Posted on March 29, 2011 in Disasters, Spring, Winter by ShannonNo Comments »

A wise women said this to me the other day.  Never has a truer statement been uttered.  When it is your beautiful floors, your walls and your furniture versus the water from an appliance or an outdoor source – your home doesn’t stand a chance. 

 If the frozen stuff is on the roof – it will work its way down and sometimes that means into your house.  If the water heater is expiring (rusting out on the bottom or through a hose) – then it will flood the room and often keep pumping in more water.  If the ice maker goes, it just pumps water into the house and your kitchen floors are a thing of the past.  A little leaky faucet will become a big leaky faucet.  Hopefully a running toilet just runs up your water bill and doesn’t create the need for a new floor. 

So with all this doom and gloom – what is the silver lining?   Prevention is the best answer.  Be proactive in maintaining the water heater, the toilet seals and managing the icy roofs.  Water heaters have an identified life – keep an eye on the bottom and look for rust.  Most leaks start with a small bit of water.   Leaking faucets typically start off with a small leak.  An empty house may develop issues and no one is there to see.  Having weekly house checks is a great solution.  Get someone inside and outside watching the house.  Look for problems before they become significant – focused on any water sources or potential water sources.  Keep an eye on anything that has been trouble in the past such as a leaky skylight or a set of doors that tends to have puddles outside.  Watch the water heater for any signs of wear and tear.  The washing machine hose should always be dry – any moisture indicates the start of a leak.  The supply line on the toilet is another one that should be checked to see if it is dry. 

 Taking care of the small things can seem to add up — but compared to significance water restoration jobs, they are nothing.  And remember if the damage occurred over time and the house was vacant – insurance might not cover it.  The insurance companies often classify a house empty for 30 days consecutively as ‘vacant’ and therefore not covered.  So be vigilant.

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Posted on March 23, 2011 in A La Carte Services, Disasters, Fall, Spring, Summer, Winter by ShannonNo Comments »

I am on jury duty for the next two weeks.  A daunting process here in Deschutes County.  You call a number every evening after 6pm to find out if you are needed in court the next day.  Effectively putting everything on hold until April…  Thankfully we have lots of back up here at Home Fridays to cover in my absence.

We might be a small business – but we have built in stop gaps, backup plans and coverage in the case of illness and vacation (or in my case jury duty).  Life goes on and we cannot always be at work.  So it is really important to have the right plan in place to cover everything 24/7.  Our phones are forwarded to make sure someone is available.  The office has coverage each day to schedule appointments.  We have someone around each day to check homes, prep homes and deal with the unexpected.  As we all know – nothing ever breaks on Monday morning at 9am. 

Just this week we have dealt with birds in an attic (broke in through some vents and decided to nest).  Excluding mice from one house and ants in another home.  Something is in the air this spring!  Everyone wants to move into our beautiful homes.  Meanwhile construction continues on 4 homes as we act as the eyes and ears for our owners on remodel jobs big and small.  Today we repaired a doorbell at another house.  Never a dull moment at Home Fridays.  But all things that are getting taken care of in just the last 2 days because we have coverage in my absence. 

It is sure nice to know that we will have coverage – no matter what occurs!

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Posted on May 15, 2009 in Spring by ShannonNo Comments »

Spring is finally here – the sun is out and last night our low was above freezing (by just 2 degrees).   So it is time to make the mad rush for getting all the projects done before the next snow fall.  Sounds crazy, but that is how we think about summer at Home Fridays.  Just a few months to get all the maintenance items covered (painting, deck refinishing, repairs) while the weather cooperates.  It is also the busiest time of year for project management. 

While our owners are out of town, they often want something done at the house – remodel, decks refinshed, painting, floors refinished,  just to name a few.  It is so much easier to get these things done when no one is living in the house.  But if you are far far away – how do you keep track of the contractors?  That is where Home Fridays comes in – we act as your local eyes and ears.  Managing, cajoling and sometimes beating on the contractors to make sure everything gets done.  Several of my owners just leave a paint chip on wall and we make sure it gets painted before they return.  Recently we picked the exterior colors, worked with the local home owners association for approval, hired the painters and made sure the entire project was completed before the first guests arrived for the summer.  It makes our clients lifes easier as they don’t have to live through the mess and can relax at home, knowing that everything is taken care of.   So I am off – we have a number of project running that need my attention.   If you need help with your second home – just give us a call!

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Posted on April 18, 2009 in Spring by ShannonNo Comments »

It is that time of year — as we open the doors the the wonderful spring day, the mice want an invitation in. 

One of our clients has a few dogs and when visiting they often have the doors open.   Unknown to anyone, the visitor moved in before they left town…

When I arrived at the house, I was so mad that the cleaners didn’t pick up everything.  There was a pile of stuff that they just forgot to pick up.  I started cleaning up after the cleaners as I said a few choice words under my breadth.  As I went through the house checking everything I kept  finding piles they had forgot to  pick up.  In the upstairs bathroom I found evidence that changed my mind  – it was rat poop on the counter.   It wasn’t sloppy cleaners.  It was a dreaded pack rat!   I was scrubbing my hands in scalding water – totally gross!!!

We laid some traps and got ready to rid the house.   Unfortunately there was a house full of guests scheduled for the weekend.  My clients didn’t want to tell ayone about the unexpected house guest.  So each morning one of the owners would get up early to clean up any evidence left by the rat during the evening.  All went well until the big dinner event….

As the guests arrived and everyone is enjoying a wonderful evening the owner spots the rat running back and forth between the stove and fridge.  She effectively keeps the attention away from the kitchen for most of the evening.  But of course a ‘helpful’ guest just had to see it and announce to the entire party ‘look there is a rat in your kitchen’.   A few bottles of wine and a good knife, enthusiastic guests and the problem was resolved. 

Not much of a lesson – just keep the doors or screens closed if possible.  And if you are having a party and the rat is loose, know that he will make an appearance.

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Posted on April 9, 2008 in Spring by ShannonNo Comments »

Spring Home Maintenance

 

Home Fridays recommends spring maintenance for all home owners.  For our second home owners we are watching over their homes regularly to make sure the maintenance schedule is followed, the home is in good repair. 

 

After such a rough winter it is time to look over the home and fix any problems and prepare for the season ahead.  There is no such thing as ‘maintenance free’ – all building materials deteriorate over time.  So maintenance is an ongoing process that is best done before the problems arise.  Being proactive in your maintenance will put you in the drivers seat.  It is also the most cost effective way to take care of your home and see it appreciate, not depreciate. 

 

            Spring Maintenance

·         Rake debris away from home and foundation  inspect the foundation for cracks, water damage and or drainage issues

·         Clean exterior gutters and downspouts and repair where necessary cleaning the gutters will allow for smooth water flow as the rain storms begin.  It is also a good time to get the repairs made that occurred during the winter – holes, pulled away from the house or downspouts missing or bent.

·         Clear away plants and bushes from dryer spout  Often times a slow dryer is the result of the vent blocked.  Be sure the plants, water and landscaping materials are all well clear of the vent.

·         Inspect foundation and crawl space for signs of water damage  Looks for any signs of water intrusion and get them repaired now.  Also, keep an eye out for any mold that may have started as a result of water damage  It only takes 48 hours for mold to get started in a warm damp environment..  With all the snow and water this winter it is not unusual to find some areas of water intrusion.

·         Inspect attic for any signs of moisture or roof leaks  It is always better to find the leak when it is a small sign of water in the attic and not a waterfall coming through the living room.

·         Inspect the roof for any damage that may have occurred over the winter – broken tiles, missing tiles or noticeable signs of excessive wear.  When in doubt have a trusted roofing company inspect the roof.·         Inspect decks and perform annual maintenance – sanding and refinishing and replacement of any rotting or damaged boards and support beams  Weather, birds or old age can be devastating to the decks in our high desert climate.  ·         Inspect for woodpecker and other bird damage and take action to repair and prevent further damage with bird blocks, netting or even the new touch caulking products.  Bird damage can be a big issue in Central Oregon and exclusion is the ideal, but also being proactive to make sure you fix the damage as quickly as possible is key.

·         Exam exterior and paint and or caulk the exterior  Painting is an expensive endeavor and one many homeowners post pone as long as possible.  By putting it off the job becomes more expensive – this is a great area to proactive and get painted in a timely manner. 

·         Annual air conditioner maintenance and filter change  Nothing is worse then no air on the hottest day of the year.  Schedule your annual maintenance and change those filters regularly.

·         Smoke alarm batteries should be changed annually  Smoke detectors are great – but they won’t do any good if the batteries are not working.  And there is nothing worse then the 3am wake up call with the alarms beeping.  So change the batteries ever year and be safe.

·         Start up the sprinklers, replace and redirect as necessary  Time for the spring clean up of the needles, the downed branches, trimming the trees and starting up the sprinklers.  The lawn won’t recover if you don’t have the sprinklers working correctly.

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Posted on March 29, 2008 in Spring by ShannonNo Comments »

Well Spring is here – but you can hardly tell in Central Oregon.   We have had snow most of the day today.  Temps are in the 40’s with night time lows in the teens.   Usually we would be getting the house and yard ready for spring.  But instead we are in a holding patter, waiting for the temperatures to increase and the snow to go away.   But at Home Fridays we are ready to jump in as soon as the weather breaks and get our clients yards looking good. 

What is involved in a spring clean for the yard? That is the startng up of the irrigation and fixing all those broken sprinkler heads, making sure no pipes cracked over the long winter.  And replacing any connections or pipes that did get broken.    Pruning all the shrubs and trees.  Pulling any weeds or plants that didn’t make it through the winter.  Cutting the grass and edging the lawn and applying the fertilzer.  Of course there are  extras that will really bring on the shine – adding new bark throughout the beds, new plants and of course adding annual color.   

Necrotic ring spot is a fungus that has become more prevelant in Bend.  Annual aerating, over-seeding with a fungus resistant strain of grass and top dressing the lawn with a nutrien rich compost which absorbs tand retains water to keep the lawn cooler are all ways to combat necrotic ring spot.  More information can be found at www.ext.colostate.edu/pub/garden/02900.html

Keep your home looking good and take care of the yard – it is so much easier to keep it up then try and fix up a run down, overgrown yard. 

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