Archive for the ‘Housemaster.com’ Category

It’s Ice Dam Season – An overview from Housemaster!

Ice Dam Overview
Often when homeowners experience water leakage and damage around exterior walls and ceilings during the winter months, they think they have a faulty roof, when actually the culprit is an ice dam. Ice dams are caused by melting snow that refreezes along the lower edge of a roof, blocking the run-off from subsequent snow-melt.

 

ice Dam

The heat within an attic that develops as a result of radiant heat from the sun or heat loss from the living areas of the house due to inadequate insulation is a contributing factor in the formation of ice dams. This heat typically rises to the higher points of the roof causing the snow cover to begin melting at those areas. As this melting snow runs down the roof surfaces below the snow, it contacts the colder areas of the roof along the edge or eave. Once it reaches this point, the cold roof surfaces cause the water to refreeze. The continuous freezing of the melting snow forms a noticeable dam of ice. As the water from the subsequent snow melt higher up on the roof arrives at the ice dam, it is blocked and begins backing up. Eventually it can seep in under the roofing materials, leaking through the roofing and sheathing into the attic and then to the living area where it causes stains and damage to the walls and ceilings below  (click this link for for the rest of the article

http://library.housemaster.com/article.asp?a=35)

Thanks to Dave Cobosco for his article.

David M. Cobosco    DMC Inspections, LLC  dfba HouseMaster
Home Inspections, Done Right   409 Middlesex Turnpike  Billerica, MA 01821
Cell: 508-479-1773   dave.cobosco@housemaster.com  www.billerica.housemaster.com

If you should run into a problem with an ice dam, immediately call someone.  The damage created if not taken care of can be extensive

Joan Parcewski, Realtor      Woods Real Estate

Joan@woodsre.com     c 978-376-3978     o 978262-8665

http://www.JoanParcewski.com            https://justforseniorsrealestate.com

Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)

 

 

Don’t Forget Your Gutters This Fall – guest blogger Dave Cobosco

Don’t forget your gutters this Fall

As the leaves fall most of us clean our yards, but many of us forget to clean our gutters.  Clean gutters are critical in controlling the water around your house.  Properly functioning gutters and downspouts direct water away from the house and preventing many of the following problems:

ñ  Water in the basement

ñ  Rotting wood trim

ñ  Roof leaking due to ice dams

ñ  Slippery sidewalks

ñ  Washed out landscaping

ñ  Wood Destroying Insects

To avoid these potentially serious and costly problems, make sure you have your gutters cleaned every Fall when you clean the leaves from your yard.  If you are not comfortable with heights or don’t use tall ladders regularly, cleaning gutters is not a job for you.  Consider hiring a handyman to help. If you decide to do the gutter cleaning job yourself, watch out for hidden hazards like electric lines and bee’s nests.

Once the gutter system is cleaned, consider installing gutter guards to avoid a repeat performance in the future.  There are many types of gutter guards available. Screens can be effective in the short run but eventually allow debris to get through.  Clogs will reoccur and can be even harder to clear since the screens will need to be removed first.  Leaf blocking guards, which look like metal covers that are installed above the gutter, are a more costly but more effective option at keeping leaves out of gutters.  The slotted covers allow water to leak into the gutter while washing leaves over the side.

No matter what gutter product you choose, it is important that you check gutters periodically as well as be mindful of signs of clogging like over-flowing in a rainstorm.

Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue. More home safety and maintenance information is available online at housemaster.com. Or contact:

HouseMaster

Dave Cobosco

Owner/Operator

409 Middlesex Turnpike

Billerica, MA  01821

C:  508-479-1773

O:  866-313-7732

dave.cobosco@housemaster.com

http://www.housemaster.com

 

 

Are you ready for the upcoming heating season? – guest blogger Dave Cobosco

 

Besides having your furnace or boiler serviced, if you have forced warm air heating there are two areas to make sure are addressed, the air ducts and air filter.

 

Air Ducts – To Clean or Not:   If there are no large deposits of dust, dirt or mold, or if no one in your home suffers allergies or asthma, having air ducts cleaned is probably unnecessary, according to advice provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  However, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA )recommends that ducts should be cleaned under the following circumstances:

ñ The home has been remodeled.

ñ Water has damaged the home.

ñ There are four-leg pets.

ñ Someone smokes.

ñ Your carpeting is old.

 

Air Filter:  One maintenance item most homeowners can take care of themselves is the filter. The condition of the system’s filter or electronic air cleaner (if present) should be checked at least monthly during the heating season. Permanent, cleanable filters should be cleaned often during the heating season; disposable type filters should be replaced when dirty.

 

 

Keep your Fireplace Fit

To avoid unexpected mishaps around the fireplace, observe some simple precautions:

ñ Clean fireplaces annually, preferably by a certified chimney sweep.

ñ Use safety screens and doors for wood-burning fireplaces.

ñ Before lighting any fire, check to see that flue damper is open.

ñ Only burn dry, seasoned wood. Green or wet wood will not burn cleanly, increasing the rate of creosote buildup.

ñ Do not burn wrapping papers or evergreens in the fireplace. These ignite suddenly and burn intensely, increasing risk of a flash fire.

ñ Do not leave the fire unattended, and make sure you have at least one working smoke/fire detector.

 

Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue. More home safety and maintenance information is available online at housemaster.com. Or contact:

HouseMaster

Dave Cobosco

Owner/Operator

409 Middlesex Turnpike

Billerica, MA  01821

C:  508-479-1773

O:  866-313-7732

dave.cobosco@housemaster.com

http://www.housemaster.com

Is your basement damp? – guest blogger Dave Cobosco

Have you noticed moisture on your basement walls?  Dave brings some excellent ideas to help prevent it from growing into a major problem.

 

Is your basement damp?

There are a number of simple ways to reduce moisture on damp basement walls and prevent this from growing into full-scale leaks or a major mold issue.

Check the Source
Make sure your rain gutters are functioning properly and that the downspouts are clear and open. Use long leaders or downspout extensions to carry rain water far away from the foundation.  Also slope the ground around the wall so that water drains away from the foundation.

Seal Cracks or Gaps
Check carefully for any cracks or gaps, and seal them with a caulking compound designed for your type of basement wall — typically masonry. If problems persist, more extensive waterproofing work may be needed.

Prevention, Not Patchwork
If you decide to obtain an evaluation from a qualified water proofing contractor, beware of recommendations for major work that is only designed to remove water that seeps in, rather than preventing it from infiltrating in the first place. In many cases, it is more effective to redirect the water away from the foundation than to try and stop it from seeping in once it’s there.

 

Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue. More home safety and maintenance information is available online at housemaster.com. Or contact:

HouseMaster

Dave Cobosco

Owner/Operator

409 Middlesex Turnpike

Billerica, MA  01821

C:  508-479-1773

O:  866-313-7732

dave.cobosco@housemaster.com

http://www.housemaster.com

 

 

Is Your Electrical Panel Labeled Correctly – guest blogger Dave Cobosco

Have you ever looked at the electrical panel diagram that is supposed to be labeled and either nothing was labeled or it hadn’t been updated recently so that the information is incorrect.  Many of us have had this experience.  Thanks for reminding us how important this is.    Joan Parcewski  Woods Real Estate Billerica

It is important that homeowners undertake the job of identifying electrical circuits in their homes.  This effort will save valuable time in the event of an emergency situation or even when performing normal home maintenance.  Even if the panel circuits have been previously labeled, it is best to double check to be sure of proper identification.  This is a great project to do with one of your children who is home for the summer and is complaining about being, “bored.”

 

 

 

How to identify the electrical circuits

 

  1. Assign a number to each circuit breaker in the electrical panel.
  2. Draw the floor plan of your home recording the location of outlets and light switches.
  3. Solicit the help of one of your children or a friend to assist you so you can remain at the electrical panel and your assistant moves throughout the house.  The ability of the two people to communicate easily (cell phone, text)  will greatly reduce the time required.  One person can do this job, but it requires a lot trips to and from the electrical panel.  Good exercise, but time consuming.
  4. Start by checking whatever labeling might already be done.  For example if a circuit breaker is labeled kitchen, have your assistant go to the kitchen and verify all lights and outlets work.  A night light is a good way to verify outlets.  Once everything is verified, turn off the circuit breaker and ask your assistant what no longer works.  Record a description of what lights and outlets are controlled by that circuit breaker.
  5. Repeat step 4 for each circuit breaker until all outlets and lights are accounted for.

 

 

 

Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue. More home safety and maintenance information is available online at housemaster.com. Or contact:

 

HouseMaster

 

Dave Cobosco

 

Owner/Operator

 

409 Middlesex Turnpike

 

Billerica, MA  01821

 

C:  508-479-1773

 

O:  866-313-7732

 

dave.cobosco@housemaster.com

 

http://www.housemaster.com

Is Your Sump Pump Working Propertly – guest blogger Dave Cobosco

 

 

Hopefully, given all the recent rains, yours has been.   However, at least twice a year, a sump pumps should be checked for proper operation. Manufacturer instructions should be used as the primary guide for pump installation and maintenance, but here are some general guidelines.

 

 

 

With the pump cord disconnected:

 

ñ Make sure there is a grounded three-prong receptacle for the sump pump.

 

ñ Ideally the receptacle should be installed at least 18 inches above the floor.

 

ñ The receptacle should also be close enough so that the pump cord (usually maximum 6-feet long) can be plugged directly into the receptacle.

 

ñ If a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is installed at the receptacle outlet or in the electric panel, make sure it is working. Use the test button on the unit to confirm proper ground-fault protection.*

 

ñ Inspect the sump pit for any silt or debris that might obstruct the float or clog the pump impeller or discharge tube.

 

ñ Make sure the pump is positioned so that the movement of the float that turns the pump on and off is not obstructed by the walls of the pit or other objects.

 

ñ If needed set the float height to start the pump at a lower or higher level. The float should be set that it keeps the water toward the bottom at the normal high water line.

 

ñ Check for a small (3/16 to 3/8 inch) hole in the tube directly above the pump. Add if needed, or clear the hole if blocked. This hole helps prevent a possible airlock in the discharge lines.

 

ñ Check the drain line from the pump to the termination point on the exterior for any signs of corrosion, holes, damage or leaks.

 

ñ Make sure the line is secured every three feet or so.

 

ñ Add a check valve in the discharge line at the pump if not present.

 

Note: A GFCI is a safety device. It is generally not required on dedicated single receptacles used for sump pumps. GFCI could trip for various reasons, rendering the sump pump inoperative. If a GFCI is present, check before storms to make sure the GFCI is turned on and sump pump is operational.

 

 

 

Once the visual check is made, an operational check can be performed:

 

ñ Confirm the pump is securely plugged directly into the receptacle. (Once again – no extension cords).

 

ñ If the sump pit is empty, add enough water, if possible, to confirm the pump turns on and off properly.

 

ñ With a sump pump with automatic preset sensor switches, if water exceeds the top of the pump before turning on, or if the pump does not shut off when water drops again, there may be a defective sensor or other problem. Refer to the manufacture set-up instructions.

 

ñ If the pump uses an adjustable float switch, the pump should turn on at the set-on level and off when the water level drops.

 

ñ A small stream of water should spray out of the weep hole near the pump to prevent airlock.

 

ñ The pump should not have to run all the time. If it does, try setting the float or pump higher in the pit. If this doesn’t help keep the water from the top of the sump; a larger pump may be needed.

 

ñ Check the drainline for any leakage.

 

ñ Go outside and check the drainline discharge point. It should be positioned to discharge the water at least 5 to10 feet from the foundation at a point where the runoff doesn’t cause ponding backflow to the foundation or erosion.

 

ñ In areas subject to free temperatures, precautions must be taken to make sure the drain line does not freeze up or get blocked by ice or snow.

 

ñ Sump pumps should not be connected to sanitary sewer systems (unless locally approved) or private sewage (septic) systems.

 

Backup pumps and alarms.

 

ñ If you do not have a backup, consider adding one, especially if your pump runs regularly or there is a high flood potential.

 

ñ If your sump system is equipped with battery backup, check the manufacturer maintenance instructions. It may be necessary to check the battery water level to make sure it covers the cells.

 

ñ Inspect the backup pump setup in the pit for obstructions etc., as was done for the primary pump.

 

ñ The float should be set or pump positioned so it only activates if the primary pump does not.

 

ñ Unplug the primary pump and add water to the pit, if possible, so that the backup runs.

 

ñ Plug the primary cord back after the backup test is complete.

 

ñ If you have a high water alarm, it should activate when the float is raised, or if sensor type, when water hits the sensor.

 

ñ Depending on the set up, an alarm may sound when the primary is unplugged or when the backup activates.

 

Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue. More home safety and maintenance information is available online at housemaster.com. Or contact:

 

HouseMaster

 

Dave Cobosco

 

Owner/Operator

 

409 Middlesex Turnpike

 

Billerica, MA  01821

 

C:  508-479-1773

 

O:  866-313-7732

 

dave.cobosco@housemaster.com

 

http://www.housemaster.com

 

Was just thinking how appropriate this article is given the thunderstorms that are currently rumbling thru Essex and Middlesex County.  Hopefully your sump pump is working properly……. Joan Parcewski, Woods Real Estate

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: