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Maintenance

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Maintenance

April 22, 2020| Lester Yat

Posted by adminlemus on April 13, 2020

How to winterize my home?

A large part of a change of seasons is being ready for whatever comes next. That is especially true with the winter season in many parts of the country, as it’s time to prepare and brace yourself for however treacherous the season actually becomes. This can be accomplished with a checklist of sorts, for both residents and managers. Little things like putting stakes next to flourishing plants will let an individual know where the sidewalk ends and the garden begins, or using a econ-friendly de-icing agents —like calcium chloride—can help alleviate a problem before it even starts.

Other simple steps include: closing storm windows, if applicable, to add another layer to keep cold air out of a home; leaving curtains open during a day saves money on heating costs; keeping doors closed minimizes the space that needs to be heated, while also eliminating extra work done to insulate; keep door gaps closed so heat doesn’t escape a living space, such as attaching door sweeps on the bottom; insulate outlets and switches, as they let in more cool air than people realize; make sure the heating system is up to date and working properly; curtain installation may add both beauty and warmth to a space; don’t cover vents so heat doesn’t get caught; and use ceiling fans to their full capability—which means running it in reverse can bring warm air to the floor.

Winterization is important not only financially and health-wise, but also helps the environment by reducing carbon emission into the atmosphere. And along with these tips, investing in items like blankets and candles are little things that go a long way.

How to increase curb appeal?

Along with the mandatory spring clean-up recommended by the experts that includes landscaping, pot holes, street drains, pavement cracks, sidewalk upheavals, clogged gutters and spouts, we compiled a list of easy and fairly inexpensive suggestions to boost the curb appeal of your communities:

  • Repaint/repair entrance signs
  • Repaint yellow curb lines at entrances and intersections as well as ground STOP signs and lines, and speed bumps
  • Replace faded traffic signs
  • Repaint the fire hydrants exactly as they currently are: yellow body and the different cap color, which represents the size of the pipe to the main connector
  • Remove stains and moss from roof
  • Remove stains from siding.
  • Tour the community at dusk to make sure all street lights are operational and try to standardize the fixtures
  • Ask your waste management company to repaint/replace all rusted or deteriorated containers
  • Repaint/replace grills and benches at parks or picnic areas
  • Repaint/replace playground equipment
  • Repaint/replace house numbers, if possible, front and back of units
  • Repaint/replace mailboxes or box clusters
  • Replace broken glass in windows and doors of common areas
  • Replace broken screen in windows and doors of common areas

Options to renovate sports court?

What are the options for bringing life back to an under-used or just plain unattractive sports court?

Suppose there’s currently a resurgence in interest, and residents want to see that decades-old tennis court spruced up and brought into the 21st century. It’s time to get rid of that  tired old synthetic grass, cracked asphalt, bent net posts and poor drainage!

Here are some of the most common tennis court renovation methods being used today:

Sand-filled synthetic turf. If you like the look and feel of a grass court but not the faded-carpet image of yesterday’s synthetic grass, you’re in luck. Today’s grass-like turf is filled with colored sand, providing comfort and safety. And, installers say, the new surface can effectively span structural cracks in existing substrates.

Another new method being touted by vendors is called “post-tensioned concrete.”  In this installation, concrete is placed under compression from steel cables running through the slab to resist cracking and settling. This method can be used both for construction of courts on new sites, or over existing tennis courts.

Suspended surfaces are engineered to provide shock absorption and lateral forgiveness to reduce the stress on player’s joints and back that is commonly associated with hard court surfaces, according to Sport Court, a major player in multi-sport modular sports flooring.

Then there are traditional hard courts with acrylic surfaces, the “tried and true playing surfaces” that American tennis players are familiar with. Hard courts are favored by many communities for their durability, low maintenance and suitability for other sports. Hard courts generally consist of multiple layers of asphalt that are covered with an acrylic coating. This multi-layer paint system seals and protects the asphalt, provides the necessary surface texture for play and provides the court’s color scheme. Hard courts are low maintenance and suitable for other sports such as basketball and in-line hockey.

If your old court looks a bit seedy, renovation may not be as daunting as it sounds. Resurfacing involves the repair of structural cracks, leveling the court to remove surface depressions, and laying down a new acrylic coating. Due to MAINTENANCE freezing and thawing, of course, even well-constructed hard courts will develop cracks and low spots and will require maintenance over time. Experts generally recommend resurfacing on a five- to seven-year cycle.

And if the court is in really rough shape, contractors today can build a new court right on top of the old one. In many cases, the old court can serve as an excellent foundation for a new court. Before you know it, your court will look as good as the day you were attracted to your community with its great curb appeal.

Safety tips for winter season?

Residential communities, with people living in close proximity, can be particularly vulnerable at this time of year — since safety requires the cooperation of many individuals. While a fire might be contained to a single condo unit or apartment, it also has the potential to spread through an entire building, devastating dozens, or hundreds, of families.

While some causes of household fires are recorded throughout the year — like unattended candles, or smoking or cooking accidents — winter fires often have their roots in electrical or heating issues. An unsafe tangle of extension cords, especially around Christmas trees, the use of illegal kerosene heaters, and carelessness in the placement of electric heaters tend to top the list of fire causes.

And as temperatures plummet, managers should remember that improper or insufficient attic insulation can lead to ice damming, and potentially dangerous icicle formation.

It’s also a good time for managers to check that furnaces, fire alarms, sprinklers and smoke detectors are in perfect shape. While residents rarely even think about such things, managers know that fire codes have grown stricter — creating safer environments — over the years.

Communities should regularly update their emergency plan, too, so that residents know how to safely evacuate a building, and where to gather in the case of a disaster.

Other Safety Issues

Of course, there’s more to winter and holiday safety than concern about fires — and even small things can become major hazards at this time of year.

Holiday decorations themselves can cause safety issues. A wreath attached to a door or a deck railing can become airborne on a gusty, stormy day or night, and a danger to anyone passing by.

The sled that was such a hit when unwrapped under the Christmas tree can become a nuisance when left in the hallway to dry off after an afternoon of sliding.

A gaggle of snowy boots left outside an apartment door can create a tripping hazard for unwary residents trying to navigate a narrow hallway.

And youngsters enjoying a boisterous snowball fight on the lawn — or in the parking lot — can become a danger to other residents, especially the elderly.

Managers need to be alert, too, for winter-related dangers like icy spots on sidewalks, which can lead to “slip and fall” lawsuits, not to mention medical disasters for residents and visitors.

Maintaining safety at a residential community is a challenge at any time of the year — but winter, and especially the holiday season, with increased visitor traffic and school vacations — requires extra vigilance by the entire community. For managers and residents alike, a safe winter season can be the best gift of all.

Maintenance tips for autumn?

What should be on your “to-do” list this autumn? Let’s take a top-down look at maintenance steps that can prevent problems down the road.

The Roof. Mid-winter is not a good time to find out that the roof leaks. Before it’s covered with ice and snow, check the roof for loose, missing or damaged shingles, and remove any over-hanging branches that could cause damage during a winter storm.

Chimneys. Whether or not you expect Santa to slide in for a visit in December, a clean chimney is essential before residents begin gathering around the hearth. A chimney sweep will not only clear away creosote, bird nests and other obstructions, but will check for loose bricks and problems that could promote disastrous chimney fires.

Gutters. Clogged gutters and downspouts can lead to cascades of water landing on sidewalks, dangerous icicles and roof-damaging ice dams.

Windows and doors. Properly caulked and weather-stripped doors and windows will not only make homes more comfortable by preventing drafts, but will save energy dollars, too — and checking to see that these components are in good working order can avoid emergency calls on a cold winter day.

Plumbing and Heating. Planning to head south for the winter? Check with your property manager for recommendations on thermostat settings and water shut-offs to avoid burst pipes, floods and related disasters when the temperature plummets.

Lighting. Perform a light check at night and look for potential safety risks resulting from poorly lit areas. Be aware of any city or state regulations that might impact common areas.

Sidewalks. A low spot in a walkway may be a slight inconvenience in the summer — and a dangerous, icy puddle in winter, leading to “slip and fall” accidents, injuries and lawsuits.

Parking lots. Those annoying little pavement cracks aren’t just cosmetic blemishes — they’re open invitations to damaging ice expansion when temperatures drop. Avoid a big paving job in the spring by having cracks filled and sealed before winter arrives.

Drains. Grates that get covered by debris in summer and fall will create icy ponds in the winter. Keep an eye on autumn leaves that drift across lots and against curbs, and remove them before the snow starts to fly.

Engineering and Insurance maintenance recommendations?

Consider the property from two perspectives: Integrity and liability. After all, you want the building and grounds to function properly and at the same time, be free of any potential insurance problems.

If an insurance company sees that a community is letting safety slide, it might go so far as to cancel the insurance policy. And should disaster — such as a fire — strike, the insurance company will be looking to make sure that alarm and sprinkler systems were in good working order.

Starting outdoors, conduct a top-down review. Look for damage to the roof, siding and windows. Water infiltration will not only damage the building components, but can also create problems (and insurance claims) for unit owners and residents.

Check to be sure that handrails and deck/balcony railings are secure. Warm weather lures residents onto their decks and balconies, and every year brings news articles about serious injuries that could have been avoided with proactive maintenance.

Stroll along all sidewalks, keeping an eye out for trip-inducing cracks or heaves. While slip-and-fall accidents are generally associated with winter conditions, trip-and-fall accidents throughout the year are equally painful to both people and the community’s insurance rating. If the property has a mailbox station, check its condition after a season of buffeting winds and snowplowing.

Landscaping takes a beating during the winter; look for branches that could fall and hurt someone, as well as limbs that over-hang the building and could damage the roof or siding. Shrubs should also be trimmed so they don’t provide cover for potential criminal activity.

Make sure that all drains and catch basins are clear of debris and moving water off the property.

As evening falls, survey the lighting around buildings, parking lots and garages — and this might be a good time to consider upgrading lighting to new bulbs that are not only more energy-efficient, but last much longer, requiring less-frequent replacement work.

With your outdoor tour done, take the clipboard inside.

Safe at Home
Check all exits, to see that they are clearly marked and unobstructed. In the event of an emergency, you want to be sure that residents can leave the building quickly. Make sure the lights in interior stairwells are working, that handrails are solid and that the stairs themselves are clean and safe.

Are the fire extinguishers in the mechanical rooms accessible and up-to-date? Check tags to be sure they’ve been inspected and approved. Inspect the chains and padlocks on main valves. Review the HVAC systems; when those first warm days arrive, residents will expect the air conditioning to be in working order.

Elevators, too, require regular inspections and certifications. Make sure yours are up to date.   As your community prepares to enjoy a delightful spring season, it will be good to know that they can do so safely, and that you’ll have plenty of time ahead to repair any damage left behind by Old Man Winter.

Energy-efficient maintenance tips for summer?

Between air conditioning and overheating appliances, people can take steps to diminish costs of energy while still maintaining a comfortable and reliable environment.   First of all, avoid high air conditioning costs by doing something as simple as opening all the windows in a home or working area.

Of course some days will be hotter than others, and sometimes it can be unbearable on a summer afternoon when the sun is at its highest point. But opening windows, especially at night, can prevent air conditioning from running all night and costing the owner extra dollars.   A thermostat kind of fits that whole theme as well.

There are three steps anyone can take to save money: setting the thermostat so it’s nearly identical to the temperature outside, which keeps the cooling charges lower; avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal because it doesn’t even make a room or living area colder any quicker; and only turn on air conditioning when you are home, which is easily accomplished with a programmable thermostat that runs on pre-set times.

Ceiling fans and even regular plugin stand-up fans can cool you off at a cheaper clip. And if your home has a fan in the bathroom, turn it on while you shower to rid the area of humidity.

When it comes to hot items, avoid them when possible. That includes using stoves and ovens on abnormally hot days, as well as using incandescent light bulbs — of which only 10-15 percent of the light is actually used while the rest is turned into heat.

Is your home ready for spring?

When the spring season comes and finally allows for maintenance to be completed, it can sometimes be overwhelming because many people don’t know where to begin.

One thing owners can do is wash the siding. It’s only done a couple times per year anyway, and doing it in the spring is optimal to rid of all the dirt, debris and winter leftover that can accumulate in many parts of the country. Clearing residue is important because it prevents more laborious tasks in the future.

The dangers of siding lie in the possible accumulation of mulch and mildew, which requires even more eventual cleaning.   Proper way to clean siding includes using warm, soapy water and scrubbing with a soft brush of some sort, or even an adequate sponge. It is as simple as extending the life of your siding.

And, finally, it’s important to inspect siding and observe any unsanitary signs. This means checking for moisture, dirt or grime that has accumulated – and the best method of doing this is to get up close and personal. Who knows, a close look may find that leaks are forming or have the potential to form. That can eventually lead to staining or streaking, which are both just headaches for an owner.

Windows are also a huge priority, probably more so than siding in terms of visuals.

Like siding, windows are often washed a couple times per year so as to rid of salt and other mildew. It doesn’t accumulate too much and, honestly, it’s just a major task that will leave owners exhausted when it’s all said and done. Still, it needs to take place.

Bigger windows, or picture windows, demand larger cleaning supplies to reach the entire glass area and get rid of all the dirt without scratching the glass. You want to use soap, but not an overwhelming amount. It’s simple and to the point.

A device like a squeegee, followed by a thorough drying with a towel should do the trick.   And if unfortunately you find that one of your home’s windows didn’t make it through the winter for whatever reason, it’s as good a time as ever to explore other possibilities.

Exterior maintenance tips?

Nothing lasts forever when it comes to houses.   The physical, tangible materials that make up a home’s development are always improving with time, but different factors can make or break a home due to certain scenarios.

Owners will soon realize (if they haven’t yet already) that quick fixes are not always the correct answer when it comes to home safety and keeping the best type of structure for you and your loved ones. Besides general safety purposes, the visual look of exterior repairs is also important when it comes to possibly raising the value of your home or just creating a more beautifully aesthetic environment.

Maintenance is not the same for every owner. Aspects like home location – such as living in a very warm climate or a notoriously colder climate – and home size have a large impact on what is doable and what is needed. Sometimes, exterior repairs are something as simple as fixing an outdoor fence or a porch.

One such item is gutters. No matter what climate, gutters play an important role in the overall working success of a home. Often viewed as an afterthought, gutters could really open the eyes of owners when they fail and lead to even bigger repairs and growing costs.

A failed gutter could lead to other problems like drywall repairs, roof leaks and interior water damage. Gutter cleaning entails the removal of leaves and twigs/branches that may plug up gutters and stop proper rain flow.

But sometimes, even such removal isn’t enough. If a gutter is in bad shape, it may need to be completely replaced due to corrosive damage that is unrepairable (or unable to be repaired with an easy fix). Having the right equipment and understanding the problematic areas of your gutter system may be more important than you think.

There are a plethora of other outdoor maintenance repairs than can be performed during their respective seasons.

An owner could decide that they want a new fence in their backyard, be it a new style or a higher blockage from pestering neighbors. While it seems like a doable project, it may become quite tedious and require professional installation for best results.

Exterior doors are important to the look and feel of a house, whether it’s seen by passersby or the mailman. A nice front door can add a lot to a home, while doors that lead to a back porch – especially if used often – may need an update over time after opening and closing for a while, especially if pets are around. Also, a potential dog or cat door is something people may want to install as well.

For homes that have stucco, regular rate of repair might be required to prevent more costly financial measures down the road. Stucco is often forced to be repaired when moisture builds up and seeps behind walls, causing cracks or deterioration.

Then there is other kinds of external maintenance, such as power washing and deck maintenance. Power washing can instantly alter visual aesthetics by the removal of stains and dirt. Deck maintenance, especially for those who spend a more-than-average time outdoors, can update an older looking deck or just maintain a newer deck that has had recent improvements.

Other possibly forgotten aspects of general house living and maintenance includes chimney sweeping, repainting or staining outdoor wood or metal, repainting masonry, waterproofing masonry, replacing old systems (like air conditioners that may not be cost effective) and cleaning out septic systems.

The amount of repairs that come along with living in a home of your own can be drastic and sometimes overwhelming, but it is in your best interest to be proactive instead of reactive, it pays in the long run. A clean home is a happy home, after all, and taking care of everything in proper fashion will keep your home financially viable and more enjoyable to live in each and every day.

Winter maintenance improves safety, security

Temperatures are dropping rapidly, you are dressed in three layers of clothing and you can barely feel your fingertips.

Winter is officially here, and sometimes that can lead to more problems than you anticipated. However, if you have a regular routine or know the right professionals to call, maintenance in cold­ trodden months doesn’t have to be a major headache.

Let’s start talking about winterizing decks. After original evaluation is done by the owner -which includes sprinkling water on the deck to find out if water soaks into the boards- it’s time to find out if a deck needs to be resealed. For example, if a puddle forms, then the deck should be fine for another winter season. Cleaning a deck in the fall is advised, and sanding or painting a deck can also be done to prevent more expensive or time-consuming maintenance.

Energy-efficient doors can also keep your home warmer during inclement weather. Materials such as wood, steel and fiberglass all have advantages and disadvantages as far as aesthetics and value. For example, a fiberglass door will probably save the most money, while wood is the most expensive but probably offers the most appealing look and design options.

On top of deciding what door to put up in your home, weather stripping can also be a useful tool for saving money with energy costs. It decreases the chance of heat (or air conditioning) escaping from your home, and the right stripping will be firmly installed and fit the decor of the existing home.

These and other methods can help prepare a owner for more rigid seasons, all the while allowing for a clearer conscience come those winter months.

Taking advantage of the summer season

It is summer and you are outside enjoying everything the season and your home has to offer. But if you are a responsible owner (or want to be viewed as one), then summer is prime time to start looking ahead in terms of possible repairs and maintenance.

With the temperature much higher during the season, it offers better availability to make any necessary changes –     as well as additions or subtractions that have been on the agenda for a while but have not been completed.

This list can include many things, such as maximizing outdoor space, installing a deadbolt, maintain gutters, installing a fire pit, adding or improving a storm door, and updating the overall look and feel of a deck.

Having a plan for the general three-month summer period of June, July and August can be quite beneficial in the long run. It allows for owner(s) to address certain needs with a particular schedule that will allow for flexibility, all the while knocking out different aspects of general home care that will improve the house as a whole.

For example, sealing a deck in June will allow an owner to take advantage of a string of consecutive sunny days. Drying, cleaning, scrubbing and applying the sealer will be that much easier. Then, one can focus on detergent and water to clean mildew and other residue off the deck, porch and house siding. Painting can also be done in a snap during such months.

In July you might want to check for cracks or peeling and take care of such issues in due time. Important places to check for such things include exterior walls and roofs, which includes bad shingles and possible chimney deterioration. That’s not a problem you want to deal with during the winter.

And in August, you can inspect your foundation for possible infestation or for an incompetent plumbing system. Nobody wants to enjoy a nice summer night while watching bugs go in and out of random holes in the house.   These and other things can help prevent bigger problems down the line.

Simple tips for improving my home?

Improvements need to be made and you want to find the best person for the job.

First, it’s important to follow community standards. That includes not breaking or violating any zoning ordinances associated with the property at hand. You want to start strong and not be indicted by your local government.

Once that is a go, it is important to find a certified contractor that can fulfill all your hopes and dreams. Unless you’re a master interior decorator, it may be the best way to successfully address your concerns.

Then, make a checklist of what needs to be done and what could possibly wait in terms of improvements. This method is helpful when owners are on a budget and don’t want to spent more than they have, essentially on something they may not need.

Part of that is pricing. Different places ask for different prices, so it’s important not to settle on the first good price you see because there could be something better down the street.

If you live in a place where weather is inconsistent and always fluctuating, it’s important to schedule a project when it’s warm and not freezing out. Both the owner and the certified contractor will be happy in the end.