Posts Tagged ‘gutters’

Four Tips for Burlington Homeowners Bracing for Winter

Officially, it may not be winter in Burlington yet, but the end of November is more than a signal to turn to the last page in 2017’s calendar. It’s definitely time for Burlington residents to secure their domiciles against the mercury drops Mother Nature will be providing sooner or later.

Even in places where a November heat wave makes it hard to focus on the inevitable onslaught of chilly weather, there are some household winter preparation tips that apply equally to all areas of the country. Here are four tips to benefit just about every Burlington household:

  1. Tune up the heating system. Instead of hoping that the heat pump or furnace will make it through another year on its own, a preventive tune-up will result in lower fuel bills all winter—not to mention saving you from becoming 15th in the repair line when it fails on the coldest night of the year (when else would that happen?).
  2. Check the “overhead” (that is, the roof, gutters, vents, and chimney). Clearing leaves, pine needles or anything else up there can reveal spots vulnerable to leaks—or breaks in flashing seals. Water damage is much more costly to correct than are small-area roofing fixes.
  3. Mow any remaining leaves. If your yard still has leaves, mow rather than rake them. University studies have proved that leaves cut into dime-sized pieces (which takes several passes) will settle among the grass blades, nourishing them throughout the winter.
  4. Eliminate drafts. Every winter, Burlington homeowners lose truly astonishing amounts of heat due to air leaks. In addition to testing windows for rattles and door jams for gaps, the Department of Energy recommends an exterior walk-around to inspect all areas where two different building materials meet. With a caulk gun handy, also check cable and phone line entrances and where dryer vents pass through walls.

Based on a prediction for low sunspot activity, this year’s Farmers Almanac calls for a chilly winter—while NOAA concentrates on the 70% chance for a La Nina (which might bring normal precipitation except in the drier South).

In other words, Burlington’s winter weather outlook is anybody’s guess.

The foolproof solution is, as always, to be well prepared. In addition to anxiety relief, a side benefit of a consistently well-maintained home becomes evident when you put it up for sale—which is also when you should give me a call!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

LAER Realty Partners           http://www.JoanParcewski.LAERRealty.com

JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    cell 978-376-3978

 

Laer Realty PartnersJoan Parcewski Full Picture 102017

 

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

 

 

10 Home Maintenance Tips for Spring – A Reprint from Inman News – 4/10/2012

It’s spring and we all are thinking about all those things we now need to take care of both inside and outside the home.  This is a great list to start for all of us from Paul Bianchina from Inman.co

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The sun is peeking out and the plants are starting to blossom, so it must be about time for spring chores again. Here’s my annual spring checklist of important issues to tend to around the house.

1. Roofing repairs: If you suspect winter storms may have damaged your roof, it needs to be inspected. (If you’re not comfortable with the height or steepness of your roof, hire a licensed roofing contractor for the inspection.) Look for missing or loose shingles, including ridge-cap shingles.

Examine the condition of the flashings around chimneys, flue pipes, vent caps, and anyplace where the roof and walls intersect. Look for overhanging trees that could damage the roof in a wind storm, as well as buildups of leaves and other debris.

If you have roof damage in a number of areas, or if older shingles makes patching impractical, consider having the entire roof redone. Also, remember that if the shingles have been damaged by wind or by impact from falling tree limbs, the damage may be covered by your homeowners insurance.

2. Check gutters and downspouts: Look for areas where the fasteners may have pulled loose, and for any sags in the gutter run. Also, check for water stains that may indicate joints that have worked loose and are leaking. Clean leaves and debris to be ready for spring and summer rains.

3. Fences and gates: Fence posts are especially susceptible to groundwater saturation, and will loosen up and tilt if the soil around them gets soaked too deeply. Check fence posts in various areas by wiggling them to see how solidly embedded they are.

If any are loose, wait until the surrounding soil has dried out, then excavate around the bottom of the posts and pour additional concrete to stabilize them. Replace any posts that have rotted.

4. Clear yard debris: Inspect landscaping for damage, especially trees. If you see any cracked, leaning or otherwise dangerous conditions with any of your trees, have a licensed, insured tree company inspect and trim or remove them as needed.

Clean up leaves, needles, small limbs and other material that has accumulated. Do any spring pruning that’s necessary. Remove and dispose of all dead plant material so it won’t become a fire hazard as it dries.

5. Fans and air conditioners: Clean and check the operation of cooling fans, air conditioners and whole-house fans. Shut the power to the fan, remove the cover and wash with mild soapy water, then clean out dust from inside the fan with a shop vacuum — do not operate the fan with the cover removed.

Check outdoor central air conditioning units for damage or debris buildup, and clean or replace any filters. Check the roof or wall caps where the fan ducts terminate to make sure they are undamaged and well sealed. Check dampers for smooth operation.

6. Check and adjust sprinklers: Run each set of in-ground sprinklers through a cycle, and watch how and where the water is hitting. Adjust or replace any sprinklers that are hitting your siding, washing out loose soil areas, spraying over foundation vents, or in any other way wetting areas on and around your house that shouldn’t be getting wet.

7. Check vent blocks and faucet covers: As soon as you’re comfortable that the danger of winter freezing is over, remove foundation vent blocks or open vent covers to allow air circulation in the crawl space.

While removing the vent covers, check the grade level around the foundation vents. Winter weather can move soil and create buildups or grade problems that will allow groundwater to drain through the vents into the crawl space, so regrade as necessary. Remove outdoor faucet covers. Turn on the water supply to outdoor faucets if it’s been shut off.

8. Prepare yard tools: Replace broken or damaged handles, and clean and condition metal parts. Tighten fittings and fasteners, sharpen cutting tools and mower blades, and service engines and belts in lawn mowers and other power equipment.

9. Change furnace filters: Now is the time to replace furnace filters that have become choked with dust from the winter heating season. This is especially important if you have central air conditioning, or if you utilize your heating system’s fan to circulate air during the summer.

10. Check smoke detectors: Daylight Savings Time snuck up early again this year, and that’s usually the semi-annual reminder to check your smoke alarms. So if you haven’t already done it, now’s the time. Replace the batteries, clean the covers, and test the detector’s operation before it’s too late.

If you have gas-fired appliances in the house, add a carbon monoxide detector as well (or check the operation of your existing one). CO2 detectors are inexpensive and easy to install, and are available at most home centers and other retailers of electrical parts and supplies.

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