Posted on January 23, 2013 in Central Oregon Magazine, Published Articles, Tips, Winter by ShannonNo Comments »

By Shannon Bassett,  as seen in Central Oregon Magazine Winter 2013

  http://brianpagedesign.com/comagwi13/#/86

 

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!).

 

  1. 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.
  2. 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! 
  3. 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.  
  4. 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.
  5. 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?
  6. 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.    
  7. 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!  
  8. 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.  
  9. 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.  
  10. 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 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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