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Unless you did all the necessary winterization steps prior to winter, expecting to flip the water on after a long, cold winter and your irrigation system to start without a hitch is very hopeful. With the close of winter and the beginning of warmer weather, follow these steps to be prepared for any unwanted surprises (e.g. water damage to your property) before you start up your irrigation system.
Before turning on the irrigation system, have supplies on hand for repairs. Extra risers, spare fittings, sprinkler heads and nozzles are important parts that you may need. Primer, PVC piping and cement might be handy to have at home in case of emergency repairs. Batteries should be replaced in the timer.
Instead of eagerly turning water on at the first sign of a spring day, make sure the soil isn’t frozen. It can be warm for a few consecutive days, and the ground could still be frozen. Dig a foot into the ground to be sure the soil is thawed enough to turn on the sprinkler system. A good rule of thumb for the Denver Metro area is to wait until after Memorial Day to safeguard against underground water line breaks.
During the start-up of your irrigation system, water moves with great force through empty pipes. This can cause banging when air is forced violently from the pipe, which can cause fittings to burst. Even if you see no initial damage, it could be subtle and make itself known when the ground becomes flooded from a leak. Many property owners may be alerted by their local Water Department that unusually high water consumption has been registered. Should this happen, broken sprinkler lines should be checked immediately in order to avoid subsequent property flooding issues.
Remove sprinkler heads at the highest points in the system. Begin filling the system slowly. Let the pressure build instead of slamming water into the system full blast. At half pressure, examine the main line to be sure it’s filling properly with no damage. Open each zone manually and allow it to fill while checking the lines. When each zone is filled, check the sprinklers that you removed the heads from to be sure the water is clear and bubble-free. Reattach the heads.
After the zones are filled, run the system at normal capacity. Check all the sprinklers to be sure they are all spraying without any missing areas. Be prepared to get wet as you get close to each sprinkler head to check the pressure.
If you find that your irrigation system is the culprit to in-house flooding and damages, contact our helpful team at NuBilt for immediate response.
Damage to homes and underground pipes, from the roots of trees, can be a serious problem. As trees grow, so do their roots. Depending on the type of tree, this growth can take place in an ever expanding manner. What can a home owner do to prevent damage to the foundations of homes and piping?
Preventative Steps – Root Barriers – Proper Tree Planting
If you are building a home, this is the time to take preventative measures. You can protect the foundation of your home and underground pipes on your property. Root barriers can be installed at the time of initial construction, eliminating or greatly reducing the incidence of future root problems.
If the ground around your trees is prepared properly, each tree will develop a root system that is healthy. This will help ensure the roots will not spread in their search for moisture. It also helps to avoid planting tree species that are known to cause spreading root problems.
Preventive Steps – Underground Pipe Installation
To protect pipes bringing utilities onto your property, and sewage lines taking waste to a septic system or sewage line, ensuring the least number of turns and bends are placed in the pipes, with pipes laid at proper elevations, will help significantly reduce damage from root invasion.
Corrective Steps – Foundation Repair
Trees can cause problems for foundations in several ways. Initially they draw moisture out of the ground around and under foundations. This can cause problems with subsidence. Failure to correct this type of problem can mean extensive excavation will be needed to correct damage done to the foundation.
Corrective Steps – Cleaning the Interior of Underground Pipes
When pipes underground have invasion from tree roots it is usually not discovered until a blockage occurs. If you suspect problems with piping, you could have several types of pipe inspection done. This would result in a definite recommendation on how to have the problem corrected.
Be aware of the possible damage from tree roots. Use the steps mentioned in this article to help protect your home and underground piping from damage. Taking these steps should save you a significant amount of money.
If you find that root tree damage has occurred to your property, call NuBilt Restoration & Construction for a consultation on the next best steps to mitigate the damage.
Image from Clattermonger via Flickr
A home should be comfortable. So hopefully warm in the Winter and cool in the summer. Unfortunately, up to 25 percent of your home’s heat can be lost via its windows. There are some ways that you can help combat this higher energy bill, though.
- Energy efficient windows can help save money on heating bills, and only windows with the ENERGY STAR label have met government energy efficiency standards. There are a variety of ENERGY STAR windows, so be sure you are choosing the ones that best fit your needs.
- Always consider the U-Factor of windows. A window’s U-Factor refers to its rate of heat loss; a lower U-Factor means that less heat will be lost.
- You should also examine the window’s SHGC, or Solar Heat Gain Coefficient. The SHGC of a window indicates how much warmth from the sun can be taken in. Houses in colder climates may benefit from windows with a higher SHGC because the sun can provide additional heat for free. Keep in mind that external factors, such as the direction a window is facing, can affect the window’s performance.
- Double-pane windows can also help keep energy bills down. These fixtures consist of two pieces of glass with a gas-filled gap in between; this gas helps aid in insulation. They usually have a special coating that helps lower the U-Factor, too.
- Storm panels are a more affordable alternative and can be easily be added to single-pane windows, though these window treatments do lack the gas filling. Other window treatments can also be money savers.
- Thick drapes and awnings can both help keep heat out of the house. You will only see a difference in your bills if you are using window treatments that are actually energy efficient.
Remember that even the best windows will prove ineffective if they are in poor condition. Make sure the glass is not broken, the frames are not rotted, and the caulk around the edges is not cracked.
Photo by basheem on Flickr.
The CAI-RMC Spring Showcase and Trade Show is held annually and provides a full day of education for volunteers and professional managers of community associations. There are 12 educational offerings that are divided into four tracks: “101″, Advanced, Legal/Legislative and Professional Development. This years trade show is filled with over 120 firms, showcasing their products and services that are tailored to community associations! Network with 350+ community association professionals and volunteer leaders!
Thursday, April 4, 2013.
Colorado Convention Center
700 14th Street
Denver, CO 80202
- Roots from trees can grow directly into a septic tank, which means the tank has to be completely replaced. Weeping willows, for example, are a popular tree for large yards, but have aggressive roots and must be planted at least 200ft away from a septic tank.
- Maintaining the leach field is very important, but is often overlooked.
- Do not use harsh toilet cleaners or chemicals and switch to environmentally friendly soap.
- It is very important to fix any leaky toilets or dripping facets.
- If possible, dispose of peeling or unwanted food in another method instead of using the garbage disposal.
The inside of the septic tank also requires maintenance on a regular basis and is very easy to do. Adding good bacteria and enzymes is essential for breaking up clogs and eliminating bad odors. The additives are released over time and keep the septic system healthy saving a homeowner money with expensive repairs.
The pipes leading away from the septic can crack and cause a backup in a systems if proper care is not taken. Do not put heavy objects around the tank or drive over or near the septic systems. Heavy weight will compact the dirt and crack the pipes.
Septic tanks are made from concrete, plastic or fiberglass. Concrete can deteriorate or crack and plastic can puncture easily. Fiberglass is very light and if not properly secured, can crack.
There are a number of issues that can arise when owning a septic tank system. Often these problems do not show up until it is serious and too late. Sometimes it is necessary to call a property restoration company that is trained in restoring a septic tank system and taking care of a septic tank backup that happens in a home. If you experience a sewage backup, contact NuBilt (24/7) to immediately help you get back to pre-loss conditions.
Home appliances are generally thought of as a godsend. They can save time, money, and make one’s life a lot easier! But, the flip side to that is that if they are not maintained properly, they can cause serious damage to the home! Here we discuss 6 ways to prevent common appliance disasters:
1) Washing Machine: Housed within a laundry room or the basement, families use their washing machines daily to clean clothing.
- Problem: Hose failure is one of the most common types of malfunctions and problems that may result from a broken hose include extensive flooding, property damage and the permanent incapacitation of the machine itself.
- Prevention: Regular inspections of the hose area are recommended and experts suggest that a distance of no less than four inches should exist between the hose and the water connection at the back of the machine. Owners should be mindful of replacing the connections between the hose and the washing machine before any failure might occur. The cost of replacing a worn out hose or its components is usually less than $20 while repairing the damage from a burst hose can jump into the thousands of dollars.
2) Drying Machine: Usually located next to the family’s washing machine, the drying machine ensures proper drying of clean clothes.
- Problem: The National Fire Protection Association suggests that there are almost 17,000 house fires a year that come from laundry machines and virtually all of those fires begin in clothes dryers.
- Prevention: Experts recommend routine removal of lint from the machine, but cleaning and inspection should go beyond the lint tray. Because dryer lint is so highly flammable, peering into the dryer for additional trapped lint beneath or around the machinery is crucial. Keeping an eye on lint issues within a drying machine costs nothing but time, while fighting a fire can cause immeasurable loss.
3) Water Heater: Ensuring that the temperature of the water that comes out of a home’s faucets is the proper temperature is the responsibility of the water heater.
- Problem: Old and poorly maintained water heaters can fail and flood a home and over time, all water heaters will experience sedimentary buildup and general corrosion due to common minerals within the water. A failed water heater can be a nuisance while it is out of service, but it can also cause significant monetary hassle should failure result in flooding.
- Prevention: The average water heater benefits from regular inspection by home owners and trained inspectors and should be examined on a yearly basis. Water heaters do not usually last much more than 10 to 15 years and do often require replacement parts during their lifespan. The occasional replacement of water heater parts varies, but the few hundred dollars one might spend can far outweigh the costs of emergency service should the device fail or cause flooding and require a $4000 repair job.
4) Air Conditioning / Swamp Cooler: These units may be part of a house-wide central air conditioning system or they may be individual window machines used to cool single rooms.
- Problem: Common problems include failure of the compressor or the pump system and with consistent use these parts will eventually fail. Blocked condensing coils often cause failure and can break the machinery if not fixed in a timely manner. A defective float valve in a swamp cooler can prevent water from filling the reservoir or even cause the water to overflow.
- Prevention: Air conditioning units are under considerable pressure to perform during the hotter months of the year and annual inspections are advisable. Very few units above the age of ten can operate without small replacements every few years. These replacements may cost a few hundred dollars every few years while total failure of a central air conditioning system could cost upwards of $3000. For your swamp cooler, it is wise to replace the absorbent pads and lubricate bearings at the beginning of every cooling season and at the end of the cooling season to shut off and drain the water.
5) Dish Washer: Families who do not like sinks full of dishes will employ a standard dish washer to do the work.
- Problem: Lack of proper drainage and flooding are the two most common problems experienced with external plumbing failures with a malfunction of the dish washer’s internal pump as one of the most common causes. Objects trapped around the drain and pump can prevent draining and proper operation.
- Prevention: Removing items that are blocking drainage or repairing the pump are two projects often best handled by professionals. The cost of replacement for the pump will usually be under $100 dollars if the problem is caught early while failure to service the machine can result in much more damage and require total replacement of the entire appliance, which can cost over $500 for inexpensive models.
6) Refrigerator: As one of the most used devices within the home, the refrigerator keeps the family’s food fresh and is always in operation.
- Problem: Overheating is the most common type of failure to impact a refrigerator and over time the buildup of dust can cause this issue, as can a lack of proper ventilation at the back of the unit. Chronic overheating can lead to breakage of the refrigerator’s motor, which will mean the appliance cannot maintain proper cooling temperature.
- Prevention: Proper placement of the refrigerator is the best way to ensure successful motor operation. Removing accumulated dust from the rear of the appliance should be done a few times a year. Keeping an eye on dust and ventilation costs nothing while repairing or replacing parts of a refrigerator may range anywhere from $100 for the motor to several hundred for the appliance’s compressor.
Appliances are amazing technologies that keep getting better and making life simpler. Maintenance and preventative care of your appliances will ensure lasting benefits.
If your property undergoes water flooding or property damages from an appliance malfunction, contact NuBilt for assistance and a speedy recovery.
A home’s main water shut off valve is the valve that controls the water flow to the home. The valve can also be referred to as a main shut off valve, or local shut off valve.
All the water in the home originates from the shut off valve. You may need to access the shut off valve if you have plans for fixing a plumbing leak, or even in the case of an emergency. In the case of an emergency you will want to be able to locate this valve quickly to minimize damage.
There are several shut off valves located throughout your home, one being the main shut off valve. The main valve is, of course, the most important one to locate. Typically the main water shut off valve is located near your water meter. The water meter is where the local water company reads how much water you have consumed in your home throughout a period of time. There is one line leading out of your house, and one leading into your house near this meter. The line coming from the outside is called the supply side, and the line running into your house is called the house side. In case of an emergency you will want to shut off the side that is located on the supply side.
Other water shut off valves are located near the output devices in your home. Some output devices are the toilet, dishwasher, washing machine, tub or shower and sink. The water shut off valves will be located near the output device. The most difficult to find of the shut off valves near output devices will be the tub or shower. The valve may even be located below the floor in the basement near the tub or shower.
Now that you have educated yourself on where the water shut off valves, are located in your home, you will be prepared in the event of a visiting plumber, or leakage emergency.
Audio version of this article
While a leaking roof may not come as a complete surprise during the rainy season, a steady dripping from above on a winter day causes many homeowners to scratch their heads in puzzlement, wondering how the roof could possibly be leaking on a day without any rainfall.
Houses located in climates that receive significant snowfall are at risk of roof leakage caused by the formation of an ice dam. An ice dam is a barrier of ice that forms near the roof’s edge and prevents proper water drainage from the roof. When water from melted snow builds up behind the ice dam, it causes damage to the roofing materials and leaks into the house. This water intrusion may damage the interior of the home. Furniture and personal belongings may also be affected by the leakage. Additionally, the presence of water inside the home may cause the growth of mold and mildew, leading to a decrease in indoor air quality and an increase in illness for the occupants of the home. Infants and the elderly are particularly susceptible to mold-related illness.
The primary cause of ice dam formation is poor insulation of the attic space of the house. Warm air seeps through the attic ceiling to the underside of the roof, causing the ice and snow to melt. The dam is formed when the water freezes again at the edge of the roof. It is important for property owners to realize that repairing the leaky roof will not prevent the formation of future ice dams. A multi-pronged approach will be needed to eliminate the problem.
Here are a few tips to prevent ice dam formation:
- Clean leafy debris from the gutters before the season’s first snowfall. This will help eliminate a build-up of ice in the gutters.
- Seal any air leaks in the attic to stop warm air from seeping through to the roof.
- Add insulation to the attic after sealing air leaks. This will help keep warm air inside and prevent the warming of the roof.
- Provide adequate attic ventilation to reduce heat transfer through the roof.
If you think your property is suffering from ice-damming and/or water leaking, call NuBilt (303-368-4688) to get an expert diagnosis and treatment of your property.
The development of stale, musty odors in the basement is a common problem that should be addressed promptly. Odor can be caused from dirt or debris that has been allowed to collect in the basement. Another culprit can be water intrusion leading to the growth of mold and mildew.
Here are several things that can be done to eliminate basement odors:
- Vacuum or sweep the entire basement thoroughly, paying special attention to corners.
- Wash all floors and walls with a borax- or bleach-and-water solution. Bleach will remove stains and sanitize the area, while borax is a natural fungicide and is less likely to irritate respiratory passages. Pay special attention to areas where mildew is visible.
- Place coffee grounds in various spots in the basement to absorb odors. Because it can attract insects, coffee grounds should only be used for a few days at a time before being discarded.
- Place aquarium charcoal in the basement for long-term adsorption of odors.
- Use fans to circulate air in the basement, and open windows to let in fresh air.
Homeowners and property managers will want to investigate carefully to determine if preventive measures are necessary to keep the basement free of unwanted odors.
Here are some ideas to help prevent musty odors in the basement:
- Keep the area as clean as possible. Vacuum often.
- Keep the area well-lighted and well-ventilated. Light and fresh air discourage the growth of mold and mildew.
- Use a humidistat to determine humidity levels in the basement. Be aware that humidity levels above 62% encourage mold growth. Use a dehumidifier to maintain safe levels of humidity.
- Check the yard for adequate water drainage. Be sure that the ground slopes away from the house and that there are no spots close to the house where standing water can collect. Make sure that downspouts drain at least 6 feet away from the house.
- Seal any cracks in the basement walls with hydraulic cement.
- Apply water-proofing sealant to the walls and floor of the basement to keep moisture out.
With a sharp eye and a little elbow grease, homeowners and property managers can keep their basements fresh and odor-free.’
If you discover mold growth at your property and would like a professional opinion, contact NuBilt, certified mold experts today.
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