help is available.

Having a local caretaker will simplify the emergency plan for your home. A good caretaking company will have established relationships with all the vendors and be able to prioritize your emergency repairs if needed. It also simplifies the list of who to call when something happens. One simple call to your caretaker should get everything resolved. Take a little time and line up your caretaking team. Hiring a professional to take care of the details, protect your property and manage its maintenance can put the vacation back in your home.

To get help with your home call me, the Caretaking Commander, at Home Fridays. I have been buying, renovating and managing residential and commercial properties for over 20 years. My locally-based company, Home Fridays (homefridays.  com), offers professional home management and concierge services to vacation home owners. You can reach me at 541/317-3088 or shannon@homefridays. com

 

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