Monday, March 4, 2013

Ask any of the Florida State Certified SitePro Inspectors: Maintaining Windows

 Maintaining Windows


Window that needs Maintenance

How do I properly maintain my windows?

The windows of your home are important in keeping moisture and temperature in check within the house. There are a few things every homeowner should know.

Here are a few tips to keep your windows in top condition:

    Be on the lookout for mildew or peeling paint. These can be signs of moisture problems.
    On the outside, the portion of the window that is connected to the home’s brick or siding should be caulked all the way around.
    Some storm windows have a slot or hole ¼” in diameter or smaller. These are called “weep holes” and are present to allow water to drain outside and prevent mildew and rot. Sometimes these holes are caulked.  They shouldn’t be because they allow moisture to escape.
    Check the caulk and paint condition of all windows, especially South facing ones. The exposure to the sun can increase deterioration of these materials.
    Be aware that peeling paint on older homes may contain lead, which may be a health concern.

Be Advised

Fall leaves

Winter is a great time for the checkup of your home’s safety systems. From the smoke detectors to fire extinguishers, it is best to do an annual checkup of your household safety items.

Here is a checklist to help you keep track of them:

Test Your Carbon Monoxide Detector
With winter approaching, your home’s windows will be closed and the furnace may be on. Test your CO detectors to make sure they are properly functioning. If you don’t have any, purchase a few and place them near the bedrooms in your house.

Test Your Smoke Detectors
Many fires take place during the winter months. Be sure to replace the batteries in any detectors that need it. Always have smoke detectors near the bedrooms of your home.

Check Expired Fire Extinguishers
Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher. Make sure that it has not expired. If it has been discharged, replace it immediately.

Snapshots from a SitePro field inspector

Snapshot from the Field

Can you guess what is wrong in this photo?

A.) The gas shutoff valve is missing
B.)  There isn’t enough upward slope on the water heater flue
C.) Copper pipe is not appropriate for use with a water heater

The correct answer is B.) There isn’t enough upward slope on the water heater flue. SitePro Inspectors are all Certified Residential Building Code Inspectors

Maintenance Matters

Cleaning out your home’s gutters is an important part of its overall upkeep. Gutters that are not kept clean can let moisture seep into the home, be a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects, and they can allow for ice dams to form in Northern climates.

Here are a few tips for cleaning out your gutters:

    Use a Sturdy Ladder - There are many ways to clean out your gutters, but a ladder is usually involved. If you feel comfortable doing this yourself, make sure the ladder is sturdy and properly positioned.
    Protect Yourself – There can be sharp objects in the debris you are removing. Also, a lot of dust can be given off while removing leaves and materials. Be sure to wear gloves, a dust mask and goggles.
    Proper Removal – Try to scoop the debris into a lawn or garbage bag with a trowel. After you have removed all leaves and materials, be sure to rinse the inside of the gutter with a high pressure nozzle.
    Don’t Forget the Downspouts – Use a hose to spray down into the downspout to remove any debris that may have collected. If this doesn’t work, an auger can be used.
    Look for Leaks – When it rains, mark anywhere you notice a leak. You can go back and patch those areas when the gutters have dried.
    If You Don’t Feel Comfortable - If your roof is just too high off the ground or you don’t feel comfortable doing a cleaning yourself, it is best to call a professional.

Cut Back on Water Use

Does your toilet have a weak flush, but you don’t think it is serious enough to call a plumber? A weak flush can be caused by a variety of things.

Here are a few simple tricks to try before you give a plumber a call:

   1. Check to see if the water level in the tank is at the water mark or just below the overflow tube. It should be at least to this level.

   2. Sometimes a flush valve doesn’t operate properly. You can lift off the top of the tank and see if the valve is opening up all the way and releasing all of the water. If it does not, a valve ball or flapper may have become waterlogged, making it close too early.

   3. See if there are rocks or any other objects in the tank. They should be removed if there are. This takes up valuable water space in the tank and can keep the toilet from having a good flush.

   4. Try pouring 2 to 3 gallons of water into the bowl. This may clear the drain and vent. If it does not flush try to clear the trap with a plunger or snake.

Did You Know?

Do you hear banging pipes after a faucet is shut off or the toilet is flushed? Air cushions in your plumbing are present to stop water hammer from occurring. These air cushions have probably escaped after years of day to day use of the plumbing. A plumber can easily fix this problem and stop those annoying knocks.

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