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 May 23, 2013 in Published Articles, Spring, Sunriver Scene, Tips by ShannonNo Comments »

A recent column from the Sunriver Scene on deck maintenance by Shannon Bassett.

 

It is time to think about those decks! The sun is already out and the damage is evident fro a year or two of harsh weather. Snow, ice, freeze and heat; the weather cycle of Central Oregon does a number on our decks.  The best solution is to take care of the decks every year.

In one home the owner really does not want to spend the money on taking care of his deck.  As a result of ignoring the deck the boards are warping, the understructure is rotting and the entire thing will need to be replaced.  The cost of his annual ‘money saving’ will end up with a very expensive full deck replacement.

Another home owners decks looks great on the surface. But an inspection revealed a woodpecker home in the structure beneath.  Without an inspection, the entire deck could have collapsed at an inopportune time.  With the support beam replace, the deck is once again safe and ready for a summer of fun.

Steps for deck maintenance;

  1. Annual Inspection – Look at the surface for signs of rough wear ad tear. Inspect underneath the deck if accessible. Confirm the supports are in good conditions with no signs of rot or shifting. If boards are warping or cupping and the overall condition is poor, sanding is in order.  If the deck looks like it did last year and no signs of peeling stain or raw wood, you are in luck and can skp maintenance this year. Fading, peeling and signs of wear around heavy traffic areas?  Plan to wash the deck and apply stain. Compromised structure due to bird activity, rot or shifting should be looked at by a contractor for replacement.
  2. Timing – It is important to plan your deck projects when we are above freezing. While some of the stains are rated for colder temperatures, for the best results apply in warm but not hot or freezing weather. The second and MOST important timing is around the pollen bloom. It is critical to complete the deck project before or after the pollen bloom. If pollen is left on the deck and sealed (or get into the stain during application) it will create black dots throughout the deck.  This is pollen bloom and can only be removed through sanding.
  3. Wash – Remove the dirt, leaves and sap with a good scrubbing.  Many companies out there like to use a power washer.  This causes splintering in the wood and removes all the soft parts of the wood. You end up with an uneven rough surface.  This will cause issues when the stain is applied as the hard areas do not absorb the product as well and the finish will not last as long. The ‘less is more’ phrase can be used as a guideline when washing your deck.  Less harsh cleaners, less concentrated chemicals and less pressure washing.  Use Oxi-Clean or another good scrubbing cleaner, a brush and some elbow grease.  Then let the deck cry completely before moving on, typically 24-48 hours.
  4. Sanding – Remove any bad stain or peeling paint applications with a good sanding job across the entire deck. Sanding will also smooth out the surface by removing a small layer of the old gray wood of the deck. This process is often necessary when trying to bring back a neglected deck. I love the system used by Webfoot Painting which sucks in all the dust and doesn’t leave a mess behind in the yard or on the house.  Without a dustless sanding system you will need to plan a cleaning of the house after the decks are completed. Sanding is not necessary annually and wit a good annual or bi-annual stain application the sanding process can be eliminated.
  5. Apply Stain– The product used is key and to hold up you want something that penetrates the wood.  Anything that builds a film on the wood such as Thomas Water Sealer will not hold up in Central Oregon. They tend to chip, peel and dry out in our tough climate. A penetrating product such as Messmer’s UV Stain or Flood CWF-UV 5 Oil work well in our climate. The penetrating products are easier to maintain and with many decks are only necessary to apply every other year.  Of course location and sun exposure on the deck will be the deciding factor.

The secret to a successful and good looking deck is annual attention.  If ignored you will be facing a much bigger and more expensive problem.  So keep your annual maintenance up, the cost down and enjoy wonderful summers on your beautiful deck for years to come.

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 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 December 6, 2012 in Published Articles, Sunriver Scene, Tips, Winter by ShannonNo Comments »

As published in the Sunriver Scene, November 2012 By Shannon Bassett – Caretaking Commander, Home Fridays

 

Central Oregon winters are tough on houses. As a homeowner, if you don’t protect your property and manage the ongoing issues that crop up as a result of the harsh weather, you’ll find that our winters are pretty tough on your bank account as well. Something as simple as not clearing snow off your deck in a timely fashion can cause you to lose your deck, a regular Sunriver occurrence.

That’s far from the only winter-related problem that can arise simply by deferring maintenance for a short while. One Sunriver family decided to ignore the severe ice dams that had built up on their roof until a more convenient time. Funny how ice dams—and the associated water intrusions—have their own time schedule. By the time the owners had dealt with the water damage, they had to contend with mold abatement as well. The price tag? A hefty and utterly inconvenient $50,000.

As a homeowner myself, I know how annoying it can be to have to deal with house problems. But I also know that ignoring them only makes things worse. Of course, there’s a third option. You can hire a property manager like me to deal with the problems, or better yet help prevent them from ever happening.

By taking care of homes and always being ready for cold snaps, we can help you avoid pipe freezes and we regularly catch malfunctioning furnaces before serious problems can develop. During one regular weekly house check, we discovered that the furnace wasn’t working. The temperature had dropped at 42 that day, so we knew what the night would bring. Our team’s quick response allowed us to get a furnace repairman over to the house before nightfall. When it turned out that the part needed for the repair had to be ordered, we filled the house with electric oil heaters to keep it safely warm until the furnace was back in working order.

Not everyone, of course, has a maintenance team they can rely on. The following precautions will help you safeguard your home against the cold months that lie ahead.

 

1)    HEAT – As I have said before, it is critical to maintain your furnace. So make sure to have your furnace inspected annually. Get the filters changed and have everything in working order before the cold starts.  Then set the furnace back to a minimum of 55 degrees for the winter. If you have a brand new or remodeled house, a temperature range of 60-62 will help the wood winter better.

 

2)    PIPES – To keep pipes from freezing during those brutal cold snaps we get every year, make sure that pipes that run through unheated areas like garages, lofts or attics are insulated. You also want to insulate your water tanks. Also have any dripping taps immediately repaired as a small trickle can turn into a big frozen mess that blocks and potentially even cracks your pipe.

 

3)    ROOF – Clean pine needles and debris from your home’s gutters and roof to help prevent ice dams. According to www.realestatemsn.com, you may need to use a scraper or spatula if removing the build up by hand doesn’t work. Once you’ve cleared the gutters, give them a good hose rinse, keeping an eye out for any leaks or pipes that are out of kilter. Note: I like to give the entire yard a trim right before I clean the gutters and roof.  I make sure that all tree branches are trimmed back from the house and take care of any seasonal trimming needed on the shrubs.

 

4)    IRRIGATION – Turn off and winterize your sprinklers with a blow-out, which can be performed by most local licensed landscapers or irrigation companies.  This will clear out the water in the lines and help prevent pipe cracks during the winter.

 

5)    VENTS AND FAUCETS – Close up foundation vents. Remove and store hoses. This is critical. A hose left on will cause a break in the faucet even if your faucet is freeze proof. Then cover faucets with insulated covers.  While most of the newer installed faucets are freeze proof, I like to install insulated  covers anyway because they act as a first line defense against critters. They also help ensure that I’ve remembered to remove the hose (even when I’ve gotten it back out to fill the hot tub).

 

6)    SNOW – Make sure that a snow shovel is accessible or that you at least have the number of a local snow removal company handy.  If you have a snow blower, make sure it is tuned and ready to go.  You don’t want it to be at the shop when the snow really starts falling.  If the garbage man can’t get to your trash can because of too much snow, things could get messy in a hurry.  Not to mention the ice berm at the end of the driveway that will quickly freeze up and block access to the house.

 

7)    WINDOWS – Make sure that all your windows are in good shape. You don’t want any drafts or signs of moisture.  To keep your home warmer and save on utility bills, consider investing in insulating shades. According to Hunter Douglas, “It’s a scientific fact that heat is attracted to cold. In winter months, indoor heating moves toward and escapes through windows to the outdoors, while in summertime, the outside heat flows into your home through these same windows.” Anything you can do to reduce that exchange will reduce your energy consumption and your energy bills. (By the way, you also want to reverse the direction of your fan for winter so the warm air is pushed down.  During the winter your fan blades should go clockwise.)

 

8)     CHIMNEY – Don’t forget to have your chimney cleaned if you are a frequent user.  You may not have to have your chimney swept every year, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, but you should definitely have it inspected. For starters who knows what’s fallen in or taken up residence there. A Level 1 inspection, which most certified chimney sweeps automatically do when they sweep your chimney, is all you need.

 

9)    SMOKE AND CO2 DETECTORS – This is a great time to make sure all the batteries are fresh.  My team and I love the new 10-year, 9-volt batteries available from Energizer and Ultralife. They buy you time and help prevent that 3 a.m. wake-up call when smoke detectors with tired batteries begin to chirp.

 

10)  OUTDOOR FURNITURE – Bring in any outdoor furniture that will weather better inside the garage or under the eaves.  Cushions will be a great home to critters if you leave them out!

 

 

If you’ve ticked off every item on the above list, chances are good that your house will survive winter in good shape. Of course, house checks by professionals provide you with an even greater safety net no matter what the time of year.

My team recently found a water leak right after the owners had left after their summer stay. It turns out that the kitchen sink had been leaking the entire time they were home. Because their garbage can covered the leak, no one in the family had noticed. Our people spotted that leak because they’re trained to look for problems. By shutting off the water right then and there, they prevented major damage.

While a slow leak doesn’t necessarily show up on your water bill, it can wreak havoc on your home. Had we not been there to spot that leak, the water could have run for months before the owners’ return, ruining the hard woods, the carpet, and even the drywall. If the leak had been on the second floor, it could have ruined the whole house.

My advice? Make sure that you’ve got an extra set of eyes checking your property spring, summer, fall and especially winter. Here’s wishing you a safe and sound season.

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 September 24, 2012 in Fall, Published Articles, Sunriver Scene by ShannonNo Comments »

As printed in the Sunriver Scene – September 2012 Edition by Shannon Bassett

We read over and over about how important it is to do home maintenance.  What does that mean?  What will it cost and is it worth it?  The National Association of Realtors and Coldwell Banker estimate home maintenance runs 1.5-4% of the value of your home.  That might sound like a lot, but spending money on annual maintenance can increase longevity of your major appliances and systems and thus increase the value of your home in relation to one that is not maintained. The consequences of failing to maintain your home’s infrastructure negatively affect its value and typically results in increased maintenance costs.

One Central Oregonian delayed all his maintenance, never doing anything until absolutely necessary in a misguided attempt to save money.  As a result his furnace didn’t last as long as it should have, and the last minute replacement was almost a third more expensive than it would have been if he had planned ahead.  Annual professional care and filter changing could have added years to the life of his furnace.  The damage didn’t stop there. Because he didn’t take care of his sprinklers, he ended up with a flooded yard and foundation, which created not just one giant bill but two. When you add in his repair, which cost hundreds of dollars along with the sky high water bill, total cost of his negligence on this one single issue was close to a thousand dollars. Still not learning from his mistakes, he skipped annual deck maintenance and wound up having to replace a significant portion of the rotted boards, which cost him several thousand dollars.  His attempts to save money ended up costing him more than four times what a proactive owner would have paid.

With the guidance of Home Fridays, the home caretaker service I run, another owner is proactive about maintaining her home including annual maintenance on the furnace, air conditioning, regular deck maintenance, roof inspection and even replacing the water heater prior to the end of its life.  Consequently she has spent a smaller amount of money annually and escaped all the big ‘urgent disaster’ related bills. All major systems in her home work well and she is able to plan for system replacement in advance.

When looking at the dollars spent over time by the two owners, the deferred maintenance homeowner spent more than four times as much fixing and repairing problems as the diligent homeowner.  New furnaces in the dead of winter are much more expensive to replace then getting five to ten additional years out of the existing furnace and planning replacement during the off season.  The deferred home will continue to need money to repair other ignored areas including exterior damage from a neglected painting schedule.

The bad news doesn’t stop there. The overall the value of the deferred maintenance home has been negatively impacted by the large list of items in need of repair. Don’t let that happen to you.   Invest in your home’s upkeep annually to keep your total costs down and your home’s value up.

Annual Maintenance Major Systems Check List

 

  • Furnace – Fall service check by a professional and regular filter changes will keep your furnace running smoothly.  A properly maintained furnace has a lifespan of 15-20 years.  A warm house is a good thing.

 

  • Air Conditioning – Spring service check will help keep your unit going for an estimated 12-15 years.  Annual service is important to check the refrigerant levels.  If coolant levels fall low, the unit can burn out quickly and require costly replacement.

 

  • Water Heaters – Water heaters should be examined for leaks or rusting on a regular basis. Lifespan is estimated at 10-11 years and proactive replacement is recommended.  Water sloshing around the floors from a failed water heater is the last thing anyone wants to experience or pay for.

 

  • Roof Maintenance and Replacement – The lifespan of a roof varies by the style and materials averaging 15 years.  Inspect the roof annually for loose or broken shingles or tiles.  Simple repair can help reduce future problems such as leaks or tiles susceptible to wind damage.

 

  • Decks – Wooden decks suffer from the fluctuating temperatures, dry climate and snow.  Annual sanding and sealing will maintain the integrity of the deck and delay full replacement.  Skipping over this annual step will lead to rotting deck structures, buckling and cracking boards and eventually an unsafe deck.

 

  • Exterior Paint – Paint takes a beating in Central Oregon and rarely lasts the advertised 15 years. A low quality exterior paint used on southern exposure might last just a few years.  Review the paint annually for signs of fading, cracking and peeling.  When repainting do not take shortcuts on preparation, materials or temperature to achieve the longest possible life.  Putting off painting will expose the wood house structure to greater failure.

 

  • Caulk – Filling the cracks around your siding and windows with caulk creates a barrier between the environment and your home.  Caulking material tends to dry out, shrink and crack, however, compromising the protection barrier. Inspect the caulk around your home and replace any areas of shrinking or pulling away on the windows or exterior siding.  This will protect the wood from exposure and rot.

 

  • Driveway – Blacktop driveways crack over time with the changing temperatures.  Repairing the cracks every few years and skim coating by a professional can prevent or postpone a full replacement.

 

As Home Friday’s Caretaking Commander, I take care of many homes and preventative upkeep is a priority for all.   I have seen over and over the benefits of staying current on maintenance.  Deck maintenance is cheap in comparison to total deck replacement.  The lower overall cost as well as the reduction in ‘emergencies’ far outweighs the potential headaches, cold nights and concern.  Put a plan in place to review your home and keep the maintenance current. Sustaining the investment in your home through proactive maintenance will mean fewer expensive surprises in the repairs department down the line.

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 July 2, 2012 in Published Articles, Summer, Sunriver Scene by ShannonNo Comments »

As published in the Sunriver Scene – July 2012 Issue  By Shannon Bassett – Caretaking Commander, Home Fridays

 

It’s finally planting time again in Central Oregon.  But planter beware, in this zone with its risk of frost 365 days a year, you can’t plant just anything.

 

Although our Sunriver microclimate can be especially challenging, knowing what to plant will help. Here the flowers that work well include Yarrow, Purple Coneflower, California Poppy and Daisies.  Dry river beds are the perfect environment for Karlfoester Grass, Tufted Hair grass and Idaho Fescue.  Other plants commonly seen include Western Serviceberry, Kinnikinnic and Wood’s Rose. 

 

Be aware, however, that just because trees, bushes and flowers will grow here doesn’t mean that you can actually plant them. You must follow the Sunriver Owners Association rules and regulations and first get yard improvements approved by the Design Committee. Call the owners association representative at 541.593.2411 when planning for details and approval.  You can see a full list of Sunriver approved plants on the SROA website http://www.sunriverowners.org/Recommended-Plants-&-Trees~164421~13934.htm.

 

Taking care of the outside of your home is so much more than planting the approved grass and plants that will enhance the home.  Seasonal clean-up is the easiest way to prevent big problems after the long winter.  An ignored tree might end up falling on the house, clogged drains will set you up for ice dams, and broken sprinkler pipes can flood the yard, kill off your landscaping and create big water bills.  Do you have everything taken care of on your home?

 

 

Weed Control

As every gardener and homeowner knows regular weeding and keeping on top of the noxious weeds is critical to maintain an appealing landscape.  …   You might not realize however, that if you don’t eliminate noxious weeds you could actually get fined. Through hand pulling, cutting and sparingly-used chemicals you can keep all these weeds under control.

 

Sprinkler Maintenance and Monitoring

Start up sprinklers in the early season and monitor the amount of water the yard is receiving.  At the beginning of the summer you don’t need to use a lot of water.  As the heat intensifies the plants require more water so leave your sprinklers on longer.  For the beginning of the summer you won’t want to water for more than 6 -8 minutes a stretch.  Later in August extend the time to approximately 10-15 minutes per watering. When the snow starts to fly it is time to make sure those sprinklers have been winterized.  Failing to do this will wreak havoc on your system and potentially damage your plants, crack your pipes and cause flooding.

 

 

Pine Needle Removal from Roof and Gutters

Needle-covered roofs and gutters are common after the windy spring we have had.  Regular removal will keep the roofs clean and reduce the chance of future issues.

 

 

Ladder Fuel Reduction

Removal of combustible materials establishing a 15-foot firebreak around homes and decks is the goal of the Ladder Fuel Reduction Plan.  Thinning trees, removing Bitterbrush, dead vegetation, limbing and removing trees all fall within the mandates of the Ladder Fuel Reduction Plan which is defined on the SROA website on the Environmental Services page.

 

With all the landscaping advice, let’s not forget the most important thing; here’s to a great summer, enjoy.

 

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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As appeared in Sunriver Scene by Shannon Bassett, Caretaking Commander

 

With times continuing to be tough, everyone is looking for a good deal. One place you don’t want take shortcuts is with an unlicensed contractor or service provider. I manage three or four big construction jobs every year for my clients and loads of smaller projects, from remodels, electrical repairs to plumbing and even landscaping. There are plenty of unlicensed contractors out there these days, often with lower bids. However, what can seem like a good deal can wind up costing you in the end. As a result, I always use a licensed contractor.

 

A contractor’s license offers the homeowner some degree of protection during and after the project. An active license with the Oregon Contractors Board (CCB) indicates that someone in the company attended classes for their trade, passed a state exam and can legally work in the State of Oregon. Equally important is the insurance and bonding required by the CCB that protects the homeowner. Liability insurance covers property and bodily injury losses caused by the contractor. Surety bonds pay damages to the homeowner if the contractor fails in his or her duties. Finally, workers’ compensation covers employees who are injured on the job and ensures that those injury claims don’t come back to you, which they could if your contractor doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance. In addition through the CCB, you as the homeowner have protections, including an avenue to complain and/or recover and receive monetary compensation if problems occur.

 

How do I make sure that I am getting a licensed contractor? Or more importantly, how can you?

 

  • *First and foremost, check the CCB website for the status of the contractor. Search by name or number on the website www.hirealicensedcontractor.com. CCB provides information on the status, bankruptcy, number of years in business, fines and disciplinary actions. Confirm that the names and addresses agree to who you have met with.
  • *On the CCB website you can also make sure the contractor is not involved in any disputes. Past disciplinary actions indicate problems with past clients.
  • *Call the contractors insurance company and confirm insurance is current and will cover your type of project.
  • *Get a list of references and call to find out about the quality of the work and timeliness. Did the contractor stick to the original budget numbers?  Ask if the client was happy with the contractors work. Did the homeowner have any issues with problems after the project was over? Did the contractor come back and take care of everything? Mistakes do happen and sometimes mid-project we homeowners change our minds. In my experience the best contractors have been those who stand behind their work.

 

If your unlicensed contractor is missing in action and phone calls aren’t returned after the job completion, be prepared to pay for someone else to do the repairs. If disputes do arise with your licensed contractor, the CCB has a dispute resolution process including mediation. You can make a claim against the contractor and get the work completed or obtain a judgment for the contractor’s surety payment. The website www.oregon.gov/ccb outlines the process for filing complaints.

 

The name of the game is finding a contractor who will get the job done on time and on budget without putting you at risk. In a multiple bid situation, I rarely go with the lowest bid. Rather I look at the entire project and select the contractor who will meet the budget and be there for the long term to fix any issues. I’d much rather work with a licensed I know I can rely on. Not only do I run into fewer problems on the job, but the peace of mind provided by the additional protection should any problems arise is worth every penny of the extra expense.

 

 

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 April 8, 2012 in Published Articles, Spring, Sunriver Scene by ShannonNo Comments »

Found in the April Issue of the Sunriver Scene

By Shannon Bassett – Caretaking Commander, Home Fridays

 

          As winter comes to a close and I see the light at the end of the tunnel, spring is on my mind.  Around Central Oregon I call this Home Maintenance Season.  No such thing as Maintenance Free exists in our harsh climate.  All building materials deteriorate over time and require repair or replacement. Here is a simple list of items to inspect and repair during this busy season to protect your investment:

Exterior:

Rake debris away from home and foundation. Clean the pine needles off the roof, gutters, decks and lawn. Excessive needles are a fire hazard and will also encourage lawn damage if left unattended. Inspect the foundation for cracks, water damage and or drainage issues.

Tree and branch trimming.  We have had a really windy winter with lots of trees and branches coming down. It is important to make sure that any debris (including leaves) are safely off your house. For the health of your trees, bring in a certified arborist to cut down any damaged limbs.

Clean exterior gutters and downspouts, and repair where necessary. Clean gutters will allow for smooth water flow as the rain storms begin. Repair holes, gutters that have pulled away from your house and missing or damaged downspouts.  

Clear away plants and bushes from dryer spout. Slow drying time is often the result of a blocked vent. Make sure the vents are unobstructed and the air can flow freely out of your house.

Install the window and door screens.  Check for holes or rips and get those repaired. We have some great local companies that will come to your house and repair screens on-site.

Inspect the roof for damage. The weight of the winter snow and all the wind storms can break loose tiles and cause cracks.  Look for missing tiles or noticeable signs of wear and tear.  When in doubt have a trusted roofing company inspect your roof.

Inspect decks and perform annual maintenance. Examine the deck support beams to identify any weakness or ‘spongy’ boards that indicate rot. Weather, birds and old age can destroy your deck. Not ready for replacement?  Prolong the life of your deck with an annual application of sealant. I use local contractors who specialize in decks to keep my deck looking good and lasting as long as possible.

Inspect for woodpecker, bird or critter damage.  Woodpeckers eating you out of house and home?  Squirrels in the attic?  Bats taken up residence over your front door? Bird and critter damage can be a big issue in Central Oregon. Inspect for damage around the house and the deck supports. Elimination can mean putting up netting, changing out boards on your house or caulking perch spots.  Our local pest control companies are educated in the best methods to keep the critters at bay.

Exam exterior paint and caulking. Exterior paint is an expensive endeavor and one many homeowners postpone as long as possible. Don’t let your home get damaged by waiting too long for paint.  It will end up costing you more in the long run to replace trim boards and repair the rotted areas.  Every two years I paint the South side of the house and touch up the shrinking caulking.  This allows me to wait a few extra years for the full paint job. Early spring is a great time to start scheduling a paint job with a local painting contractor.

Inspect the driveway for damage. Replace just a few pavers or get them reset rather than waiting for the entire driveway to start failing. Sealing the driveway every few years will prolong its life and save money.

Start up the sprinklers. Dry days are coming and a working sprinkler system will save your yard.  Commence the watering program after the system has been checked for leaks, heads repaired and timers properly set.  The same contractor who does your spring yard cleanup and regular maintenance should be able to get the sprinklers going again.  

 

Interior

Inspect foundation and crawl space for signs of water damage. Look for signs of water intrusion (dampness, puddles or water stains) and get them repaired now. A good contractor can help identify the source of the water and eliminate the problem.  Keep an eye out for any mold that may be growing as a result of water damage. Remove foundation vent and faucet covers, time for the house to breathe again. Wait until the overnight freezes are done (that could be late June this year).

Attic Inspection. Looking for a small leak now, can prevent a waterfall down the line. Scrutinize the attic for any signs of moisture and inspect the inside of the roof for any new holes or drip marks. Contact your trusted local roofing contractor for resolution if needed.

 

Annual air conditioner maintenance. Nothing is worse than no air on the hottest day of the year. Schedule your annual maintenance and change those filters regularly.  Change furnace filters and turn the furnace down to 50 (but not off yet). In Central Oregon you never know if we will see snow in July.

 

Change smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries.  The 3 a.m. chirping noise wakeup from a dying battery is annoying and unsafe.  Every spring, make it a ritual to change the batteries in all your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  Your safety is worth it!

Windows, carpets and deep cleaning.  Extend the life of your carpets and area rugs with annual cleaning.  Allow the sunshine in with clean windows inside and out.  

Fireplace and chimney cleaning and inspection. Do your dampers fit tightly?  When was the last time you had the fireplace cleaned and inspected?  The more heavily it is used, the more often you should schedule both.  

Seal drafty windows and doors. Weather stripping falling off or a gap under the door?  Time to replace the weather stripping and get the riser adjusted.  Eliminate the gaps and your heating and cooling bills will go down.

A proactive approach to home maintenance will put you in the driver’s seat, instead of forcing you to react to a host of emergencies.  The upkeep listed above is also the most cost-effective way to take care of your home and help it appreciate instead of the reverse. 

          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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