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Home Repair and Maintenence: Fall Tips
Every season our Home Repair and Maintenance Team is sent out on calls during the Fall. This is the time of year to prepare our homes for the coming variety of inclement winter weather that we can or will have in Oregon and the Salem area. During the fall we can be lulled into putting off doing these things especially if we have an Indian summer, but this good weather makes outdoor winterizing much easier. Once this inclement weather hits, and rest assured it will, then we are scrambling to do after the fact and by then it may be too late or the weather may make it more difficult or dangerous to do.
Preparation ahead of time sets the soul at ease and does a better job of protecting our family and now you and the family can spend more quality time together.
Before we get started though, we want you to know that Kaufman Homes Home Repair and Maintenance can do most all of these items for you assuring that it is done in a timely and professional manner.
Don’t hesitate to call us even if it is for some advice on these issues!
Gutters, Pipes, Faucets
- Clean gutters and downspouts to let water drain away so it won’t leak behind the fascia board or run over the gutter causing damage to your landscaping or your patio. May need to clean several times until all the fall leaves are on the ground. Preparing for the winter rains, and keeping the roof and gutters in tip-top shape will help you enjoy those rainy days in peace and mean less work for you in the spring. As always, be very careful on the ladder. If you have even a couple tough spots you cannot reach give the Home Repair and Maintenance crew a call at 503-370-8390 and we can take care of that.
- Locate and insulate pipes most susceptible to freezing. Typically those near outer walls, in crawl spaces and in the attic areas. Newer homes (by code) have all the water pipes drilled through the floor joists and insulated. Older homes may have the water pipes hanging down and must be insulated if not already done, especially in any area close to an open foundation vent.
- Turn off or winterize waterfalls or water feature. If convenient, it is best, but not usually essential, to remove pump from water feature. Running pump in cold winter weather can cause ice buildup, which looks cool, but could cause pump damage.
- If you have “cold-wall” faucets (on un-heated walls such as an outside garage wall) remember to drain them. Shut off the inside warm-wall valve, open the cold-wall hose-bib, and then go back to the warm-wall valve and open the petcock to release the vacuum pressure and allow the water to drain out.
- Frost Free: Frost free faucets, do not need to be covered as they are designed to withstand freezing temperatures because they shut off back inside the insulated wall but this only works as long as hoses are unhooked which allows the water to drain out from the valve back in the wall. If a hose is inadvertently left hooked up during freezing weather and it thaws, it will break the pipe section from the valve to the hose faucet. This will only leak when you turn on the faucet in the spring and it will then leak water into the wall cavity. The whole frost free faucet up to the water shut off valve, as you see below, will then have to be replaced
- Non-Frost Free: If you have standard faucets, disconnect hoses and cover them with foam faucet protectors, insulation or rags whichever is available.
- Keep all foundation vents open in the winter, especially on newer homes that have, by code, all water pipes installed through the floor joist space and are well insulated with the code required floor insulation. This allows air flow in your crawl space to dry out any moisture that may collect. If vents are closed any possible moist air cannot migrate out the foundation vents and may instead migrate up into the living space and can cause mold or swell wood finishes, especially vulnerable is the hardwood flooring. During an extreme cold spell it would be beneficial to close foundation vents only until that cold spell is over. See section below on: keep your home protected while on vacation to see what can happen if the vents are left open and you turn the inside temperature down below 62 degrees.
- Disconnect all garden hoses and unhook hose spays to allow water to drain out. Store hoses out of the weather.
- Don’t forget to winterize your irrigation system! Usually your sprinkler lines are self draining but it is good to shut off the water to the back flow device and open the drain valve after the back flow and this should drain the lines to each electric valve. Best to have a professional landscaper or maintenance company do the winterizing or at least have an expert show you the procedure.
- Have furnace checked and serviced. Cracked heat exchangers can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide. Gas leaks are wasteful and usually you can detect the smell of gas. Your serviceman can fix or call the gas company and with special gas sensing equipment they can find the source and fix at no cost. Replace furnace filters when they are 25% blocked. Regularly schedule replacement every 3 months is the preferred method.
- If you are unsure about how to change the filter or just don’t have the time please give the Home Repair Services guys a call and we will be happy to take care of that for you.
- Turn off gas valve to carburetor for small engine gas-powered equipment such as: lawnmowers, edger’s, pressure washers, chainsaws and small boat motors (don’t run boat motor out of the water) and run the equipment until the gas is burned out of the carburetor. Put a gasoline additive in the gas tank to keep gas from breaking down during an extended period of non use and also to mitigate the effects of government mandated 10 % of biofuels in our gasoline at service stations. In smaller engines, biofuels can create a chain reaction of events that ends up clogging valves and rusting out small metal parts — including, crucially, carburetors. When biofuels are mixed with your fuel, this added chemical substance can attract moisture, which promotes a quicker deterioration of the fuel. The government is considering mandating a 15% requirement and that amount is predicted to really cause small engine problems. Small engines don’t have the sophistication of our cars which have electronics to balance the biofuels additive. In Salem there is only one place, I am aware of, to buy non-biofuels gasoline for small engines and that is Marc Nelson Oil Products. By law they cannot sell the non biofuels fuel for your vehicles
- Test your emergency generator. Treat the fuel in the gas tank and also run the gas out of the carburetor by running engine and turning off gas valve. Burn gasoline that does not have a 10% biofuels mixture if at all possible and if not treat all gasoline with an additive to neutralize the biofuels. Marc Nelson oil product sells fuel without biofuels for other than auto use.
- Keep batteries and car chargers for your phone and laptop on hand for emergencies (flashlights, etc.)
- Inspect and clean the chimney flue to prevent chimney fires usually caused from a buildup of creosote or improperly built chimneys and liners which are to close to combustible wood
- How to prevent chimney fires
- Use seasoned woods only (dryness is more important than hard wood versus soft wood considerations)
- Build smaller, hotter fires that bum more completely and produce less smoke
- Never burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, trash or Christmas trees; these can spark a chimney fire.
- Install stovepipe thermometers to help monitor flue temperatures where wood stoves are in use, so you can adjust burning practices as needed
- Have the chimney inspected and cleaned on a regular basis
- Check and or replace the batteries in your gas fireplace for emergency starting. You may want to remove batteries after each use because if left in the battery case the moisture of natural gas will corrode the batteries and may ruin the battery case.
Kaufman Homes and our Home Repair Services team would love to help you with whatever projects small or large you have for us. Please don’t hesitate to call 503-370-8390 to schedule an appointment.[/vc_column_text][dt_gap height=”10″][/vc_column][/vc_row]